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June 20 , 2006
CONTACT: Leigh Soltis
734.487.4400
lsoltis@emich.edu

EMU Regents approve emeritus status for four

YPSILANTI - The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents granted emeritus status to three former faculty members and one former staff member at its regular meeting June 20.

To be awarded emeritus status, faculty and staff must have served EMU for at least 15 years and be nominated for emeritus faculty status upon retirement.

Faculty granted emeritus status are:

  • P. George Bird, professor, department of communication and theatre arts, retired after 51 years of service. Bird, of Ypsilanti, has a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree, both from the University of Wisconsin.

As a teacher and adviser, Bird specialized in technical theatre. He served as a director and designer, building sets for more than 300 theatre productions and directing more than 60 plays during his career at EMU. Bird said favorites from his body of work include the award winning “Anne of the Thousand Days”, “Moon for the Misbegotten”, “Elizabeth the Queen”, “Caesar and Cleopatra”, “Desire under the Elms” and “Mourning becomes Electra.”

  • Thomas H. Franks, Jr., professor, department of history and philosophy, retired after 39 years of service. Franks, of Ypsilanti, has a doctorate and a master’s degree, both from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College.

An expert in early 19th-century continental philosophy, Franks was the only continental philosopher at EMU for many years. During his tenure, he served as the chair of the philosophy section numerous times, a position that rotates within the department. In that role, Franks hired regular faculty and adjuncts, and helped to institute the humanities courses. He also has been active in the community, participating in local theatre and activities at his church.

  • Joel Welber, associate professor, department of marketing, retired after 22 years of service. Welber, of St. George, Utah, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University.

In addition to teaching at EMU, Welber was involved in many community service activities. He served as a legal counsel to the Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy for 28 years and made numerous presentations at National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) state conferences. He published a chapter for the Institute for Continuing Legal Education titled “Amenities Trusts for Persons with Developmental Disabilities or Mental Illness.” In June of 2005, Welber received a community award from NAMI for his contributions.

The staff member granted emeritus status is:

  • Robert A. Salisbury, associate director of academic advising, retired after 34 years of service. Salisbury, of Howell, received both his MBA and bachelor’s degree in business administration at EMU.

Salisbury began working at EMU in 1972, as an admissions and financial aid counselor.  He served numerous roles across campus, assuming his ultimate position in academic advising in 1996. Salisbury provided faculty training on advising for many years, worked with the program review to keep advising center staff updated on changes in programs of study and course offerings, and served on numerous committees, including Continuous Improvement and AQIP. He also participated in many fundraisers and promotional activities at EMU.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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