Judge Rosen has served for 24 years as a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit (five years as chief judge). Rosen delivered the 29th annual I. Goodman Cohen Lecture in Trial Advocacy at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit in February. Rosen’s lecture was titled “Trial Practice as Viewed from the Perspective of the Trial Judge.” Rosen was also in the news for his work as the federal mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy case. One of his ideas suggested that foundations contribute money to bolster at-risk city pensions and prevent the Detroit Institute of Arts from having to sell its artworks. A Detroit Free Press article (January 14) noted that the idea had resulted in pledges of some $330 million.
LaNesha is vice president of assessment and community engagement at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit. And she recently was honored with one of Crain’s Detroit Business’s “40 Under 40” Awards, a recognition of 40 high achievers under the age of 40 in the Detroit community. Her biggest achievement: securing notable African-American speaker programs for the museum to enhance its impact in the community. Current goal: lead the museum’s efforts to gain national accreditation to increase its impact and help it achieve sustainability. LaNesha earned her bachelor’s degree in history at K and studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya.
A native Saint Paulite, Bethany discovered her love for the arts while a student at Kalamazoo College, but also quickly discovered making art is not her forte. Since receiving a master’s degree in arts administration, she has worked within arts organizations and for artists, holding positions at the Walker Art Center, the Women’s Art Resources of MN (WARM), the American Craft Council, the Playwrights’ Center, Rain Taxi, and currently, as Executive Director of Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts. When she’s not working with writers and artists, she can be found volunteering at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport helping lost travelers, judging National History Day events, and serving on the board of the Somali women’s health organization, Isuroon. She also reads a novel a week, attends 150 art and theater events annually, travels outside the country at least once a year, obsessively collects handmade jewelry, and is training for her third triathlon.
Julia has worked on a children’s orchestra and social music project for more than a year in Bonn, Germany. The orchestra, called the Kinder VielHarmonie, recently had its first concert! “The children come from two very socially different schools,” wrote Julia, “and the aim of the project was to bring these children together through music (during the rehearsals we also played games and had snacks).” According to Julia, the seed for the project dates to her Senior Individualized Project, which she completed under the supervision of Professor of Music Les Tung. During the proposal and planning phases of the Kinder VielHarmonie, Julie relied on several K connections, including Tung, Associate Professor of Music Andrew Koehler, and Liz Youker, a fellow musician who played with Julia in the Kalamazoo College and Community Orchestra under direction of Professor Emeritus of Music Barry Ross. The KCCO is today’s Kalamazoo Philharmonia, directed by Koehler. Julia was also inspired by Kalamazoo Kids in Tune, an orchestra-based youth development program modeled after the Venezuelan youth orchestra program known as El Sistema. She spent a week as a K student observing Kids in Tune at Woodward Elementary School. An article (in German) on the first concert of Kinder VielHarmonie appeared in Bürgerstiftung Bonn.
On December 11, 2004, the board of trustees of Kalamazoo College unanimously elected Dr. Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran the 17th president, the first woman president, the first African-American president of Kalamazoo College. She began her duties some six months later, in July 2005. She will retire as president, after a long and distinguished in higher education, on June 30, 2016. The decade she led Kalamazoo College is one of the most extraordinary in the institution’s nearly 200 year history, characterized by the revitalization of the K-Plan, student-focused capital improvements and program changes, strong new connections between alumni and their alma mater, an inclusive campus that is one of the most diverse in higher education, and the College’s most successful fundraising campaign ever. Thank you, Eileen! Your legacy will affect K students forever.
The best leaders have and use a sense of humor. We’re grateful to President Wilson-Oyelaran for taking few minutes for October 2015 BeLight’s “Lighten Up” interview.
What’s the best song ever recorded?
“Light My Fire” by the Doors.
What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
I so much liked Pokey the Little Puppy as a kid that, much later, I purchased a copy for each of my own children and grandchildren. I also loved Ferdinand the Bull, about the bull who wouldn’t fight.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Well done. Come and get some rest.”
What’s your favorite word?
What’s your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
Well, I love music, dancing, and nature, so I guess it would be an outdoor party that combines all three.
What turns you off?
What sound do you love?
What sound do you hate?
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
A field biologist in a national forest
What profession would you not like to participate in?
I wouldn’t enjoy being a pastor.
What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts education?
A seminal moment for me was when my undergraduate advisor said, “I don’t see you at anything outside of class.” He went on to explain that you learn from engaging with speakers and concerts and plays, and readings and then by connecting these with what you are learning in class through a process of self-reflection. That conversation transformed my undergraduate experience.
Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?
The Dalai Lama. I’d want him to speak with me about peace of mind.
What memory from childhood still surprises you?
In first grade we were asked to cut out and color pictures of the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving. The class was over half African-American, but I was the only one who used a brown crayon to color the skin of the Pilgrims so that they would look, well, like me. That was a source of amusement for the class and I was hurt that the class made fun of me. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Only later did I come to understand how psychologically healthy (although historically incorrect) it was for me to have made my Pilgrims black.
What is your favorite curse word?
What is your favorite hobby?
I love to read novels about people of other cultures.
What is your favorite comedy movie?
Probably one of the send-ups of the “Airport” movie.
What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you the most?
The Watts riots in the summer of 1964. That was my community.
Sarah lives in Chicago and is a research associate for Food Tank: The Food Think Tank. The Food Tank highlights solutions to problems in food systems. Sarah majored in biology and art at K. She went on to graduate from DePaul University with her M.S. in International Public Service. She has traveled to many parts of the world, working to set up medical clinics, filming documentaries, practicing yoga, developing her cross cultural understanding, and building community centers.
Congratulations to Danny, whose documentary film, “The Stories They Tell,” was a 2015 official selection of the Lake Erie Arts and Film Festival, which took place in September. For more than 15 years, Kalamazoo College Professor of Psychology Sui-Lan Tan (who is married to Danny) partnered every Kalamazoo College student in her Developmental Psychology class with a child at Woodward Elementary School to create a children’s book together. The “Co-Authorship Project” has expanded education beyond the four walls of the classroom–giving psychology students rich insights into the development of young children, who in turn learn about literacy, social interaction and perhaps even catch a glimpse of their potential futures.
Megan received the 2014 Henry D. Messer Youth Activist Award for her work in Michigan’s LGBT equality movement. The award is one of the annual Catalyst Awards from Equality Michigan. As Community Engagement Coordinator of the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center since late 2012, Megan has had an impact not only in the Kalamazoo area, but across Michigan. During her K days, she worked with Habitat for Humanity as an AmeriCorps volunteer and with Queers for Economic Justice in New York. Megan will received her award at Equality Michigan’s annual dinner in February.
Ian is campaign manager for Robert Wittenberg, Democratic Party candidate for the 27th District, Michigan House of Representatives. Ian grew up in Pleasant Ridge, Mich., and has worked on numerous electoral races in the area.
Ron is currently in Micronesia, on assignment with the Peace Corps. “The Peace Corps has a relatively young program for former Peace Corps Volunteers called Peace Corps Response,” explained Ron. “The program is for older folks who have a specific skill set for a specific job in countries around the world. I will be working with the fledgling health-care computer based information system being implemented in the State of Yap,” one of the four states that compose the Federated States of Micronesia (the other three are Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk). Ron’s volunteer position will last a year.