WestSouthwest: Western Michigan University President John Dunn expects major developments in 2014

Jan 8, 2014

Western Michigan University's new medical school
Credit Western Michigan University


Western Michigan University President John Dunn sat down with WMUK's Gordon Evans Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Yvonne Zipp for the first time in the new year. 

The interview covered a number of topics, including progress on opening the new medical school, the affiliation with the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and how the university may try to attract out of state students to boost enrollment. 

John Dunn giving the State of the University address in 2013
Credit Western Michigan University

Some highlights:

Medical School

Western Michigan University's medical school is set to open in the fall of this year. Dunn says things are on schedule to begin classes and complete work at the new building downtown. He says the university will not seek state funding for the privately funded medical school.  But Dunn says eventually the state will realize the value of the medical school and offer some assistance. 

East Hall

The university has announced that it will convert the core of East Hall into an alumni center, but the wings of the building will be demolished. Dunn says the university would have liked to find the money to preserve the entire building. But he says the alumni center will be a destination on campus and in the community. 

Cooley Law School

Western Michigan University announced plans last year for an affiliation with the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Dunn says the process is on track for the agreement to be approved in March. He says the agreement represents the sort of partnership that institutions of higher education should be looking for. 

Smoke free campus

In response to a question e-mailed by Battle Creek Enquirer reporter Andy Fitzpatrick, Dunn said the move to a smoke-free campus is "better late than never." He says smoking cessation programs will be offered to employees who do smoke. Dunn says there won't be "smoke police" to enforce the ban. He says it will take some time for "full compliance."


Dunn says Western Michigan University and other schools are facing a difficult challenge with a declining high school population in Michigan. He says that means looking at trying to bring in students from out of state. Dunn says that may mean adjusting the tuition for out of state students. Currently an out of state student pays about three times the tuition that an in-state student pays. Dunn says a decrease in tuition for non-residents would have to bring in more students to make up the revenue.