WMU News

WMU names former KPH Chapel for local mental health pioneer

January 22, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a recommendation Jan. 22 to name the interfaith chapel on the former Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital grounds in honor of the late June M. Sherman.

Sherman was a national pioneer in the field of mental health and director of volunteer services at KPH. She joined the hospital's staff in 1948, took a year off in the early 1950s and retired in 1974.

The first director of volunteers at a state psychiatric hospital in the United States, she marshaled more than 1,800 area residents into one of the largest volunteer forces ever to serve a health facility. She also initiated as well as spearheaded the effort to construct the interfaith chapel that now bears her name.

Those and other exceptional professional and community contributions helped Sherman receive two Presidential Commendations, one from President Richard Nixon and one from President George Bush.

Her son, V. Clayton Sherman, asked that the chapel be named in tribute to her. In addition, he has established a scholarship fund that will honor both his mother and his late sister, Nola Benson, a pediatric nurse who is remembered for high standards of personal and nursing excellence.

The fund, made possible by a $100,000 gift from Clayton Sherman to the WMU Foundation, will create the June M. Sherman NOLA Scholarship Endowment in the School of Nursing. "NOLA" scholarships will be awarded to WMU students who are seeking careers in "Nursing Others for Life Achievement." Preference will be given to those interested in mental health, pediatrics, oncology and nursing administration.

Clayton of Palatine, Ill., is a principal as well as chairman and president of Beta Group Ltd., a management consulting firm in Palatine. He received two degrees from WMU, a master of business administration degree in 1968 and a doctoral degree in education in 1975.

The June M. Sherman Interfaith Chapel became part of WMU's campus last year when the state of Michigan transferred the former KPH property to the University. It was built to provide religious support for patients in extreme duress and is located near Oakland Drive, just a short distance from the building that houses the School of Nursing.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400