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Haenicke to be honored for talents as communicator

April 29, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Dr. Diether H. Haenicke will be honored for his significant contributions to professional communication in Southwest Michigan at an awards banquet Thursday, May 15, at WMU's Fetzer Center.

InterCom, a Kalamazoo-based association of professional communicators, will present Haenicke with the 10th annual Tony Griffin Golden Word Award at the banquet, which is open to the public. Networking begins at 5:30 p.m., and dinner and the awards program follow at 6 p.m. InterCom will also award a scholarship that evening to an area college student who is studying communications.

Reservations with payment are due by May 6. The cost for the dinner is $28, and a cash bar will be available. Checks made payable to InterCom should be mailed to Golden Word Award, c/o Lawrence Productions, 25 Ottawa Ave. SW #204, Grand Rapids MI 49503-4099.

Haenicke, president emeritus and distinguished professor at WMU, served as the University's president from 1985 to 1998, and also served one year as interim president in 2006-07 during the national search that brought current president Dr. John M. Dunn to Kalamazoo.

Shortly after his 1998 retirement from the presidency, Haenicke began writing a popular weekly column in the Kalamazoo Gazette, which he continues to write today. A collection of his weekly columns. "Wednesdays with Diether," was published in book form by the Gazette in 2003.

Haenicke was nominated for the Tony Griffin Award by Kenneth V. Miller, chair of the WMU Board of Trustees, owner of the Millennium Restaurant Group and local business leader.

"Diether Haenicke is a gifted administrator, community booster, supporter of the arts, and educator--and one of Kalamazoo's most dedicated wordsmiths," said Miller. "It is his ability to cut to the heart of an issue using the written or spoken word that has earned him legions of fans.

"In his weekly Gazette column [Haenicke] shares his delight, and sometimes his horror, at developments in the arenas about which he cares passionately: education, the arts, politics and Kalamazoo."

A native of Germany and two-time Fulbright scholar, Haenicke also served in academic administration as department chair, dean and provost for Wayne State University and as dean and academic vice president and provost for Ohio State University prior to coming to WMU. He is the author of more than 200 publications and papers on literature, history, academic administration, international study and educational finance.

Haenicke has served as board member for numerous civic, arts and charitable organizations, including Bronson Methodist Hospital, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Greater Kalamazoo United Way.

The Tony Griffin Golden Word Award is given each year by InterCom to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the field of professional communication in Southwest Michigan. The award is named for Anthony E. "Tony" Griffin, former news director of WMUK-FM, 25-year employee of WMU and founding member of InterCom, who died in December 1997 at age 51. He was widely known and is still remembered as a gifted reporter and passionate advocate for finding the truth.

Founded in 1989, InterCom is a private non-profit organization that promotes a diverse membership and provides for the professional growth of its members. For more information, contact Curtis Cunningham at ccunningham@lpi.com or (616) 454-4380 ext. 28.

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

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