WMU News

International studies center to bear Haenicke's name

July 24, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Attending his final meeting of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees before stepping down as WMU's president, Dr. Diether H. Haenicke was honored July 24 with the naming of an international studies center in tribute to him.

The naming of the Diether Haenicke Center for International and Area Studies was approved by trustees at the meeting to honor Haenicke, who is retiring from the presidency July 31 to return to the faculty. The center, which was established by board action in April 1997, serves as a coordinating body to provide an intellectual and academic hub for the increasing number of WMU faculty members with international expertise.

"During his entire career here in the Midwest, Diether Haenicke has worked to encourage Americans to expand their horizons," said Dr. Timothy Light, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who made the recommendation to the board. "Since he's been here, his efforts have expanded international language and study opportunities and he's worked to internationalize the institution as a whole."

Haenicke placed a major emphasis on international education during his 13 years as president. He is credited with implementing a special hiring program aimed at increasing the international expertise of faculty members and with dramatically increasing study abroad opportunities for WMU students. He also has forged a number of agreements that have resulted in increased numbers of international students studying on the WMU campus. The center was established as one of the structural changes that was needed to put the University on the road to meeting the goals Haencike set in the international arena.

Haenicke's efforts in international education were recognized by the anonymous donor who established an endowment in 1997 to support the center, Light said. The donor asked that the center be named for Haenicke when he stepped down from the presidency.

Administered by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the center is housed in the Office of International Affairs. It serves as the focus for four specialized programs: African, Asian, European and Latin Studies. Interdisciplinary course offerings in those programs include courses on such topics as the arts, culture, history, economics, religion and languages of the regions.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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