WMU News

St. John, Klohs elected to lead WMU board

March 25, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Richard Y. St. John of Kalamazoo and Birgit M. Klohs of Grand Rapids, Mich., have been elected to serve as chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively, of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

The election took place at the board's annual meeting March 22, as provided in its bylaws. Each will serve a one-year term in office. This is St. John's second consecutive term as chairperson, a move made possible by an amendment to the board's bylaws for 2002.

St. John has been a WMU trustee since 1987. He is now in his second eight-year term on the board, and he previously served as chairperson in 1994. He served as vice chairperson in 1993 and 2000.

St. John was an employee of the Upjohn Co., now Pharmacia Corp., for 35 years, before he retired in 1992 from his position as manager of community and legislative affairs. Later that year, he was named vice president for public affairs for the Kalamazoo Foundation, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.

He is active in the Kalamazoo community and has served on a number of local, state and national boards. He has served as national director of the U.S. Jaycees; president of the Kalamazoo and Michigan Jaycees and the Greater Kalamazoo United Way; vice president of the National Association of Fleet Administrators and the Kalamazoo County Chamber of Commerce; and a member of the board of directors for such organizations as the State Governmental Affairs Council, the Kalamazoo Rotary Club and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan in 1956 and 1957, respectively.

Klohs is director of The Right Place Program in Grand Rapids, Mich., a countywide community economic development program for the retention, expansion and attraction of businesses to the Greater Grand Rapids area. She has been a member of the WMU Board of Trustees since 1997.

Previously, she served as assistant director of the Office for Economic Expansion at Grand Valley State University. She also has worked for the Prince Corp. in Holland, Mich. (now Johnson Controls), the Michigan Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Corp. of Berrien County.

A native of Germany, Klohs earned a degree in finance from WMU in 1983. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional, a designation awarded by the National Development Council.

She has served on the boards of the Kent-Ottawa-Muskegon Foreign Trade Zone Authority, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Symphony, The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Other board officers elected to one-year terms were: Betty A. Kocher, secretary to the board; Robert M. Beam, treasurer and assistant secretary; and Lowell P. Rinker, assistant treasurer. Beam is the University's vice president for business and finance, and Rinker is associate vice president for business.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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