WMU News

Trustees move forward with changes in University leadership

Dec. 16, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University Board of Trustees Friday acted on three key personnel decisions, effectively setting the stage for the next era of University leadership.

First, board members formally accepted the resignation of WMU President Dr. Elson S. Floyd, who soon will lead the University of Missouri's four-campus system. Floyd, who has served as WMU's sixth president since August 1998, announced his decision to step down Nov. 13. He officially leaves his WMU post Jan. 5, 2003.

Litynski approved as interim president

Board members then named Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, currently the University's chief academic officer, to serve as WMU's interim president. Litynski, whose appointment is effective Jan. 6, 2003, has been the University's provost and vice president for academic affairs since August. Prior to that appointment he led WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences for three years, a time marked by academic growth for the college and its physical expansion to the University's Parkview Campus.

Litynski, who also holds a tenured position as a professor in WMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, came to WMU from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he served as professor and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He retired as a brigadier general shortly before starting his work at WMU.

He has been active in research and teaching in electrical engineering, optics and physics for more than 25 years and has been particularly active in the field of laser and electro-optic research. Prior to assuming the role of department head at West Point, he had served there since 1980 as a research officer, assistant and associate professor and professor of electrical engineering. He also served as an assistant professor of physics at West Point from 1974 to 1978.

Citing his track record in the engineering college and his long experience in higher education administration and research, board members expressed their full confidence in Litynski as a leader who can "successfully keep WMU moving steadily forward on a number of critical fronts."

Presidential search committee established

Trustees also approved a presidential search process resolution, establishing a 14-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee to assist in identifying candidates for the University's top post. As part of the process, the board also will engage the services of A.T. Kearney Executive Search of Alexandria, Va., to assist in the search. The full board will approve presidential selection criteria to be used in the search, while the advisory committee is charged with conducting an initial confidential review of candidates and recommending to the board a slate of candidates it considers best qualified for the position. The board will then continue the search process and determine the final outcome through election of a president at a formal meeting of the trustees.

Outgoing board chairperson Richard Y. St. John will lead the Presidential Search Advisory Committee in its part of the effort to have a new president in place by the beginning of the 2003 fall semester.

Other members of the committee represent WMU's board, administration, faculty, staff, emeriti, students, alumni and the general public. They are:

Trustee Vernice D. Anthony of Detroit;

Trustee James Holden of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.;

Trustee Birgit M. Klohs of Grand Rapids, Mich., the incoming chairperson of the board;

Dr. Ariel L. H. Anderson, WMU professor of teaching, learning and leadership;

Susan Broman, executive director of the Steelcase Foundation of Grand Rapids, Mich.;

Dr. Adrian "Ed" Edwards, chairperson of WMU's Department of Finance and Commercial Law;

George A. Franklin, WMU trustee emeritus and vice president of the Kellogg Co. of Battle Creek, Mich.;

Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke, WMU professor of foreign languages and literatures and president of the WMU Faculty Senate;

Dr. Gary Mathews, WMU professor of social work and president of the WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors;

Dr. Margaret Merrion, dean of the WMU College of Fine Arts;

Judith K. Phelps, administrative assistant in WMU's Office of Admissions and Orientation;

Angela D. Sillmon, a senior computer information systems major from Plymouth, Mich.; and

Dr. Lewis Walker, WMU professor emeritus of sociology.

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

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