Chauncey J. Brinn obituary

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

Chauncey J. Brinn, a retired senior executive who oversaw several critical administrative areas at Western Michigan University, died Sept. 14 in Arizona. He was 83.

Brinn of Whetstone, Arizona, served WMU during a period of steady development in which programs, services and facilities grew significantly and numerous organizational changes were implemented.

As a result, Brinn filled a variety of high-profile positions during his 25-year career with the University. He retired in 1994 as vice president emeritus for administrative affairs and was WMU's first black vice president.

Chauncey Brinn

Brinn first came to the University as a student and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in 1963 and 1975, respectively. The Kalamazoo native went on work as a branch manager for the First National Bank of Kalamazoo and in the administrative section of IBM.

He joined WMU's staff in 1968 as a field representative in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships and became the office's special programs coordinator one year later.

In 1971, Brinn was named assistant to the vice president for academic affairs. In this capacity, he served as director of WMU's minority student services units. His title was changed in 1977 to assistant vice president for academic affairs-special programs.

Brinn's promotions continued during the ensuing years. He was appointed assistant vice president for governmental relations in 1979 and to the newly created post of vice president for University relations in 1984.

In the new post, he was responsible for the areas of affirmative action, alumni affairs, development, governmental relations, intercollegiate athletics, public information and public relations. His titled changed to vice president for development and administrative affairs in 1986 and again to vice president for administrative affairs in 1990.

In addition to his other duties, Brinn served as acting athletic director in 1979 and interim athletic director in 1992-93 as well as served as the University's institutional liaison with the WMU Board of Trustees and after first being elected secretary of that body in 1981, he was continuously re-elected secretary for more than a decade.

His service also encompassed being advisor to the Upward Bound Program as well as three minority student groups, and being a member or officer of more than two dozen campus organizations dealing with everything from employee classifications and compensation, commencement, and financial aid to public relations, career education, and student recruitment and retention.

Plus, the longtime Otsego resident was a member of numerous professional organizations as well as active in a variety of community organizations in both Kalamazoo and Otsego.

Services and remembrances

Memorial services have been held. Burial is in the Southern Arizona Veterans' Memorial Cemetery.

The family obituary and message book is available at Messages also may be left at

Memorial gifts may be made to the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation or its Mountain Carving or Indian University of North America funds.