Remember Kevin West, Madonna’s Service-Learning Director

Kevin West, Madonna University’s Director of Service-Learning, passed away April 28. Mr. West joined Madonna University in 1996 as an adjunct faculty member teaching Sociology and became director of Service-Learning in 2001. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Wayne State University, where he was working on his doctorate.

He leaves behind his wife, Maureen, and children, Catherine and Josette.

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“Kevin West was a force for the good, committed to engaging students in community service and creative in coming up with ways to focus faculty and staff energy and attention on improving the quality of life of others.  He read people well, was exceptionally thoughtful and insightful dealing with his colleagues and with students. Kevin will be sorely missed, and the shock of his death will resonate across the university for months to come.  His easy smile, his natural bonhomie, his reassuring presence whenever the topic turned to community engagement—all of the special memories we have of a stalwart friend and colleague will evidence the indelible mark he made on so many lives.  Madonna University will need to look long and hard to find someone as well-prepared, committed, creative, and temperamentally suited to the role of Director of Service-Learning.  May he rest in peace.”

Ernest I. Nolan
Provost and Vice President for Academic Administration

“When I came to Madonna University to join the Sociology Department, one of the first people I met was Kevin West.  Every once in a while you meet somebody whom you felt that you have known for many years. It was like that with Kevin. He knew many of the same people I knew in the Sociology Department at Wayne State where we both went to school.  My dissertation chair was also his advisor. So many days Kevin would come by to just stop in to say “Hi,” and we would sit around my table and talk about politics, but usually the Red Wings, and it always involved laughter.  I didn’t know him as long as some, but I felt like I knew him for a very long time.  I was proud to have him as a friend, and I will miss him greatly.” 
Michelle M. Proctor
Chair, Sociology

“I met Kevin on my first day at Madonna and he persuaded me to join his service-learning fellows group. I was amazed at his passion for serving the community and we started working together on projects. He wanted to help people because he cared and that is contagious.  He encouraged me to partner with the nurses to support their service-learning initiatives and this has been one of the most fulfilling things I have done at Madonna.
“Five years later, we are still working together. On Monday, we planned out 10 days worth of activities for the summer, which included bridge camp for the SW Detroit kids, organizing a community technology workshop, presenting our work at a conference in Toronto and a trip to Ottawa with our families after the conference. What a great summer it could have been! Kevin will be missed and he leaves a void that will be impossible to fill.”
Phillip Olla
Endowed Phillips Chair of Management
School of Business

“He was a most gracious and gentle man, respectful of everyone, a man with a heart for love and service, warm and with a lovely sense of humor. We are truly blessed to have had him among us, to have changed us for the good.  ‘The glory of God is man fully alive.’”
Linette Popoff-Parks
Professor and Chair, Music Department

“There is great sadness in the Diponio building as there were many connections with Service Learning and Community Engagement initiatives and nursing.  Kevin participated in community meetings and arranged many activities. 

Teresa L. Thompson

Dean, College of Nursing and Health

“Kevin and I have had adjoining offices for many years.  Each of us shared with the other in informal and fraternal ways. We often talked about his career and how he had carved such an important niche for himself in the Madonna family. Our last lengthy conversation was about my experience that resulted in my having a pacemaker installed, with Kevin comparing me to his thinking about his mother, who had had the same surgery within days of mine.  There was never any mention of Kevin's being in danger, however; his concern was for his mother, not himself.  The shock of this loss is simply inexpressible; he was too young and too much in the midst of his important work. I know we all feel for his family as well as for Madonna and for our individual sense of personal loss.”
Leon Levitt

School of Business

“I cannot express the sadness we feel for the loss of Kevin.  He was a friend, colleague, and part of our family.  We worked together on many shows, summer camps, and community projects.  It was Kevin who got our Broadcast Club involved in the Emmy Award winning “Life of Pablo Davis” and so many other projects.  He will be deeply missed, but, always remembered, in our thoughts and prayers.”
Chuck Derry
Director, Broadcast & Cinema Arts Major

“Kevin was a leader in our network and a champion of civic engagement and campus-community partnerships. All involved in the Michigan Campus Compact network highly valued Kevin’s contributions and sincerely enjoyed working with him. He will be greatly missed. Kevin and his partners at the All Saints Neighborhood Center were awarded the Carter Partnership Award in 2007. Kevin’s efforts exemplify the finest in our field.”
Renee Miller Zientek

Executive Director
Michigan Campus Compact