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Donald Loppnow papers

Identifier: 010.DL

Scope and Contents

The Donald Loppnow papers are arranged in three series: SOCIAL WORK, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND PERFORMANCE, and ADMINISTRATION. Each series contains multiple subseries.

The SOCIAL WORK series contains materials related to the Council on Social Work, course and curriculum information, Loppnow's tenure as Department Head, events, the Geriatric Center of Michigan, grant and sponsored research, correspondence, the history of the department, and meeting minutes.

The PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND PERFORMANCE series contains materials related to the ACE Fellowship and Loppnow's tenure and promotion documents.

The ADMINISTRATION series contains materials related the Office of Research and Development, Extended Programs, strategic planning, academic affairs, Loppnow's time serving as University President, Loppnow's time serving as Provost and Executive Vice President, and the EMU Foundation. This series also cotains a subseries entitled Office Files, which contains materials related to Loppnow's differnt roles in EMU administration, including committees, agendas, meeting notes, research on student retention, student learning and assessment, organizational models, newsletters and clippings, honorary degrees conferred, remarks to the Senate Appropriation Committee, presentations, campus reports, campus safety, and press releases. An additional Media subseries contains backup diskettes of reports, presentations, and files, as well as media related to Laura Dickinson, campus safety, and three VHS tapes of programming.

All series include multiple subseries related to correspondence, reports, faculty papers, personnel, and community outreach.


  • Creation: 1975-2010


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical / Historical

Donald Loppnow earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in 1970. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Michigan in 1989.

Loppnow was a social worker at the Wisconsin School for Girls in Oregon, WI from 1967 to 1968. He served as Unit Director for Wel Met, Inc. – Child Guidance in New York, NY from 1969 to 1970. He was Supervisor of Adult Services and Child Protective Services for the Manitowoc County Department of Social Services in Manitowoc, WI from 1970 to 1974. He was also Executive Director of Big Brothers of Manitowoc County in Manitowoc, WI between 1972 and 1974.

Loppnow joined Eastern Michigan University (EMU) as a full-time lecturer for the Social Work Program in 1974. He served as Coordinator of the Social Work Program from August 1978 to June 1981. In 1981, the Social Work Program moved to the College of Human Services, where it became an academic department. Loppnow was the first Department Head for the new Department of Social Work. Loppnow also served as Associate Director for the Institute for the Study of Children and Family between 1979 to June 1981.

In 1987, Michigan State University and EMU partnered together to develop a Geriatric Center of Michigan. Loppnow served as co-director of the project. From 1983 to 1988, Loppnow served as both the Director of the Gerontology Program, and the Department Head of the Department of Social Work. In February 1985, he was promoted to Acting Director of the Office of Research Development. November 1985, he was named Interim President of the Office of Research Development. He served in this role until August 1986.

In June 1990, it was announced that Loppnow had been named among the 31 Fellows chosen as part of the American Council of Education (ACE) Fellows of 1990-1991. After various interviews, he served his fellowship as Special Assistant to the President of Western Michigan University.

Loppnow served as the Interim Assistant Vice President for Programs from September 1996 to August 1997. In September 1997, he was named Assistant Vice President of Extended Programs, aposition he held until October 2002. Between 2000 and 2002, he also served as Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning. From 2002-2004, Loppnow served as Senior Executive for Strategic and Continuous Improvement.

August 4, 2004, Loppnow was appointed Acting President of EMU, holding the position until August 15, 2004, when Dr. Craig Willis was able to take over the position. Effective September 17, 2004, Loppnow was appointed to Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He held the position until April 2006, when he was appointed to the position permanently. He held this position until July 2007.

In July 2007, Loppnow was rapidly assigned two administrative positions. The shorter held position was the announcement that he would serve as Interim President, following the firing of President John Fallon, due to EMU being charged with having violated the Cleary Act. The longer-held position was as Provost and Executive Vice President, which he held until May 2010. He stepped down in May 2010, wishing to serve out the last of his time at EMU in the classroom. After an Administrative Sabbatical from May to December 2010. He returned as a Professor at the School of Social Work in January 2011 and held that position until he retired in August 2014. He was granted the status of Professor Emeritus in October 2014. Loppnow came out of retirement in January 2016, to serve another stint as Interim President, while a search for a replacement for Susan Martin was conducted.

Amongst the numerous students to have passed through Loppnow’s classrooms, Robert Wollack credited Loppnow as one of the mentors that helped him turn his life around and to pursue his calling in social work. This can be found in Wollack's book,They Will Be Victors.

Loppnow was awarded the John D. Dingell Distinguished Service Award in 2015 from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce. During his time at EMU, Loppnow helped accumulate over $3.6 million in grants in support of the school’s mission.

Loppnow’s compassion did not end with his teaching and commitment to EMU. He was involved with several community organizations: Dawn Farm, the Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, the Twenty Club, the Ypsilanti Historical Society, and the Riverside Arts Center.


10.6 Linear Feet (16 archive boxes, 1 halfsize archive box, 3 record center cartons, 2 flip-top photograph boxes, 1 disk box)

Language of Materials



Donald Loppnow is an emeritus faculty and former administrator of Eastern Michigan University. The Donald Loppnow papers document his tenure at EMU, including his roles as both faculty and administrator. Loppnow began his career at EMU as a lecturer in sociology. He rose through the academic ranks to professor of social work, the position he held at the time of his retirement in 2014. He was instrumental in founding the Department of Social Work, now the School of Social Work, and served as its first Department Head. It was under his leadership that EMU was recognized as a national leader in undergraduate research in the field of Social Work. Loppnow came into University-wide leadership in 1990 when he was named interim director of the Office of Research Development, which encourages and supports faculty grant writing, and associate director of the Institute for the Study of Children and Families. In 1997, he became associate vice president for Extended Programs and added a half-time appointment as assistant to the president for strategic planning in 2000. Don was tapped by the Board of Regents to serve briefly as acting president in 2004, and then became the senior executive for strategic planning and continuous improvement from 2004-2006. He served as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2006-2009, with a change in title to executive vice president in 2007. Don was asked, again, to provide much needed leadership as interim president until 2008. After returning to the provost position, Don’s intent was to step down in 2009 in order to return to faculty. His return was delayed for one year when he agreed to serve as vice-president for advancement and executive director of the EMU Foundation. Loppnow has since held interim leadserhip positions at EMU through 2016.

Processing Information

Arrangement by practicum student (Wayne State University) Laura Bateman, December 2022. Processing completed by Brooke Boyst, March 2023.

Donald Loppnow papers
Laura Bateman, Practicum Student - Wayne State University, Brooke Boyst
2023 March 8
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197