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Thomas Neubig ’76

Thomas is the new Deputy Head of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration ’s Tax Policy and Statistics Division at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He will be working on the G-20 requested anti-Base Erosion and Profit Shifting global tax initiative.  Neubig has over 30 years’ experience as an economist in both government and the private sector. He has spent the last 20 years at Ernst & Young, where he founded and led a group of 34 tax policy economists, statisticians, and survey specialists. He eared his B.A. in economics from K and his Ph.D. in economics for the University of Michigan. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems; works with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change; measures productivity and global flows of trade and investment; analyzes and compares data to predict future trends; and sets international standards on a wide range of matters. Jane (Crane) Neubig ’77 retired from her social work position with Goodwin House. Jane and Tom will live in Paris for up to two years.

June (Wilmsen) Severance ’45

June has published, at age 90, From the Inside: A Look at Nursing Homes and Their Patients in Today’s Elder Care System. The book provides her insider look at the day-to-day happenings of  nursing homes both as a resident and a friend to residents.  Central to those observations is her unique mix of humor, introspection, and occasional depression as she faced the work of getting well and coping with pain.

During the last decade June spent nine months in three different nursing homes in Montana and the Midwest. “People need to know what it’s like to be in a nursing home,” she said.

Though it occurred decades ago, her father’s nursing home stay in New York  remains seared into her memory, and was the impetus for the book.   “I was so furious,” she remembers.  “It was so negative.  To be in a nursing home is to truly be someone different.”  But, over the years, she says, she learned that “Nursing homes are NOT the worst thing in the world.  I came to scorn and stayed to praise,” she concludes.

June enrolled in Kalamazoo College at the age of 16.  She majored in English and theatre. The latter may not be surprising, given the fact that she had been a child performer at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. During her student days at K, a weekly campus segment she did on the local radio station eventually became a full-time job with CBS-WKZO in Kalamazoo. She worked on a feature called “News of Women Today,” which carried stories on women’s responses to World War II throughout the world and the effect the war had on women’s status and work.

June and her husband, Wayne, have lived near Whitehall, Montana for 20 years.  They spent most of their marriage in East Aurora, N.Y., where Wayne worked for Fisher-Price.  June earned her M.A.  at Syracuse University and taught there. She also directed plays at both the Buffalo and the East Aurora theaters. And she performed her own material in a series of one-woman shows. She and Wayne eventually moved west to be closer to their two sons and five grandchildren. She helped establish a theatre group in Whitehall. For four years, “Jefferson Valley Presents” staged an outdoor dinner theatre production on the Lewis and Clark expedition. June wrote the script, performed, and helped with the costuming.

Mike Carlson ’02

Mike is a distinguished alumnus (political science major) and a great intramural softball teammate (he played on a championship team when he was a staff member at K). Mike recently shared a professional and personal connection that started with a LuxEsto class note.

“Years ago (2007, I believe),” wrote Mike, “LuxEsto published an update on my life at a new Denver-area I.B. elementary school where I was teaching.  Mike Galvin ’70, an accomplished educator and fellow K grad living in Colorado, read the blurb and e-mailed me. Shortly thereafter we talked on the phone and agreed to meet in person.  Our connection was instantly a strong one.

“Over the last several years, Mike and I have become even closer, partly because my career path seems to be mimicking his.  We both fell into teaching seemingly by accident (while substitute teaching–he in Chicago, me in Denver) and fell in love with it.  We both started as elementary teachers.  He became a principal and eventually a consultant to school principals and superintendents through his work with McRel, an organization that specializes in mentoring school leaders and leading educator evaluations.  Eventually, Mike started up his own consulting business.  Somehow, he has also found the time to mentor me!

“I recently completed my master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver.  When I was looking for a position that would help me grow as a school leader, Mike steered me toward the Sheridan School District, which has been my home this year. I work as the district’s middle school instructional coach.  I am back on the market, looking for school principal/director positions, and  Mike is again an invaluable resource to me as I search.

“Mike and I have also enjoyed meeting up and discovering more similarities between our lives–including the fact that both of our wives have taught French! He also met with me the day my father died. Having him in my life has meant a great deal, personally and professionally, and it all resulted from a serendipitous connection through LuxEsto.”

Jeannie Light ’63

Jeannie has published a new book, Beautiful on the Mountain, which released on June 1 from Tyndale Momentum. The book is based on her experiences as a lay missioner in Graves Mill, Virginia, but the story starts further back than that. Jeannie was born into a storytelling family. Her grandmother passed down stories she had heard from her own mother and father, frontier missionaries in southern Michigan. Her grandfather told stories, too, and so did her mother and father. With that bloodline, Jeannie’s desire to be a writer seemed natural, and she pursued that goal by earning a bachelor’s in English literature (with an emphasis on creative writing) at K. During her senior year she was a student teacher for a college freshman English class and worked as a freelance journalist. She wrote an award-winning novel based on family stories about fur traders and American Indians in Michigan’s St. Joseph River valley in the early years of the nineteenth century.

Jeannie attended the University of Virginia on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, receiving her M.A. in English literature. She worked as a journalist, taught English at the University of Maine and for the University of Virginia extension program, and ran a farm in Madison County, Virginia. In 1977 she decided to operate a sheep farm on her mountain land in Graves Mill, Virginia, adjoining Shenandoah National Park. To her surprise, the deacons of the inactive Baptist church in the hamlet asked her to help them re-open its doors and revive the congregation. She had never intended to be a preacher or missionary, but when she moved to the mountain community, she found herself living stories very similar to those she had heard as a child. Beautiful on the Mountain is the narrative of her first three years in this beautiful, austere setting. The Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia licensed Jeannie as a lay missioner in 1983. Graves Chapel eventually opened a thrift shop and ministered to those at or below the poverty level, 60 percent of the county’s residents at the time. Though Jeannie remained a laywoman, she was elected president of the county ministerial association, and the chapel offered silent retreats for the local clergy. After fifteen years in the mountains, she resigned and worked with artist and sculptor Walter Slaughter. She self-published two books of meditations, Are You Coming?: Meditations on the Passion and Gethsemane, both illustrated with Walter’s art.

In 1985 Jeannie became a member of Truro Anglican Church (Fairfax, Va.) and since her resignation from Graves Chapel, she has ministered at Truro in various capacities as a layperson, including leading bimonthly services at the Fairfax Nursing Center and teaching a Bible study. She lives in Louisa, Virginia. Jeannie’s work at Graves Chapel was featured in Kalamazoo College Quarterly in the summer of 1991.

Nancy Huntly ’77

Nancy is the Scientist in Residency Fellow for the month of September at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Nancy is a professor in the biology department and the director of the ecology center at Utah State University (Logan). She also chairs the committee that administers Science Unwrapped, the USU College of Science public engagement program. She earned her B.A. in biology at K and her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona. Since 2004 she has studied the human ecology of the northern Gulf of Alaska region. Her interests in Alaska are particularly in landscape legacies, food webs, and sustainable resource use.

Erick Smith ’67

Erick died on September 3, 2014. He came to K from Addison, Mich., majored in mathematics, and studied abroad in Erlangen, Germany. He later earned a Master’s degree in math from Michigan State University. He served as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. His life pursuits alternated between his academic interests and farming. He purchased a farm in Brooktondale, N.Y., where he and his family grew strawberries for 17 years. He returned to academia at Cornell University, earning a Master’s degree in agricultural economics and a Ph.D. in mathematics education. He then moved to Chicago and taught math education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. But he missed the rural life and returned to his farm in Brooktondale and taught briefly at Cornell and Ithaca College. He began farming full time with Cayuga Pure Organics, a farm he developed and grew that was committed to locally produced, sustainable, organic food.

Vic Braden ’51

Vic died on October 6, 2014. He was 85 years old and arguably the most well-known graduate of Kalamazoo College. He matriculated to K from Monroe (Mich.) High School, where he had been a multi-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball, and tennis). He was the first high school tennis player to win the state singles championship three times. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology and played on the Hornet men’s tennis team. He served as team captain his senior year, the same year he took the MIAA singles championship. He also was MIAA doubles champion in 1949 and 1951. After graduation he was the assistant basketball coach at the University of Toledo, and he played on the professional tennis circuit. Vic moved to California and earned his master’s degree in educational psychology (California State University). He began study for his doctorate in psychology (USC) but discontinued that work in order to become the chief tennis professional at a tennis club. It was in the teaching of tennis that Vic achieved his international renown. In 1971 he started the Vic Braden Tennis College in Coto de Caza, Calif. That effort later expanded to include campuses in Florida and Utah and traveled throughout the United States, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and China. He taught thousands of players and lectured in all 50 states. His players included champions like Tracy Austin, and yet he seemed to have a special spot in his heart for the average weekend hacker. He combined humor and psychology to make every student as proficient as she or he could be. Vic hosted a tennis instructional show on public television in the early 1980s that was carried by 238 stations. He appeared on NBC, made instructional videos, and authored eight books. The New York Times obituary (“Vic Braden, Tennis’s Pied Piper, Dies at 85,” Douglas Martin) noted that “Mr. Braden’s forte was psychology, which he thought could nearly work miracles. He told Sports Illustrated that if he were given eight good 13-year-old players–‘I don’t mean great athletes,’ he specified–he could have all of them in the Wimbledon quarterfinals at 18. Such improbable success, he said, would involve learning to think differently. ‘The moment of enlightenment,’ he said, ‘is when a person’s dreams of possibilities become images of probabilities.’” In recognition of his lifetime achievements, Vic was presented an honorary degree from his alma mater in April of 2008. He is pictured (center, in the photo at left) at that event, held in Stetson Chapel, with the late Professor and Coach Emeritus George Acker (left) and Professor of Physical Education and Volleyball Coach Jeanne Hess.

Gary Springstead ’95

Gary was elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM). CDAM is one of the leading nonprofit organizations in the criminal justice system in the state. In addition to serving on the board, Gary represents criminal defense attorneys in a district that covers the entire shoreline of Lake Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, and includes Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Big Rapids, Hart, Ludington, Traverse City, and Marquette. “I am really honored to be a part of such a dedicated group of professionals,” said Gary. “CDAM members are committed to defending the accused in Michigan and supporting and defending our Constitution. They serve a critical role in the criminal justice system and provide a tremendous service to the public.” Gary has dedicated his entire career to the justice system, first as a F.B.I. special agent and then as a criminal defense attorney. “I get asked about that transition a lot,” Gary said, “and I tell people that my belief in the criminal justice system is common to both efforts. I worked hard as an agent to enforce the law and defend our Constitution, and now I work just as hard on the other side to defend our Constitution and the accused. No matter how zealously I defend my clients, the system is designed to produce a just result. And most of the time it works.” Gary is a partner at the criminal defense law firm of Springstead & Bartish Law, P.L.L.C., in Grand Rapids and Fremont, Michigan.

Dawne Bell ’01

Dawne joined the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona as CEO on January 5. WFSA helps women and girls overcome economic, political, gender, and social barriers; encourages reform in the social climate; promotes change in conventional attitudes; and invests in organizations that strive for long-term changes. Before taking the post with WFSA, Dawne was director of development for Care for the Homeless in New York City the past two years. She has an additional 11 years of experience working as executive director of a statewide nonprofit hospital foundation in New Mexico and has led the fundraising departments at social-justice nonprofit organizations in New Mexico and Michigan. Dawne earned her bachelor’s degree in English and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. She has a master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley State University, and she earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive credential in 2009. Dawne has served on boards and leadership committees for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Young Non Profit Professionals, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Women’s Prison Association, and Crossroads for Women.