Ruth (Sollitt) Williamson has been recognized as a “Living Treasure of Los Alamos” by her longtime New Mexico hometown for her lifetime of volunteer work. A music teacher after graduating from K, she moved to Los Alamos in 1961 with husband Ken, who had taken a job at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. According to the award citation, over the years she organized youth choirs, administered music therapy to people with mental, visual or physical challenges, conducted musical activities at an adult day care center, initiated and scheduled weekly noon musicales at the Los Alamos lab cafeteria, co-founded the Los Alamos Piano Teachers Association, served as president of a group that brought concerts to schools, played trumpet and piano with various ensembles, and, after her husband’s death, served as a hospice volunteer and bereavement counselor. She made a goal of “trying to touch one life a day” with an uplifting gesture, the citation says, adding, “Ruth has touched so many lives with her music and small and large kind gestures. But she insists that she is the person who has benefited from the friendships she’s made and the people she has met along the way who have enriched her life.”
One good orange deserves another: Rosemary (Luther) DeHoog speaks at the dedication of a tennis court named in her honor at Drumlins Tennis Center, part of the country club serving Syracuse University. Syracuse calls itself the home of the Orange ( K has been around longer, but we’re happy to share one of our colors). DeHoog, a four-time women’s MIAA singles tennis champion at Kalamazoo College, was staff professional at Drumlins and its predecessor, Wolf Hollow Racquet Club, from 1970 to 2004, and managed the club from 1999 to 2003. She also owned and operated the club’s tennis pro shop from 1980 to 2004 and was an adjunct professor at Syracuse from 1978 to 2004, teaching recreational tennis. She coached at LeMoyne University from 2008 to 2010, taking her team twice to the Northeast-10 Conference Championships. Long a leader in the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), she was named USPTA professional of the year in 1993, was certified as a USPTA master professional in 2007 and was named to the organization’s Eastern Division Hall of Fame in 2012. She was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.
Don Schneider achieved a personal best 11,349 cycling miles for the 2017 calendar year. The Kensington, Maryland, resident, who was an avid bicycle commuter before retiring from the National Institutes of Health, says he expects his latest total to be a lifetime high mark because wife Jean Chin is also retiring from NIH and she “has other plans for me.” Classmate Ken Van Andel says Schneider’s passion for cycling goes back at least to his time at K, when the two of them biked across Europe as Light Scholarship recipients in 1963.
Donna Odom, executive director of the Society for History and Racial Equality (SHARE) in Kalamazoo, has been honored as one of the 2018 YWCA Kalamazoo Women of Achievement. The awards recognize women in the Kalamazoo community who have made significant contributions in advocacy, community service, education and other areas. SHARE’s mission is to educate the community on the importance of the region’s African- American heritage and foster connections and conversations on race and eliminating racism.
David Sharpe has decided to retire after eight terms in the Vermont House, where the Democrat and former teacher serves as chairman of the Education Committee. After graduating from K with a chemistry degree, he moved to Vermont as a VISTA worker. He and wife Pat decided to stay in the Green Mountain State, where they raised two sons and ran an auto repair shop before Sharpe took a job teaching automotive technology. In preparation for leaving the Legislature, Sharpe sold off much of his iconic collection of neckties, which had become legendary in the Vermont Statehouse, to raise money for preservation of the building. He told the Vermont independent news organization Off Message that he began collecting funky and offbeat ties as an act of rebellion when, as a student at K, he was required to wear a coat and tie to dinner on Sundays. “So my attitude at the time was, ‘You want a coat and tie? I’ll show you a coat and tie.’ So I had some crazy coats, which have gone by the wayside, but it started a tie collection.”
Artist Helen (Tatro) Rietz has expanded the number of galleries featuring her works to four, with representation in the Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, Montana. Her Western and rural-themed paintings can also be seen at Ghost Art Gallery in Helena, Montana; Going to the Sun Gallery in Whitefish, Montana; and in the catalog of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. She paints daily to keep these galleries supplied with new works and is preparing for her first solo museum show, which will open in August 2020.
David M. Thoms has been recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a top attorney in estate planning and taxation. He has spent 36 years working in the areas of estate and tax planning of businesses and large corporations at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP in the Kalamazoo and Detroit areas, and also represents nonprofit organizations. A former Kalamazoo College trustee, he is a member of the board of the Kalamazoo Art Institute, the Metropolitan Detroit Salvation Army, Alliance Française de Grosse Pointe and the French-American Foundation, and is a governing member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He also has served on the boards of, or as an advisor to, numerous other organizations. He is a decorated officer through the Ordre des Palmes Academiques and earned a Commander Order of Salvador Award from the Salvador Dali Museum in Florida.
Timothy Howlett received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award during the State Bar of Michigan’s Labor and Employment Law Section Mid-Winter Meeting. The award is given to a lawyer who has made major contributions to the practice of labor and employment law, reflects the highest ethical principles, has advanced the development of labor and employment law, has a long-established commitment to excellence and is recognized and respected by all constituents in the labor and employment community. Labor and employment practice leader for Dickinson Wright in Detroit, Howlett is a former chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and is a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation. He is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association’s Panel of Employment Arbitrators, a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and is recognized as a leader in his field by Chambers USA, Legal 500, Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyers.
Former Crissey Hall suitemates (from left) Jennifer (Armstrong) West, Carole Siewert-Keen, Linda Lutz and Peg (Laskoski) Maass McAllister (all ’73) joined for a weekend of hiking at Muir Woods in California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. They hiked under the Golden Gate Bridge, took the Angel Island Ferry, and hiked the six-mile perimeter road with great vistas of San Francisco and the bay. They also hiked out to Point Bonita lighthouse and enjoyed the beauty of the coastal redwoods They held a previous reunion in Lima, Peru, for a trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu and look forward to seeing classmates at their 45th class reunion Oct. 19-21, 2018, in Kalamazoo.
Scott Tempel has been promoted to senior vice president and principal of Senn Delaney, a Heidrick Consulting Services company of Heidrick & Struggles. Tempel worked at Senn Delaney for seven years beginning in 1989, then spent the next 18 years working in leadership positions with PacifiCare Health Systems, Irvine Co. and Corinthian Colleges as well as starting a school for children and adolescents with brain injuries. He then returned to Senn Delaney in 2014. He and his wife, Cheryl, are enjoying grandparenthood while living out his childhood dream of residing in San Juan Capistrano, California.
William DeGrado, a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California–San Francisco and an investigator at the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute, received the Murray Goodman Memorial Prize in recognition of his seminal contributions to the de novo design of peptides, proteins and pharmaceutically active small molecules. The award acknowledges outstanding accomplishments in one or more areas of biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, biophysics or chemical biology. DeGrado, a chemistry major at K, received his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
Sharon Stohrer recently made a presentation on overcoming performance anxiety in a national webinar for SNATS — the student division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. The presentation can be viewed by visiting the NATS website, www.nats.org, and clicking on the SNATS link. She has given workshops on the topic for a number of schools and organizations and released a book on the subject, “The Performer’s Companion,” available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Visit her website.
Nancy Huntly, a biology professor at Utah State University (USU), has been named a fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest community of professional ecologists. One of 28 honorees this year, Huntly will be formally recognized during the ESA’s annual meeting in August 2018 in New Orleans. Huntly, who joined USU in 2011 after serving as program director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Environmental Biology and Long Term Ecological Research Programs, serves as director of the USU Ecology Center. In addition, Huntly leads USU’s NSF-funded Climate Adaptation Science graduate specialization program and has chaired Science Unwrapped, the USU College of Science’s public outreach program, for the past six years. Her areas of research focus include community ecology and biodiversity, human ecology, species interactions and food webs, as well as arid, alpine and Arctic places. She also has been a key advocate for students and faculty from underrepresented groups.
Mary (Ploughman) Bowe ’81 reports that her family’s Saline Picture Frame Co. in Saline, Michigan, has hired Gabby Latta ’17, the latest of a series of K grads to work for the company. Latta is the daughter of Steve Latta ’81 and niece of Jill Latta ’80.
Danny Agustin Flores is involved in research and communications in connection with livestock, dairy, egg and poultry production in his home province of Negros Oriental, the Philippines. Among other projects, he is exploring water buffalo ranching using an important local feed source, sugarcane. Also, he is involved with mentoring research in swine production using histidine, one of several potential amino acid nutraceuticals useful in boosting nutrition in animal feeding.
Terry Haas has retired as head coach of the Schoolcraft (Michigan) High School football team after 13 years. He was a coach with the team for 36 seasons; had coached at Comstock and Delton Kellogg high schools and Schoolcraft Middle School; and played football at K. Under his coaching, the Schoolcraft Eagles won five conference championships and a district title. He was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Hall of Fame in 2016. A teacher at Schoolcraft High, he continues to serve as varsity golf coach.
Chris Gawart has been named executive officer and promoted to vice president-law and general counsel at Northwestern Mutual, a Milwaukee-based financial services company. He leads the law department’s 75 attorneys and support staff overseeing investment deals, insurance and investment products, litigation, taxes and corporate governance. Deeply experienced in tax law, he formerly chaired the product tax section of the American Council of Life Insurers. Gawart, an economics major at Kalamazoo College, received his law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
Christopher P. Reynolds, a member of the Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees, was recently honored at the 55th annual V. Alyce Foster Trailblazer Awards Dinner in Dallas. Presented by the South Dallas Business Women’s and Professional Club, the awards dinner—a scholarship fundraiser— recognizes African-American business and community leaders who are pioneers in their fields. Reynolds received his bachelor’s degree in political science from K and earned his law degree at Harvard. He is the first African-American to serve as general counsel and chief legal officer of Toyota Motor Corp. and executive vice president, corporate resources, of Toyota Motor North America. He is general counsel, chief legal officer and deputy chief officer of the global company’s General Administrative and Human Resources Group. At Toyota Motor North America, he is responsible for accounting and finance, human resources, government affairs, corporate communications, corporate strategy and other functions. He also serves as chief diversity officer. Prior to joining Toyota in 2007, Reynolds served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, and as a law clerk for Judge Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Detroit, and worked in private legal practice. He grew up amid the auto industry in Detroit as the son of a Ford River Rouge plant worker. In November 2017, Reynolds represented Toyota as it stepped forward to fund the Dallas’ annual holiday parade, which had lost its previous corporate sponsor.
Suzanne (Kleinsmith) Saganich is one of eight partners of FisherBroyles LLP selected by Super Lawyers magazine as 2018 Ohio Super Lawyers. Saganich, whose practice areas are real estate, business, banking, creditor’s rights and commercial transactions, also has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer, first in 2008 and annually beginning in 2012.
Marla (Hill) Wiltse ’86, husband John Wiltse ’87 and Russell Becker ’09 gathered for a photo after meeting by chance when they joined the same tour group for an excursion in Belize. They spent the day hiking through the jungle and swimming across a river and into the mouth of Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. They also learned they have a common love of Ultimate Frisbee. The Wiltses met while playing the game at K and still compete in local leagues in Rochester, New York. Becker, now of Baltimore, played on the Ultimate Buzz team all four years he was at K.
Peter Schmidt has launched a new business: Profs and Pints, which hosts lectures for paying audiences at Washington, D.C.-area taverns by some of the region’s most popular professors. According to a Washington Post profile, Schmidt hatched the idea after being laid off from his reporting and editing job at the Chronicle of Higher Education. He told the Post the professors draw audiences of up to 150 and get to keep a cut of the $10-a-person admission fee—a welcome income supplement, especially for those in low-paying adjunct positions. He said he hopes to spread the Profs and Pints model to other cities.
Sara Nestor ’09 won the 2018 VASA 51K Women’s Freestyle cross-country ski race in Traverse City, Michigan, despite starting in the second wave of racers. She credits coaching by Emily Lovett ’88, a Steamboat Springs, Colorado-based Nordic ski instructor, and inspiration from 2017 winner Mariah Frye Colie ’08.
Sue Carter, a professor of physics at the University of California Santa Cruz and co-founder of agriculture tech firm Soliculture, recently delivered the Alberta Innovates Energy and Environment Solutions Lecture, speaking on “Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaics for Power Generating Greenhouses.” A chemistry, physics and mathematics major at K, she discussed overcoming opposition to construction of solar arrays by using advanced technologies that incorporate solar power-producing cells into greenhouse frames, making it possible for them to share the same land used for growing crops. The system has been tested in both California and Alberta, Canada.
Sangeeta (Gandhi) Shah is one of the four founding organizers of the newly formed Chicago Regional Chapter of Chiefs in Intellectual Property (ChIPS), Legal News reports. The national organization focuses on advancing and connecting women in the fields of technology, law and policy. Shah, chief diversity officer at the law firm Brooks Kushman, told Legal News that women are underrepresented in senior levels of the legal profession and especially in the intellectual property field, where there is a particular shortage of women with credentials like hers. The daughter of a top engineer at Ford Motor Co., she earned her bachelor’s at K in chemistry and economics, but in true liberal arts fashion decided that rather than seek a career in research, she would merge her interest in technology with another field: patent law. She earned her law degree at Wayne State University and represents several Fortune 500 clients.
Laura Bassett has joined the Troy, Michigan, office of the Dickinson Wright law firm. Experienced in public law and municipal finance, she is a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Government Law Section and Michigan Women in Finance. She also serves as an honorary advisory board member for the Heidelberg Project and has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Star. An art major at K, she has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Wayne State University law school.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has reappointed Kristie (Everett) Zamora to a three-year term on the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging. Zamora, of Flint, is the coordinator of arts, culture, and film for Oakland County. She is the founding editor of Prosper, an electronic newsletter for economic development and community affairs. Zamora, who majored in political science and art history at K, previously served as the coordinator of exhibitions for the Flint Institute of Arts.
Selma Blair generated buzz with her cameo role in NetFlix’s reboot of the 1960s TV series “Lost in Space.” In her scene, Blair’s brilliant and wealthy character meets with her sister and family black sheep, played by the legendarily quirky Parker Posey, to hand over her home and car before claiming a coveted spot on a space expedition leaving a stricken Earth. It is not a spoiler to say that the ensuring interaction between Blair and Posey, playing the role of Dr. Smith, does not go as expected, and that it includes a classic double-take by Blair.
Kathy Wilder has been named interim executive director of Camp Stevens, a summer camp, family camp and retreat center shared by the Episcopal Dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego. Her association with the camp dates to her K days, when she served an internship there in 1996. After jobs that included being a camp counselor and wilderness leader for the Girl Scouts in San Diego and working for the Orange County, California, Outdoor Science School program, YouthServe and AmeriCorps, she returned to Camp Stevens from 2007–2010 as operations director. Before becoming the camp’s leader, she was youth program director at the Jackie Robinson YMCA and chief operating officer for Pro Kids/The First Tree of San Diego. She holds an MBA and master’s in leadership from Grand Canyon University and is working toward a Ph.D. in education in organization leadership. Her wife, Hannah, is communications director for the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. Her son, Owen, is a summer counselor at Camp Stevens.
Sharika D. Crawford is an associate professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She specializes in Latin American history and in a recent interview told the American Historical Association’s AHA Today blog she is working on a book about “the ways Caymanian seamen made a living from hunting turtles, created a distinctive work culture, transformed the environment, and challenged the authority of imperial as well as national states throughout the circum-Caribbean from the late 19th to late 20th century.” She recalled going to the library while a K student to read history. She earned her master’s in Latin American studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in history at the University of Pittsburgh.
Jamie Harper is living in Birmingham, Alabama, and pursuing disparate occupations: art — his Kalamazoo College major — music and finance. He says his post-K path began with a move to Savannah, Georgia, were he enrolled at the Savannah College of Art and Design and worked as a designer and a freelance illustrator. He then moved back to his hometown of Birmingham, where he built a career as a financial adviser, his day job, while pursuing art and music in his off hours. He has done illustrations for magazines, painted murals and is now teaching drawing classes at the Birmingham Museum of Art. He also plays saxophone and performed with St. Paul and Broken Bones, appearing on their breakout hit 2014 album “Half the City.” Wanting to stay rooted in Birmingham, he left the band when it began performing internationally. He lives with his wife, Tammy, also an artist and musician, and their two children, ages 6 and 9. An example of his work is at left, above. To see more of the Harpers’ work, visit smallwoods-studios.com, jamisonharper.com and @jamisonglenn on Instagram.
Jordan Klepper, host of Comedy Central’s “The Opposition,” made mention of his hometown and K in an interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air:” “We moved around, I think, seven times in Kalamazoo, so I had a bunch of different neighborhoods. I lived in Westnedge Hill, which is, like, this beautiful, quiet, little hill area. I lived near Kalamazoo College, where I ended up going to school… . I would walk out my back door and go to a park where all the kids on the block would go and play basketball. We played basketball in the summers all day. We’d come back. We’d play Tecmo Bowl in my parents’ basement, go out and play basketball again. Like, it was a pretty classic, middle-America kind of upbringing in a town that was really supportive of me…and still has been. But I have a lot of love for Kalamazoo. My family is still there, and I go back a lot.”
Rachel Mallinger recently spoke on “Native Bees of North America: Who Are They, What Do They Do and How Can We Conserve Them?” as part of the Evenings at Whitney Lecture Series at the Lohman Auditorium of the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory in St. Augustine, Florida. She is a pollinator ecologist at the University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology, which she joined in November 2017 after a stint as a postdoctoral researcher at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service in Fargo, North Dakota. She majored in biology at K and earned her master’s and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Former Hagar Township, Michigan, Clerk Ian Haight, a Democrat, is running for the Michigan Senate to represent a St. Joseph-area district. He vows if elected to be “open-minded about new ideas and new approaches.”
Eric Weber is head brewer for Old Bakery Beer Co. in Alton, Ill., a St. Louis suburb, and was recently featured in press accounts of Alton winning a contest for a $575,000 grant to bolster small businesses and improve the city’s downtown, as well as to be featured on the third season of the Hulu TV series “Small Business Revolution—Main Street.” Weber, at the urging of his boss, wrote an essay describing what he loves about Alton that secured the city a spot in the competition for the prize.
Zari (Haggenmiller) Carpenter ’13 and Craig Carpenter ’11 pose after their recent wedding at the Kellogg Manor House on Gull Lake outside of Kalamazoo. From left: Brittany King-Pleas ’13, Elissa (Thorne) Shaishi ’11, Megan Burns ’13, Peter Decker ’13, Michelle Yordi ’13, Emily Wright ’13, Ron Harris, Craig Carpenter, Zari (Haggenmiller) Carpenter, Kevin Forster ’11, Adam Marshall ’11, Anne Jefferson ’11 and Katie Stover ’11.
Claire (De Witt) Miller ’14 and Louie Miller ’13 pose with friends after their wedding in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Claire Miller is program assistant for the University of Michigan’s LSA Honors Program and Louie Miller is an assistant curator at the university’s William L. Clements Library. The couple met in Hebrew 101 at K, thanks to visiting instructor Shannon Dion and associate professor Jeffrey Haus. They were joined at their wedding by many former classmates. (From left) Madeleine Aborn ’14, Shelby Retherford ’15, Eric De Witt ’17, Claire (De Witt) Miller ’14, Louie Miller ’13, Jamie Eathorne ’14, Caitlyn Smith ’14 and Kari Paine ’14. Photo: Kari Paine Photography & Design
Monika Egerer, a graduate student at the University of California–Santa Cruz, was lead author of a study recently published in Ecological Applications that used a so-called “natural experiment” to show the role of birds in the decline of production of the wild-growing donne’ sali chili, a mainstay in the cuisine of the Mariana Islands. The paper says that on Guam, the largest and most populous of the islands in the western Pacific archipelago, the accidental introduction of the brown tree snake has led to the decimation of the wild bird population. The researchers used video recordings to confirm the primary vector for propagating the pepper was birds eating them and scattering the seeds in their excrement. In addition, they found through feeding trials with captive birds that seeds expelled in their guano were more likely to germinate than seeds harvested directly from the peppers. By comparing the situation on Guam with that on islands without the snakes, the researchers were able to show a correlation between the reduced bird population and the dearth of peppers on Guam. Finally, they documented the importance of the wild-grown peppers to the Mariana culture and economy. The Pacific Standard, a social science magazine that reported on the study, said Egerer was still a K undergrad when she led the study. Now a predoctoral candidate in environmental science, she majored in biology at K and also was a Civic Engagement Scholar through the Mary Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement.
Madeline Sinkovich was one of two Wayne State University Law School students named Outstanding Law Students of the Year by the Michigan and Detroit Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Legal News reports. The paper says Sinkovich is chair of the Keith Students for Civil Rights and organizes panels, training and special events for the group. She also leads educational events and discussions for the Wayne Law chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and regularly serves as a legal observer. She told Legal News she went to law school to “use the law for social change.”
Ogden Wright has joined TMP Architecture Inc. in Portage, Michigan, as an intern in the field department. A physics major at K, he is completing a degree in construction engineering at Western Michigan University.
Sara McKinney has joined Cowen Tax Advisory Group, in West Hartford, Connecticut, as an administrative marketing assistant. She maintains the company’s electronic records as well as its print and digital correspondence.