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Enslen and Mallinson will receive honorary degrees

Oct. 20, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A renowned West Michigan legal figure and a scholar who helped build Western Michigan University's science research and graduate capabilities will be awarded honorary degrees at WMU commencement ceremonies in the coming months.

Acting at their Oct. 20 meeting, WMU trustees approved recommendations to award an honorary Doctor of Law degree to Judge Richard A. Enslen, senior judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree to Jacqueline Buck Mallinson, who retired from WMU in 1988 after a decades-long career in science education. The degrees will be awarded at upcoming University commencement ceremonies, with the exact time frames still to be determined.

The recommendations were brought to the board by WMU Interim President Diether H. Haenicke. Both nominations were brought to him by WMU's Honorary Degree Committee.

Enslen, according to Haenicke, will be honored for "his great achievements as a judge and as a citizen of this community." Nominated to the federal court in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, Enslen announced his retirement in 2005, formally taking on senior-judge status. His 27 years on the bench included oversight of a host of controversial cases. Among the most notable were those dealing with Indian fishing rights, conditions in Michigan prisons, civil rights and Title IX gender equity in Michigan schools. Throughout his career, Enslen has been deeply involved in civic and community activities, including serving as director of the St. Agnes Foundling Home, chairman of the area United Negro College Fund and founder of the Opportunity Kalamazoo program.

As a judge, he became keenly interested in the potential for alternative dispute resolution, and he served on the American Bar Association's Special Committee on Dispute Resolution. His reputation on the bench led the Kalamazoo Gazette in 2000 to name him "Person of the Century" in the category of law and courts.

A native of Kalamazoo, Enslen has had a lifelong relationship with the University that began when he was an undergraduate. He served on the WMU faculty from 1961 to 1962 and was named a WMU Distinguished Alumnus in 1982. He is a dedicated fan of both professional baseball and WMU athletics.

Enslen earned a law degree from Wayne State University in 1958 and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1986.

Mallinson, Haenicke said, will be honored for her "high level of professional achievement and her outstanding service to the University."

Mallinson established a national reputation in her field by participating in the original design and evaluation of tests for the Educational Testing Service and by serving as co-director, instructor and evaluator for more than 30 National Science Foundation institutes and programs. She reviewed and edited hundreds of papers for the Journal of School Science and Mathematics, helping to propel that publication to national prominence. Her peers recognized her in 1962 by electing her as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

With her late husband, Dr. George Mallinson, a longtime dean of WMU's Graduate College, she worked tirelessly to build the University's graduate programs and expand its science facilities. The couple is credited with helping to launch some 50 programs at WMU, including some of its most celebrated graduate offerings, such as blindness and low vision studies and physician assistant. Mallinson played a major role in developing the Rood Hall and Everett Tower science complex and was instrumental in securing federal and state funding for the projects.

The author of more than 300 professional articles and reviews and the co-author of 12 textbooks, she taught at WMU from 1957 until her retirement in 1988 as an associate professor of science education. She remains active today in the University's George C. Mallinson Institute for Science Education, serving on the advisory board for a current NSF-funded project.

Mallinson earned a bachelor's degree from Kalamazoo College in 1948 and a master's degree from the University of Michigan in 1951.

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

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