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Rollin G. Douma

March 17, 2011

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Photo of Dr. Rollin G. Douma.Dr. Rollin G. Douma, a longtime administrator and faculty member at Western Michigan University, died March 12 in Kalamazoo. He was 70.

Douma came to WMU in 1970 after beginning his career in education as a high school English teacher in Birmingham and Plymouth, Mich. He retired in 2006 as associate vice president for academic affairs and associate professor emeritus of English.

The talented administrator served in a variety of posts during his 36 years of service to the University. He was appointed associate vice president in 2003 and for a year before that, was interim dean of what is now the College of Education and Human Development.

Previously, Douma had been a fixture in the Graduate College, serving as associate dean for program development from 1979 to 1992, interim dean from 1992 to 1994 and dean from 1995 to 1997.

While a full-time faculty member, he supported and shepherded students for five years as the English department's undergraduate advisor. Douma wrote several scholarly articles, co-edited a book, and was a leader of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English.

He served as president of that organization in 1976-77 and was a member of its executive board for several years. Douma also was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, serving as a director from 1974 to 1977, and later was an active member of the Michigan Council of Graduate Deans.

Douma served on numerous WMU committees and task forces throughout his career. They included several Universitywide search committees charged with filling upper-level administrative posts. He chaired the Graduate College Curriculum Committee for 16 years as well as edited the Graduate Catalog for some 25 years.

He earned a bachelor's degree in 1962, two master's degrees in 1966 and 1967, and a doctoral degree in 1973, all from the University of Michigan.

Douma had survived metastatic melanoma for two decades and prior to his death, had been living with esophageal cancer. He handled his cancer diagnosis with introspection and wisdom and shared this perspective with his family and friends in a series of chapters he wrote on coming to terms with the disease.

No immediate service is planned, but a celebration of Douma's life will be held in Port Sheldon, Mich., July 1. Visit Harper Funeral Home online to view a tribute or share memories with the Douma family.

Memorial donations may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.

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

WMU News
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