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Federal center staffer named to WMU board

March 6, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm today named Battle Creek, Mich., resident Mary A. Asmonga-Knapp to the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

Asmonga-Knapp, a 1994 graduate of the University with a master's degree in social work, is manager of the Family Advocacy Program for the Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency at the Hart Dole Inouye Federal Center. She also is the sexual assault response coordinator and deployment support manager for the agency and is a certified federal mediator.

"Western Michigan University opened a door for me that I want to ensure remains opened to others that may be seeking new beginnings," says Asmonga-Knapp, who entered graduate school at WMU as a nontraditional student with a full-time job and a large family. "We have a window of opportunity under the new national administration to truly impact healthy change in America. I would like to see Western become a hub for retraining Michigan workers who have lost their jobs, opening the door of opportunity for learning new skills and new career paths."

Prior to her appointment at the federal center 12 years ago, Asmonga Knapp was a psychotherapist with Battle Creek Health System. Her background also includes work as a community and labor organizer in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York and a year of service as a Volunteer in Service to America.

Active in the Battle Creek community where she has lived for 23 years, Asmonga-Knapp has served on the board of directors for the Safe Place family shelter and as a member of the Child Abuse and Neglect Council. She frequently speaks as a family violence expert and is also a creative writer and a columnist for the Battle Creek Communicator, the community's only minority publication. Asmonga-Knapp also serves as treasurer and a member of the board of directors for Hermitage Community Inc., a Three Rivers, Mich., spiritual retreat center.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know Mary Asmonga-Knapp and eager for the University to benefit from her insights," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "Her experiences as a nontraditional student on our campus, as an alumna of one of our outstanding graduate programs and as a respected professional in her community and the state will be invaluable in the coming years."

Asmonga-Knapp's appointment to the WMU board runs through Dec. 31, 2016. She is expected to be sworn in officially at the next regular meeting of the trustees, scheduled for April 24. Asmonga-Knapp replaces Sarah L. DeNooyer, whose term expired in December.

A Pennsylvania native who grew up in the Mon Valley's Belle Vernon near Pittsburgh, Asmonga-Knapp earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1977. In addition to her WMU degree, she also earned certification as a dispute prevention specialist from George Washington University in 2000. She recently began divinity degree work at the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., which is a partner institution of the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Ind.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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