Dedication set for Zhang Legacy Collections Center

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of the .

Zhang Legacy Collections Center

KALAMAZOO—A spectacular new home for the historical records of southwest Michigan will be formally introduced to the community during a Friday, Oct. 18, dedication of Western Michigan University's Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center.

The ceremony is set for 4 to 5 p.m. at the new facility, which is located at 1650 Oakland Drive, just north of the intersection of Howard Street and Oakland Drive on the grounds of the former Kalamazoo State Hospital. The 16,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is the new home to the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections.

The free public event will include guided tours of the center, a brief program and a reception. Included in the formal dedication program will be remarks by Charles Zhang; WMU President John M. Dunn; Dr. Joseph Reish, dean of University Libraries; and Dr. Sharon Carlson, director of the Archives and Regional History Collections.

Zhang Legacy Collections Center

In addition to being an educational asset, the new center was designed to be a community resource that will be an easily accessible hub to learn about genealogical and regional history, while providing a place to discuss, hypothesize and learn collectively.

WMU was designated a repository for regional history in 1962 by the Michigan Regional Historical Commission. The collections now include court records, tax rolls, diaries, Civil War letters, newspaper archives, photographs, maps and vital records from 12 Michigan counties and beyond. Previously housed in WMU's East Hall and elsewhere, the documents and artifacts will enjoy optimal archival and climate-controlled conditions for the first time in the new center.

The center was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—LEED—silver certification standards. It features such "green" attributes as a geothermal heating and cooling system, LED lighting, an underground stormwater retention system, rain gardens and other water conservation features.

Photo of the Zhangs and President Dunn at the center's groundbreaking.

From left: Lynn Zhang, Charles Zhang and WMU President Dunn at the center's groundbreaking.

The center is named for major donors Charles and Lynn Zhang who both earned graduate degrees from WMU and who run a Kalamazoo financial planning and investment firm. Charles Zhang is regularly ranked among the top-100 financial advisors in the nation by Barron's magazine, while Lynn Zhang has been quoted in national media including CNBC and Barron's. They are supporters of many University programs, including the Haworth College of Business, the Department of Economics and the Academically Talented Youth Program in the Lee Honors College. Lynn Zhang also serves as a member of the WMU Foundation Board of Directors.

Additional donors for the more than $8 million project include the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Dr. Frederick J. and Katharine D. Rogers and many others.

To register for the dedication, visit