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Adoption Fosters Love for WMU

Joel and Joyce York Are Making a Difference

Joel and Joyce York make a difference to WMU through a planned gift.

Joel and Joyce York make a difference to WMU through a planned gift.

Joel and Joyce York’s connection to WMU goes back many years since Joel was adopted by Dr. and Mrs. Zack L. York. Dr. York was head of the speech department at WMU.

"The day I was adopted, Mrs. York took me to East Hall to pick up Dr. York," Joel recalls. He went on to attend nursery school and summer school at WMU’s campus school, and as a child, Joel acted in three plays at the original theatre on Oakland Drive. "One of my childhood friends was Jamie Miller, son of President Miller."

Joel continued his higher education at WMU where he studied broadcast communications and was a proud member of the Dean’s List. He also held various jobs on campus through the years, including working in a women's dorm on a special permit as a janitor during winter break when he was 15, and later working in several different roles at the cafeteria in the student center.

"So many of the people I knew at WMU are now building names, and I knew many of the professors because they came to the York farm each summer. I also knew many of the well-known families in the Kalamazoo area because of their love of WMU theatre and many of them were donors."

Joel, who is now a retired military police officer, received a misdiagnosis while enlisted in the army that ended up making him even more ill. It was a nurse who concluded he had been misdiagnosed and urged a doctor to correct the treatment plan.

Joel and Joyce, who graduated from the Bronson Hospital School of Nursing—now part of WMU—decided to make a planned gift that will benefit nursing students interested in mental health through scholarships.

"We wanted to help nursing candidates because of Joyce's career and because I have respect for them," Joel explained.

"Making a planned gift is easy to do and we feel good about making the commitment knowing it will make a difference," Joel says. "It is also nice to be among the other many benefactors of WMU."

Begin Your Giving Journey

You can help us continue to build intellectual inquiry and discovery in our students by including the WMU Foundation in your will or other estate plans. Contact University Advancement at (269) 387-8700 or to start your giving journey today.

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