WMU News

Alumnus gives $352,000 for scholarships to increase diversity

Oct. 8, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- Increasing the diversity of those entering finance careers is the goal of new full scholarships established by the president of Greenleaf Asset Management Inc. with Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business.

William D. Johnston, the president of Greenleaf Asset Management Inc. of Kalamazoo, made a commitment of $352,000 through the WMU Foundation to establish the Greenleaf Asset Management Scholarships.

Each four-year scholarship covers all tuition and living expenses for students majoring in finance. Two scholarships will be given per year for the next several years to students from underrepresented groups.

Johnston established the scholarships to address a critical issue in business today-the lack of diversity in people entering the field of finance. Greenleaf's extensive recruiting efforts could not identify potential employees who would add to the human diversity of the business.

"We decided to work with WMU's Haworth College of Business to attack the problem directly," Johnston says.

Dr. James W. Schmotter, dean of the Haworth College of Business, says that despite the efforts of many committed people in industry and education, the lack of diversity in some areas of business, such as finance, is a problem that has not yet been solved. The Greenleaf Asset Management Scholarships are a step in addressing this issue.

"As we enter the new millennium, businesses must look more like the rest of America in terms of their employees' backgrounds," he says. "These scholarships are important because they enable us to identify students in high school and fund them for four years while they learn about the opportunities available and how to prepare for careers in finance. I'm delighted that Bill Johnston and the University will become partners to introduce students to these exciting opportunities."

Johnston is an alumnus of WMU, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1970 and a master's degree in 1974. He is a member of the WMU Foundation Board of Directors and heads the foundation's investment committee.

The first two Greenleaf Asset Management Scholarship winners have already been awarded to David O. Ellison of Farmington Hills, Mich., and Marla Rusher of Ypsilanti, Mich., both freshmen entering WMU this fall.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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