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Marie L. Stevens

March 11, 2010

Marie L. Stevens, the first woman dean of students at Western Michigan University, died March 7 in Kalamazoo. She was 84.

Stevens joined WMU's staff in 1957 as assistant dean of women. She was promoted to associate dean of students in 1965, and in 1968, to dean of students. She retired from that post as dean emerita in January 1988 after more than 30 years of service to WMU.

The California native was well-known for the personal attention she gave to students and their parents, as well as to the faculty and staff members came to her with student-related concerns.

In addition, Stevens was instrumental in gaining regional and national recognition for numerous offices in WMU's Division of Student Affairs, among them the Office of Residence Hall Life, Commuter Student Services, Center for Women's Services and International Student Services.

Stevens earned numerous accolades for her professional and volunteer activities, including the University's Distinguished Service Award in 1987.

She was an active member of several professional associations, and served on many committees of the National Association for Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors as well as served as president of NAWDAC's Michigan affiliate in 1983-84.

Stevens had volunteered extensively in the local community since coming to WMU. She established a long record of service in a variety of leadership positions, especially with the Kalamazoo and national YWCA boards. After retiring, she also made exceptional contributions to the Kalamazoo chapter of the American Red Cross, which she was serving as board chair at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In 2006 at age 80, Stevens received the Irving S. Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award, the top honor in the Sharing Time and Resources Awards program sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Gazette. She also was honored that same year as one of five Women of Achievement at the annual YWCA of Kalamazoo program recognizing outstanding women in the community.

A native of Los Angeles, Stevens earned a bachelor's degree from Mills College and a master's degree from Syracuse University. Prior to coming to WMU, she served on the staff at Northern Illinois University.

Memorial service

A local memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, May 14, at the Gilmore Alumni House, 1219 Short Road in Kalamazoo. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo chapter of the American Red Cross or to the Western Michigan Foundation.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400