WMU News

Two faculty members, two seniors earn MAGB Awards

March 24, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Two Western Michigan University faculty members and two seniors will be honored Tuesday, April 7, by the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of State Universities.

The faculty members are Dr. Joseph S. Ellin, professor of philosophy, and Karen Seelig, associate professor of speech pathology and audiology.

The students are Jaime L. Pinchot, a senior majoring in occupational therapy from Barrington, Ill., and Brent D. Vanderheide, a senior majoring in finance from Cadillac.

The MAGB, which includes representatives from the governing boards of the state's 15 public universities, each year honors two distinguished faculty members and two outstanding students from each institution. The four from WMU will be honored along with their counterparts from the other universities at the MAGB's 17th annual awards convocation at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing.

Each honoree will receive a certificate from the MAGB, a special tribute from the Michigan Legislature and a letter of congratulations from Gov. John Engler. Using MAGB criteria, WMU student recipients are nominated by a committee representing the offices of the provost, secretary to the Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate and vice president for student affairs from among students who are designated as outstanding by their academic departments. Faculty recipients are nominated by the executive board of the Faculty Senate.

Ellin has been a faculty member at WMU since 1962 and chaired the Department of Philosophy from 1968 to 1974. He teaches courses in general ethics, medical ethics, the philosophy of law and political philosophy. His prolific publication record includes numerous articles, book chapters, reviews and, most notably, his book, "Morality and the Meaning of Life." He was a founding member of WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and has served on its executive committee since 1984. He also has been editor of the center's publication series since 1987.

Ellin has been active in WMU's Faculty Senate, serving as a senator, as chairperson of the Campus Planning Council and the Regional Education Council and as a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee. He was corresponding secretary of the senate in 1995-96 and vice president from 1993 to 1995. Also active in the community, he has served as a board member of the Kalamazoo American Civil Liberties Union and the Kalamazoo Jewish Federation. He earned his bachelor's degree from Columbia University and his master's and doctoral degrees from Yale University.

Seelig has been a WMU faculty member since 1967, training and supervising therapists in assessing and treating individuals with speech, language and hearing impairments. She has published numerous journal articles, videotapes and manuals, given presentations and served as a consultant on the complex dimensions of communication disorders. In addition, she has served as her department's academic adviser and undergraduate program coordinator since 1980, and honors program coordinator since 1986. For 15 years, she has contributed annually to the University's Van Riper Lecture Series on fluency disorders.

Seelig's extensive University service includes membership on the Student Services Council and the Undergraduate Studies Council of the Faculty Senate. She chaired the latter for three consecutive years. She also has been active on several advisory boards and curriculum committees as well as a number of departmental standing committees. Most recently, she chaired the Faculty Senate Task Force on Off-Campus Programs. Seelig earned her bachelor's degree with honors from WMU and her master's degree from Northwestern University. She has served on the WMU Alumni Association board of directors and on the Kalamazoo Academy board of trustees.

Pinchot plans to practice occupational therapy at an inpatient rehabilitation facility after graduating from WMU in December 1998. Eventually, she would like to earn a graduate degree and teach occupational therapy at the university level or become a political lobbyist for the profession. The winner of a $25,000 Medallion Scholarship to attend WMU, Pinchot also has received the Clifford and Ella Chapman Distinguished Senior Scholarship and the KPMG Peat Marwick Golden Key National Honor Society Scholarship. In addition to Golden Key, she is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Theta Epsilon honor societies and the Lee Honors College.

Pinchot has served as vice president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is the current president of the Student Alumni Association, and has been selected to represent WMU at two National Student Alumni Association Conventions and the Michigan Honors Association Convention. Her other activities include serving as a campus tour guide and volunteering as a teacher aide for severely mentally impaired individuals, as a test reader for disabled students and as a visitor to the elderly. This winter, she was selected as a Presidential Scholar in Occupational Therapy, the University's highest honor for senior.

Vanderheide will receive his bachelor of business administration degree in finance in April, but he's already started a career as a financial analyst. After completing an internship, he was hired full time in December as a risk management analyst at the First of America Bank Corp. in Kalamazoo. He also plans to continue his studies and complete a master's degree.

Vanderheide began his education at WMU by earning a $16,000 Board of Trustees Scholarship through the Medallion Competition. He also has received an Old Kent Bank Southwest Scholarship and has been named to "Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges." He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key national honor societies as well as the National Residence Hall Honorary Association. He has served as a resident adviser and as an assistant director of a residence hall. Vanderheide also was the University's 1995 Homecoming king, the chairperson of the fund-raising committee of this past fall's successful WMU/CMU Blood Challenge and the vice president of WMU's chapter of the Financial Management Association. This winter, he was selected as a Presidential Scholar in Finance and Commercial Law, the University's highest honor for a senior.

Media contact: Ruth Stevens; ruth.stevens@wmich.edu


Seelig is a resident of 11525 Scott Park Road, Delton.

Pinchot is the daughter of Randy and Cheri Pinchot of 320 Briargate Lane, Barrington, Ill.

Vanderheide is the son of Gerry and Julie Vanderheide of 6273 Lancaster Lane, Cadillac.

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