Higher Education and Human Resources

College president announces retirement

August 2, 2016
TAGS John Dunn / WMU
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John Dunn
John Dunn. Courtesy WMU

The president of a college in the region has announced he will retire after 10 years at the helm.

Western Michigan University’s John Dunn said in a message yesterday to the university community that he will retire on June 30, 2017.

Dunn’s contract runs through June 30 of this year, and he has accepted a request from the WMU Board of Trustees to serve as president emeritus for one year.

In his message, Dunn says that his time at WMU has been “incredible” for both him and his wife, Linda Dunn, and the couple will always be thankful to the university, Kalamazoo community and region.

"I hope it is clear to all that my respect and affection for this university will be sustained forever and that I fully intend to be a supportive and helpful Bronco for the remainder of my life," he says.

National search

Dunn said he announced his retirement roughly a year before he steps down to ensure that the trustees have enough time to conduct a national search.

A WMU Presidential Search Advisory Committee, led by Trustee William Johnston as chair, will begin its search immediately. Trustee James Bolger will serve as vice chair, and Trustee Mary Asmonga-Knapp will serve as a committee member.

In the interim, Dunn said he will undertake assignments determined by the trustees and president-designate.

"My intent is to be helpful, but not intrusive, in the leadership and direction of the new president," he says.

Dunn’s tenure

Dunn, the eighth president of WMU, came to the school in 2007, following a search led by Board of Trustees Chair Kenneth Miller.

During his tenure, Dunn oversaw the launch of the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in 2012, an affiliation that created the WMU Cooley Law School, established a focus on sustainability and established programs for veterans and former foster care youth that “served as national models.”

Additionally, Dunn oversaw nearly $500 million in construction projects, increased international representation on campus and an increase in the number of WMU honor students.

"In just nine short years, President Dunn's record of accomplishment and the transformation he has led on campus and in the community have been remarkable," Miller said. "We are, today, a markedly different and stronger university than we were in 2007."

Dunn’s background

Prior to his appointment as WMU’s president, Dunn served as provost, vice chancellor and interim chancellor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Previously, he was dean of the University of Utah’s College of Health and worked at Oregon State University for 20 years, last serving as associate provost.

Dunn also serves on a number of boards: First National Bank; Southwest Michigan First; WMU Foundation; Greater Kalamazoo Area United Way; W.E. Upjohn Institute; Mid-American Conference President’s Council; and American Council on Education.

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