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Nora H. Faires

Feb. 15, 2011

Photo of Dr. Nora H. Faires.Dr. Nora H. Faires, a well-known social and cultural historian at Western Michigan University, died Feb. 6 at her residence in Ann Arbor, Mich., after first being diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago. She was 61.

Faires was a professor emerita of history who had a dual appointment in gender and women's studies and chaired the Canadian Studies Initiative from 2002 to 2010. She joined the WMU faculty in 2000 and, due to her illness, retired in December after 10-1/2 years of service to the University.

The recipient of numerous awards, Faires was an accomplished historian of migration studies, exploring the intersections of ethnicity, race, gender, class, and religion in the United States and Canada.

She served twice as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair (York University and the University of Calgary) and, in 2006, won the joint Albert B. Corey Prize from the American Historical and Canadian History associations for co-writing a book titled "Permeable Border" that was selected as the best book on Canadian-American relations.

Faires also was honored for her research and teaching by such organizations as the Historical Society of Michigan and the University of Michigan.

During her tenure at WMU, Faires was active on department, college and University committees and, until recently, served on the boards of editors of the Journal of American Ethnic History and Michigan Historical Review. In addition, she made a significant contribution to WMU's graduate programs in history, advising many master's and doctoral students.

Faires co-wrote with Janet Coryell the forthcoming textbook, "Women and America: An Integrated History," and co-edited with Dirk Hoerder a forthcoming collection of essays, "Migrants and Migration in Modern North America."

She earned a bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and previously taught at the University of Michigan-Flint, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Puget Sound.

Memorial contributions in the name of Nora Faires may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center or any progressive organization. In addition, WMU graduate students have named a new graduate research award in her honor. Contributions to that award may be made through the WMU Department of History website.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 13, in the atrium lobby of the Gilmore Theatre Complex, which is located on WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo. Contact Ed Martini at edwin.martini@wmich.edu for more information.

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

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