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Two receive Distinguished Service Award

Sept. 10, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A 40-year member of the faculty and an experienced senior administrator have been named Western Michigan University's 2010-11 Distinguished Service Award recipients.

Receiving the award are Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke, professor of foreign languages and an internationally known expert in translating and interpreting, and Jan Van Der Kley, associate vice president for business and finance and controller.

Photo of Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke and Jan Van Der Kley.

The pair will be honored Thursday, Sept. 16, during WMU's annual Academic Convocation at 3:30 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The convocation will feature WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address as well as the presentation of other campuswide honors to recognize this year's recipients of the Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Distinguished Teaching, Emerging Scholar and Annual Make a Difference awards.

As recipients of the service award, Krawutschke and Van Der Kley join 48 faculty and staff members who have received the accolade since it was established in 1980. The two were chosen from among nominees across campus who have demonstrated exceptional service in areas that reflect innovative and effective programming, increase WMU's stature, or extend WMU's impact and presence into the larger community. Each will receive a plaque and $2,000 honorarium.

Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke

Krawutschke, a German language and translation specialist, joined the Department of Foreign Languages faculty in 1967. During his four decades at WMU, he has risen to the top ranks of the translation field and become widely known for his many contributions on and off campus.

"...Dr. Krawutschke has had an exceptional degree of influence locally, nationally and internationally through his tireless and outstanding service," wrote one WMU administrator nominating him for the Distinguished Service Award. "These (nomination) letters give a rounded portrait of Professor Krawutschke, showing the kind of personal connection he has established with colleagues from here to New York to Beijing...and demonstrating what an impact his generous and skillful service has had on all of us."

Krawutschke came from Germany to the United States in 1960, then spent the next three years in the U.S. Army, primarily working as a military interpreter and translator. He went on to earn two degrees from WMU, a Bachelor of Arts in 1966 and a Master of Arts in 1967, as well as a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in 1976.

Since 1995, Krawutschke has been serving as head of the University's German Section. His past administrative posts include chairing the foreign languages department for five years and twice serving as director of an on-campus translation center that he founded in the mid-1980s.

He has been instrumental in advancing both the fields and practitioners of translating and interpreting. His efforts have not only helped to establish worldwide standards and educational proficiencies for practitioners, but also have resulted in the professional category of "translators" being added to the listing of occupations in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 National Data Book.

"Without him, there would not be an International Translators' I.D., a badge akin to the international press I.D.," one nominator wrote while recounting several ways Krawutschke has had a global impact. "This I.D., introduced during the early years of the second Iraq war with the approval of the United Nations and the support of over 100 countries, currently protects many translators as official professionals worldwide, but especially in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Krawutschke has long been active in the American Translators Association and the Federation Internationale des Traducteurs. He is a past president of both, and received ATA's most prestigious award in 2008 in recognition of his outstanding work on behalf of translators around the globe.

Numerous nominators cited Krawutschke for having a professional demeanor that blends organizational efficiency and visionary thinking with a generous and witty collegiality. They also praised his dedication to students, initiatives to further internationalize WMU, and leadership as an officer or member of dozens of wide-ranging University committees and organizations, especially the Faculty Senate, which he is serving as president for the third time.

"His service has been energetic, imaginative, extensive and significant," a faculty union colleague wrote. "He has always provided wise counsel, and has had the courage, augmented by his genteel ways, to raise important issues directly at times when others could not."

Jan Van Der Kley

Van Der Kley joined the WMU staff in 1983 as an internal auditor and by 1988, had been promoted to director of internal audit. She has continued to advance to higher management levels over years, and was appointed associate vice president and controller in 2007.

In that role, Van Der Kley manages hundreds of millions of the University's dollars and sets business policies for WMU and its affiliated foundations. She also supervises units such as payroll, investments, endowment management, grants and contracts, and corporate reporting and taxation.

A certified public accountant, Van Der Kley earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from WMU in 1980 and 1986, respectively. She was assistant vice president for finance from 1993 to 2002 and before that, was director of operations for the institutional advancement division, an assistant chief accountant and an instructor in the Department of Accountancy.

Nearly all of those nominating Van Der Key for the Distinguished Alumni Award emphasized the thoroughness that she brings to her work at WMU and in the broader community as well as her loyalty to the University. She also was widely praised for her ability to grasp complex issues, think creatively and resolve difficult problems, all while putting in long hours and going the extra mile.

"I...have come to appreciate the level of detail and professionalism she provides to everyone that comes in contact with her...They all appreciate her engagement because everything she does is complete and done well," one WMU administrator wrote.

As a Kalamazoo community member put it: "...I have noticed that she is not only good at her job, but also has the respect of her colleagues and the people she deals with outside the University. Of course, respect of this nature is not given, but earned, something Jan does every day."

Several of Van Der Kley's supporters noted that she often takes on duties that need to be completed but could be avoided or that are thankless tasks not generally recognized for their importance or impact. Many cited specific unsung contributions, such as her active membership on numerous on- and off-campus committees and her involvement in establishing new University entities ranging from the Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center and WMU Research Foundation to regional sites in Battle Creek and Grand Rapids.

"Jan Van Der Kley stands out in her service to the University with a combination of keen intellect, encyclopedic knowledge, sound judgment, selfless motives, and above all, impeccable integrity," a WMU colleague wrote.

Meanwhile, a fellow local volunteer wrote that: "I marvel at how she is able to dedicate herself to the University, her family and friends, and to the community. Our community is so fortunate to have people like Jan, so willing to give of themselves to help our community meet its ongoing challenges. She is a real example for all of us as to how we can and should share our talents."

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

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