November 1, 2016

Presidents Report to the Board of Regents

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Board of Regents:

As I stated in my message to the campus community yesterday, I am personally angered and saddened by the most recent racist incident targeting our Black community and want to convey my strong sense of resolve in finding out who is behind these incidents; and in continuing to come together as a campus community to confront hate and racism, and promote an environment of mutual understanding and inclusion. 

There is no place on our campus for these kinds of hateful and criminal actions. Our police officers continue to investigate the Ford Hall incident and the two incidents in late September. Police have responded to many tips and continue to actively pursue them. The $5,000 reward for the previous incident is now being doubled to $10,000 and will apply to this incident as well. I encourage anyone with information that will be helpful in either of the cases to come forward and contact EMU Police at 734.487.1222 or the tip line at 734.487.4847.

The deeper and systemic issues in our society that are behind incidents such as these continue to be a focus for our student leaders, our faculty, our administration and all who care about this institution and the welfare of our students. These incidents run counter to the values and mission of the University and our actions over the past several weeks and going forth have and will continue to reflect that. 

Our campus community members are strongly encouraged to support our Black students and employees at this time.

To those who say we are not doing enough, I respect and appreciate your point of view. We have undertaken many actions, including:

  • Creating and now increasing the reward to $10,000;
  • Committing an additional $200,000 for more security cameras and lighting;
  • Adding additional police and security patrols around campus;
  • Working with our Black student leaders and others on campus to conduct several forums and discussions; and,
  • The Faculty Senate, with the support of Student Government and the University administration, has announced a day-long teach-in on November 14 to focus on racism, diversity and inclusion.

One specific and significant action we are announcing today is the creation of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. Modeled after the President’s Women’s Commission, the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion will be charged with, among other things: 

  • Providing recommendations to undertake systematic campus climate studies;
  • Identifying existing programs that have succeeded in strengthening a climate of respect and inclusiveness on our campus and other campuses; and,
  • Providing input and specific recommendations to the President and campus community about the campus climate and how to provide a more inclusive culture.

The Commission will consist of student leaders, faculty, staff, and members of the community. The Office of the President will appoint the Commission’s members and I welcome nominations from the campus and broader community for individuals to serve as inaugural members of the Commission.

Full details about the new Commission, including recognition of the faculty and staff members who helped develop the framework, will be detailed following this meeting in a message to the campus. 

In other developments, Eastern Michigan University has taken another strong step in its commitment to help students succeed, with plans to award more than $57 million in financial aid during the 2017-18 academic year — an increase of nearly $2.9 million, or 5.3 percent, over last year’s financial aid budget of $54.2 million. During the past seven years, Eastern Michigan has nearly doubled its student financial aid, reflecting its central mission to help Michigan students and their families in a challenging economic environment.

The increase in financial aid accompanies continued growth in freshman enrollment at Eastern Michigan. This fall, the University welcomed its third largest entering freshman class in its history, 2,780 students. The entering class continues Eastern’s momentum in recent years, in which the University has grown in enrollment in the face of declining demographic trends for high school seniors in the state of Michigan.

I would like to congratulate our men’s and women’s cross country teams. Over the weekend, they both won the Mid-American Conference Championships. For the men it is their seventh consecutive championship. The women’s team won their second consecutive championship. This is a wonderful accomplishment and testament to the outstanding student athletes and their excellent coaches.

Last month, EMU Athletics was named as the national champion of the Excellence in Management Cup, presented by Texas A&M's Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Excellence in Management Cup honors athletic departments that maximize fiscal resources while achieving championship victories.

As I conclude my report, I would like to offer my sincere thank you and appreciation on behalf of the Eastern Michigan University community to Regents Beth Fitzsimmons and James Stapleton, whose current terms as regents end at the end of the year. Regent Stapleton has served on the Board for 11 years; Regent Fitzsimmons for six years. I ask those of you in attendance to please join me in showing appreciation for their hard work, dedication and commitment to Eastern Michigan University.

Other accomplishments are listed in the Appendix to this report on the University website.
Thank you, Chairman Morris. 

James M. Smith, Ph.D.
Eastern Michigan University


  • Two student teams from the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program placed first and third in the 2016 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge.  Only three graduate awards were presented, with Eastern taking two of them.  Anna Arends, Anne Swary, and Simon Thalmann took first place, and Devin Jones, David Weight and Bradley Whitehouse took third place in the competition.
  • Eastern’s student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management was the only chapter in Michigan and one of 13 national schools to receive the Outstanding Student Chapter award.  The chapter has won the Superior Merit award for the past 23 years and the top award 15 times.
  • Eastern continues to distinguish itself as one of the nation’s premier institutions in information assurance and cybersecurity, as demonstrated through its recent designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence for cyber defense from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Michigan Veteran Affairs agency recently designated Eastern as a Gold Standard Veteran-Friendly school, which recognizes institutions committed to supporting the needs of student veterans.
  • Based on student assessments, the College of Business has been ranked one of the Nation’s best business schools for the 13th consecutive year by The Princeton Review. The education services company also features Eastern in the 2017 edition of its book, “The Best 294 Business Schools.”
  • EMU was named 10th in the nation for Best Online Colleges for Entrepreneurship, according to
  • The Holman Success Center received state recognition for its innovative approach at the “Equity Within the Classroom” conference hosted by the King-Chavez-Parks Initiative, part of the Michigan Workforce Development Agency.
  • A $120,000 B-Wet federal grant was awarded to the Southeastern Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMIS Coalition), directed by Ethan Lowenstein, professor in teacher education.  The grant will further integrate NOAA’s “Meaningful Watershed Education Experience” into SEMIS’ professional development and coalition activities.
  • Imandeep Grewal, instructor in teacher education, is serving as the 2016-17 John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education. 
  • Alissa Huth-Bocks, professor of psychology, and WSU professor John Porcerelli won the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Scientific Paper Prize for their paper, “Defense Mechanisms of Pregnant Mothers Predict Attachment Security, Social-Emotional Competence, and Behavior Problems in Their Toddlers.”  The paper was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. 
  • Katherine Ryker, assistant professor of earth science education, built an Augmented Reality Sandbox to help students gain an interactive understanding of complex earth processes.  EMU is only one of three schools in the state with this technology.
  • Ethriam Brammer, director of TRIO Student Support Services Program at the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities, and author of two bilingual children’s books, participated in the Michigan State Fair Readers Round Up to promote children’s literacy.
  • Yasser Khan, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at IBM MiracleSoft, will serve as Executive in Residence at the College of Business, and as Executive Director of Eastern’s Sales Management Institute.
  • EMU Vice President and Athletic Director Heather Lyke moderated a panel at the “Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault Summit,” which was held at the University of Michigan on September 30.  Head Football Coach Chris Creighton was a member of the panel.  Ellen Gold, Assistant Vice President for Student Well Being, and Ellen Collier, Women’s Resource Center Coordinator, led a breakout session.
  • Eastern was awarded the Huron Valley Ambulance Heart Safe Award for it dedication to providing a heart-safe environment through its Automated External Defibrillators (AED) program.
  • Lt. Col. Charles Kettle, an Ypsilanti resident and Eastern alumnus, was awarded the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, at the White House in July.

Of Note

  • Eastern signed four new articulation agreements in recent months.  They include Social Work with Henry Ford Community College; Children and Families Studies with Henry Ford Community College and Monroe County Community College; and, the Nursing Collaborative with Washtenaw Community College.  Eastern now has 143 articulation agreements with 25 different community colleges.
  • Wise Residence Hall underwent three phases of construction that was completed this summer. Enhancements included windows and exterior renovations, student room air conditioning, upgrading electrical building services and secondary distribution, lighting, bathroom renovations and student room furniture replacement, for a cost of $8.4 million. The complex is currently open and housing students.  Phase IV is planned for the summer of 2017.
  • Swoop’s Student Food Pantry moved to a larger location in Pierce Hall.  More than 20,000 pounds of food were distributed in its first year, with 1,220 visits.


  • More than 300 middle-school girls will attend the annual Digital Divas event on November 4 to learn about careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
  • Eastern’s History & Philosophy hosted a conference September 24-25 to bring together area educators to help build relationships and support among philosophy educators.
  • The Lyla M. Spelbring Annual Lecture and Conference was held on September 23-24.  The Occupational Therapy program also celebrated its 75th anniversary.
  • The College of Business held its annual Alumni Business Conference on September 15.
  • More than 70 pieces of work from 43 different artists were showcased at “The Posters of Discontent”, a quadrennial exhibition hosted by the School of Art & Design from September 7 to October 12 in the University Gallery.


  • Three Eastern teams ranked first in team grade point average in the MAC in their respective sports for the 2015-16 academic year.  The football, men’s golf and women’s soccer teams all led the conference academically.
  • Baseball (Men): Mitchell McGeein and Brennan Williams were named as MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.  Matthew Beaton, Sam Delaplane, Luke DeVenney, David Lett, Jackson Martin, Mitchell McGeein, John Montgomery and Brennan Williams were named to the 2016 Academic All-MAC Team.
  • Baseball (Men): The National Strength and Conditioning Association named Mitchell McGeein as a 2016 All-American Athlete Award recipient.
  • Baseball (Men): The team earned the 2015-16 American Baseball Coaches Association Team Academic Excellence Award that honors academic success.
  • Baseball (Men): Oestrike Stadium received new turf, expanded bullpens and fresh paint in time for fall practice.  A “Script E” was added behind home plate and “Eastern Michigan” was added around the edge of the infield.
  • Basketball (Men): The National Strength and Conditioning Association named Ty Toney as a 2016 All-American Athlete Award recipient.
  • Basketball (Men): The team will participate in the 22nd annual 2K Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrier Project, to open the 2016-17 season.
  • Basketball (Women): The National Strength and Conditioning Association named Phillis Webb as a 2016 All-American Athlete Award recipient.
  • Cross Country (Men & Women): Eastern’s student-athletes volunteered at the September 18 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation One Walk at Hudson Mills Metropark.
  • Football (Men): Offensive Lineman Cole Gardner was named by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame as one of 156 semifinalists in the nation, across all divisions, for the 2016 Campbell Trophy, which honors scholar-athletes.
  • Football (Men): The EMU football team started its season 4-1, the best start for the Eagles since 1995, and drew its 10th largest crowd in stadium history during the Homecoming game against Toledo.  The team won their third consecutive road game for the first time since 196, defeating Ohio University and bringing their record to 5-2 for the season. 
  • Football (Men): The team’s annual Youth Day was held on August 20 at Rynearson.  More than 150 local children from kindergarten to sixth grade joined the team on the field to participate in football-related fun and games.
  • Football (Men): Eastern participated in the College Football Playoff Foundation’s annual “Extra Yard for Teachers” campaign on September 23.
  • Golf (Men): Phillippe Weppernig was selected to play in the 2016 European Amateur Team Championship in Paris, France.
  • Golf (Men): Kyle Rodes, Philippe Weppernig, and Brett White were named to the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar Team by the GCAA.  Brett White was also named as a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete.
  • Golf (Men): Eastern was one of 24 Division I teams who received the GCAA President’s Special Recognition Academic Team Award, and was the only MAC school honored.
  • Golf (Women): Senior Kelsey Murphy qualified for the 2016 USGA Women’s Amateur Championship, after winning an event qualifier.
  • Golf (Women):  Kelsey Murphy was named as a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete.
  • Rowing (Women): Samantha Allen, Emily Burks, Ashley Gilmore, Tauan Jeffrey, Annie Miller, Steph Schlosser and Rachel Turner were recognized as CRCA 2016 scholar athletes.
  • Rowing (Women): Eastern hosted the Special Olympics kayaking trials on September 25 at the Ford Lake boathouse.  This is the first time the State Fall Games has included kayaking.
  • Soccer (Women):  Julia Lombardi was selected as a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, which honors graduating female athletes who distinguished themselves during their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
  • Softball (Women): Amanda Akles, Myranda Barnes, Abi Clark, Abby Davidson, Haley Hostetler, Mady Hostetler, Olivia Logan, Brandice Olmos, Alex Peters, Taylor Wagner, and Elaine Whitbeck were named as NFCA Scholar Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
  • Softball (Women): Abi Clark, Abby Davidson, Aoife Duffy, and Michelle Kriegshauser were named as MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.
  • Softball (Women): The team spent September 24 volunteering at the Special Olympics Michigan State Fall Games, assisting with softball games and providing instruction.
  • Swimming and Diving (Men): Logan Burton, Tom Gillis, Erik Gissen, Andrew Henry, Chris Hodges, Tosh Kawaguchi, Peter Rusenas and Jake Tyson were selected for the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team.
  • Swimming and Diving (Men): The Eagles were named to the CSCAA NCAA Division I Scholar All-American Teams for Spring 2016.
  • Swimming and Diving (Women): Becca Detro, Delaney Duncan, Carly Jackson, Alexis Mitcheltree, Ali Shereda and Grace Van Allen were selected for the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team.
  • Swimming and Diving (Women): The National Strength and Conditioning Association named Sierra Wagner as a 2016 All-American Athlete Award recipient.
  • Swimming and Diving (Women): The Eagles were named to the CSCAA NCAA Division I Scholar All-American Teams for Spring 2016.
  • Tennis (Women): Andrea Martinovska, Klara Supejova and Ann Veleva earned ITA Scholar-Athlete Awards, and the team earned the ITA All-Academic Team award as well.  
  • Tennis (Women):  Klara Supejova was named as a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete.
  • Track and Field (Men): Derek Ziegenfuss placed fourth in javelin at the USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championship.
  • Track and Field (Men): Scott Bradley, Jeff Elam, Willy Fink, Nick Raymond, Solomon Simmons, Mason Waynes, Keith Williams, and Matthew Williams were named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.  Willy Fink was named a Third Team Academic All-American by CoSIDA.
  • Track and Field (Men): Scott Bradley, Jeff Elam, Willy Fink, John Knox, Quinn Levering, Nick Raymond, Solomon Simmons, Mason Waynes, Keith Williams and Matthew Williams were named as MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.
  • Track and Field (Women): Ellie Braidic, Natalie Cizmas, Dace Dreimane, Sofie Gallein, Jordan McDermitt and Janina Pollatz were named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.
  • Track and Field (Men): Ellie Braidic, Rebekah Branham, Natalie Cizmas, Dace Dreimane, Sofie Gallein, Jordann McDermitt, Aaliyah McKinney, Janina Pollatz and Natalie Uy were named as MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.
  • Track and Field (Women): The women’s track and field team was ranked 16th in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Coaches’ Poll.  This is the first time the Eagles have been ranked since 1996.
  • Track and Field (Men & Women): Eastern’s student-athletes volunteered at the September 18 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation One Walk at Hudson Mills Metropark.
  • Volleyball (Women): Eastern received the AVCA Team Academic Award for 2015-16, for the 12th consecutive year.
  • Eastern ended the 2015-16 campaign with six MAC team titles and 34 individual MAC championships.  The women’s program ranked second in the race for the Jacoby Trophy, and the men’s program earned fourth place for the Reese Trophy.
  • Eastern’s 21 varsity teams completed more than 5,000 volunteer hours in the local community in the 2015-16 academic year, for the second straight year.
  • Eastern student-athletes posted a 3.252 cumulative GPA during 2015-16, the second-highest mark on record.  81 student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA, a 20% increase from the previous year.  The Graduation Success Rate was 81% (2008-09 cohort), the highest in school history.  Eastern earned 178 Academic All-MAC honors, the most in the league.
  • The EMU Department of Athletics was announced as the national champion of the Excellence in Management Cup, presented by Texas A&M’s Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics.  Eastern ranked first out of 128 FBS schools.
  • EMU Vice President and Athletic Director Heather Lyke was featured on the NCAA website on September 13 in the special section “NCAA After the Game,” which celebrates the success of former student-athletes.
  • Head Football Coach Chris Creighton was nominated as an Honorary Head Coach for the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.  Creighton, Mark Dantonio, Nick Saban and others were recognized for their commitment to service and enriching the lives of others.
  • Recent softball graduate Abby Davidson was named the 2016 NCAA Division I Softball Statistical Champion as the toughest player to strikeout.
  • Recent soccer graduate Julia Lombardi was named the female recipient of the 2016 Bob James Memorial Scholarship Award by the MAC Faculty Athletics Representatives.  Lombardi is the first Eagle to win the post-graduate scholarship since 2009.
  • Eastern’s 1966 men’s cross-country team was honored at a 50th anniversary celebration of their NAIA National Championship on October 21.
  • Five new members of the E-Club Athletic Hall of Fame were inducted in a ceremony on October 28.  Steve Brown (wrestling), Lional Dalton (football), Connie Miner (softball coach), Fabian Rollins (men’s track and field), and Greg Ryan (baseball) were honored with induction.  Alumnus Robin Baun received the Ron Oestrike Distinguished Service Award.
  • Former EMU track and field athlete Eric Alejandro qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games for Puerto Rico.  Eastern has had a representative at each Olympic Games since 1960.

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