University Presidents

A biographical guide the principals and presidents of Eastern Michigan University (previously named the Michigan State Normal School, Michigan State Normal College, and Eastern Michigan College)

Samuel A. Kirkpatrick, 2000-2004

Samuel A. Kirkpatrick earned his bachelor's degree from Shippensburg University in education and a master's and Ph.D. in political science from Pennsylvania State University. Kirkpatrick served as head of the Political Science department at Texas A&M University and the Dena of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. From 1990-1999 he served as the President of the University of Texas at San Antonio

Kirkpatrick came to Eastern Michigan University in 2000 with a goal of developing a comprehensive strategic development plan, reorganizing the University's leadership and gaining re-accreditation. He extended academics on campus, supporting new graduate and undergraduate programs including Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology and technology. 

His tenure also saw the addition of the Village residence halls, the University House and planning for a new student center. Kirkpatrick returned to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. where he had worked prior to taking the position at EMU. 

Craig D. Willis, 2004-2005

Craig D. Willis grew up in northwest Ohio and served for 22 years as the President of Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. He accepted a one-year interim appointment to serve as President at Eastern Michigan University shortly after retiring from Lock Haven. 

Willis was asked to address advancing the University’s position in Lansing, defining better internal controls, resolving relationship issues, ensuring high quality educational experiences for all students and successfully completing all collective bargaining agreements. He was well liked on campus and quickly won over faculty, students and staff, who said his tenure helped heal a broken, distrustful campus and moved EMU out of the controversial University House spotlight.

Willis made few new permanent administrative hires, saying he preferred to let the new president choose his cabinet. Over and over, campus members said they hoped the next president would be "Willis-like."

John A. Fallon III, 2005-2007

John A. Fallon III was born in Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and received a bachelor of science in education from Western Michigan University, a master's degree in educational administration from Northern Michigan University and a doctorate in educational administration from Michigan State University. He served on the faculties at Ball State University and Saginaw Valley State University prior to serving as president of SUNY Potsdam and William Penn College.

In the Spring/Summer 2005 publication of the Exemplar the following comparison was made of Malcolm MacVicar and Fallon: "[Both were] leaders of the same college in Potsdam, N.Y., before accepting jobs as President of Eastern Michigan University. But MacVicar, hired in 1880, served only one year in Ypsilanti, a legacy Fallon doesn’t expect to continue. “I’m determined to outlive his tenure,” joked EMU’s president-elect in a deadpanned voice."

Dr. Fallon was relieved of his duties as President of the University by the Board of Regents on July 15, 2007 two years after he assumed the job. The University did not publicly state a reason for his departure.

Donald M. Loppnow, 2007-2008

Donald Loppnow graduated from Madison East High School and earned a bachelor's degree in social work and psychology from the University of Wisconsin Madison, a master of social work degree from Washington university in St. Louis, Missouri, and a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Michigan. He joined Eastern Michigan University in 1974 as a lecturer in the social work program and moved through leadership positions to become the first department head of social work in 1981; associate vice president for Extended Learning in 1996; assistant to the president for strategic planning in 2000; senior executive for strategic planning in 2002; was appointed acting president at the August 2004 Board of Regents meeting a position he held for two weeks between the firing of Kirkpatrick and arrival of interim President Craig D. Willis; Willis appointed Loppnow interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in September of 2004 a position he was officially appointed to in 2006 by then President Fallon.

After the firing of President John Fallon; Loppnow was appointed by the Board of Regents to the position of executive vice president. In the absence of a president, the executive vice president is the university's senior administrative official. Loppnow was supported by an executive council created by the Board of Regents to advise and assist. Loppnow returned to his role as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2008 when President Susan Martin was hired to lead EMU. He returned to the School of Social Work faculty in 2009, the same year the Don "Ace" Loppnow Scholarship became fully endowed.