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Archer, Johnston to lead WMU trustees

Feb. 24, 2011

KALAMAZOO--Dennis W. Archer of Detroit and William D. Johnston of Portage, Mich., have been elected to serve for 2011 as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

The election took place at the annual meeting of the trustees, which this year was held Feb. 24. All officers serve one-year terms. Archer replaces Trustee Larry Tolbert of Kalamazoo, who remains on the board.

Photo of Dennis W. Archer.Dennis W. Archer was named to the board in 2005 by then-Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. He is a 1965 WMU alumnus who has served in the past as a Michigan Supreme Court Justice and mayor of Detroit. He is chairman and CEO of the law firm Dennis W. Archer PLLC of Detroit and chairman emeritus of the firm Dickinson Wright PLLC, also in Detroit. A longtime member of the WMU Alumni Association, Archer was honored by that organization in 1982 as a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. He earned a law degree from Detroit College of Law in 1970 and is a past president of the American Bar Association.

Last fall, Archer served as a resident fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics in the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Photo of William D. Johnston.William D. Johnston, who also was appointed by Granholm, has served on the WMU board since 2007. He is chairman of Greenleaf Companies. Johnston entered the field of investment management in 1985 after spending 16 years as a teacher, coach and high school principal. Today, his companies include Greenleaf Trust, Greenleaf Hospitality Group and Catalyst Development, LLC. Johnston is chairman of Southwest Michigan First and serves on the boards of the Bronson Healthcare Group, Donald and Genevieve Gilmore Foundation, Special-Lite and Softech Corp., and WMU Foundation. In addition, he serves on a variety of community boards of directors. He earned a bachelor's degree in public administration and a master's degree in political science from Western Michigan University. In fall 2010, he was named a winner of the WMU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.

Other individuals elected to one-year terms as officers of the WMU Board of Trustees at the Feb. 24 meeting were:

  • Betty A. Kocher, secretary to the board
  • Lowell P. Rinker, treasurer and assistant secretary
  • Janice Van Der Kley, assistant treasurer

Rinker is WMU's vice president for business and chief financial officer. Van Der Kley is associate vice president for finance.

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

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