Two of the new members that have been appointed to NMU’s board of trustees by Gov. Jennifer Granholm are L. Garnet Lewis and H. Sook Wilkinson. Both of these women will not only serve to help Northern along the tough road ahead, but will also give a stronger voice to diversity on this campus.
Lewis, an educator, is the first openly gay person ever appointed to a university governance board in the state of Michigan. There was a time when being openly gay would have made her ineligible to be named a trustee, regardless of her qualification. The fact that this is no longer the case is encouraging. Although being gay doesn’t define Lewis as a person, the appointment marks a clear step in the right direction, and the North Wind hopes to see more progressive thought like this nationwide.
Wilkinson, a psychologist, was born in Korea and should add an international voice to the board. While on the board, she could very well give NMU President Les Wong support for his efforts to internationalize the NMU community.
Both women, whose terms expire in 2016, bring impressive qualifications as well as diverse experience to the board.
Lewis is the associate director for professional education in the College of Education at Central Michigan University. Prior to that, she was an educational research consultant in the Michigan Department of Rehabilitation Services, associate vice president for Student Services at Tarleton State University in Texas and research associate at the University of Texas (Arlington).
However, Lewis is no stranger to Northern. She earned her Master of Arts in Education from NMU in 1986 and has previously served on NMU’s Foundation Board, as well as on the Alumni Association Board, of which she was president from 2001 to 2007.
Wilkinson, a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has written one book and edited another about the adoption of Korean children. She is the chair of the governor’s Advisory Council on Asian Pacific American Affairs and was appointed by the president of the Republic of Korea as a member of the National Unification Advisory Council, a group formed in the early 1980s that works toward a peaceful unification between North and South Korea.
Although the NMU administration had no say in appointing these women to the board, the choices fit nicely with Wong’s hope for the future of the university. The president has always said he wishes to increase the diversity at Northern, and the appointments of Wilkinson and Lewis should do just that.