WMU News

Two faculty members, two seniors earn MAGB awards

March 25, 1999

KALAMAZOO--Two Western Michigan University faculty members and two seniors will be honored Tuesday, April 6, by the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of State Universities.

The faculty members are William C. Appel, professor of music, and Maria A. Perez-Stable, professor of University libraries.

The students are Steven G. Dilland, a senior majoring in recreation and marketing from Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Rebecca L. Nitz, a senior majoring in environmental studies from Paw Paw, Mich.

The MAGB which includes representatives from the governing boards of the state's 15 public universities, each year honors two distinguished faculty members and two outstanding students from each institution. The four from WMU will be honored along with their counterparts from the other universities at the MAGB's 18th annual awards convocation at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus.

Each honoree will receive a certificate from the MAGB, a special tribute from the Michigan Legislature and a letter of congratulations from Gov. John Engler. Using MAGB criteria, student recipients are nominated by a committee representing the offices of the provost, secretary to the Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate and vice president for student affairs from among students who are designated as outstanding by their academic departments. Faculty recipients are nominated by the executive board of the Faculty Senate.

Appel has taught voice and choral studies at WMU for 34 years and is director of the Opera Workshop. He came to the University after a professional singing career that included 30 roles in some 300 performances of operas and musicals. His career included a season in Austria as a character tenor with the Vienna Volksoper and two years with the American Opera Society' s Bach Aria Group.

The winner of WMU' s College of Fine Arts 1998 Outstanding Service Award, Appel has been active throughout Michigan operatic circles, serving as director and general manager of the Opera Association of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids and as stage director for Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra operatic productions. In those capacities, he helped stage for West Michigan audiences such productions as "Falstaff" and the "Marriage of Figaro."

He also served for four summers as Opera Workshop Director of the Bay View Music Festival' s Conservatory and for four years as an advisor on the music panel for the Michigan Council for the Arts.

Appel earned a bachelor' s degree in music education from Indiana State College of Pennsylvania and
a master of music degree from Indiana University.

Perez-Stable is a professor of University libraries and head of central reference services at WMU' s Waldo Library. She has been a faculty member for more than 20 years. A historian and expert on children' s literature, Perez-Stable has published and presented widely on topics related to the classroom use of literature that reflects the nation's multicultural heritage. She is the co-author of "Understanding American History through Children's Literature: Instructional Units and Activities for Grades K-8" and "Peoples of the American West: Historical Perspectives through Children's Literature."

Her extensive service to the University and community includes elected positions in the Faculty Senate and WMU's chapter of the American Association of University Professors as well as leadership roles in both the WMU chapter and the Southwest Michigan chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. She also has been a member of the Women's History and Research Network and has held several elected offices with the Michigan Library Association. She is an active contributor to a number of professional publications.

Perez-Stable earned a bachelor's degree in history from Miami University of Ohio, a master's degree in library science from Case Western Reserve University and a master's degree in history from WMU.

Steven G. Dilland began college focused on recreation as a career goal but soon added a marketing major to the mix. He will graduate in December 1999 with degrees in both fields.

Following graduation, he plans to work for a marketing firm and focus on recreation-based clients. To prepare himself, Dilland has undertaken a wide range of volunteer and academic activities. He secured two internships, including one in Naples, Italy, working in recreation programming and management at Department of Defense facilities there. More recently, he has been doing market research as an intern for a Kalamazoo firm.

Active in intramural sports throughout college, Dilland has worked in the community to assure that others also have an opportunity for physical activity. He has served for two years as a volunteer with the Unified Sports division of Special Olympics, and he has volunteered at the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Augusta, Mich.

Dilland recently was named the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's Presidential Scholar, the University's highest honor for a senior. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa and Golden Key National honor societies and he has been active in professional fraternities in both his areas of study.

Nitz, who will graduate in April, plans to devote her professional career to sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge of the natural world with others through a position at an arboretum or botanic garden.

She has spent her undergraduate years amassing experience in botany and landscape design by working with the Kalamazoo Nature Center and the Southwest Michigan Chapter of the Michigan Botanical Club and as an intern with the Leila Arboretum Society in Battle Creek.

Her service activities have extended beyond her academic interests. For the past seven
years, she has been involved in the annual MS Walk for Multiple Sclerosis, personally raising nearly $5,000 to help provide local services to those with the disease. Nitz also participated in Alternative Winter Experience this past winter, spending a week in New Orleans working at a homeless shelter, a senior center, an after-school program for at-risk children and a local zoo.

A member of WMU's Lee Honors College and Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key National honor societies, Nitz is the recipient of numerous awards for her studies in botany and environmental studies. She recently was named the Department of Science Studies' Presidential Scholar, the University's highest honor for a senior.

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

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