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President John M. Dunn begins his tenure

July 2, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Dr. John M. Dunn, the eighth president of Western Michigan University, began his first official day in the office today with a message to the University community and an informal session with area media.

Dunn, who was selected in April by the WMU Board of Trustees following a nationwide search, comes to the University from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he had served as provost and vice chancellor since 2002 and as interim chancellor since late 2006. His appointment to the WMU presidency was effective July 1.

Dunn's first message as president was sent to the University community at the start of the business day Monday, July 2.

"While we have significant challenges," he wrote, "there are also numerous important opportunities we can leverage to move the University forward. We will sustain our commitment to provide both a top-quality education for our students and an enriching environment in which to teach conduct research, produce scholarly work and serve the people of Michigan and beyond."

Dunn said his focus during the opening weeks of his presidency will be on getting to know the campus and its people. His initial areas of emphasis, he said, will be to strengthen the sense of community on campus and bolster a campus culture that keeps student service at its core.

He also pledged to concentrate on telling the WMU story and encouraging members of the campus community to share their pride in the institution.

"There are many 'points of pride' at WMU and I intend to emphasize loudly and clearly the successes of our students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as the quality of our programs," he wrote. "The WMU story needs to be shared with external audiences, and we who work here must share the internal pride we feel in being part of this wonderful university."

Also on July 2, Dunn spent time with reporters from a number of local media outlets who visited him in his office for an informal first-day briefing.

While July 2 was his first day in his campus office, Dunn began the process of getting to know the campus and local communities as soon as he and his wife, Linda, arrived in Kalamazoo late last week. On June 29, their first day in town, the couple attended a farewell reception for Interim President and Mrs. Diether H. Haenicke, and on June 30, Dunn attended WMU commencement exercises at Miller Auditorium.

The first official visit by the new president and first lady took place on July 1, when they traveled to W.K. Kellogg Airfield in Battle Creek, Mich., to visit WMU's College of Aviation. There they met students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends of the college, and Battle Creek area and state officials who were attending a picnic at the college and viewing the 2007 Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.

"The opportunity to meet students, faculty, staff and supporters of WMU was much appreciated," Dunn said of that event.

An educator for more than 30 years, Dunn was dean of the University of Utah's College of Health before moving to SIU, holding that post from 1995 to 2002. Before that, he was at Oregon State University for 20 years, last serving as associate provost there from 1990 to 1995. Also at Oregon State, Dunn was assistant dean of Health and Human Performance from 1987 to 1990, chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science from 1980 to 1987 and director of the university's Special Physical and Motor Fitness Clinic.

Internationally known for his research and writing about the long-term health of individuals with disabilities, Dunn is the author of more than 50 professional papers and book chapters. He is a past president of the Research Consortium of the American Alliance for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; past editor of Quest, a professional publication for kinesiology scholars; and president-elect of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Related article
President Dunn issues message to WMU community

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

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