Video of Video of satellite over Earth

Into the ionosphere: Broncos are launching satellites into space—and future careers

  • A group of students wearing black shirts and khaki pants stands in front of a wall with art depicting the Earth.

    Propelling the next generation of engineers

    The established space companies are always looking for new hires with the skills that they need to grow and maintain their space technologies. They are really excited about the rapid prototyping abilities that our students gain doing this small satellite development.

    Dr. Kristina Lemmer, WALI’s advisor

    Explore WALI, Western's satellite-building RSO

  • Greg Neff crosses his arms over his chest while standing in front of a wall that says Rocket Lab.

    Western's own rocket man turns sci-fi dreams into reality

    I might not see a civilization on Mars or manned missions outside the solar system (in my lifetime), but I still know that every day, the work that we are doing is getting us there one brick at a time.

    Greg Neff, BSE ‘14, MSE ‘16, Rocket Lab

    Learn about the research that launched his career

  • Dear friends and colleagues,

As you delve into the winter edition of W Magazine, I hope you are as inspired as I was by the stories epitomizing the spirit of discovery, the transcendence of art and innovation and the enduring impact of the higher educational experience that we offer at Western.

Greg Neff, an alumnus and a senior spacecraft mechanical engineer at Rocket Lab, dreamed of working in his field since he was a youngster. Today as one of our very own rocket men, he is a wonderful role model for students piloting the Western Aerospace Launch Initiative (WALI), a club he helped establish almost 10 years ago under the mentorship of Dr. Kristina Lemmer and other College of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty. After participating in out-of-this-world opportunities through the college, many WALI members have gone on to highly coveted space exploration jobs. I know you’ll enjoy reading about what Greg is up to today and how other Broncos are following his trajectory to the stars.

Barry Z. Roberts is living out the purpose Western helped him discover in an entirely different realm. Barry’s career in the automotive industry mixed with a passion for lifelong learning in photography exemplifies the holistic education he received. His continued commitment to supporting his alma mater while accomplishing his bucket-list goals reflects how generously giving back by investing time and talent are lifelong Bronco values.

In yet another example of the incredible contributions of alumni, Dr. Karika Parker newly illuminated the pivotal role a man named Albert White played in Western's early history. The story of an African American brick mason who established a contracting business just decades after the official end of slavery in the U.S. and who went on to construct Western's first building is truly remarkable.

As we celebrate the diverse achievements and impact of alumni like Dr. Karika Parker, Barry Roberts and Greg Neff, it’s essential to also recognize the foundation upon which our students’ academic success is built: exemplary faculty who are as exceptional in their disciplines as they are in guiding their students.

Kate Thomsen is a theatre professor whose passion and talent for acting shines bright both in the classroom with her students and at center stage for enthralled audiences. Through her story, we celebrate the power of artistic expression to bring us joy and a sense of fulfillment as spectators and practitioners alike.

From the stage to the stars, Broncos showcase the transformative power of education. We’re proud to propel our students’ dreams into meaningful careers and fulfilled lives. Our Broncos are better for it, and so is our world.

All the best,

Edward Montgomery, PhD

An exterior photo of Dunbar Hall.

In with the new

State-of-the-art classrooms, advanced technology integration and dynamic student workspaces are hallmarks of the complete reimagining of Dunbar Hall. Following comprehensive renovations, the classroom building opens in March with a grand reopening celebration set for April 25.

University News

  • TechNext students with Dr. Edward Montgomery

    Western Michigan University students are participating in TechNext, an immersive learning experience that takes them outside their comfort zones and into technology hubs in California. This year, President Edward Montgomery joined the students at several companies included in this transformative learning experience.

Dr. Karika Parker smiles in front of Heritage Hall.

Heritage Hall uncovered

More than 100 years after Western's first and most prominent building was erected, Dr. Karika Parker unearthed new information about the Black brick mason at the heart of the project.

  • Kate Thomsen instructs a class in front of a colorful wall.

    All the world's a stage, and theatre assistant professor Kate Thomsen is making the most of it, teaching courses while also starring in a hit comedy written and directed by famed actor Jeff Daniels.

  • Dale Brown stands in front of a white board filled with notes while people raise their hands in class.

    The newest classroom for WMU students is not where you may suspect: inside the Lakeland Correctional Facility. A doctoral student is harnessing the transformative power of higher education for the incarcerated.

Students dressed as Clue characters line up behind one another on a stage.

Who? What? Where?

Audiences put on their sleuthing hats for WMU Theatre’s fall production of “Clue.” This was also the first time in Kalamazoo that a shadow cast of American Sign Language interpreters were in costume and performing for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • A portrait of Rajeev Singh

    Alumni Profile

    Gaining an understanding of scientific methodology and how to frame and solve problems, that's been critical for me. And I learned much of that from engineering school at Western.

    Rajeev "Raj" Singh, BS '91, CEO of Accolade

    Learn how this Bronco became a tech icon

  • A portrait of Bonnie Jo Campbell folding her arms over her chest.

    In Print

    Education instills discipline and allows you to indulge curiosity. … The WMU environment was fun for me, full of smart professors and creative fellow students.

    Bonnie Jo Campbell, BA ‘92, MA ‘95, MFA ‘98, author

    Read about the alumna's acclaimed new novel

Barry Roberts poses for a picture while holding three different cameras.

Why I Give: Barry Z. Roberts

I couldn’t have completed my degree without financial assistance … so my hope with this gift is to ensure that more students like me receive the resources they need to graduate. WMU was integral to my life and I’m grateful I can help the University continue its mission.

Barry Z. Roberts, BS ‘84

Expert Insights

  • Exercise equipment in a room with livingroom furniture

    As you settle into a cozy nook with your favorite beverage, mood lighting and tunes or your favorite show, you might not expect your next move to be a workout. “Integrating movement into daily habits is a subtle yet effective way to foster a more active lifestyle," says Dr. Timothy Michael, professor of exercise science.

Hockey players go after the puck in the rink.

Brown and golden anniversary

WMU hockey celebrates 50 years on the ice this season. Former players and coaches recently visited Lawson Arena to celebrate the last five decades of Bronco hockey and WMU Hall of Fame members, including Danny DeKeyser, Rob Hodge and Bernie Saunders.


Multiple Bronco teams had historic fall seasons, claiming their regular season conference titles!

  • The women's soccer team celebrates by firing confetti into the air.

    Women's soccer had a program-record 11-game win streak.

  • Volleyball players raise their arms in celebration

    Volleyball made a MAC-record 13th NCAA Tournament appearance.

  • The men's soccer team celebrates by firing confetti into the air.

    Men's soccer advanced all the way to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16.