Michael Parsons '64 Receives the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Michael H. Parsons '64 has spent a life in education—first obtaining five higher education degrees, then the rest of his life in continuing his education, researching and teaching. To this resumé he has added a life-long commitment to community service.

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons

Parsons earned an associates degree from Muskegon Community College in 1962, and a B.A. in English and history from Western Michigan University in 1964. This was followed by an M.A. in History in 1971 and Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Educational Leadership from WMU in 1971. The subsequent decades saw him involved in numerous grant funded enrichment studies at the University of Texas (1979), Carnegie-Mellon University (1981), Harvard (1994), Columbia University (2002-05) and, most recently, at Oxford (2009). In the meantime he published numerous books about teaching and how to teach, and on community development. He has taught most of his life at Hagerstown Community College from which he retired as dean and professor emeritus. Unable to rest on his laurels, he is now adjunct professor at Morgan State University.

He has been recognized for his contribution to teaching (National Council on Learning Person of the Year, 1980) and community service (Governor’s Citations for Service to the Community). 

In 2011, the department named Parsons as the recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award. During WMU’s Homecoming weekend, Parsons visited campus to meet with students and faculty, and to accept his award. The department hosted a reception for Parsons and his family on Friday, October 7, during which he met with department faculty, graduate students and several undergraduate members of Phi Alpha Theta.