The Honorees

WMed honors individuals, families, and companies who show their support through their fundraising and volunteer efforts.

2020 Honorees

Bill and Barbara Parfet
Bill and Barbara Parfet

In many ways, Bill Parfet and his family were pivotal in bringing WMed to life and making the medical school a reality.

In 2011, Parfet helped create what would become the medical school’s W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus when, as chairman and CEO of MPI Research, he donated the company’s 350,000 square-foot building in downtown Kalamazoo to WMed.

The campus itself sits on the plot of land that was acquired by Parfet’s great-grandfather, W.E. Upjohn, and became the growth center for The Upjohn Company, at one time housing the very research facility where Motrin, Xanax, Halcion, Rogaine, and Zyvox were discovered.

“Kalamazoo is special to me,” said Parfet, who is chairman and CEO of Northwood Group and serves as executive chairman of inviCRO, a leading global provider of imaging-based service solutions and image analysis software for the pharmaceutical and prescription drug development industry. “This is where my family chose to put a stake in the ground.”

Now, Parfet and his wife, Barbara, are preparing to serve as hosts of the 5th Annual Imagine Gala, an elegant black-tie event that will be held on the evening of May 16, 2020, at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus.

Past Honorees

  • 2019 - Ken and Julie Miller
    Ken and Julie Miller
    Ken and Julie Miller

    Healthcare and academic innovators, with funding from community leaders who are committed to the future success of southwestern Michigan, have developed a state-of-the-art private medical school in downtown Kalamazoo. One such academic innovator, who has always been one of the most passionate advocates and supporters for Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed), has been Mr. Kenneth V. Miller. 

    An emeritus member of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees, a WMU alumnus, and CEO of the Millennium Restaurant Group, Ken, and his wife Julie, have been stalwart supporters of the medical school from the time the vision of what would become WMed more than a decade ago to now. In many ways, Ken Miller played a direct role in bringing the medical school to life.  

  • 2018 - Ronda Stryker and William Johnston
    Ronda and Bill
    Ronda Stryker and William Johnston

    In May 2018, the inaugural class of Western Michigan University's Homer Stryker, M.D., School of Medicine graduated. This proud achievement, a long time in the making, was led by numerous civic leaders and visionaries, including Ronda Stryker (after whose grandfather the medical school was named) and Bill Johnston. From the earliest conversations about the merit of the medical school (WMed) to the present day's graduating class, they have remained actively involved, stepping up at key times to keep WMed's growth and development on track. For the most part, they have done so quietly beyond the spotlight. WMed has been joined by many friends and supporters who feel the time has come to acknowledge Ronda's and Bill's efforts.

  • 2017 - John M. and Linda Dunn
    John and Linda Dunn
    John and Linda Dunn

    WMed is a monument to the vision of Western Michigan University President Emeritus John M. Dunn. In October of 2007, Dr. Dunn proposed to build a medical school that would serve the people of southwestern Michigan. The consequent outpouring of support and enthusiasm at the University and throughout the region affirmed his idea and work began in earnest to transform his idea into a bricks-and-mortar reality. To shepherd the process, Dr. Dunn served as the Founding Chair of WMed’s Board of Directors.

    Because of his vision and leadership, the generous philanthropy of key community leaders and the support of the entire Kalamazoo community, 10 years later WMed is preparing to graduate its first class of medical students. The curriculum, built upon self-directed, peer-supported, and experiential inquiry, is both innovative and learner-centered. Not only does it promote excellence in medical education, clinical care, and research, it supports the desire of our students to serve humanity.

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