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Trustees Johnston, Miller honored for community service

June 27, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University trustees William Johnston and Kenneth Miller recently received state and local honors, respectively, for their contributions to the community.

Johnston, who is in his second year on the WMU board, is president and chair of Greenleaf Companies. He and his wife, Ronda Stryker, received the Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy from Gov. Jennifer Granholm at the 2008 Governor's Service Awards event held in Detroit earlier this month.

Sponsored by the Council of Michigan Foundations and the Michigan Nonprofit Association, the Mawby award was established in 1995 upon the retirement of the former chair and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The couple from Portage, Mich., was recognized for "demonstrating a lifelong commitment to encouraging private action for public good," according to the award criteria.

"With a legacy that spans 30 years, this special couple remains committed advocates to making southwest Michigan a region where each citizen's dreams can be achieved. Their visionary leadership is vital in helping foster hope and promise impacting Michiganders now and for generations to come," read the award presented to Johnston and Stryker June 19.

Also honored at the ceremony was Walter North of St. Ignace, a 1959 WMU alumnus and former Michigan state senator, who received the Community Foundation Award for Philanthropy.

Another WMU trustee, Chair Ken Miller, was honored June 23 with the Kalamazoo Rotary Club's Red Rose award for his contributions to the Kalamazoo community.

Miller was honored for his commitment to Kalamazoo's downtown development through his professional and volunteer efforts. He also was singled out for demonstrating "service beyond self" in leading the WMU Board of Trustees and its presidential search during the 2006-07 school year, according to the award committee. It noted that during the search, which resulted in the hiring of Dr. John M. Dunn last year, the campus and broader community were invited and encouraged to suggest the qualities needed in WMU's next leader, meet candidates and provide input on the selection.

Miller, who has served on the WMU board for six years, is as a partner in Kalamazoo investment management firm Havirco, majority owner of Millennium Restaurant Group and an avid supporter of downtown development.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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