Oct. 7, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will honor one of its own -- Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer -- and establish a scholarship in his name at a dinner Saturday, Oct. 25, in Detroit.
"This is a rare opportunity for us to recognize Mayor Archer for all he has done in the realms of education, public administration and the law," said Dr. Diether H. Haenicke, president of WMU. "A dedicated public servant, Dennis Archer has never lost touch with his fellow citizens or his own roots, and today leads his city toward a 21st century renaissance."
Roy S. Roberts, vice president and general manager of the Pontiac GMC division of General Motors, a 1970 WMU graduate and a former member of the WMU Board of Trustees, will serve as master of ceremonies. The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. in the Riverview Room at Cobo Center in Detroit.
Several prominent Detroit civic leaders will speak at the dinner followed by remarks by Haenicke. They include S. Martin Taylor, vice president of corporate and public affairs at Detroit Edison and a 1964 WMU graduate, and Geneva J. Williams, executive vice president and chief operating officer of United Way Community Services in Detroit and a former WMU trustee.
Lori B. Waddles of Detroit, vice chairperson of the WMU Board of Trustees, will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the WMU alma mater. A 1985 WMU graduate, she is assistant general counsel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Proceeds from the dinner will establish the Mayor Dennis W. Archer Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students who intend to major in education, public administration or pre-law at WMU. Preference will be given to residents of Detroit or, if no applicants come from the city, to residents of Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties.
The recipient should have demonstrated evidence of public service or volunteerism. Financial need will be given preference in making the award.
"We're extremely proud that our alumni and friends would establish such a scholarship in Mayor Archer's name at his alma mater," said Keith A. Pretty, vice president for external affairs and general counsel and president of the WMU Foundation. "It is one more way that Dennis Archer and WMU are connected."
Archer, who was born in Detroit and grew up in Cassopolis, graduated from WMU in 1965 with a degree in special education. He taught mentally retarded students at two Detroit schools between 1965 and 1970 while earning his law degree at night from the Detroit College of Law.
In 1985, after 15 years as a trial lawyer, Archer was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court and the following year was elected to an eight-year term. He resigned from the court in 1990 and returned to private practice. He was elected mayor in 1993.
Archer has been frequently recognized by his alma mater. He received WMU's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982 and, in 1987, an honorary doctor of laws degree. A circle drive in front of the University's Bernhard Center was named in his honor in 1989, at the initiative of the WMU chapter of Phi Alpha Phi, the fraternity with which he was affiliated while he was a student.
Reservations for the dinner should be made by Friday, Oct. 17. To make reservations or for more information, persons may call Sue Davis in the Division of External Affairs at WMU at 616 387-8789. The mailing address is Division of External Affairs, Western Michigan University, 1201 Oliver St., Kalamazoo, MI 49008.
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