Class Notes

Virginia (Stafford) VanPeenen ’33

Virginia celebrated her 105th birthday on January 29, 2017. She was born the year the Titanic sank. At K she majored in English. She also was a member of Eurodelphian Gamma and served as secretary for her class in her junior and senior years. Virginia’s husband died when she was 37 years old, and she raised her three children as a single parent. She worked as a teacher and earned a master’s degree from Western Michigan University. In addition to her three kids she has nine grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. The Kalamazoo native today lives in Cary, North Carolina.

Virginia (Dye) Martin ’39

Virginia celebrated her 100th birthday on February 28, 2017. At K she majored in English and was a member of Eurodelphian Gamma. Her favorite memories of K in the late 1930s include homecoming, the Washington Banquet, May Fete and the annual Christmas Carol Service. A favorite class was Kathryn Hodgman’s “Art Appreciation,” which often included a tea. Orange and black run deep in her bloodlines–her father, Clark Dye, was a student athlete at K, and her mother, Maizie Slocum, was the daughter of Kalamazoo College president A.G. Slocum. How her parents met she describes as a “romantic and serendipitous story. Clark had broken his leg playing football for K,” explained Virginia. “President Slocum invited him to live with his family until his leg healed, and that was how he met the love of his life, Maizie!” Congratulations on your birthday, Virginia.

Lew Houston ’61

Lew wrote to say that he is (finally!) fully retired, and “now busy with family.”

Ray Comeau ’63

Ray has published a book of poems titled Watch With Me, Angels: 75 Stanzas of Sheer Poetry From a Course in Miracles. Ray and his wife, Christine, live in the Wisconsin Dells. Ray majored in English at K and played on the Hornet football team. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago.

Steve Turner ’63

Steve Turner ’63 recently joined the Emeriti Club Leadership Council, formerly known as the Emeritus Club. Those are not the only changes to the E.C.L.C. The group has a new president, Sally Padley ’62, and their reunions will now occur at homecoming rather than during commencement weekend. Congratulations, Steve.

Gretchen Eick ’64, Ph.D.

Gretchen recently received a Fulbright Fellowship (her third), which she will use to teach in Bosnia next year. Gretchen is the author of the four books, Dissent in Wichita: The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954-72 ; Herstories: Woman to Woman ; Maybe Crossings; and Finding Duncan. At K Gretchen majored in history and studied abroad in Sierra Leone.

Robert Neuman ’66, Ph.D.

Robert has written College Smart, a three-book series for students, parents and educators aimed at helping kids prepare for college, graduate from college on time, and save money. Robert taps experience and expertise he gained from his long career in higher education (he was formerly associate dean of the College of the Arts and Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, and he spent 30 years counseling students). His book series helps readers develop the organizational and time management skills necessary for success in college.

Robert Cinabro ’70

Bob was feted at the 32nd annual STAR Awards (Sharing Time and Resources) celebration in Kalamazoo this past spring. He received the Irving S. Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award. Bob served the city of Kalamazoo as City Attorney for many years. After he retired he served as a city commissioner. At K Bob majored in political science and studied abroad in Mexico. He earned his law degree at Cornell University.

Henry S. Perkins ’71, M.D.

Henry published the book, A Guide to Psychosocial and Spiritual Care at the End of Life, for patients, families, health professionals, clergy, and social workers.  The book addresses topics ranging from end-of-life prognostic quandaries to care for family caregivers to beliefs about death and the afterlife.  When writing the book Henry drew on his experiences practicing medicine among the poor of Kenya, Mexico, and Texas.  In 2012 he retired after teaching internal medicine and medical ethics for 27 years at The University of Texas.  He continues as a consultant in bioethics at the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health in San Antonio. At K Henry majored in physics and studied abroad in Bonn, Germany. He earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan.

Willard Washburn ’73, Ph.D.

The board of trustees of the College of Saint Rose (Albany, New York) has honored Bill with the status of Professor Emeritus. Congratulations, Bill!

Danny Agustin Flores ’80

Danny continues his publishing endeavors at Skyebluepublications.com of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.  He plans this year to publish a short review in a peer-reviewed agricultural journal on his research on low-quality feeds and protein utilization in livestock, work he eventually plans to share in book form. He also is preparing two shorter communications: the first on the amino acid histidine fed as a supplement for better growth, lactation and reproduction; the second on models of shell egg cholesterol metabolism for poultry, chicken and turkeys as ways for lowering cholesterol content in the egg. The latter work may suggest new approaches to breeding high-histidine varieties of common animal feedstuffs, including timothy, ryegrass, cocksfoot, fescue, alfalfa, clover, trefoil, sanfoin, soybean, corn and sorghum.

Matthew J. Christensen ’92

Matthew was awarded the 2017 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and the 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipends grant to support the research and writing of a scholarly study, Unsovereign Bodies: The State and the Individual Subject in African Detective Fiction. The book traces the history of the detective genre as a mode of critique in Anglophone African writing. Matthew is a professor in the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. At K he majored in English and studied abroad in Sierra Leone. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees at UCLA.

John Lewis ’93

John was named an “Ohio Super Lawyer” for 2017. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The multi-phased selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. John works for the law firm Tucker Ellis LLP in Cleveland, Ohio. Along with being on the 2017 Ohio Super Lawyers list, John was on the 2016 Ohio Super Lawyers list and the 2016 “Best Lawyers in America” list.

Rob Passage ’93

Rob is the new director of intercollegiate athletics at Willamette University. At K Rob majored in economics and business and played four years of varsity basketball for the Hornets. He studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. After graduation he worked as an assistant basketball coach at the University of Chicago. In 2002, he returned to Kalamazoo College and served as the head men’s basketball coach and assistant professor of physical education, and in 2007 also became assistant director of athletics. As head coach he led the Kalamazoo College Hornets to an 18-7 record during the 2002-03 season, the best since the 1993-94 season. Rob joined Willamette in 2012 as director of facilities and operations, and was later promoted to assistant athletics director in 2013 and to associate athletics director in 2016. He became interim athletics director in December 2016.

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart ’95

ACPA (American College Personnel Association)-College Student Educators International announced its Association-wide award winners for 2017. Among them is Dafina-Lazarus, who was named a Senior Scholar.  Senior Scholars advocate for the integration of scholarship into the practice of student affairs. Nominees are senior members of the profession who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to ACPA’s mission of generating and disseminating knowledge and who have the commitment to further advance research and theory. Dafina-Lazarus is an associate professor at Bowling Green State University. Dafina-Lazarus majored in sociology at K and earned a master’s degree and doctorate at Ohio State University.

April Riker ’97

April and her husband, Miguel Aquirre, and their (very proud) little boy, Santiago, welcomed to the world Felix Francisco Aguirre Riker on July 29, 2016. The family lives in Royal, Oak, Michigan. April is a business analyst for DXC Technology, supporting General Motors Financial Latin America Operations.

Corey Schultz ’97

Corey retired from the U.S. Army in August, 2015, as a Major. Since then she has taken classes in underwater research methods and scuba diving in Key West, and she is currently learning about sustainable agriculture by volunteering with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and exploring the U.S. national park system. Love that liberal arts spirit! Corey is also helping plan the class of 1997’s 20-year reunion this fall.

Todd Thompson ’97

Todd is an associate professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and he recently was awarded a Distinguished Faculty Award by IUP’s University Senate. At K Todd majored in English and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. He earned his M.F.A. in writing (School of the Art Institute) and his Ph.D. in American literature (University of Illinois at Chicago). His recent publications include the book The National Joker: Abraham Lincoln and the Politics of Satire as well as a number of articles, editions, and book chapters. He recently was awarded a Peterson Fellowship, an archival research residency at the American Antiquarian Society.

John Scribner ’98

John works in the business development services unit of CEI.  His office is in Portland, Maine, where he serves as director of StartSmart, a business development program that helps immigrants start or grow businesses. In that role John assists refugees and immigrants who have settled in Maine attain self sufficiency. At K John earned his degree in economics. He earned a M.B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University. John was a co-recipient of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Minority Small Business Champion for Maine as well as the Refugee Microenterprise Champion Award for 2015, recognizing his dedicated work with refugee entrepreneurs in the United States.

Dawn (Todd) Whitford ’01

Dawn  (left) recently followed her longtime veterinarian to a new practice. One of the vets in the new practice is Dr. Lauren (Stockdale) Danskin ’05. When they learned of their K connection, it only seemed appropriate that they have a picture taken together with Dawn’s sweet 13-year-old Golden Retriever at the center of it all, Kallie May Sue.

Stephanie (Schrift) Fletcher ’02

Stephanie  and  her husband, John-Paul, were blessed with their fourth baby on March 3, 2017! Teofila Rosemarie Fletcher was seven pounds and seven ounces. Her older sister, Sarah, and brothers Rowan and Joshua are very excited to play with her.

Stacey (Nastase) Lambert ’02

Stacey was hired by Aventis (now Sanofi) shortly after graduating from K. She has since sold a variety of pharmaceuticals in several territories throughout Michigan. Stacey has won many awards during her 14-plus years at the company, but the most impressive came in both 2010 and 2016. Stacey was the recipient of the World Champions of Sales Award… twice! The award recognizes and honors her “outstanding performance and impact,” according to the company, and places her “among an elite group of professionals (the top 1 percent of the entire organization), whose passion and innovation have resulted in superior customer engagement.” Stacey was awarded a trip to Paris and Montreux in 2011 and will travel to Paris and Venice this year.

Amber (Terry) Hupp ’03

Amber was recently promoted to the rank of associate professor of chemistry, with tenure, at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.). At K Amber earned her B.A. in chemistry and studied abroad in Bonn Germany. She earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Michigan State University. Her research mainly focuses  on analyzing biodiesel fuels and biodiesel-diesel blended fuels using gas chromatography and chemometrics. Her work has been published in a variety of places, including the Journal of Chemometrics, the Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society, and Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. She has been a member of the Holy Cross faculty since 2009. The College of the Holy Cross is a liberal arts undergraduate college with 2,900 students.

Ryan C. Plecha ’04

Ryan joined the law firm of Kostopoulos Rodriguez, PLLC (KORO) as senior counsel in the firm’s litigation practice group. His practice focuses on complex civil and commercial litigation. KORO is a full-service, sophisticated law firm serving businesses and business owners in specialized areas of the law. At K Ryan majored in psychology. He earned his J.D. from the Thomas Cooley Law School.

William R. (Rob) Morrison ’06, Ph.D.

The Eastern Branch of the Entomology Society of America has honored Rob with the Excellence in Early Career Award. Rob is a research entomologist at the USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas. The award honors a student or early professional working within the field of entomology who has demonstrated excellence in all the major aspects of intellectual life, including research, extension, teaching and outreach.

Lisa Ludwinski ’06

In mid-February Lisa  was named a 2017 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalist in the “Outstanding Baker” category–“A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence.” Lisa was honored for her work at Sister Pie in Detroit.

Ellen Chenoweth ’08

Ellen participated in the April 22 March for Science in Washington, D.C., the goal of which was to send the message that science matters. Ellen was one of six scientists profiled in an April 21 article (“From Alaska to Georgia, Why 6 Scientists Will March on Washington”) that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Ellen represented the “from Alaska,” where she is a student in ecology and marine biology (her research focuses on humpback whales) at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. In the article she states that she attended the march, in particular, to make sure that rural researchers and young women were represented. At K Ellen majored in biology and studied abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico. The title of her K Senior Individualized Project is “Tidal Influences on Behavior and Dispersal of Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, Alaska.”

Darrin Camilleri ’14

Darrin is one of 20 20-somethings featured in a recent article (“Twenty in Their 20s”) that appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business. Darrin is the state representative for the 23rd District in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Péter Érdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies

Péter is the co-editor of a new book titled Computational Neurology and Psychiatry. He also is the co-author—along with two K students, Takumi Matsuzawa ’16 and Tibin John ’15—of a paper included in that book. The paper is titled “Connecting Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease: Modeling of Normal and Pathological Rhythmicity and Synaptic Plasticity Related to Amyloidβ (Aβ) Effects.”

Sometimes seeing more is a matter of new ways of looking. Such “new ways of looking” include the emerging scientific fields of computational neurology and computational psychiatry. The key word is “computational.” Researchers apply math and computer science to create computer models that simulate brain structures and brain activities associated with specific disorders (epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, for example). Such simulations—and new techniques of analyzing the copious amount of data that emerges from such simulations—have the potential to reveal elements of brain structure and function associated with disease and disorders, elements that have heretofore been a mystery. In other words, these “new ways of looking” may result in seeing what’s never been seen before.

Computer modeling also offers advantages of cost and convenience compared to older ways (animal experimentation and laboratory set-up) of trying to model and see brain structure and (mal)function.

A book that pioneers these new scientific fields is exciting and important, says Péter:  “Adopting advanced computational methods such as modeling and data processing raises hopes that one day we will more effectively treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.”

In other news, Péter has been appointed Vice President for Membership of the International Neural Network Societies.

Laura Furge, Associate Provost and the Roger F. and Harriet G. Varney Professor of Chemistry

From the “It’s a small world” department: Laura was hiking in early April the Chapel Trail in Sedona, Arizona. She happened to be wearing a T-shirt with the K logo. Two women she passed on the trail inquired if the shirt was related to Kalamazoo College. Turns out the two women–Larissa Miller Bishop ’96 and Stephanie (Gorman) Foote ’96–are alumni classmates, and both know Carrie (Graveel) Diegel ’96, a mutual friend of all three hikers. What prompted Laura’s recollection of the incident was a similar occurrence on a glacier trail in New Zealand, involving Holly Gillis ’09 and Jeff Palmer ’76. Holly remembered Laura; Laura remembered her recent story of Hornets crossing paths. Pictured in Arizona are (l-r): Laura,  Larissa and Stephanie.

Marigene Arnold, Professor Emerita of Sociology and Anthropology

Marigene was one of five women recognized by YWCA Kalamazoo with a 2017 Women of Achievement Award. Since her retirement Marigene has been active as a member of the Hispanic American Council’s board of directors. She was cited for her appreciation of diversity, culture, empowerment and social justice. Marigene’s  fluency in Spanish allows her to work as an advocate bringing stability to families facing a variety of obstacles, from domestic violence and child custody to deportation. Her oversight of events, initiatives and collaborations continues to be a part of the Hispanic American Council’s vision of creating a better future for the Hispanic/Latino community. “This was a wonderful recognition for the work Marigene has been doing for our Hispanic community,” said President Jorge G. Gonzalez. “It is great to see that our emeriti faculty continue to be fully engaged with our community.”