Alumni Service Award: Craig Stilwell
While studying speech at Lake Michigan College, Craig Stilwell landed his childhood dream job. He wanted to be in radio since the third grade and in high school took a part-time gig at WDOW in his hometown of Dowagiac. Lake Michigan College speech instructor William Devereaux, who worked with Craig on the campus closed-circuit radio station, suggested him to WSJM, which wanted a student with experience for an on-air position. That job, Craig says, kicked off a 16-year broadcasting career.
He earned an associate in arts degree in speech from Lake Michigan College in 1967 and added a bachelor’s and master’s degree in broadcasting from Western Michigan University in 1969, and Michigan State University in 1970. He worked at stations in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Lansing.
As an account executive at WVIC, Craig filed lawsuits against non-paying advertisers, becoming “the Perry Mason of small claims court.” Deciding to make it official, he earned his law degree at Southwestern University in Los Angeles and set up his law practice in Hollywood in 1983. He returned to Michigan in 1990, opening a law office in East Lansing, before taking a full-time faculty position teaching business law at Michigan State University. At Michigan State, Craig taught as many as 400 upper-class students each semester for 16 years, wrote a textbook, and received Excellence in Teaching Awards three times before retiring in 2014.
Craig credits the public speaking skills learned at Lake Michigan College as the foundation for successful careers in radio, law, and academics.
Craig Stilwell received the Alumni Service Award in 2019.