Innovation center chief to speak at May Keystone breakfast lecture

Contact: Valorie Juergens
Photo of Dr. Robert .


KALAMAZOO--The head of the organization charged with spurring regional development in the life sciences will share his views on cultivating innovation when he speaks later this month as part of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Robert DeWit, president and chief executive officer of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, will speak at 8 a.m. Friday, May 25, in the Dean's Conference Room of Schneider Hall, home of the Haworth College of Business. In his presentation, titled "The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center: Cultivating Innovation," DeWit will discuss the growth of the center, which provides support and assistance to nurture the formation, survival and growth of innovative, entrepreneurial, life science businesses.

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (269) 387-5050. Free parking is available in the nearby Fetzer Center parking lot.

DeWit earned a doctoral degree in toxicology from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of science degree from Calvin College. He then joined Warner-Lambert/Parke Davis in Ann Arbor, Mich., and later joined the Upjohn Co. He stayed on to serve that firm's successor companies, Pharmacia and Pfizer, in a variety of roles until retiring from Pfizer in 2008 as the research and development site lead in Kalamazoo. During his 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry, he served in a variety of roles in Kalamazoo, Japan and the United Kingdom.

In addition to his continuous association with drug safety activities, DeWit led a complete preclinical laboratory in Japan for two years and spent a significant amount of time participating in global acquisition teamwork. He represented safety interests for consumer health care, manufacturing quality assurance teams and the animal health divisions of the various companies. He also spent time assisting with research and leadership functions in the United Kingdom while providing oversight to the completion of human health research in Kalamazoo.

After leaving Pfizer in 2008, DeWit was chosen to serve as the president and CEO of the innovation center, which has been in operation since 2003.

The Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series is underwritten by Keystone Community Bank. The series provides an opportunity for the local community to hear top business leaders and WMU faculty, alumni and friends of the Haworth College of Business discuss current business-related topics.