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Aug. 4 , 2004
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

Regents name Craig Dean Willis interim president of Eastern Michigan University

YPSILANTI — The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents today approved the appointment of Dr. Craig Dean Willis as Interim President of the University. Willis, who recently retired as president of Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, will begin his term August 16, 2004. 

Dr. Craig Willis

“Dr. Willis is known for his strong and steady leadership, his integrity and his ability to bring diverse perspectives together,” said Karen Valvo, vice-chair of the EMU Board of Regents and chair of the Board’s search committee.  “We are confident that he is the right man for the job at this critical time in the University’s history.  We very much look forward to his leadership in helping to successfully resolve the issues that have divided the EMU community in recent months.”

In a separate action, the board also approved the immediate appointment of Dr. Donald Loppnow to the position of acting president.  Loppnow has served as senior executive for Strategic Planning and Continuous Improvement since 2002.  He also heads up the University Strategic Planning Committee.

“The combined strengths of our interim leadership will help ensure the University’s progress in meeting its very important mission,” Valvo said.

Willis served as president of Lock Haven University since 1982.  Previously, he held academic leadership posts at Concord College in West Virginia, Ohio’s Wright State University, Dayton Public Schools and Ohio Wesleyan University.  He earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Ohio State University.

“I have pledged to bring the EMU community a strong sense of openness, a steady hand at the helm and an unwavering commitment to work collectively to do all that we can for this university,” Willis said.  “I am extremely pleased to accept this position, and look forward to getting to work.”

Key tasks Willis will handle include advancing the University’s position in Lansing, defining better internal controls, resolving relationship issues, ensuring high quality educational experiences for all students and successfully completing all collective bargaining agreements.

Willis’ appointment is for a period not to exceed July 31, 2005. Guidelines for the search process for a permanent president are currently being developed. The process is expected to get fully under way this fall, and will be designed to garner maximum input from across the university community.

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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