News Briefs, Nov. 7

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack selected as EMU fall commencement speaker

Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, EMU alumnus, to receive honorary degree

Bridget Mary McCormack, a Michigan Court Supreme Court Justice, has been selected as commencement speaker for Eastern Michigan University's fall commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, a resident of Ypsilanti and EMU alumnus who distinguished himself in combat operations in Vietnam, will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree at the ceremony.

The EMU Board of Regents approved McCormack as speaker and Kettles as an honorary degree recipient during its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Kettles, 86, received the Medal of Honor this past summer from President Barack Obama for saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his crew members on May 15, 1967. Kettles served as a helicopter pilot and flew into a valley to save soldiers under fire during fierce fighting near Duc Pho, Vietnam. Kettles also served active duty tours in Korea, Japan and Thailand.

After serving in the Vietnam War, Kettles completed his bachelor’s degree at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. He then earned a master's degree in commercial construction at EMU's College of Technology and developed EMU's Aviation Management Program.

McCormack graduated from the New York University Law School and spent the first five years of her career in New York representing clients through the Legal Aid Society and the Office of the Appellate Defender. She would later become a faculty fellow at the Yale Law School in 1996.

McCormack was a law professor and dean at the University of Michigan Law School, joining faculty to teach criminal law, legal ethics and other clinical courses in 1998.

In 2008 McCormack cofounded the Michigan Innocence Clinic, where students investigate and litigate cases on the behalf of prisoners who have new evidence that may establish wrongful conviction. The clinic focuses on cases where there is no biological evidence to be tested and has exonerated seven of its clients since 2009. In Jan. 2013 McCormack became a Michigan Court Supreme Justice and continues to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court.

EMU approves $57 million in financial aid for 2016-2017

The EMU Board of Regents approved more than $57 million in scholarships, awards and grants at its meeting on Nov. 1.

This approval represents an increase of 5.3 percent more than the financial aid budget for 2016-17. The $57 million includes $40.5 million for undergraduate scholarships, awards and grants, $5.8 million for graduate student aid and $10.2 million for athletic grants. The increase in awarded financial aid correlates with the continued growth of freshman enrollment at EMU.

EMU welcomed the third largest freshman enrollment in its history as an institution with 2,774 freshman attending EMU this year. The GPA and ACT scores of incoming freshman have also risen since 2010, with this year's freshman earning an average GPA of 3.26 and an average ACT score of 22. This compares to 2010 where the average GPA was 3.05 and the average ACT score was 21.1.

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