WMU News

Southwest Michigan familiar territory for new regional center director

Sept. 30, 1999

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Leonard Seawood is back at home and back at Western Michigan University.

The Benton Harbor native returned to Michigan and his alma mater Sept. 13 when he took over the reins of WMU's Southwest Regional Center, 2510 Lakeview Ave., St. Joseph, Mich. He replaces Tanya Ryskind, who resigned and is now teaching at the Brookview Montessori School, Benton Harbor.

As center director, Seawood is responsible for supervising WMU's extended learning activities in extreme Southwest Michigan.

"I view continuing education as an integral component of higher education at Western Michigan University, as it works collaboratively with academic departments, faculty members, admissions, career services and financial aid to offer services locally to our students," Seawood says.

"Continuing education has a crucial role to play in ensuring that nontraditional and traditional students are able to successfully complete their collegiate education."

He adds that some of his immediate goals are to reacquaint himself with the community, assess the academic needs of current and potential students for course offerings, and open a new computer lab at the regional center.

Prior to joining WMU, Seawood was Illinois State University's director of multicultural affairs. His duties included managing the overall operation and budget of the office as well as writing and developing grants and developing and coordinating programs designed to help students of color succeed in school and the workplace.

From 1988 to 1996, he was on the staff of Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, most recently serving as director of student life. He also served the college as director of multicultural affairs, coordinator of admissions, director of the Dislocated Worker Services program and placement specialist with Project Lighthouse. From 1984 to 1988, he was an employment and training counselor with the Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Private Industry Council.

Seawood received two degrees from WMU, a bachelor of science in applied liberal studies in 1988 and a master of arts in educational leadership in 1995. Currently, he is finishing a doctor of philosophy degree in educational administration and foundations at Illinois State University.

The Southwest Regional Center, which opened in 1966, focuses on meeting the educational needs of working adults and part-time students.

The center schedules classes at convenient times, including nights and weekends, and provides library and computer resources on site as well as easy access to WMU's full range of educational resources.

It has an average annual enrollment of more than 900 students and offers bachelor's degrees in health studies, applied liberal studies and social science studies; master's degrees in elementary education and educational leadership and reading; and a certificate program in holistic health.

For more information, contact the Southwest Regional Center by phone at (616) 983-1968 or by email at <swrc_help@wmich.edu>. The center office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400