U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos joined Michigan State University officials and other dignitaries to mark the official opening the school's Grand Rapids Research Center.
The Lansing State Journal reports a couple dozen people protested DeVos' visit Wednesday to her hometown. A similarly sized group gathered in support.
Critics say she's hostile to public education and indifferent to civil rights. They cite her push for school choice and decision to end the Obama administration's rules for investigating allegations of on-campus sexual violence.
DeVos and her backers say the previous administration's rules denied the due process of those accused.
The western Michigan medical research center will work on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases along with autism, pediatric cancers and women's health. The $88 million facility is eventually expected to employ 44 research teams.