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Faculty and staff provide "leadership" in 5K race

Nov. 18, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University students carded several of the top finishes in this year's Campus Classic 5K race, including overall winner Jesse Parker Jr., of China, Mich., and Matthew Babbit of Parchment, Mich., who was second overall.

That's not unusual, but the number of WMU faculty and staff placing high in their age groups is something new for the annual homecoming event begun in 1999. More faculty and staff participation in future races is something race officials would like to encourage. Of the 1,202 walkers and runners in this year's event, only 41 were WMU employees.

"We have awards for teams composed of middle school, high school and college students and for a non-student team," says Sue Beougher, who manages the 3.1-mile race through WMU's main campus. "Race teams are composed of three to five members, and we would be glad to have an award specifically for the fastest faculty-staff team, provided there's enough interest."

About one-fourth of the faculty and staff members who participated in the 2005 Campus Classic placed among the top 10 in their age and gender groups, including Christine Browning, mathematics; Robert Dlouhy, Haenicke Institute; Shari Glaser, president's office; Gunther Hega, political science; James Laser, mathematics; Richard Malott, psychology; Donna Marks, advancement and legislative affairs; Patricia Montilla, Spanish; and Andrew Widner, finance and commercial law.

"We wanted to create an event at homecoming in which everyone--alumni, students, faculty, staff and the community--could participate," says Matt Kurz, associate vice president for university relations, whose office organizes the race. "We'd like to see more faculty and staff use this as an opportunity to participate in homecoming--side by side with our students and alumni."

Kurz emphasizes that several faculty and staff contribute to the race's success as volunteers. "We really appreciate the help and leadership the faculty and staff volunteers bring to the race. It isn't necessary to run or walk to participate in the Campus Classic," he says. "It takes a lot of volunteers to bring off a successful event of this size."

In addition to the 1,200 runners and walkers, there were more than 120 volunteers involved in this year's race, the vast majority of whom were WMU students, faculty and staff.

Complete race results are available online at www.wmich.edu/race.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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