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Convocation, State of University usher in new year

Sept. 3, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will kick off its academic year Thursday, Sept. 10, with an Academic Convocation designed to both honor achievement and examine the University's challenges and goals in the coming years.

The event, set for 3:30 p.m. in Dalton Center Recital Hall, will feature WMU President John M. Dunn's annual State of the University address as well as a series of awards honoring faculty and staff achievements. Among topics Dunn is expected to address in his talk are campuswide strategic planning, University research goals, recent developments in international education and sustainability, and the status of other ongoing initiatives.

In previous years, the convocation was held later in the year. It was moved forward this year to coincide with the Sept. 8 start of the academic year and serve as a new signature event that could be used to welcome faculty, staff and students back to campus for the fall semester.

The longstanding academic tradition of gathering to honor accomplishment and focus on important University issues and initiatives is free and open to the public. A reception will be held immediately following the convocation in the adjacent Richmond Center for Visual Arts.

During the convocation, awards will be presented to seven members of the WMU faculty and staff for their outstanding service and achievement. The awards presented at Academic Convocation and the recipients are:

  • Distinguished Service-- Dr. Eileen B. Evans, vice provost for institutional effectiveness in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Susan E. Oole, academic advisor for the Lee Honors College.

  • Distinguished Faculty Scholar--Dr. William W. Liou, professor mechanical and aeronautical engineering.

  • Distinguished Teaching--Dr. Chad Edwards, associate professor of communication, and Dr. Peter Parker, associate professor of paper engineering, chemical engineering and imaging.

  • Emerging Faculty Scholars-- Dr. G. Michael Grammer, associate professor of geosciences, and Dr. Takashi Yoshida, associate professor of history awards.

Each of these four awards carries with it a $2,000 cash prize.

Dunn's address will be broadcast on WMUK 102.1 FM, the University's public radio station, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10. Audio from the speech will also be available on the station's Web site at wmuk.org, and a print version will be posted the following day on the president's Web site at wmich.edu/president.

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Geoscientist, historian named emerging scholars

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

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