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Community celebrates life of former president Haenicke

Feb. 24, 2009

KALAMAZOO--The campus of Western Michigan University and the Kalamazoo community will pause to celebrate the life of Dr. Diether H. Haenicke during a public memorial service set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in WMU's Miller Auditorium.

Haenicke, who died Feb. 15, was WMU's fifth president, serving first from 1985 to 1998 and then returning for the 2006-07 academic year as interim president. He died at age 73 in Kalamazoo.

The memorial service will include remarks by:

  • Kurt R. Haenicke, son of the former president
  • Kenneth V. Miller, chair of the WMU Board of Trustees
  • Dr. John M. Dunn, president of WMU
  • Dr. D. Terry Williams, professor emeritus of theatre
  • Rev. Dr. David W. McShane, pastor emeritus of Kalamazoo's First Presbyterian Church
  • Dr. J. Louis Felton of Kalamazoo's Galilee Baptist Church
  • Rev. John D. Fleckenstein of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Mich.

Musical selections will be performed by members of the WMU music faculty, including pianist Lori Sims, the Merling Trio and the Western Brass Quintet. The student singers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia will be joined by alumni members of the group returning for the service. Returning alumna and opera star Susan B. Anthony also will perform. A slide presentation focusing on highlights of Haenicke's life and career will be shown during the moments leading up to the service, and the event will close with the WMU Alma Mater.

Seating in the 3,400-seat Miller Auditorium will be supplemented with overflow seating in the adjacent Shaw Theatre, if necessary, with those in the second location able to watch the service on a large-screen. Additional viewing sites will be opened as needed. Parking is free and available to the public in Lot 33 adjacent to Miller and in the Miller parking ramp.

Following the service, there will be a public reception in the Richmond Center for Visual Arts.

So that members of the campus community may participate in the service, classes have been canceled from 1:45 to 5 p.m. Thursday and many campus offices will be closed during that period as supervisors have been given permission to allow employees to attend the service. Other offices may remain open and staffed by those who choose not to attend and still other units deemed essential by University vice presidents will remain in operation.

The entire service will be broadcast live on Channel 5 of EduCABLE, the University's cable television system, and throughout the Kalamazoo area on Public Media Network's Channel 22 on the Charter Communications cable system.

In response to several requests, the University will provide professional recordings of the service on DVD through its TotalTech office. The recordings will cost $5 each, plus shipping and formatting fees if any, and may be ordered by calling (269) 387-5460.

A live webcast of the memorial service also is planned. Access to the webcast will be provided at wmich.edu/memorial, beginning shortly before the start of the service. Those who wish to view this webcast will need to have Windows Media Player installed on their computers. Connections to the live broadcast are limited, but the recorded versions of the service will be available for an indefinite period afterward.

Arrangements for the Haenicke service are being handled by the University and Betzler Life Story Funeral Home of Kalamazoo. The funeral home also has established a page on the Life Story Network, where visitors can sign a guest book, recount their memories of Haenicke and upload photos to share.

Related articles
Former president Diether Haenicke dead at 73
Haenicke memorial fund established
Video of Haenicke memorial service online

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400