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Warfield cited for lifetime of achievement

April 15, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University alumna and longtime staff member has received this year's Lifetime Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Kalamazoo.

The award will be presented to Martha Warfield, WMU associate vice president for diversity and inclusion, during the 25th annual YWCA Women of Achievement Award Celebration at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, May 14, in the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

Area women are chosen for the lifetime achievement award by an independent selection committee. Recipients must demonstrate a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the local community, state or nation and have a record of accomplishment, leadership and positive role modeling in their volunteer or professional activities.

Previous honorees

  • Marjorie Springgate, 2008
  • Betty Veenhuis, 2007
  • Marian G. Klein, 2006
  • Judy Sarkozy, 2005
  • Mary L. Tyler, 2004
  • Eva Ozier, 2003
  • Barbara James, 2002
  • Suzanne Todd Shepherd, 2001
  • Ann Parfet, 2000
  • Anna Whitten, 1999
  • Carolyn H. Williams, 1998
  • Judith K. Maze, 1997
  • Marilyn J. Schlack, 1996
  • Jo Jacobs, 1995
  • Beverly A. Moore, 1994
  • Mary C. Brown, 1993
  • Caroline R. Ham, 1992
  • Martha G. Parfet, 1991
  • Garyl F. Werme, 1990
  • N. Lorraine Beebe, 1989
  • Georgia T. Dungy, 1988
  • Allene W. Dietrich, 1987
  • Elizabeth Upjohn Mason, 1986
  • Betty Lee Ongley, 1985

In announcing the 2009 Lifetime Woman of Achievement Award, the YWCA said Warfield "...exhibits the best qualities of leadership in that she sees the potential in situations and in people. She listens intently and is seen as someone who effectively and efficiently reaches out to unite students and colleagues, resulting in a renewed sense of confidence and recommitment to inclusion for all."

One of her nominators also noted that Warfield serves others without fanfare. "...you will not hear her mention past achievements, as she is always looking toward future ways to influence the lives of others," the nominator wrote. "Her humility is respected. Her abilities are unlimited."

Warfield has shown a dedication to both education and mental health through a varied professional life that spans careers as a social worker, probation officer, counselor, entrepreneur, teacher, researcher and higher education administrator.

She joined WMU's staff and the Division of Student Affairs in 1992 as a licensed psychologist and associate professor in the University Counseling and Testing Center, then was appointed director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs in 1993.

During her tenure, she has brought more than $4 million in external funding to the University and served in numerous concurrent roles. The multitalented administrator continued to direct the multicultural affairs division after being promoted in 2002 to assistant vice president for student affairs and being tapped in 2004 to head a presidential initiative on diversity.

Warfield was named in 2007 to her current position as leader of campus diversity efforts. Her duties include handling various community development activities related to student recruitment; managing programs and services related to the Kalamazoo Promise; overseeing initiatives such as the Diversity and Multiculturalism Action Plan; and planning the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation.

Before joining the University's staff, Warfield established Kalamazoo Community Counseling, the first African-American owned mental health clinic in the city. She also developed the Community Based Education Program for the Kalamazoo Public Schools, which provided support for KPS students over a five-year period.

Her off-campus leadership activities have included chairing the Special Projects Commission of the National Alliance of Black School Educators for eight years and serving on the boards of directors of the Michigan Department of Social Services, Kalamazoo County Social Services and International Mentoring Association.

Widely involved in both campus and community affairs, Warfield received the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2008 from the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP. She also received WMU's Distinguished Service Award in 2000 in recognition of her contributions to students, the University and the community.

Warfield earned a bachelor's degree in social science from WMU in 1961, a master's degree in education with an emphasis on disadvantaged youth from the University of Oregon in 1969 and a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Michigan State University in 1979. She also was a postdoctoral fellow in MSU's Institute of Research in Teaching.

The YWCA of the USA, which seeks to eliminate racism and empower women, is the oldest and largest autonomous women's membership organization in the world. The YWCA of Kalamazoo, the oldest YWCA association in Michigan, offers licensed child care, mentors women and teens seeking self-sufficiency, and provides services to survivors of domestic and sexual assault as well as services to YWCA members and the community at large.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400