Western's Board of Trustees has also approved the sale of Western's portion of the former Cole-Gilmore property in downtown Kalamazoo, and they welcomed Trustee Lynn Chen-Zhang to the board Wednesday.
Western Michigan University says it is getting close to announcing its next president.
Trustee Bill Johnston says 77 people have applied for the job. Western’s search committee plans to interview about 10 of them on March 22 and 23.
“I can tell you that we are on track and on time, the field of candidates is robust, talented, experienced,” Johnston said Wednesday at the Board’s regular meeting.
He adds that the committee expects to give the trustees a finalist by the second week in April.
“All of the talent, experience of the 22-member search committee as well as the collective wisdom of the Board will then select the ninth president,” he said.
Western has kept the presidential hiring process private this time. The school says that ensures the best choice of candidates.
WMU President John Dunn is retiring at the end of June.
Cole-Gilmore Property Sale
Western Michigan University plans to sell a property on which Kalamazoo County wants to build a new courthouse. The block is part of the former Cole-Gilmore car dealership in downtown Kalamazoo.
Western has owned that land and parts of three adjacent blocks for about 15 years, but hasn’t developed them. Western’s trustees have agreed to sell the northeast block to MW Acquisitions, a part of PlazaCorp, which in turn plans to trade the block to Kalamazoo County in exchange for the Michigan Avenue Courthouse. (It is MW Acquisitions, not WM Acquisitions as stated in some of the paperwork. Western is in the process of correcting the name.)
The south blocks will also go to MW Acquisitions, and Western will keep one block on Kalamazoo Avenue. The plan for the sale includes an easement to allow for the expansion of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.
The university expects to close by July 1.