WMU News

NPR chief to visit for WMUK 50th anniversary

April 3, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's public radio station will celebrate five decades of service to Southwest Michigan Wednesday, April 11, with a gala dinner featuring Kevin Klose, president and chief executive officer of National Public Radio.

The 50th anniversary celebration for WMUK 102.1 FM will kick off at 6 p.m. with a wine reception on campus in the Irving S. Gilmore Theatre Complex. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by remarks from WMU President Dr. Elson S. Floyd, Richard Y. St. John, chairperson of the university's board of trustees, and Dr. Fred Dobney, provost and vice president for academic affairs. Klose, the first NPR president to visit Kalamazoo, will close the evening with his keynote address.

A former editor and reporter with the Washington Post, Klose is an award-winning author and international broadcasting executive. Prior to joining NPR in 1998, he served stints as director of U.S. international broadcasting, overseeing the U.S. government's global radio and television news services, and president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, broadcasting to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. A graduate of Harvard University, Klose is a former Woodrow Wilson National Fellow. He is the author of five books, including "Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society," which won the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award.

The station will also honor two WMU students at the event. Matthew Schoendorff, a senior majoring in music composition and music education, won a WMUK fanfare competition for his work, "Fanfare Vox Publicus." The piece will be played by the Inetu Lits Brass Quintet to conclude the wine reception. Senior art major Paula Clayton, a member of the Lee Honors College, will be recognized for her painting, "Daniel and the Bar Code II." The artwork, which will hang in the WMUK lobby, was created especially for the event after station officials singled out her work at the Department of Art's annual art student exhibition. Both students will receive $500 stipends honoring their contributions.

"As we observe our 50th anniversary, I'm happy to say that WMUK is a home for the arts, a place to learn about our world and a source of first-rate journalism," says Floyd Pientka, WMUK station manager. "But history doesn't end here. As we look forward, we are committed to technological improvement, and will continue working to document the cultural, social and political life of Southwest Michigan in new and compelling ways."

WMUK 102.1 FM is a listener-supported public radio station. The station's mission is to help build a community of educated and involved citizens, in keeping with the goals and ideals of the University. An award-winning station, WMUK reports on global, national, regional and local news as well as offering a diverse mix of artistic, musical and cultural programming.

National Public Radio is a private, non-profit membership organization that produces, acquires and distributes programming to the nation's public radio stations. Founded in 1970, NPR has been the primary source of global news and information, and music and cultural programming for generations of radio listeners. Internationally acclaimed for the quality and balance of its programs, NPR has won scores of awards for excellence.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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