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Junior Michael Gregor is WMU's newest Udall Scholar

April 16, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A student at Western Michigan University has become the fifth recipient from WMU to win the prestigious Morris K. Udall Scholarship.

Michael A. Gregor, a junior and member of the Lee Honors College from Macomb, Mich., is the fifth WMU student to win the scholarship since 2000. Gregor is studying public policy, environmental studies and nonprofit leadership. He will receive $5,000 for tuition, room and board and other educational expenses.

In addition to Gregor, another WMU student was lauded in the annual scholarship competition with an honorable mention. That student is Janelle K. Garchow, of Belmont, Mich.

Gregor is no stranger when it comes to serving the community. He is a founder of Kalamazoo Collective Housing, which is dedicated to providing affordable sustainable housing for Kalamazoo residents. He also represents WMU on the Kalamazoo Transit Authority Board and serves on the WMU President's Student Advisory Board. In 2007, he received the WMU Environmental Studies Award for Service and won a Seibert Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award. He has also been a copy editor for the Western Herald.

"The Udall is a particularly competitive and distinguished scholarship," says Dr. Keith Hearit, WMU interim vice provost for enrollment management and Lee Honors College dean. "This year was its most competitive yet. Michael was chosen as one of 80 recipients out of over 500 applications."

The Udall Scholarship is the nation's premiere award for students in environmental studies and public policy. Winners routinely hail from such institutions as Harvard, Duke, Yale, Stanford, Cornell and Dartmouth.

The scholarships are given to students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment or to Native American and Alaskan native students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to tribal public policy or native health care.

The scholarships are part of the Udall Foundation's efforts to seek future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice and economics.

Hearit gives credit to Gregor's mentors, who were instrumental in the scholarship effort. They include Dr. Lynne Heasley, associate professor of history and environmental studies; Dr. Janice Maatman, director of the Nonprofit Education Programs in the School of Public Affairs and Administration; Dr. John Martell, retired assistant dean of the Lee Honors College; as well as Jennifer Weaver, director of the Great Lakes PeaceJam. Hearit noted that this is the fifth Udall Scholarship that Martell has shepherded through the process for WMU.

Previous Udall Scholarship winners from WMU and the year of their award are: Heather Gott (2000), Jacquelyn Styrna (2001), Benjamin Appleby (2002) and Tristan Brown (2004). Two WMU students also have received honorable mentions in the competition. In addition to Garchow, Jill Winkler received an honorable mention in 2001.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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