KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University's Dr. Margaret Merrion is one of five recipients of 2013 YWCA Women of Achievement Awards.
Merrion, College of Fine Arts dean, will be honored at the 29th annual YWCA Women of Achievement Award Celebration at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites in Kalamazoo.
She shares the distinction with Ronda Stryker, a Portage philanthropist best known for her work in higher education, who is the recipient of the 2013 YWCA Lifetime Woman of Achievement Award, and other Women of Achievement recipients:
- Jeanne Baraka-Love, founder and director of Ujima Enterprises
- Willie Mae Pierson, a self-employed Realtor in Kalamazoo
- Dr. Heidi E. Stucki, a former owner and CEO of Shaver Road Animal Hospital
Dr. Margaret Merrion
Coming to WMU in 2000 as the first female dean of the college, Merrion led it to receive the Governor’s Award in 2008, designating it as Michigan’s finest arts education unit. The College of Fine Arts is one of only eight units in the nation having all programs professionally accredited making it a "college of distinction." She directed the fundraising effort to raise $12 million for the Richmond Center for Visual Arts, a site of constantly changing exhibits by national artists. Additionally, Merrion serves on Bronson Hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council and the Fetzer Center’s Advisory Council on the Arts.
Her award is sponsored by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Her nominator said her tenure at WMU "has been characterized by spectacular success for students, outstanding opportunities in the arts for our community and an extraordinary level of personal service on her part to the national arts community."
During her 30-year career in higher education, Merrion has held a number of leadership positions. After several years as an elementary, junior high and high school teacher, she joined the faculty of the University of Northern Iowa as supervisor of clinical experiences and coordinator of undergraduate and graduate studies. In 1986 she joined the Ball State faculty as associate dean.
The author or co-author of five books and more than two dozen articles, Merrion is active in a number of professional and arts organizations, including past president of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and national and board member of Imagining America. She is a consultant-evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Accreditation Review Council.
She earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Chicago State University and master's and doctoral degrees in music education from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Additionally, she completed Harvard University’s management development program.