People, Places & Things

The Legend of Zach

Zach Wigal was named a CNN Hero for his work making video games available to hospitalized youth through his foundation, Gamers Outreach. The organization’s GO Karts – portable gaming stations – get video games out of the playroom and into the patients’ rooms, giving bed-bound kids some escapist fun, and a sense of normalcy in a distinctly rarified environment.

MEET THE 2020-21 ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS: Wigal and others are honored for their accomplishments.

An Educator First and Foremost

Nhu Do’s eventful path to the principal’s position at Washtenaw International High School and Middle Academy (WIHI and WIMA) is exactly what makes her perfect for it. As a first-generation immigrant and a first-generation college graduate, Do has unique insight into the challenges many of her students face. Do’s parents, who emigrated from Vietnam and settled in Canada, were new to Western culture and had no experience with the college selection process.

Nursing Student Offers Healing at Inaugural Ceremony

In April of 2020, as COVID-19 patients were flooding hospitals nationwide, Lori Marie Key, a nurse at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, sang “Amazing Grace” at shift change to lift the staff’s spirits. After a video of the impromptu performance went viral, Key was asked to do it again – this time at the memorial ceremony for coronavirus victims in Washington D.C. the evening before President Biden’s inauguration.

A Decidedly Relevant Win

Charles Graham and Kelsey Hall make arguments for sport. Their mutual interest in law propelled them into moot court and mock trial competitions, and in 2020 they proved themselves a bona fide powerhouse team by bringing home the American Moot Court National Championship. Graham and Hall talked to Eastern Magazine about their road to the win, what set them apart, and their surprising championship celebration.

From Education to Exploration

The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of travel plans on hold, but despite not being able to travel this year, Paula Wright, Sheila Hundley, and Debra Odden have luckily made time to go on several “girls trips” together over the past 15 years.

A Legacy of Inspiring Young Minds in Science

Imagine you’ve just graduated from college and you’re starting your first full-time job as a teacher. You’re excited and ready to make a difference in the lives of your students. You have passions and ideas you want to bring to life. What might you be able to accomplish between now and when you retire?

Gary Koppelman, a two-time alumnus from the Eastern Michigan University College of Education, carried those first-day aspirations with him all 46 years of his teaching career.

Home Again: Stan Heath is EMU’s New Men’s Basketball Coach

An Eastern Michigan University men's basketball alumnus is coming home. A three-year letterwinner from 1985-87 and 17-year head coaching veteran, Stan Heath is returning to the Ypsilanti campus to become the program's 30th head coach.

"We are so thrilled to welcome back Stan Heath as our new head men's basketball coach," says Scott Wetherbee, vice president/director of athletics. "One of the key messages I heard throughout the search process was the desire to find someone with Eastern Michigan connections as well as someone with a strong head coaching pedigree. In hiring Coach Heath, we absolutely have that person. He is a proven winner in both the collegiate and professional ranks, and his focus on positively impacting the lives of our student-athlete is infectious. We cannot wait to have him and his family back on campus and reintroducing them to the Eastern Michigan family."

Return to the Canvas

For their final project, the Fall 2020 Arts Management class reached out to five student artists and asked them to share their stories. These artists continued to create throughout 2020. How were they able to keep creating amidst so much uncertainty in the world? How does their art help them cope? How does their art help them grow? How can their stories help others grow? What do they look forward to most when they return to the normal grind? Take a look and learn more.

In Memoriam: Charles McGee

Groundbreaking artist and EMU professor emeritus Charles McGee was the epitome of a lifelong learner. His formal education didn’t begin until age 10, when he was thrust into fourth grade having never seen a classroom. He spent the rest of his life making up for lost time – and then some. In 2009, as an exhibition of his work was about to open on campus, McGee told Eastern Magazine, “When I die, I will leave here not having scratched the surface of what there is to know. It makes every breath precious.”

On February 4, having made each breath count for 96 years, McGee died at home of natural causes.

In Memoriam: Bob Parks

Legendary track & field and cross country coach Bob Parks passed away March 3, 2021, at the age of 90.

It is ironic, perhaps, that for a man who spent the vast majority of his life paying close attention to every meter, there is no possible way to measure the impact that he made on thousands of individuals.

A coach, mentor, father, and friend, Parks' legacy within Eastern Michigan University, the Mid-American Conference, and the entirety of intercollegiate athletics will never diminish.

In Memoriam: Paul McMullen (BBA95)

Olympian and legendary EMU track star Paul McMullen passed away in a ski accident in Northern Michigan on March 4, at the age of 49.

His death came just one day after the death of Hall of Fame Coach Bob Parks. According to Sue Parks, Bob’s daughter and EMU’s director of Cross Country/Track & Field, McMullen had visited Parks in person just days before Parks’ passing.