Three receive Distinguished Alumni Awards
Sept. 28, 2009
KALAMAZOO--A prominent local businessman as well as a national media executive and a high-profile Michigan attorney have been selected by the Western Michigan University Alumni Association to receive its most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award.
The 2009 award recipients are: Susan Martin Bunda, executive vice president of content development and strategy for CNN Worldwide in Atlanta; Nancy J. Diehl, recently retired chief of the Felony Trial Division for the Wayne County (Mich.) Prosecutor's Office; and Kenneth V. Miller, vice president, chief operating officer and co-owner of Havirco in Kalamazoo.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1963 to recognize graduates of WMU who have achieved a high level of success in their professions. This year's recipients will be recognized during an on-campus reception and dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center.
Reservations for the event may be made by visiting wmich.edu/alumni and clicking Events or by calling (269) 387-8777. Online reservations will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 9. Telephone reservations will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 16. For more information, contact Jamie Jeremy in the WMU Alumni Association by calling (269) 387-8777.
Susan Bunda has been executive vice president of content development and strategy for CNN Worldwide in Atlanta since 2007. She oversees program creation and development as well as provides leadership and guidance in the network's continuing integration of television and the Web.
While pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication at WMU, Bunda produced the nightly 11 p.m. newscast for Kalamazoo's WWMT-TV. She continued working there after graduating in 1986, then joined CNN a year later as a producer and writer.
Bunda quickly ascended to executive producer of two important programs, including the legal analysis show "Burden of Proof." She was tapped to run the network's special projects unit a decade later, then put in charge of its Atlanta newsroom. Bunda was named a senior vice president in 2000, coordinating the network's daily programming and directly overseeing the newsroom.
She later served one year as senior vice president for talk shows and guest bookings. Just prior to her current appointment, Bunda served as senior vice president of news for CNN/U.S. In that capacity, she supervised Atlanta-based programming and all editorial content for the network's domestic bureaus, as well as the medical, science and technology unit and guest bookings units.
During her tenure at CNN, Bunda has helped lead many of the network's groundbreaking news, administrative and technological advancements. She has been instrumental in its coverage of numerous major events, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
Bunda also was part of CNN teams that have earned such prestigious honors as a Peabody Award for covering Hurricane Katrina and a duPont Award for covering the South Asian tsunami. Her other honors include being named by the editors of Multichannel News as one of their 10 Wonder Women of 2008 for achievements that have shaped and will continue to impact the cable, broadband and telecommunications industries.
Nancy Diehl retired this past April as chief of the Felony Trial Division for the Wayne County (Mich.) Prosecutor's Office. She worked as a Wayne County prosecutor for 28 years and in her most recent position, oversaw general trials; homicide, auto theft and major drug cases; and the Child and Family Abuse Bureau, which she helped found in the prosecutor's office in 1986.
Diehl earned a bachelor's degree in political science from WMU in 1975 and a juris doctorate from Wayne State University Law School in 1978. She began her professional career in 1978 with a two-year stint as a staff attorney in Michigan's Misdemeanor Defender's Office, then served a year as assistant corporation counsel for the city of Detroit.
In 1981, Diehl joined the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office as an assistant prosecuting attorney and progressed through posts in which she worked with Recorder's Court, Circuit Court, the Prosecutor's Repeat Offenders Bureau and the Child Abuse Unit. She served as deputy chief of the Child and Family Abuse Bureau from 1994 to 2000 and chief of the Projects and Training Division from 2000 to 2004, when she was appointed head of the Felony Trial Division.
Known as Michigan's "go-to person" for children and families issues, Diehl has testified before the state legislature often and continues to build on her extensive work on state and local task forces and committees. Through such work, she has been instrumental in amending existing laws as well as enacting new statewide protocols and laws to help children and families.
Diehl is a past president of the Michigan Bar Association and co-wrote four booklets pertaining to children and the legal system. She is a nationally sought-after speaker and trainer on domestic violence and child abuse interviewing, investigation prosecution and related issues.
Her honors include the Federal Bar Association's Leonard Gilman Award, which is bestowed in recognition of outstanding practice in the area of criminal law, and a Victim Advocacy Award from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Kenneth Miller is a principal in Havirco Investment Management in Kalamazoo, which he has owned with his brother Jerry since 1983. The firm has interests in banking, manufacturing, real estate, construction materials and a variety of other enterprises. Miller also is majority owner of the Millennium Restaurant Group, which owns and operates such southwest Michigan restaurants as both the Epic Bistro and WMU-themed Union Cabaret and Grille in Kalamazoo; Fieldstone Grill in Portage, and the Idler in South Haven.
Miller earned bachelor and master of business administration degrees from WMU in 1969 and 1970, respectively, and a juris doctorate from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1977. He practiced law for 15 years before focusing his full attention on a series of business ventures.
Initially, Miller invested in Indiana-based Biomet, a manufacturer and marketer of orthopedic and surgical products. He went on to serve as president and CEO of Radio Associates, which had radio broadcast properties in California, Michigan and Nevada, and continued to apply his venture-capitalist spirit to a wide range of activities, primarily in the local area.
Those activities have included co-founding both TEAM Industries Inc., a manufacturer of expanded polystyrene in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Winchester, Va., and AvTech Laboratories in Kalamazoo, a full-service contract research organization serving the pharmaceutical industry.
Miller is president of the board of Downtown Tomorrow Inc., a private non-profit body that serves as the real estate development and fund-raising arm of Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. He earned a 2008 Red Rose award from the Kalamazoo Rotary Club for his contributions to the Kalamazoo community, especially those related to the city's downtown development.
Active in a variety of other civic and charitable organizations, Miller chairs the Keystone Community Bank Board of Directors and the WMU Board of Trustees and is a director of the Michigan Restaurant Association. He also has served as president of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra board and chairman of the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org