Page banner: Sierra Ward, former president of the Merze Tate Explorers and current WMU Freshman, poses in Sangren Hall

About Merze Tate College

Merze Tate College exists to help our students envision the future, embrace their potential and discover their purpose. Like guideposts on a map, the offices and services within this college equip students with invaluable resources, skills, knowledge and connections that will help guide them on the path toward success. All explorers start somewhere—and that place is Merze Tate College.

Learn more about the goals and priorities of Merze Tate College


Dr. Merze Tate

Dr. Merze Tate had big dreams, and while she might not have known how she was going to get there yet, she was willing to embrace the unknown, believe in herself, explore uncharted paths and lean on her community of supporters to help guide her along every step of the way.

Merze Tate College is a place where it's "okay not to know yet," because we're here to help you figure it out. Merze Tate College is a place where students who feel uncertain, are exploring or just need a little extra support can feel like they belong. Merze Tate College is their home base—and we're here to help them chart their course.

Inspired by our namesake, Merze Tate College aims to collaboratively empower every student to reach their highest potential and provide them with ways to seize success, thrive in all dimensions of their well-being and lay the foundation for a prosperous future.

As a first-generation student and Black woman who pursued her purpose and thrived against adversity with the benefit of individualized help from Western faculty and staff, Merze Tate College is committed to honoring her legacy by providing the same guidance and support to our students today that President Waldo gave her nearly 100 years ago.

  • Tate's life was dedicated to letting students know that they had value, there was a place for them in the world and they should go out and discover it.

    Sonya Bernard-Hollins, Founder of the Merze Tate Explorers

  • Service and social justice drive student's health care aspirations

    KALAMAZOO, Mich.—From police officer to doctor to pharmacist, Sierra Ward's career aspirations have evolved with her life experiences. "I've always been passionate about so much," says the Loy Norrix High School graduate. As a member of the Merze Tate Explorers—an organization that honors the legacy of Dr. Merze Tate, a renowned scholar, educator, writer, world traveler and Western Michigan University alumna—Ward has had the opportunity to interview successful women in a number of career fields and explore the world, traveling to such places as Japan, Europe, Canada and Washington, D.C.

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