Louise Schuster 91 – Awarded Second Master’s Degree

Louise Schuster got the surprise of her long life when Dean Susan Stapleton of the Graduate College at Western Michigan University showed up at her door to deliver Mrs. Schuster’s third diploma. At 91 years of age, Mrs. Schuster had already earned a Bachelor of Science in 1968 and a Master of Arts in 1969 from Western. She had also completed coursework toward a Master’s degree in Literacy Studies through 1980, but had never gotten that degree. With only imaged transcripts from 1962 through 1980 to work with, some detective work was needed.

A photo of Louise Schuster being presented her diploma by Susan Stapleton, Dean of the Graduate College

Enter Mallory Bourdo, Academic Auditor in the Registrar’s Office and Lauren Freedman, Professor in the Department of Special Education and Literary Studies, College of Education and Human Development. They combed through Mrs. Schuster’s records, evaluated her credits, and found she had enough credits to receive a Master of Arts in Literacy Studies. With the help of Carrie Cumming, Senior Associate Registrar, and Stacey Doxtater, Graduation Auditing Supervisor, a decision was made to issue a diploma for June 2012. Mallory worked with the family, especially Mrs. Schuster’s granddaughter, Darcy Kelly, to make sure Mrs. Schuster would receive her diploma, and between all parties they agreed to have the diploma hand-delivered to Mrs. Schuster in her Sturgis home by Dean Susan Stapleton. Mrs. Schuster knew she would be receiving a diploma, but did not know it would be delivered to her home with pomp and circumstance. With her family surrounding her, Louise Schuster finally received her second Master of Arts and her third diploma, in its ceremonial cover, made possible by her hard work and the efforts of Western Michigan University faculty, staff, and administrators.

2012 Fall Campus Visitation

The 2012 Fall Campus Visitation took place in November, with eleven students visiting from universities in the South. Each year the Graduate College’s Tony Dennis, Director of Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention, recruits promising students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), as well as the social, behavioral and economic sciences (SBEs).

a photo of potential future students visiting the campus of W M U

This year the students met with the Graduate College staff in the morning of Friday, November 9, then went on to a panel discussion with faculty members Mark Orbe, Communication, Dave Louis, Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology, and Mary Z. Anderson, Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. Panel members discussed graduate school and faculty expectations and planning one’s graduate career. At an informal luncheon, students interacted with faculty members, talking about mentoring, graduate education and departmental culture, working in research groups, the importance of disseminating one’s research to the community, and broadening participation with collaboration across disciplines.  After lunch, student visitors went to their respective departments, where they had a chance to get a tour, meet faculty and administrators, and find out more about their departmental culture and resources. The student visitors, their college of origin and their program interest at Western Michigan University are Mr. Jeremy Donnell, from Jackson State University, Physician Assistant program; Ms. Mikaela Pitcan, University of Florida, Counseling Psychology Ph.D.; Ms. Jana Bailey, Jackson State University, Science Education MA; Mr. Darryl Jefferson, Jackson State University, Health Informatics, Physician Assistant, or Public Administration; Ms. Alannia Mosley, Dillard University, Counseling Psychology; Ms. Lisa Landry, Dillard University, Clinical Psychology; Ms. Ana Stepney, Dillard University, Sociology with a concentration in Social Work; Mr. Randall Willis, Oakwood University and University of Alabama in Huntsville, Applied Mathematics; Ms. Kayla Williams-Rawlinson, Oakwood University, Counselor Education MA; Ms. Keila Miles, Oakwood University, Biological Sciences; and Ms. Candace Farrell, Oakwood University, Applied Mathematics.

Dr. Antonio R. Flores

2003 Distinguished Alumni Dr. Antonio R. Flores, M.A. 1977, President and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), traveled to Michigan with his bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Universidad de Guadalajara and in elementary education from Centro Normal Regional, Mexico in the mid-seventies.

a photo of Dr. Antonio R. Flores

Dr. Antonio R. Flores

When he first came to Michigan, he was director of the Upward Bound program at Hope College in Holland. He characterizes himself as “very green” and says he didn’t know very much English and found the U.S. educational system challenging, though he was working in academia. The head counselor at Holland High School suggested to him that Western Michigan University had an excellent program in Counselor Education and Personnel (now Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology). He decided to try it to become more familiar with higher educational practices and counseling skills which he needed for his job working with needy youth. He found that the program, faculty and students were a tremendous help to him in developing his communication and counseling skills. He drove from Holland to Kalamazoo for every class, and completed his master’s degree while working full time for Upward Bound. He found that the skills and knowledge he was acquiring while at Western were applicable every day in his job, so he learned very quickly, improving his skills and his job performance daily. According to Dr. Flores, it was not the typical student experience, as he was working full time and commuting, but he got so much out of it that he felt it was very valuable.

Dr. Flores went on to earn his Ph.D. in higher education administration from University of Michigan and holds the prestigious position of President and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, which represents more than 400 colleges and universities that are committed to Hispanic higher education success in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. In 2012 he marked his 16th anniversary in this position, and is very highly regarded by his peers. The editors of Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine chose him over hundreds of candidates in government, academia, and the corporate world as one of the “50 Most Important Hispanics in Business and Technology.” Hispanic Business Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States.” He has also received numerous awards for leadership and advocacy for higher education access, equity, and success for Hispanics, the nation’s youngest and fastest growing minority.

Dr. Flores has also chaired the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), which is a coalition of the most prominent Hispanic organizations promoting Hispanic leadership initiatives and the equitable representation of Hispanics in corporate America. Along with his many other accomplishments, he is also chair of the ¡Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund. This organization offers leadership and professional career development training to top Hispanic college students. Another initiative of which Dr. Flores is a founding leader is the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. This is the nation’s first unified voice for the college and career development needs of minority college students and the capacity building requirements of Minority-Serving Institutions.

Dr. Flores also serves on national government boards, including the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, the State Department’s 100 Thousand Strong Initiative with China, the 100 Thousand Strong Initiative with Latin America and the Caribbean, and the US Intelligence Community Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion.

When I asked about his days here at Western Michigan University back in the 1970’s, I thought Dr. Flores would barely remember them. But he said, to the contrary, it was a seminal experience and a springboard for him to go on to earning his Ph.D. and to further success in his career. While he no longer has the opportunity to work with many students in his administrative position, he does travel to lots of conferences held by HACU and by other institutions where students are presenting their work, and he makes every effort to interact with students at those venues.  HACU sponsors the largest internship program in the US, with up to 700 students annually, so that is another way he has contact with young people. His favorite part is attending commencements. He says, “Commencements inspire me the most; to see all those happy faces charged up to go out and conquer the world.”

Did You Know?

Students still request hard copies of information! As we sort through requests from recruitment events and answer phone and e-mail inquiries from prospective local, national and international graduate students, we find that many would prefer to have something in writing sent to them rather than look it up online. This is especially true of non-traditional students or students who do not have access to reliable online service or computers.

Did You Know?

Accelerated Programs at WMU

Accelerated Degree Programs allow eligible students the opportunity to complete both an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in less time because the student may begin taking graduate courses while still an undergraduate.  During their senior year of their undergraduate careers, students in the accelerated program may substitute up to 12 credit hours of graduate course work for undergraduate course work. Once they enter graduate school, they’re able to quickly move through their master’s degree requirements because they’ve already taken several graduate classes.

The following departments offer the accelerated degree program.


Department Program Name
ECE Engineering (Accelerated)
CCE Civil Engineering (Accelerated)
COM Communication (Accelerated)
CS Computer Science (Accelerated)
ECE Electrical Engineering (Accelerated)
IME Industrial Engineering (Accelerated)
ME Mechanical Engineering (Accelerated)
MUS Music (Accelerated)
BLS Orientation & Mobility (Accelerated)
PAPR Paper/Imaging Science & Engineering (Accelerated)
STAT Statistics (Accelerated)
SWRK Social Work (Accelerated)
BLS Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (Accelerated)

Dr. Koorosh Naghshineh, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering(MAE) Department Graduate Adviser, Professor and Director, Noise and Vibration Laboratory notes, “MAE was the first [department] in the university to introduce such a program. It is a great way of recruiting our good undergrad students to our graduate programs.”

To learn more about Accelerated Degree Programs in your discipline, contact your program advisor.