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Lawrence J. "Larry" Brink

Aug. 16, 2010

Lawrence J. "Larry" Brink, founder of Western Michigan University's widely respected printing management curriculum, died Aug. 10. He was 92.

Brink's WMU career spanned more than four decades and was interrupted only by a three-year stint in the Navy during World War II. He rose to the rank of associate professor before retiring in 1980 as manager of Printing Services.

Brink first came to the University in 1935 as a student. One year later, WMU decided to begin publishing a student newspaper, the Western Herald, and hired Brink as a linotype operator. Then, in 1940 after obtaining his bachelor's degree, Brink was immediately appointed to the Department of Industrial Arts faculty.

He went on to earn a master's degree from the University of Michigan in 1948 and to develop WMU's printing management curriculum into one of the best programs of its kind in the country.

Over the years, Brink was instrumental in preparing hundreds of graduates for mid-level positions in the graphics arts industry by giving them outstanding instruction and involving them in hands-on production projects. He continued to teach as well as supervise the University's burgeoning on-campus printing operations until 1968, when he assumed full-time duties as director of Printing Services.

Under Brink, Printing Services expanded greatly. The unit modernized its equipment, took on an increasing number of on- and off-campus printing projects, and grew its small, all-student work force to include 23 professional employees.

Brink was active in various University organizations and committees throughout his career, including the Western Herald Board, which he served on for many years, several as its chair.

His numerous contributions and achievements were recognized in 1980 in conjunction with his retirement, when the WMU Board of Trustees approved a resolution naming the Printing Services building in his honor and four state legislators signed a special tribute resolution in his honor.

The Board of Trustees recognized Brink for "...his quiet but untiring efforts to enhance the image of this institution, his exemplary skills and efficiency in printing instruction and production, and his enviable record of service to this University..."

After retiring, Brink remained involved with WMU and active in the community. He served on WMU's Emeriti Council and continued his involvement with the Kalamazoo Valley chapter of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen, for which he had previously served as president and in other leadership capacities, and which had twice awarded him its Craftsman of the Year award.

In addition, Brink became active in the Kalamazoo Association of Retired School Personnel and edited its newsletter for 14 years. He received the MARS Distinguished Service Award in 1995.

Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2 to 5 p.m.
Langland Family Funeral Homes Memorial Chapel
622 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2 p.m.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
247 E. Lovell St., Kalamazoo

Interment will be in Grand Prairie Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the WMU Foundation and directed to the L.J. Brink Scholarship Fund or to Karros Dwelling.

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

WMU News
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Western Michigan University
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