The Passing of Honorary Trustee and Alumnus Robert H. Michel
February 17, 2017
“Congressman Michel and his wife Corinne were true models of dedicated public servants,” said Bradley President Gary Roberts. “The University and the community are indebted to the Michels for their loyalty to their alma mater and their distinguished leadership in our community and the nation.”
Bob Michel has been an instrumental figure on Bradley’s campus in many ways. He was vital in securing funds to build the Caterpillar Global Communications Center on campus. He also shared his vast knowledge with our students, instilling the value of civility and bipartisan leadership in public service. These lessons are imperative to our future.
The University hosted a gala salute to Congressman Michel at the time of his retirement from Congress in 1994 after 38 years of service. The event raised an estimated $1.3 million to endow The Bob and Corinne Michel Scholarship at Bradley. More than a thousand members of Congress, corporate leaders, and others joined Bradley officials and President Bill Clinton for the event held in Washington D.C. At that time, Michel was appointed Distinguished Adjunct Professor of American Government.
In 1999, the University further recognized Mr. Michel’s extraordinary career in public service and his support of Bradley with the naming of the Student Center in his honor.
Following his service as a combat infantryman during World War II, during which he was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, Michel returned to Peoria and earned a degree in business administration from Bradley in 1948. In 1981, the University awarded him the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He also was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award and a member of the University’s Centurion Society, which honors outstanding alumni for their career achievements in business, public life and the professions. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1982 and has remained an Honorary Trustee since his regular term expired.
He was a mentor and an inspiration to many and will be missed by all of us on the Hilltop.