EAST LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - FOX 2's Tim Skubick obtained an email from former Michigan State University interim president John Engler that he sent his team on the day he resigned. In it, Engler expressed happiness toward the future - and it appears he took one final parting shot at his most severe critic on the board of trustrees.
Engler quit last week amid public backlash over his recent comments about Larry Nassar survivors "enjoying the spotlight." Just hours after he announced his resignation, and a resignation date of Jan. 23, the Board of Trustees unamiously agreed to accelerate his resignation, and to appoint Dr. Satish Udpa as new interim president, effective immediately.
Engler had resisted calls to step down in the past from Nassar survivors and trustees. He announced his resignation in an 11-page letter to board chairwoman Dianne Byrum. There was no mention of recent criticism over his comments to the Detroit News Editorial Board regarding the survivors, but instead a list of what he felt to be accomplishments.
In the email obtained by Skubick, Engler expresses his gratitude and happiness to his team at MSU. It reads, in full:
"Subject: Thank you.
To the leaders of MSU:
I wanted you all to know that I am very proud to have worked with you this past year. It was due to your efforts that we accomplished in a year much that will help our new President when that person is selected. I am deeply grateful for your support, friendship, advice (even if it wasn't taken!) and your devotion to a great university.
Michelle and I are very happy to begin to think about Texas and new adventures so do not worry about us. We are very happy this morning. She also asked me to extend her gratitude for the support you have given me this year as we have been apart too much and you have been my "family" while I have been on assignment at MSU.
Good luck in the days ahead. I will support you fully or I am willing to tell people you resisted everything if that is more helpful. Seriously, I am proud of the team you have become and how we brought a little fun back to the 4th floor. I leave with many good memories and I have already forgotten Trustee BM.
Have a great day, smile and look forward to great days ahead.
With admiration and appreciation for each one of you,
The final sentence is likely referring to Brian Mosallum, who has long called for Engler's resignation. The trustee tweeted "JOHN ENGLER'S REIGN OF TERROR IS OVER" on January 16, prior to his resignation. Mosallum issued the following statement on the new hire:
After announcing Udpa as new president, Board Chair Dianne Byrum said she believes this is "the beginning of a better relationship, both among Board members and to the MSU community as we continue the healing and pay respect to the survivors."
Dr. Udpa served as the school's executive vice president for administration and is a distinguished professor.
Nassar is now serving decades-long prison sentences for sexually assaulting patients and possessing child pornography.