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Edwin Meader remembered at memorial service

Sept. 18, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Edwin E. Meader, a Kalamazoo philanthropist and major Western Michigan University benefactor, who died Feb. 1 at age 97, will be remembered by friends and colleagues during a service at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Dr. Diether Haenicke, WMU president emeritus, will be joined in offering brief remarks at the service by Dr. Edward Callen, Dr. David Dickason, Dr. Thomas Bailey, Sarah (Sherry) Stewart, Dr. Seamus Cooney and Dr. Katherine Joslin. The Merling Trio, WMU's internationally acclaimed faculty ensemble, will open the service and perform two additional pieces.

A reception will be held immediately following the service in the lobby of the Richmond Center for Visual Arts, adjacent to the Dalton Center.

Public parking is available in the nearby lots and parking ramp next to Miller Auditorium and the Richmond Center. Both the Dalton Center and Richmond Center are handicap accessible.

Edwin E. Meader

Edwin E. Meader's legacy at WMU includes the W. E. Upjohn Center for the Study of Geographical Change and Waldo Library's Edwin and Mary Meader Rare Books Room.

Meader, a former adjunct professor of geography at WMU, is survived by his wife, Mary, who also is a longtime supporter of the University, projects in Kalamazoo and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

In 2005, the couple gave $4 million and 1,800 aerial photographs of Africa and South America taken by Mary Meader in the 1930s to WMU for a one-of-a-kind center housed in Welborn Hall to document and evaluate geographic changes over time. The center, which is named for Mary Meader's grandfather and founder of the former Upjohn Co. in Kalamazoo, uses the work of past explorers and scientists to create digital versions of maps and aerial photography.

The W. H. Upjohn Rotunda, the entrance to WMU's main library, was also named for Mary Meader's father, an early Upjohn Co. executive, in recognition of the Meaders' leadership gift for the expansion and complete renovation of that facility in the early 1990s. The library's Meader Rare Books Room was named in honor of the Meaders' continued support of the University libraries.

Born Sept. 21, 1909 in Benton Harbor, Mich., Edwin Meader came to the Kalamazoo area in 1925. He attended WMU and the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1933.

During military service in World War II, he visited a University of Michigan excavation area in Egypt. That experience fueled a lifelong interest in geography and archaeology.

Following the death of his first wife, Margaret, Meader married Mary Upjohn in 1965.

Besides the couple's contributions to WMU, the Meaders in 2004 gifted $18 million to the University of Michigan for the construction of a building to accommodate a center for the study of depression and for the university's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

The Meaders' philanthropical footprints also are all over the Kalamazoo area. The two were major players in the founding of the Fontana Music Society and the Chamber Music Society. Both were active in many other community endeavors.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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