WMU News

Tuesday ceremony honors top WMU seniors

March 20, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's top undergraduates will be recognized Tuesday, March 22, at the 25th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation at the Fetzer Center.

A total of 48 students will be honored as Presidential Scholars, WMU's highest academic award bestowed on an undergraduate. The convocation, which is by invitation only, will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and a program featuring Dr. Ernst Breisach, WMU professor emeritus of history, as keynote speaker. Breisach retired in 1996 after 39 years of service to the University. His address is titled "On Learning for and Learning from Life." Dr. Thomas Amos, President of the Faculty Senate, will preside at the convocation, while WMU President Judith I. Bailey will deliver opening remarks and present certificates to the scholars.

The Presidential Scholars Convocation is intended to celebrate the excellence of WMU students. It is sponsored by the Faculty Senate and the Office of the President. Students are nominated for the award by faculty members. They are selected on the basis of their general academic excellence, academic and/or artistic excellence in their major and intellectual and/or artistic promise. The students often travel and study across the country and overseas and are engaged in innovative and sometimes unusual research projects.

This year's event has a definite family flair to it. Breisach's grandson, Ryan, is a double Presidential Scholar in accountancy and economics, having been selected by both departments as their top scholar. In addition, Ryan Breisach's fiancee, Carrie Lynn Johnson, is a Presidential Scholar in marketing.

The achievements of all of this year's scholars are varied and impressive. For instance, Patrick Lombardo, Presidential Scholar in computer science interned as a systems programmer for a particle accelerator group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is completing three co-op stints as a global network analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense in Maryland; and Tristan Brown, Presidential Scholar in environmental studies, earned top national honors such as the Udall Scholarship and selection to USA Today's 2005 All-USA College Academic Third Team for his pollution abatement research through the National Science Foundation and a documentary he produced titled "Jaunt to Malaysia."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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