WMU News

Distinguished alumnus addresses role of education colleges

Oct. 14, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Robert Bruininks, president of the University of Minnesota and a graduate of the Western Michigan University College of Education, will give a free public lecture at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in the Brown & Gold Room of WMU's Bernhard Center. Bruininks will discuss the role of colleges of education at research universities.

Friday evening Bruininks will be one of three WMU graduates honored with the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award. The annual awards are sponsored by the WMU Alumni Association and will be presented at a dinner in the Bernard Center.

Bruininks became the University of Minnesota's 15th president in November 2002, just months after his selection as interim president. He has risen through the ranks since coming to the university in 1968 as an assistant professor of educational psychology.

Prior to his presidential appointments, the Byron Center, Mich., native had been executive vice president and provost since 1997. In this role, he served as the senior academic officer for the University of Minnesota System, which has a $1.8 billion annual budget and enrolls some 60,000 students on four campuses, and served as the chief academic officer for the Twin Cities Campus, which consistently ranks among America's top-20 public universities.

He also was dean of the College of Education from 1991 to 1997, chairperson of the department of Educational Psychology from 1978 to 1985, and directed three national centers at Minnesota during the late 1980s.

All of the centers, including the Institute on Community Integration that Bruininks helped found, focus on improving the educations and lives of people with disabilities through activities such as research, teaching, training and outreach.

Bruininks earned a bachelor of science degree in education from WMU in 1964 and master's and doctoral degrees in education with an emphasis in special education from George Peabody College (now Vanderbilt University) in 1965 and 1968, respectively.

He has received numerous awards and honors, including being named Minnesotan of the Year in 2004 and being elected a fellow of the American Association on Mental Retardation, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.

Related story
Distinguished alumni honored at Homecoming

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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400