Family, EMU faculty celebrate life of Vernon Polite

Michael Bretting, the interim dean of the college of education, opened the ceremony dedicated to Vernon Polite

Friends, family members, colleagues and students of late College of Education Dean Vernon C. Polite came together Thursday in the Student Center Ballroom to honor his life and his time at EMU.

Polite held his position from 2005 until this year.

Interim College of Education Dean Michael Bretting gave opening and closing remarks. Other speakers included President Susan Martin, Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Teresa Gueyser, EMU African American studies professor Ronald Woods, Diversity and Community Involvement Director Kay Woodiel and EMU teacher education professor Patricia Williams-Boyd.

Williams-Boyd also played “Amazing Grace” and other songs on the piano at the ceremony, and Aris Yancey offered her voice to the song “Total Praise.”

Bretting said an effort is underway to push for the Office of Urban Education and Educational Equity to be named after Polite. But he said a current university policy is in place that prohibits naming departments after a deceased faculty members until two years after their death.

Congressman John Dingell, D-Mich., was supposed to attend the ceremony, but his comments were read by special education professor Sally Burton-Hoyle.

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By Josh Coudret / The Eastern Echo
EMU teacher education professor Patricia Williams-Boyd plays the piano while Aris Yancey sings "Total Praise" at Polite's memorial.
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By Josh Coudret / The Eastern Echo
Provost Jack Kay speaks to the audience about Vernon C. Polite's fashion advice and his commitment to EMU.

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