Dr. Peter Renstrom

Dr. Peter Renstrom

Dr. RenstromTime at Western Michigan University: 1969-2006

Dr. Renstrom enjoyed life to the fullest and never took a relationship or day for granted. His personality and professionalism continues to inspire all who knew him. He was an expert in US Elections and Constitutional Law. He taught classes on the American judicial process, criminal justice, civil liberties and civil rights. He evolved his classes to current events and interests of his students. In 1974, his class, “The Political and Legal Impact of Watergate,” promoted an examination of American politics at the national level. He wanted his students to see the short and long term effects of the Watergate affair.

He left a lasting impact on WMU students and faculty. He held other positions besides professor of Political Science including: PSCI Executive Committee, WMU Faculty Senate Board: The Graduate Curriculum Committee, member of the WMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, Vice President of the Faculty Senate, and Chair of the PSCI Undergraduate Honors Committee. He also sat on many dissertations, masters thesis and senior honor thesis committees. He enjoyed teaching and mentoring students. He also advised new faculty members on a professional level. He made time for anyone who needed support whether it was writing their graduate thesis or planning a lecture. In 2002, the College of Arts and Sciences honored him for his role in preparing students for future positions in law and government.

One of his greatest accomplishments was his WMU Mock Trial Team. He coached participants at WMU in the early 2000s. With his guidance, his team triumphed at many competitions and his legacy continues to excel at WMU today. He held members to high expectations and encouraged them to defeat odds. At many of their competitions, the team won group awards and many members returned with individual awards.

He was involved in local politics and volunteered on campaigns for 20 years. Dr. Howard Wolpe, former Congressman and PSCI Professor, called upon many of the PSCI professors including Dr. Renstrom to aid in his campaign. He sat on the Kalamazoo Country Board of Commissioners. He was appointed to the Michigan Jury Board by the governor of Michigan.

His years of research on Supreme Court decision-making led to many professional publications. He authored or co-authored ten books on Constitutional Law and he edited a 14-volume series covering the Supreme Court from 1789-present. He was active on campus and well loved by his fellow faculty members and students.

“Regardless of the task at hand, he was the consummate professional, [who was] always cheerful, consistent and positively brilliant. But he was also unassuming and modest.” Dr. Kuersten, associate professor at WMU to the Western Herald, 2006.

“We’d like people to remember him for his great heart, his intelligence and judgment, his devotion to his family, and professional accomplishments.” Bobby Renstrom, his wife.

The Peter Renstrom Prize is given to a senior intending to attend law school upon graduation.

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