Archives

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.

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.

James Pollock ’04, Ph.D.

James accepted a position as a psychologist at Columbia University (New York City). His clinical competencies include individual psychotherapy for mood and anxiety disorders, identity issues, LGBTQ mental health, and behavioral health issues. He has extensive experience in addictions treatment, and he works with clients to develop individualized substance use treatment plans. At K he majored in psychology and studied abroad in Bonn, Germany. He earned his Ph.D. at New York University.

Michelle Gigowski ’11

Michelle is an instructor for Appraisal University, an online continuing education service for real estate appraisers. She also works with Value It Press, a publishing house in Portage, Michigan. Michelle, who majored at K in biology and business, writes and consults in health care administration, valuation practices, and entrepreneurship. Kalamazoo College Associate Professor of Economics and Business Timothy Moffit ’80, Ph.D., is also an Appraisal University instructor.

Jon Grier ’75

Jon was recently cited with two awards: an Artist Fellowship in Music Composition (bestowed by the South Carolina Arts Commission) and the Carl Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education (given by the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council). Jon has been teaching music theory and history at the Greenville Fine Arts Center, a magnet high school of the arts, since 1988. And he sends a hearty shout out to the class of ’75!

Mary Sauer-Games ’83

Mary has been named vice president for product management at Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). She is responsible for OCLC products and services around the world. She comes to OCLC from the American Psychological Association, where she managed PsycINFO database products and led an organization of 70 staff. Mary is a board member of the National Federation of Advanced Information Services, a global organization that serves the information community. She also sits on the board of CrossRef, an association of publishers that develops shared infrastructure to support more effective scholarly communications. She earned her B.A. in economics and studied abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She earned a M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Susan Fletcher Lyle ’73

Susan joined her sister, Kristine Fletcher Joubert, for a special recital of music for voice and viola at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana. Susan is an associate professor of voice at the Petrie School of Music at Converse College in South Carolina. Susan earned her B.A. in music from K and received her Master of Music degree in vocal performance and opera from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Maryland. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance and conducting at the University of Oregon. She has many performances to her credit throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, with such organizations as the Baltimore Opera, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, the Vancouver Island Music Festival, the Calgary Canada Bach Festival Society, the Long Bay Symphony, Hilton Head Choral Society, South Carolina Opera, and the Bach Consortium in Germany. She is also a master teacher of the functional voice building method and has presented papers on the topic at numerous conferences. She also works with individuals who have injured voices to restore their vocal health. In 1999, Susan had the distinction as the first ever female conductor for the Hungarian Radio Chorus, as part of a live radio broadcast concert.

Sarah Ovink ’00

Sarah has won a 2015 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award to study how race/ethnicity, gender, and family income are linked to career success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The CAREER Award provides multi-year support for especially promising junior faculty members. Sarah is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg). A key component of her research will be interviews with more than 100 undergraduate students in STEM and non-STEM majors at Virginia Tech and focus groups with peer interviewers. Over the next five years, Sarah and a team of graduate and undergraduate research assistants will follow up with these students as they complete their degrees and begin their careers. The grant is expected to total $453,359 over the five years. Sarah’s scholarly interests have primarily focused on educational inequality by race and gender using qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry. Other research interests include immigration, Latino/Latina populations, and undocumented students.

She recently published an article in the journal Gender & Society that examines trends in Latinos’/Latinas’ postsecondary pathways and life course decisions over a two-year period. She is completing work on a book titled Race, Class, and Choice in Latino/a Higher Education: Pathways in the College-for-All Era under contract with Palgrave Macmillan.

Douglas Behrend ’81

Douglas has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychological Science at Fulbright College, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He has been a professor at the university since 1989. His research interests include children’s word-learning, learning and sharing of privileged information, and accent preferences. He is head of the WordPlay Lab, the department’s child language and cognition laboratory, and he is the author or co-author of many scholarly articles. He has collaborated with and mentored many students and has been involved in interdisciplinary projects with colleagues in a variety of fields. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and French from Kalamazoo College and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota.