In October 1975, following suggestions from emeriti, President John T. Bernhard invited 12 emeriti to establish an ad hoc Emeriti Council and to formulate a permanent organization and procedures. By 1976, the provisional council had initiated some programs and recommended a plan for a continuing organization. The President approved, and the council elected its first officers and continued its work. As a guest of the council on June 1, 1980, President Bernhard “assured the council of active support in fostering the best possible relationships between the emeriti and Western Michigan University.” This support has continued under Presidents Diether Haenicke, Elson S. Floyd, Judith I. Bailey, John M. Dunn and Edward B. Montgomery.


The principal concerns of the Emeriti Council are to:

  • Maintain open lines of communication between the emeriti, the administration, and the faculty of WMU
  • Foster strong relationships between the emeriti and the University
  • Support and serve the emeriti in various ways
  • Support the growth and development of the University


The Emeriti Council is composed of 12 emeriti, who are elected by and from the emeriti for two-year terms on a staggered basis. Elected council members are limited to serving two successive terms of office. The chair, vice chair, secretary and newsletter editor are chosen by the council. New council members are installed at the May meeting. The council meets every other month (January, March, May, July, September and November) throughout the year.

Programs and events

The programs of the council include academic matters, issues pertinent to retired faculty and social events. The council has conducted workshops, forums and lectures addressing issues of interest to the WMU community. Topics chosen for programs reflect particular needs and interests of the emeriti and may also include presentations designed to keep the constituency current with the programmatic and physical development of the University. Wednesday II's are presentations usually scheduled at 2 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month from September through May in the Emeriti Lounge in Walwood Hall on East Campus. Emeriti or special guests present programs of interest. Light refreshments are offered.

Social events planned by the council may include an off-campus dinner or luncheon late in the spring semester and a “Break-Fest” in August. Other activities include picnics, trips, open houses, campus tours, theatre evenings and the flu-shot clinic for emeriti and spouses at Sindecuse Health Center. All emeriti and surviving spouses are invited to these events. A newsletter is published twice yearly and mailed to over 550 emeriti throughout the country and internationally. A list of emeriti email addresses is maintained for those emeriti who wish to receive periodic reminders of events and other news.

Fundraising and Medallion Scholarships

In 1980, the Emeriti Council supported the participation of emeriti in WMU’s “Partners in Progress” fundraising drive and in the “Campaign for Excellence” drive in 1990-91. Funds have been raised to support one or more Medallion Scholarships. The council maintains a relationship with its sponsored Medallion scholars, inviting them to meet for lunch at least once a semester with council members and inviting them as special guests at dinner or luncheon events.

The council also supports a textbook scholarship program to assist financially needy students with the purchase of textbooks. Emeriti are asked to contribute to a fund that awards $500 annually to each student recipient. In recent years the council has been able to support over two dozen students.