June 27, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- One of the state's longest serving university presidents, Dr. Diether H. Haenicke of Western Michigan University, announced today at the University's Board of Trustees meeting that he will be stepping down as president on July 31, 1998.
This announcement came three years before his contract was to expire in 2000. Upon leaving he will have headed WMU, the state's fourth largest university, for 13 years.
Although Haenicke's health has been the subject of discussion in the past, this is not the reason for his leaving office early. Upon stepping down he will join WMU's faculty to write and teach.
In a letter to trustees, Haenicke stated, "I have given my best efforts to this position for about 12 years now and still greatly enjoy my work and am pleased with the progress our University makes every year. However, the daily work is strenuous and taxing and challenging even for a person in better health than I. I would like to return to the faculty and use my remaining years to lead a more private life, to write and teach about matters that are important and dear to me, and to make myself useful to the University and to the community in different ways than my present position allows."
Haenicke, 62, went on to say that, "By giving the board a year's notice, I hope to provide ample time for you to conduct an unhurried search for my successor and for me to bring to closure many of the projects that are still in progress." He was referring to the renovation of Wood Hall and new Science Research Pavilion currently under construction and other projects that should be completed during his final year in office.
During his tenure, WMU has seen significant growth and increasing recognition of its academic quality, including: growing to become the largest public Doctoral I university in the nation; being listed as one of the top 229 national universities for seven consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report magazine; and recently being listed as one of only four Michigan universities in "The Student Guide America's 100 Best College Buys."
Richard G. Haworth, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, expressed the board's gratitude to Haenicke. "On behalf of the board and the entire University, I would like to thank Dr. Haenicke for his dedication to excellence and the many accomplishments that have been achieved at WMU under his leadership."
Haworth stated that the board had not yet had an opportunity to discuss the search for a successor to Haenicke, but that it would do so shortly and most likely reveal its plans at a later date.
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
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Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA