Dr. Gordon Guyer, Michigan State University’s 18th president and longtime head of MSU Extension, has died. He was 89 years old.
Guyer attempted to retire twice in his career — the first time, immediately after his tenure as director of MSU Extension (1973-85) in 1986. Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard had other ideas and immediately appointed him director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
After two years at the DNR, MSU brought him back as a legislative consultant. In 1990, he was named vice president of governmental affairs.
He retired from that position in 1992, but again MSU called him back to serve first as interim president and then as MSU’s president (1992-93).
Known for his extensive experience in Michigan’s political arena, Guyer followed his time at MSU with a three-year stint as director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
Educated at MSU, he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D in entomology. In 1953, he joined the Entomology Department as an instructor and later as an assistant professor.
Guyer authored more than 70 research publications on such varied subjects as aquatic ecology, integrated pest management, vegetable pests, public policy and international agriculture.
In 1975, Guyer led one of the first American scientific teams allowed to visit China. He also received MSU’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1965.
Guyer is survived by his wife, Mary Gettel Guyer, and his children, Dawn, Gregory Todd and Daniel. His first wife, Norma Lake Guyer, died in 2001.
– by Dave Weinstock