Distinguished Alumni Award


Dr. Marvin Keller, M.A.'75 (2010)

Dr. Marvin Keller graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1972, and received his master's in anthropology from Western Michigan University in 1975. Since graduating from Western Michigan University he has been active in archaeology and cultural resource management in both the private and public sectors. Keller began his career with a private environmental consulting firm in New York and worked in the northeastern and western United States, as well as in the Caribbean. Drawn to northern plains archaeology, he left the private sector and in 1987 joined the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. He served 23 years as the regional archaeologist in the Rocky Mountain Region, where he was responsible for historic preservation on seven reservations in Montana and Wyoming, and worked closely with tribes to protect their cultural resources. During this time he was active in the Montana Archaeological Society and contributed articles and papers on regional issues. He developed an archaeological training program for tribal members. In 2010, Keller accepted the position of federal preservation officer and National Environmental Policy Act coordinator in Washington, D.C., and is now responsible for coordinating the bureau's national program.

Dr. Phillip Neusius, M.A.'78 (2006)

Dr. Phillip Neusius graduated from Western Michigan University with an M.A. in anthropology in 1978, as Dr. William Cremin's first student. His thesis examined prehistoric settlement systems by a survey of archaeological sites in the lower Kalamazoo River Basin. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Missouri, and is now the head of the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Among Neusius' insights imparted to students at the award ceremony was the advice to seize opportunities as they present themselves. As a student, Neusius moved between several advisors before working with Cremin, at the time a new professor at WMU. Though at the time this shifting between thesis advisors was stressful, Neusius arrived at a thesis project that fit well with his interests and Cremin's expertise.

Brent Metz, B.A.'86

Brent Metz, a native of St. Joseph, Michigan, received his B.A. in anthropology and Spanish from Western Michigan University 1986 and his M.A. in anthropology from University of Michigan in 1989. He finished his Ph.D. at SUNY Albany in 1995, the dissertation for which he regarded the relationship between Ch'orti' Maya political economy and ethos in Guatemala. He taught in full-time, non-tenure track positions at Western Michigan University, Central Connecticut State, Grinnell and Temple from 1995 to 2000, before taking the position of associate director of Latin American studies at the University of Kansas in 2001. Since 2005, he has been assistant professor of anthropology at Kansas. Among his publications are two books and an edited volume: "Primero Dios: Etnografìa y cambio social entre los mayas ch'orti's del oriente de Guatemala" ("God Willing: Ethnography and Social Change among the Ch'orti' Maya of Eastern Guatemala," 2002), "Ch'orti'-Maya Survival in Eastern Guatemala: Indigently in Transition" (2006) and "The Ch'orti' Maya Area, Past and Present" (2009).