by Geoff Larcom, Published June 13, 2014
YPSILANTI – Roy Wilbanks can look back on a wide variety of accomplishments during his time on the Eastern Michigan University campus.
One of those successes sits gracefully on the shores of Ford Lake, and on bluffs that rise to the west of the lake in Ypsilanti Township. Eagle Crest Golf Course and Resort, a project Wilbanks oversaw from its beginnings in 1989, has matured into a top-flight facility, one of the most picturesque golf settings in southeastern Michigan.
Wilbanks, a former EMU regent, longtime administrator and an avid golfer, will be honored for his dedication and service to Eastern Michigan in a ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 13, when the Eagle Crest Clubhouse is named in his honor.
Numerous University and community leaders will be on hand to pay tribute to Wilbanks Friday evening at the Eagle Crest Golf Club, located at 1275 South Huron Street just south of I-94.
“I’ve served on the EMU Board of Regents for more than seven years, and I’ve worked with Roy on many projects,” said Francine Parker, current chair of the EMU Board of Regents. “Throughout his service to the University, Roy has always kept the well being of Eastern – its academic programs, its athletics, and its students, staff and faculty – as the motivation behind all he did. It is only fitting that he receives this special acknowledgment.”
“EMU President Susan Martin said, “Roy Wilbanks had the vision to create this beautiful golf course, and today’s naming of the club house recognizes that accomplishment.”
Wilbanks, an Ypsilanti native who attended Ypsilanti High School and earned a Master's from Eastern Michigan, has served the University in a variety of key roles over the course of 26 years.
Those include assistant to the president for government and community relations, vice president for university relations and secretary to the board of regents, and president and chief executive officer of the EMU Foundation.
In 1989, between the terms of EMU presidents John Porter and William Shelton, Wilbanks served as executive vice president and chief executive officer for the University.
He was an All-American wrestler at Colorado State University and was inducted into the Ypsilanti High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Wilbanks received the John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award from EMU, as well as a distinguished service award from the Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce.
Most recently, Wilbanks served as an EMU regent from 2005-2012, leading the board as chair from 2009-12. During Wilbanks’ tenure, the Board of Regents oversaw the building of the EMU Science Complex, the renovation of the Pray-Harrold classroom building, improved athletic facilities, the refurbishing of McKenny Hall and the construction of new police headquarters along with improved campus safety, renovated residence halls and the overall beautification of campus.
Wilbanks has also been a key element in the development of the Eagle Crest Golf Club and Eagle Crest Conference Center complex, including the key recent move of putting day-to-day management of the conference center under the adjoining Marriott Hotel.
“I am proud and gratified by the changes and improvements that have occurred on campus during this time,” Wilbanks said upon completing his tenure as a regent. “It’s been important, complex and satisfying work that drew upon outstanding efforts by the regents, administration, faculty, staff and students.”
Eagle Crest Golf Course is a par-72 championship course designed by Karl Litten of Boca Raton, Fla. The course offers four sets of tees that provide a variety of choices for golfers.
The course is owned by Eastern Michigan University and is open to guests of the adjoining Ann Arbor Marriott Hotel At Eagle Crest Resort and to the University community, as well as the general public.
The golf clubhouse at Eagle Crest, which will bear Wilbanks’ name, sits atop a bluff and offers a striking and expansive view of Ford Lake. The facility includes a full pro shop, a practice range, short game and putting practice areas, a restaurant, locker rooms and private dining rooms for meetings, banquets and social functions.
For more on Eagle Crest Golf Course, please visit http://www.eaglecrestresort.com/