MSU and Detroit: Side by side for a better tomorrow

For decades, Michigan State University has been working with partners in Detroit to support economic development, advance the arts, transform schools, improve health, and sustain the environment. Like Detroit, MSU values resilience, hard work, and a commitment to solving problems and empowering people for better lives.


Enrolled Detroit Students


Spending with Detroit businesses


Total economic impact in region

MSU's Composites Institute Donates PPE Gear in Detroit

MSU's Composites Institute Donates PPE Gear in Detroit

MSU's Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation donated personal protective equipment to the Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit.


Apple, MSU collaborate to launch first U.S. Developer Academy:

Apple and Michigan State University announced that they will partner to launch the tech giant’s first United States-based Developer Academy in Detroit.

Detroit 2020 Forecast

2020 Economic Growth Expected from Michigan

Michigan State University’s Center for Economic Analysis sees further growth in the Michigan economy in 2020. This comes from the MSU Economic Forecast Model that tracks and projects the economies of the state of Michigan and the metropolitan areas of Detroit-Warren-Dearborn and Lansing-East Lansing.

Natalie Jones

MSU Student Helps At-Risk Detroit Youth Keep HIV, AIDS at Bay

Natalie Jones began developing her passion for community outreach - with a particular focus on young people who are HIB positive or at risk of contracting the disease - while an undergrad in the MSU College of Nursing.

Jones plans to apply what she learns to her work as a nurse practitioner/research assistant for the Horizons Project, a Wayne State University-affiliated program that provides support for youth ages 13-25 who are at risk or are living with HIV or AIDS, including those who have been sexually abused or are sex trafficking victims.


Training Detroit's Future Civic Leaders

Over the past five years, Joshua Sapotichne and his team have deployed more than 160 students from 22 majors to partner with more than 30 Detroit civic organizations. Today, dozens of MSU InnovateGov alumni work full time in civic roles in Detroit.


MSU Teams With State's Top Universities to Provide Economic Forecasting

Michigan State University joins the University of Michigan and Wayne State University in a collaboration that will provide Detroit-specific economic data analysis and forecasting services to the state’s largest city.

The City of Detroit University Economic Analysis Partnership brings together the economic forecast and modeling power from the three schools in a new five-year agreement.


Why Nonprofits Are Taking Over Detroit, Flint Governance

Though nonprofit philanthropies aid cities in times of need, like when natural disasters hit, their work usually ends when the crisis subsides. But that’s not the case in Detroit and FlintNew research from Michigan State University finds that nonprofits have acquired unprecedented involvement in how these two cities are governed.


Song Writing Project Promotes Literacy

Launched in 2016 by the MSU Community Music School-Detroit, Verses uses hip hop, spoken word poetry and music technology as teaching tools. Students improve their literacy skills through the art of songwriting, composing, performing, mixing and recording.


MSU's Science Gallery Detroit Receives $200,000 Grant 

Michigan State University’s Science Gallery Detroit received a $200,000 grant from Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation. The contribution will help fund programming for Science Gallery Detroit's DEPTH Exhibition, opening June 8 at the Michigan Science Center.


MSU's Advanced Mobility Ecosystem on Display at 2019 NAIAS

MSU is highlighting how it is transforming its 5,200 acre campus into a connected ecosystem for new mobility solutions during the AutoMobili-D at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.


MSU Launches Partnership for Urban Agriculture in Detroit

A Detroit Neighborhood will host Michigan State University's first urban research center, developing solutions to economic and nutritional challenges unique to urban environments.


MSU-led Internship Program Helps Detroit

The InnovateGov program, now in it's fifth year, has grown and so too the number of MSU students from Detroit participating with 25 percent of students from the city. 


MSU Students Learn to be Physicians While Providing Care to Detroit's Homeless

Detroit Street Care is an outreach activity where MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students provide medical assistance to the homeless with supervision.  


MSU Turns Zoo Waste Into Clean Energy

Michigan State University has created a green solution for the problem of what to do with animal waste at the Detroit Zoo. 

DSC Billboard

Detroit-Area High School Raises Nearly $150k to Help Homeless

Detroit Street Care, an outreach activity where MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students provide medical assistance to the homeless, received more than $148,000 from Troy Athens High School.

Science Gallery Hustle

World-Renowned Art and Science Initiative Opening in Detroit

Michigan State University is opening an award-winning global art and science initiative in Detroit on June 16 with a theme that pays homage to the city's reputation and residents: HUSTLE 


Award-winning Global Science Series Launches in Detroit, East Lansing

The Intersection introduces connections between art and science that will be explored more deeply in Science Gallery Lab Detroit's inaugural exhibition, which opens June 16 and developed in partnership with MSU and MSUFCU.

Exoskeleton app

MSU Students Create Exoskeleton App for Patient

Working with the Talem Technologies and Urban Science, a Detroit-based consulting firm, a MSU College of Engineering team of computer science students developed an app that allows Smith, who lives in Orlando, Florida, to maximize the use of his bionic-looking arms.
Strengthen student experience

MSU Program Strengthens Student Teacher Experience

Beginning in 2015, MSU Department of Teacher Education designed and funded a program, Mentors as Teacher Educators, or MATE, to provide targeted support to classroom teachers who oversee interns across MSU student teaching intern’s year-long experience. Three years later, and MATE has increased in participants and influence, expanding from Lansing-area schools to include schools in Grand Rapids and Detroit.
researchers in detroit

MSU Examines Detroit's Digital Divide

Detroit's digital divide stems more from the means of connectivity rather than from a lack of interest or access, according to a recent study of internet use by the Quello Center at the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
sheryl connelly

Ford’s Car Clairvoyant Makes Big Impact on Detroit

While some know her as Ford Motor Company’s “Car Clairvoyant,” Sheryl Connelly’s official job title within the company is “manager of global consumer trends and futuring.” Connelly (BA Finance ’89), a Broad College of Business alumna, is responsible for providing insight on consumer trends as well as futuring mindsets for the Ford Motor Company.
community center building

MSU launches partnership for urban agriculture in Detroit

A Detroit neighborhood will host MSU’s first urban food research center, developing solutions to economic and nutritional challenges unique in urban environments. The MSU Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning and Innovation will break ground during the first half of 2018 at the site of the former Houghton Elementary School in the Riverdale neighborhood, near Brightmoor. Urban-focused research areas envisioned for the center include soil sampling and pollution cleanup, pest and crop disease management, forestry, innovative growing systems and community food systems development.

interns learning

Quicken Loans pilots entrepreneurship program with Broad

Like a boomerang, the “Dan Gilbert Effect” launched from Detroit, is circling East Lansing, and will return to Motor City. Quicken Loans Family of Companies (QLFOC) and the Eli Broad College of Business have piloted a program that taps the college’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation program to help Quicken companies solve real business issues.

science gallery mentors

MSU’s Science Gallery Lab Detroit receives $1M grant

Science Gallery Lab Detroit (SGLD) will launch exhibits in summer 2018 with help from a $1 million grant from MSU Federal Credit Union. The funds will be distributed in $200,000 increments over the course of five years and will support exhibition development, production, community engagement efforts and staffing needs.


MSU launches composite-material research in Corktown

Michigan State hosted local students, dignitaries and researchers for the official ribbon cutting and tours launching the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, or IACMI, in Detroit’s Corktown. The institute is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories and federal, state and local governments exploring ways to use composite materials to make automobiles lighter and more fuel-efficient. This partnership between the government, private sector, and research universities will lead to innovation across the auto industry – a vital part of Michigan’s economy.

spirit of detroit statute

MSU automotive research in Detroit

Michigan State University researchers in Detroit’s Corktown are exploring ways to use composite materials to make automobiles lighter and more fuel-efficient. The Department of Energy tapped MSU to lead a large-scale manufacturing facility, the MSU Center of Excellence, part of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). This collaboration between the government, private sector, and research universities will lead to innovation across the auto industry—a vital part of Michigan’s economy.

emergecy room equipment

MSU’s Detroit Street Care program

MSU’s Detroit Street Care program brings much-needed acute medical care to the city’s homeless population. MSU doctors and nurses provide hands-on learning experiences for medical students while caring for vulnerable populations that lack access to health care. Richard Bryce is Detroit Street Care’s faculty adviser and an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Family Medicine. Dean Carpenter is a nurse and MSU alumnus.

music students

MSU to partner with MusicTown

MSU will offer free educational programs in Detroit’s soon-to-be-built MusicTown, a venue designed to host and celebrate music, culture and entertainment in the city of Detroit. CBS RADIO Detroit, in association with Olympia Entertainment, will soon begin construction on MusicTown, located inside Hockeytown Café, within the 50-block, mixed-use sports and entertainment development known as The District Detroit. There, the College of Music and Community Music School-Detroit will host educational workshops, musical performances and lectures by MSU professors and musicians, said James Forger, dean of the College of Music.


Engaging Detroit's young adults in science and art

Part art gallery, part science lab, part theater, MSU is launching an initiative to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, art and math in Detroit’s young adults. Called Science Gallery Lab Detroit, the goal is to reach youth ages 15-25 who are making important decisions about college and careers and show them what interesting ideas emerge when different disciplines collaborate. It will work with scientists, researchers, artists and designers to develop creative ways to tackle some of the world’s largest problems, something MSU has been doing for more than a century.

map with a stethescope

MSU clinic brings family doctor back to underserved area

Serving as the university’s first clinic outside the Lansing region, The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Popoff Clinic provides care for eastside residents, as well as clinical learning opportunities for osteopathic medicine students and doctors in training through the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority.

MSU motar board

Program gets boost helping more students from Detroit succeed

MSU alumni Dan and Jennifer Gilbert today announced a $15 million donation from their family foundation to impact and elevate student success and one of the nation’s elite basketball programs. The Gilberts’ gift will support a new addition and renovation of the Breslin Center and provide funding to enhance counseling and support services offered through the MSU’s Detroit Scholars Program to ensure a high level of retention and improve the chances of success for students from Detroit.

MSU logo on window

Investing in Detroit’s resurgence

MSU will take its Eli Broad College of Business Executive MBA program to Detroit where it will be the first MBA program of this kind offered in the city. As added support, MSU will provide scholarships to reduce the cost of the program by half to professionals who work in the nonprofit sector or are members of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.


Collaborating to create beautiful and productive green spaces

A group dedicated to supporting urban reforestation has hired more than 180 Detroit high school students for its summertime youth employment program. Following a curriculum created by Michigan State University, participants in the Green Corps program will care for trees, farm gardens and green spaces throughout city.

watercolor skyline of detroit

MSU program makes Detroit new kind of classroom

This summer 60 Michigan State University students and faculty lived, worked, played and learned in Detroit as part of DETxMSU. The pilot program immersed students from six colleges throughout the city where they were partnered with stakeholders to work on projects ranging from entrepreneurship and business to urban design to media production.

“Our goal here was to build early partnerships as opposed to saying, ‘We’re from MSU and here to help,’ we asked, ‘What do you need? How can we help?’ These are the kind of conversations we had for months prior to when we started ... so the work the students are doing has a lasting impact.” - Joshua Sapotichne, MSU assistant professor in political science.

music students

Verses Project: Exploring literacy through lyrics and Song

A collaboration between MSU Community Music School, the Marshall Mathers Foundation and Carhartt is providing students the opportunity to learn the art of songwriting, composing, performing, wordsmithing, mixing and recording using the latest technology.

youth volunteers

Setting youth up for success

Twenty-seven Spartan students spent two Saturdays, June 18 and June 25, at the Brenda Scott Academy in Detroit volunteering for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, which provides summer job training for Detroit youth. Nearly 600 Detroit students participated in workshops covering goal setting, customer service skills and interpersonal skills. MSU students helped with registration and check-in, distribution of lunch and the facilitation of the workshops.

detroit skyline

MSU Museum presents 'Taking back Detroit'

The MSU Museum is partnering with National Geographic to present “Taking Back Detroit,” inspired by the magazine’s recent feature depicting the city of Detroit’s comeback as it emerges from bankruptcy. “Taking Back Detroit” profiles real Detroiters in their own words, and gives a glimpse of the challenges, hopes, ideas, grit and determination that will help reinvent the city. The exhibit opens in the MSU Museum’s Main Gallery June 24 and runs through January 2017.

belle isle conservatory

Partnership of education, experience and revitalization

The best and brightest of MSU’s Landscape Architecture program are participating in DETxMSU this summer to learn about Detroit’s sense of place, transforming the intangibles into an urban design. Training the minds of tomorrow’s urban designers requires real-world and active learning experiences to see the city, hear the people and touch the architecture.

graphic image of the word detroit

Joining the city’s reinvention

Many MSU grads find employment in Detroit, from auto companies to Quicken Loans to Metro Detroit-area health systems and more. The MSU Alumni Magazine dedicated an issue to the connections between MSU and Detroit and how they are making the city a better place.

graphic of apple with a skyline in it

Pioneering Urban Food Systems

A new facility in Detroit will become Michigan State University’s first center for studying and developing urban food systems. Drawing on experience from MSU’s 13 rural AgBioResearch field stations and MSU Extension work in every county of Michigan, the MSU/Detroit Center for Urban Food Systems will facilitate best practices for food and non-food plant production and a variety of related community support activities.


Designing for local businesses

When MSU alumnus and founder of Detroit Friends Potato Chips Michael Wimberly was looking to differentiate the company’s brand, he turned to advertising students in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. The opportunity provided the students with real-world experience while giving Detroit Friends a wide range of unique and creative packaging ideas.

spirit of detroit statue with MSU jersey

Preparing for all of the tomorrows of its next 300 years

Michigan State University and partner universities support Detroit’s resurgence with hundreds of millions of dollars annually in research, education and outreach services, a new study finds. The University Research Corridor, comprised of MSU, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, added $958 million in economic activity into the city in 2015.

photo of business owner

Launching Detroit businesses

The MSU Product Center partners with Detroit businesses to bring their products to market. The center helped client Nailah Ellis-Brown, founder and CEO of Ellis Infinity specialty tea company, to secure deals with Meijer and Whole Foods and to negotiate lease agreements. Now her products are sold across five states.

smiling man

Cultivating a movement

Spartan alumnus Anthony Hatinger has joined the movement to empower opportunity within Detroit communities. As the garden production manager for faith-based nonprofit Central Detroit Christian, Hatinger works with communities by pairing agricultural education and employment opportunities with economic development efforts to reinvigorate local neighborhoods.

composite material

Leading cutting-edge automotive research

MSU will be adding a second site dedicated to composite materials research for vehicles located in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. Part of the national Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation, the large-scale manufacturing facility will be staffed and operated by MSU.

man and a school bus

Providing dependable transportation

Many Detroit school buses serve only younger kids, leaving high schoolers on their own or on city buses, which struggle to run on schedule. Meanwhile, the city’s population is spread wide, and many parents are wary of letting their kids walk through blighted neighborhoods. MSU alumnus Daniel Brooks is leading the charge to fill the city’s transit gaps by providing free, safe, and dependable bus rides for students.

city building

Working together in the city

Detroit and Michigan State have a long history together. The city accounts for a large share of MSU’s student enrollment and alumni base. And the university’s involvement in Detroit reflects every facet of its mission—education, research, and service.

The MSU Detroit Center, opened on Woodward Avenue in 2009, is a physical investment in the community that is home to MSU’s Community Music School-Detroit as well as several other programs and offices. The center serves as an anchor of MSU’s presence in the region, extending programming throughout the community that engages Detroiters of all ages.

rape kit package

Partnering for justice

An MSU and Detroit interdisciplinary partnership resolved backlogs of untested rape kits and became a catalyst for change and a model for communities across the nation.

MSU’s Rebecca Campbell was the principal investigator of the initiative, which started in 2011 and was funded by the National Institute of Justice, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.

With a goal of finding solutions for testing rape kits and notifying victims, the project brought together representatives from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the Detroit and Michigan State Police departments, MSU, the nursing field, and victim advocacy groups.


Growing food opportunities

MSU is a longtime partner in Detroit food initiatives—from urban gardens and farmers’ markets to entrepreneurial endeavors that bring healthy food to those who need it most.

MSU is a partner in the Michigan Good Food Fund—a new public-private partnership loan and grant fund created to finance healthy food production, distribution, processing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities throughout Michigan.

The MSU College of Law’s Detroit Food Law Clinic provides legal services for local entrepreneurs, community groups, and nonprofits looking to launch their own food businesses at Eastern Market in Detroit, counseling on health, safety, and agricultural regulations.

Detroit Kitchen Connect is a collaborative project between FoodLab Detroit and the Eastern Market Corporation with support from the MSU Product Center to provide reliable, accessible shared-use commercial kitchen space for local entrepreneurs to process high-quality food products in a diverse and collaborative learning environment.

MSU Extension educators work with farmers market managers in Detroit and around the state to help them develop systems to accept Bridge cards at their markets, ensuring families have access to fresh, local food.

muscians playing instruments

Making music in the city

Faculty and staff from MSU’s Community Music School-Detroit are helping ensure that music education and its benefits are not only available, but also accessible, to Detroit residents of all ages, especially youths.

The MSU Community Music School-Detroit hosted the inaugural Girls Rock Detroit summer music camp, a weeklong experience for girls and female-identifying youths at the MSU Detroit Center. Campers received instrumental instruction, formed bands, and wrote and performed their own original songs.

child with folded hands

Fueling wonder with Science

MSU’s annual Science Festival hosted its first Detroit Day to bring science exploration and fun to residents of all ages.

city streetscape

Studying urban development

Detroit is one of the seven metro areas that are part of the Michigan Walkable Urban Places study led by MSU’s Land Policy Institute.

Teaching and practicing medicine for a healthier Detroit

Teaching and practicing medicine for a healthier Detroit

The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) supports a thriving graduate medical education system in Detroit. In Wayne County alone, 370 osteopathic residents practice and continue their educations in 44 programs.

The college offers a program called Future DOcs at Detroit’s Ben Carson High School. Students who are selected for this program take part in sessions to learn about osteopathic medicine, get mentoring from MSUCOM students, build their study skills, and improve their leadership abilities.

MSUCOM students volunteer throughout the metro Detroit area, serving at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, at numerous health fairs, and, most recently, during Metro Detroit Youth Day.

MSUCOM partners with the Community Health and Social Services Center, a Detroit community-based nonprofit that has been providing underserved and uninsured populations with quality and accessible health care. MSUCOM students complete clinical rotations as well as volunteer at the center.

There are 472 MSUCOM alumni living in Wayne County. One of these individuals is Richard Bryce, who is a family medicine physician at the Community Health and Social Services Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center in southwest Detroit.

living and working in detroit

Promoting Detroit’s arts legacy

Spartans are at work advancing the city’s treasured cultural institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art–Detroit. 

students reading newspaper

Leading Detroit high school journalism program

When the Detroit Free Press was looking for a partner to take over management of its High School Journalism Program, it found MSU’s School of Journalism ready to help a program that for nearly three decades has given aspiring journalists from Detroit Public High Schools their first taste of what it’s like to work in the news business. To prepare for journalism in the digital world, they launched Detroit Dialogue, the program’s first digital publication.

next generation of urban educators

Producing the Next Generation of Urban Educators

College of Education students in the Urban Educators Cohort Program gain the knowledge and skills they need to teach in urban schools through focused courses and guided teaching experiences in real classrooms from their first semester at MSU through the end of their 5th-year internship.

Hundreds of future teachers have participated in the College of Education’s Urban Immersion Fellowship in the past decade. MSU teaching students spend seven weeks teaching in Detroit Public Schools’ summer school program or in community programs serving youths.

MSU offers the Master of Arts in K-12 Educational Administration in downtown Detroit. Classes are held at the MSU Detroit Center, providing a convenient location for local educators who aspire to leadership positions in schools.


Mentoring young men

MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities assistant professor Austin Jackson works with My Brother’s Keeper, a mentor program for at-risk black males attending Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy in Detroit.

students in large classroom

Instilling high school students with teaching aspirations

The Summer High School Scholars program increases urban teenagers’ knowledge about higher education and acts as a successful “pipeline” to MSU academic programs and teacher education in particular.

culture of creativity

Exploring Detroit's culture of creativity

“Cultures of Creativity in Detroit” is a freshman seminar that explores how professionals with backgrounds in design, art, culture, and engineering work together on creative projects. The seminar explores cultures of creativity in Detroit through a multi-day, immersive residential experience in the city.

soccer ball

Developing coaching programs that inspire

MSU’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports has been a partner in a unique, long-term program with Think Detroit Police Athletic League, a youth development organization. The institute helped create the IMPACT Coach Leadership training program for Detroit PAL’s 1,500+ coaches and managers.

Creating a scholarship fund for fellow Detroit students

Sherronia Dorsey-Walker, whose academic career at Michigan State was helped by a $54,000 scholarship gift from basketball great and fellow Detroit Pershing High School graduate Steve Smith, was inspired to start a scholarship fund as a way to give back to her community and to other hardworking students who will attend Michigan State in the fall.

Carl Taylor

Reducing gang violence

During the past two decades, MSU sociology professor Carl Taylor has conducted field research projects in Detroit aimed at understanding gangs and youth culture and reducing violence.


Introducing students to the wonders of the Great Lakes

Now in its 25th year, MSU Extension’s Great Lakes Education Program has introduced more than 92,000 students, teachers, and adult chaperones to the unique features of the Great Lakes and helped participants understand their role in protecting these vital resources.

squash racquet

Supporting student success through athletics and service

Racquet Up Detroit uses the sport of squash in combination with academic and service activities to help students achieve success in their lives. Scholars and future teachers from the MSU College of Education collaborate with Racquet Up to support and develop new literacy-based programs for participating youth.