Diether Haenicke

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Diether H. Haenicke (May 19, 1935 – February 15, 2009) was a president of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Haenicke had previously served as president from 1985–1998 and as an interim president from 2006–2007.

On August 15, 2006, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Haenicke as interim president, immediately after voting to fire president Judith Bailey.

Haenicke had stepped down from the presidency in 1998 and continued to teach foreign languages until 2004. A large building on campus, Haenicke Hall, is named for him. Haenicke received his doctorate, magna cum laude, in 1962 from the University of Munich.

Haenicke served as the interim president of Western Michigan University from September 2006, following the firing of then-president Judith Bailey by the WMU board of directors until the tenure of John Dunn began in July 2007.

Haenicke died aged 73 on February 15, 2009, in Kalamazoo, from complications following a head injury sustained in December 2008 when he went into cardiac arrest while giving a speech.[1]

Appearance on Home Improvement[edit]

In 1995, Haenicke made a cameo appearance in one episode of the sitcom Home Improvement, starring Tim Allen who is a 1976 graduate of WMU. In that episode, Haenicke played himself, and presented Allen's character, Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, with an honorary doctorate.[2]

The Home Improvement episode would prove to be prophetic, for Allen would actually later be awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree by WMU in 1998.[3] However, Haenicke did not present Allen's degree this time, because he would also receive his own honorary degree during the same ceremony.


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