WMU News

Former Rep. Gilmer to receive honorary doctorate

Jan. 19, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will confer an honorary doctor of public service degree on former state Rep. Donald Gilmer during April 21 commencement ceremonies.

The degree, approved by WMU's Board of Trustees at its Jan. 19 meeting, will be made in recognition of Gilmer's more than two decades of service to the people of Michigan.

Gilmer has been commissioner of the Michigan Bureau of State Lottery, a gubernatorial appointment, since January 1999. During the prior 22 years, he served 11 terms in the state House of Representatives.

The Augusta, Mich., resident represented the 63rd district, which covers part of Calhoun County and the eastern half of Kalamazoo County. He was unable to run for a 12th term due to Michigan's term limits law and retired from the state Legislature in 1998 after an unsuccessful primary challenge for a seat in the state Senate.

During his legislative career, Gilmer was characterized as a moderate Republican and took a particular interest in K-12 and higher education issues. He served as a member of the Department of Education's Michigan School Finance Commission, the House of Representatives' Ad Hoc Special Committee on Property Tax and School Finance and the House Republican Task Force on Property Tax and School Reform.

He also served as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 1993 to 1996 and held positions as minority vice-chairperson of the Higher Education and Consumer and Industry Services Subcommittees.

Prior to entering state politics, Gilmer was a fruit farmer, a Kalamazoo County Commissioner from 1973 to 1974 and member of the Michigan Agricultural Labor Commission from 1975 to 1977. He attended Michigan State University and Western Michigan University from 1963 to 1965 and was a Kellogg Fellow at MSU from 1968 to 1971.

Gilmer received the American Legion Citizenship Award in 1963 and has been active in numerous organizations, including the Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Horticulture Society,
4-H, Kiwanis, the Jaycees, the Association for Retarded Citizens and the Urban League.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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