WMU News

William J. Yankee

June 17, 1999

William J. Yankee, former WMU assistant professor of psychology and former president of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Mich., died June 3. He was 73.

Yankee, who worked at WMU from 1960 until 1966, was a former Kalamazoo Police Department detective and Friend of the Court for Kalamazoo County Circuit Courts. After coming to WMU, he did polygraph research and taught local police how to administer the test. He left WMU in 1966 to become president of Delta Community College. He was named president of Northwestern Michigan College in 1974.

His expertise in polygraph was employed again after he left NMC to move to North Carolina to work as a polygrapher and consultant. In 1987 he took over the U.S. Defense Department's Army Polygraph School which trains polygraphers for the FBI, Secret Service, armed services and other government agencies. He retired in 1995 to homes in Traverse City and Pensacola, Fla.

Yankee received bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology at WMU and a doctoral degree in education from Michigan State University.

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