Caroline (Orosz) Robbins ’07

Caroline (Carly) recently published her first novel, Devil Music. She has also published a series of free Web comics to accompany the novel. Both works are entirely self-published. Carly earned an M.F.A. (poetry) from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry has been published in Wavelength Journal and SpoutMagazine. An article on Carly and her work will appear in the Fall issue of LuxEsto.

Sally Smith ’86

Sally is the new library director of the Ray Township Library (Macomb County, Mich.). Her previous positions have included reference librarian and the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and children’s librarian at Harper woods Public Library and Canton Public Library. She earned her bachelor’s degree at K with majors in English and psychology. She earned her master’s degree (library science) from Wayne State University.


Andy Miller shows his Campbell’s soup scar

Welcome home, Andy Miller! The proud Kalamazoo College alumnus—class of 1999, English major, music minor, creative writing concentrator, Michigan-certified secondary school teacher (English and music), and K intramural softball phenom—has returned to his alma mater. He’s worked here before. Following graduation he was associate director of LandSea, a program he loved as both participant and patrol leader. He also worked to help the Stryker Center liaison with the greater Kalamazoo business community. Former K president Jimmy Jones recognized great talent, and when he became president of Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) in 2004 he convinced Andy to go east for a decade. At Trinity, Andy created the Quest Program, which became that college’s outdoor orientation program for first-year students. Simultaneously Andy worked for Trinity’s advancement office—in major gifts, planned giving, alumni relations, and parent giving, making him one of the great five-tool players (think whatever corresponds to speed, power, contact, glove work, and a cannon arm) in the world of advancement. Andy and alumna Mary-Katherine Thompson ’06 married in 2009. They first met on LandSea. This past August Andy came back to K to serve as the College’s executive director of development. Why the return? “It’s a perfect fit,” he says. “It’s coming home.” And we think it’s great to have him home!

And now his answers to the questions we’ve all been eager to know.

What’s the best song every recorded?

“Apologies to the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Petty, Guns N’ Roses, and especially Springsteen’s ’Jungleland,’ which comes in second, but I’m going to have to go with ’Layla’ by Derek and the Dominos.

He coulda been a rock star--Andy Miller, sophomore year, in front of Harmon Hall

What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?

“’Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter.”

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“’You did a good job down there.’”

What’s your favorite word?


What’s your least favorite word?

“Irregardless. People use it all the time, but IT’S NOT A WORD!”

What turns you on?

“Autonomy…challenge…the opportunity to create things…and, of course, my wife.”

What turns you off?

“Hate, prejudice, and close-mindedness.”

What sound do you love?

“The electric guitar. Specifically, a Fender telecaster coming through a Vox amp.”

What sound do you hate?

“I absolutely love dogs…but I have two at home who bark like maniacs every time another dog is being walked outside our house, which is regularly. Training remains a work in progress!”

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

“Professional rock and roll songwriter.”

What profession would you not like to participate in?

“Accounting. My lack of interest would pretty much assure my uselessness…and vice versa.”

What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?

“There are two, both of which happened spring of my senior year and involved synthesizing my previous three-and-a-half-years worth of learning and developing.  My Senior Individualized Project gave me the opportunity to do a deep dive into every ‘art’ I had any competency in–a manuscript worth of poems (thanks Diane Seuss), a related series of photographs (thanks Richard Koenig), and an album’s worth of music (thanks Tom Evans).  On the more traditionally academic side, my English Comprehensive Exams required me to, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a Saturday, write essays on three different questions, with each essay using three literary references drawn from a list of texts read over the course of my entire time at K.  Handing in my SIP and my ’comps,’ admittedly at the absolute last minute in both cases, was so fulfilling to me because they truly served as twin capstone projects of my liberal arts learning.”

Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?

“Neither is famous. It would either be my paternal grandfather, who died when I was very young, or my maternal grandmother, who died before I was born.”

What memory from childhood still surprises you?

“I remember very well burning my arm on the stove at the age of two on Valentine’s Day when I was reaching for some Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup my mom was making for me. Somehow, despite being so young, I had managed to get my arm on top of the stove. My mom has never forgiven herself because she was out of the room preparing for a date with my dad to celebrate the birth of my cousin on that very day.”

What is your favorite curse word?


What is your favorite hobby?

“Songwriting and recording in my basement.”

What is your favorite comedy movie?

Blues Brothers is a pretty solid go-to. I use the phrases ‘We’re getting the band back together’ and ‘We’re on a mission from God’ regularly.”

What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you most?

“Probably 9/11. I may remember it so distinctly because it happened when we were on LandSea in Ontario. Tom Breznau got a call from President Jones and we went to the one TV at the nearest one-street town to learn what was going on, which was unbelievable. And we had to figure out how to inform all the patrol leaders and participants scattered throughout Killarney. Then to live in the east for 10 years…9/11 has shaped a lot of what New York is like today.”

If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?

“Absolutely, unless she was drinking orange juice.”


Kathryn Fox ’77

Kate was one of three recipients of the Ashley Brooks-Danso Memorial Fund Student Travel Scholarships for the Council on Social Work Education’s annual program meeting last year. The gathering is the premier national meeting in the social work education field. More than 2,500 social work educators, administrators, practitioners, students, and other key decision makers from across the country and around the world attended, making it the largest gathering of its kind. Kate’s scholarship was awarded through the CSWE National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education. A Master in Social Work (MSW) student at the University at Albany, Kate was accepted into the competitive Internships In Aging Project (IAP), which is conducted in partnership with community consortium agencies and offers the opportunity to specialize in services to aging persons. IAP is part of the Geriatric Social Work Practicum Program, which was begun by the John A. Hartford Foundation and coordinated by the New York Academy of Medicine, now called the Hartford Partnership Programs for Aging Education. The goal of the program is to address the critical need for geriatric social workers.

Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production, the Manifesto of an Environmental Lawyer and Vegetarian Turned Cattle Rancher

Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production

by Nicolette Hahn Niman ’89

One doesn’t usually think of eating as a political act, let alone a revolutionary one, but for many, what lands on the dinner plate can provide not only nourishment, but has also become a means for saving the planet. What should and should not land on that plate and how it gets there is where the controversy, and the politics, begin.

Large-scale agricultural processes (or BigAg) have been linked to global warming, increases in obesity, and animal cruelty. Hahn Niman’s first book, Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (William Morrow, 2009), in which she explored such controversial costs of BigAg, paved the path to her current work. Arguably, Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production, creates even more controversy.

For decades, the public has been told that eating meat, especially red meat, is bad for human and ecological health. It raises cholesterol and contributes to heart disease. Raising cattle turns lush land to desert, draining it of water and devastating plant life. Wildlife is adversely affected, soil becomes eroded, and pools of manure ruin air and land.

Citing meticulously researched international sources, Hahn Niman debunks these assertions and defends a return to more traditional farming practices.

A cattle rancher herself, Hahn Niman and husband Bill Niman offer an example of how livestock should be raised. At their ranch cattle are grass-fed; they receive no growth hormones, antibiotics, or corn feed; and the ranchers accompany the cattle right to the end of their lives at a local slaughterhouse, ensuring their last moments are as humane as possible.

Beef can be served to us in healthier form from healthier and happier animals, Hahn Niman contends. And, she adds, grass-fed cattle can contribute to solving the problem of global warming. Large ruminants, when allowed to graze naturally on pasture, enrich grasslands, prune back plants, encouraging new growth, and aid in sequestering carbon in soils.

Hahn Niman argues that overgrazing is less a matter of too many cattle and more a case of grazing mismanagement. She refers to the work of ecologist Allan Savory and his system for grazing herds of cattle in a manner closest to their natural behavior, allowing them to travel in dense herds, eating all in their path, then moving on to fresh pasture. The cattle press seeds into the soil as they pass through, and their manure serves as fertilizer for the field. Unusable land has thus been returned to productive grasslands.

Hahn Niman disagrees with the notion that beef is unhealthy in our diets. She cites statistics that American consumption of beef has fallen by approximately 22 percent while rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease continue to spike. And she argues that increased consumption of sugars and sweeteners in our diets as the real culprits.

Hahn Niman points out that approximately 1 billion of the poor worldwide rely on cattle for food and income, keeping livestock in places where cultivated food plants cannot take root.

Defending Beef is not an argument to eat more beef. Hahn Niman is, in fact, a vegetarian. To base the decision of being a vegetarian or vegan on concern for healthier ecosystems or personal health would, she states, be unwarranted. Rather, her mission appears to be to join all at the dinner table in a concern for farming practices that might heal the planet and help all who walk upon it, two- and four-legged.

Defending Beef urges readers to look beyond the shrink-wrapped package in supermarket aisles to the source. Whether dining on a plant-based diet or one that includes meat, the well-educated consumer knows her farmer and her rancher, knows what goes into the soil and into the animal before it goes onto the plate and into the human. (Reviewed by Zinta Aistars)

Joe Mazzola ’98

Joe joined the investment management team at Shelton Capital Management (San Francisco, Calif.). Joe had formerly been a senior strategist for TD Ameritrade. He has more than 16 years of investment management experience that includes portfolio management, risk analysis, and dynamic hedging techniques. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and studied abroad in Caen, France. He earned his M.B.A. from DePaul University.

Richard Burnham ’61

Richard died on December 21, 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and then earned a law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law. He worked for two Kalamazoo based law firms before beginning his own private practice in Paw Paw, Michigan. He was engaged in several civic organizations and enjoyed landscaping, cars, and tending to his saltwater aquarium. He also opened his home to more than 100 rescue dogs, some of which never left.