Hettinger, Miller to lead WMU Board of Trustees for 2015

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—James F. Hettinger of Fennville and Kenneth Miller of Kalamazoo have been elected chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

The two were elected at the board's Jan. 22 meeting and will serve throughout 2015. This is Hettinger's second year in the board leadership role. Miller replaced Trustee Mary Asmonga-Knapp of Battle Creek as vice chair. She remains on the board.

Photo of James Hettinger.


James F. Hettinger

Hettinger, who earned both bachelor's and master's degrees from WMU, retired in 2008 as head of Battle Creek Unlimited after 30 years of service with that economic development organization. Late last fall and after his successor resigned, Hettinger was asked to take the reins of the organization again as the interim executive director. 

He first joined Battle Creek Unlimited in 1978 as marketing director, and one year later was named president and CEO. He is credited with attracting nearly 100 companies and 9,400 jobs to Battle Creek's Fort Custer Industrial Park during his tenure. For his work in economic development, Hettinger received letters of commendation from two U.S. presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—and in 1995, he was selected by then-Gov. John Engler as Michigan's Economic Developer of the Year.

Photo of Ken Miller.


Kenneth Miller

Miller is a principal with Havirco, a Kalamazoo-based investment management firm launched in 1983. He also is the owner of the Millennium Restaurant Group LLC, which operates several restaurant properties in southwest Michigan.

Miller earned bachelor's and master's degrees in business from WMU and a law degree from what is now the Western Michigan University Thomas Cooley Law School. Now serving in his second eight-year term as a WMU trustee, he has twice served as chair of the WMU board, and he led the presidential search committee that resulted in the 2007 appointment of WMU President John M. Dunn.

Miller is active in a number of business, civic and charitable organizations throughout the region and state.

Both Hettinger and Miller are past recipients of the WMU Distinguished Alumni Award.


Other WMU board officers elected to one-year terms at the Jan. 22 meeting were: Betty A. Kocher, secretary to the board; Jan J. Van Der Kley, treasurer and assistant secretary; and Patti VanWalbeck, assistant treasurer. Van Der Kley is the University's vice president for business and finance, and VanWalbeck is associate vice president for business and finance.

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