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Carlos Bousoño, Professor of Spanish Literature in Kalamazoo College’s Program at the International Institute in Madrid

Professor Bousoño died in Madrid on October 24, 2015. He was 92 years old. Bousoño was an award-winning poet, literary critic and theoretician, master teacher, member of the Royal Academy of Spain for 35 years, a leading figure in Spain’s postwar literary circles and for many years professor of Spanish literature in Kalamazoo’s program at the International Institute in Madrid.

Among his many honors he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in letters in 1995, one of Spain’s most important literary awards. He was also a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Turin and a member of the Hispanic Society of America. During his tenure as professor at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid he was repeatedly voted best lecturer by the students. In addition to his volumes of poetry, he wrote a number of publications and was widely regarded as Spain’s most important literary theoretician. Bousoño was also a close friend of the Nobel Laureate Vincente Aleixandre and the executor of his literary estate.

Kalamazoo College was fortunate to have him on our faculty at the Institute because of his friendship with our former director there, Dr. José Vidal. Bousoño is survived by his wife, Ruth, and two sons. (Obituary by Joe Fugate, professor emeritus of German, director emeritus of foreign study)

David Evans, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biology

DavidEvansDavid died on September 20, 2016. He was 77 years old, four days shy of his 78th birthday, and doing one of the things he loved most–taking a walk on a trail. David’s 39-year career at Kalamazoo College began in 1965 and concluded with his retirement in 2004. “Biology is magnificent,” he once said, “and humbling, and goofy. In some sense, biology is best approached with a good eye for silliness, for it is stuffed with paradoxes, irony, and the ridiculous. This aspect of the subject is often the most engaging for non-majors, but it never fails to lead to more sophisticated material. I often used this movement from the ridiculous to the sublime as a teaching strategy in my courses.”

David’s area of specialty was insect behavior, and two important (and related) themes of his teaching and research were seasonality and adaptation. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Carleton College and his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. His research was published in numerous journals, and he received many academic grants during his career.

His work took him to Africa many times. In 1982 he was a Fulbright professor of Biological Sciences at Njala University College at the University of Sierra Leone. In the early 1990s he visited the continent to study locust migrations on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development. His work and study in Africa became the basis for one of his K courses, “Ecology of Africa.” In 1995 he received the Frances Diebold Award for Contributions to the College Community, and in 1998 the faculty awarded him its highest teaching honor, the Florence J. Lucasse Lectureship for Excellence in Teaching. Those awards were related, in part, to the K marine ecology courses he co-taught with the late David Winch (professor emeritus of physics) on site at San Salvador Island and Jewfish Cay in the Caribbean. “On campus,” he said, “the class handled gray rubbery specimens preserved in jars. In San Salvador the students experienced the organisms alive and in color, and observed how they behaved in their habitat. It was like having one’s eyesight restored.”

Near and after his retirement he served during the summers as a naturalist at Fort Abercrombie State Park on Kodiak Island, Alaska. He loved that assignment, in part because of the “really cool truck” he drove, but mostly because of the liberal arts breadth of the work. In addition to naturalist, he worked as the island’s historian (delving into the area’s World War II days, in particular), and he wrote a weekly column for the island’s newspaper. Shortly after his final courses in a K classroom (spring term 2004) David served as “ship’s biology teacher” in a Semester-at-Sea program that circumnavigated the globe, with stops that included Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Myanmar, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil and Cuba. And long into his retirement he often contacted the College with alerts regarding the achievements of his former students, both majors and non-majors.

David always loved the liberal arts, a passion closely related to his academic and research interest in adaptation. He believed that the liberal arts was the best educational model to develop a broader range of reference and a better sense of humor, traits he considered essential for adaptation in careers and life in general.

He died taking a walk, an activity he loved (particularly along an ocean shore) and that he wrote about in his August 29, 2001, column in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, his final column for that summer’s season.

“For me, the last tide pool walks mean that the park season is winding down….[T]idepooling is one of the most unpredictable park activities in which I’m involved. We seem to have a particularly good time when children are along…

“There’s an Alutiq saying that expresses tidal rhythms in terms of using plants and animals as food: When the tide goes out, the table is set; When the tide comes in, the dishes are washed. The saying gets to the same rhythmic renewal that makes me appreciate this kind of field activity so much. I know I can go down to an area where I’ve been dozens of times, and I can be guaranteed of seeing something new and wondrous.”

Douglas Peterson, Former Professor of Education and Dean of Academic Affairs

Douglas died on July 10, 2017. He was 91 years old. He was born and reared in Minnesota. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II. After the war he earned his B.A. at the University of Minnesota and his M.A. at Yale. Douglas worked at Kalamazoo College from 1957 to 1972, first as a professor of education and later as dean of academic affairs. He left K to earn a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He returned to Kalamazoo and started his own law firm. He practiced in the areas of corporate law, and jurisprudence surrounding public education, higher education and labor relations. In 1992 he became a partner at Gemrich, Bowser, Fette, and he remained at that law firm until his 1997 retirement. Douglas served on the Kalamazoo County School Board and other community organizations, including the American Cancer Society. He moved to Le Claire, Iowa, in 1998, and was active there in community service and city politics. He returned to Kalamazoo in 2015 to be closer to family. During his life he enjoyed tennis, traveling, reading, music and being outdoors.

Odile Gollé, Kalamazoo College Foreign Study Program in Strasbourg

Madame Gollé, widow of M. Maurice Gollé, who for many years was director of the Kalamazoo College foreign study program in Strasbourg, passed away on October 18, 2015, in Strasbourg at the age of 92. She frequently interacted with and came to know many Kalamazoo students over the years because of her warm, outgoing, and easily approachable personality. She had a wonderful sense of humor and could always be counted on to have an interesting joke or humorous story to relate. She liked to entertain, was an excellent cook (as anyone who enjoyed the hospitality of her home would confirm), and a passionate dog lover. A wonderful wife, mother and friend, she was preceded in death by her husband and one son and is survived by two sons and the deceased son’s wife and their families. (Obituary by Joe Fugate, professor emeritus of German, and director emeritus of foreign study)

Betty Rita Gómez Lance, professor emeritus of Romance languages and literatures

BettyLanceBetty died on September 18, 2016. She was 93. Her career at Kalamazoo College spanned 27 years (1961-1988). Before coming to K she taught at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Illinois.

Betty was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. Her father had migrated to that country from Spain. In Costa Rica he worked as a shoemaker to support his wife and their four daughters. Betty’s mother was the staunch advocate of education for her four daughters. Betty came to the United States in 1942 to study science and earned her bachelor’s degree (physical sciences) at Central Missouri State University and her master’s degree (agricultural chemistry) at the University of Missouri. But literature was her great passion, and she earned her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures at Washington University in St. Louis. Betty was fluent in Spanish and English and proficient in French, Italian, Portuguese, and German. She loved her native country and believed that Costa Rica’s commitment to democracy and freedom to dissent had much to teach the world.

In addition to her teaching duties at K, Betty directed Puerta de Oportunidad, a project to teach English as a foreign language to Spanish speaking people in the Kalamazoo area. She was a prolific scholar, whose works include a book on Spanish novelist Juan Antonio de Zunzunegui. She also authored books on Peruvian writer Enrique Lopez Albujar and El Salvador poet Claudia Lars, and she published a work of literary criticism on the picaresque tradition in 20th century literature of Spain.

Betty was a short story writer and poet. Her volumes of poetry include Vivencias (Lifeways), Vendimia del Tiempo (Harvest of Time), Alas en el Alba (Wings in the Dawn), Bebiendo Luna (Sipping Moon), and Siete Cuerdas (Seven Chords). Her short story collection was titled Hoy Hacen Corro Las Ardillas (Today the Squirrels are Holding a Pow-Wow). She also published poems and stories in many Spanish-English literary journals. She had a style of concrete imagery often drawn from nature and a writing regimen reminiscent of the late U.S. Poet Laureate William Stafford, making poems every day, or, in Betty’s case, every night. “I work on images [and] it is night when I write poetry,” she said. “Sometimes they come and come and come. I’ll do three to five poems.” In 1993 Betty was inducted into the Academia Iberoamericana de Poesía de Madrid (Iberoamerican Academy of Poetry), whose honorees also include Nobel Laureates Vicente Alexandre and Pablo Neruda. Betty had previously been inducted into the Asociación Prometeo de Poesía (The Prometheus Association of Poetry) in Madrid, Spain.

Betty was active in many organizations, including Friends of the Library, the Kalamazoo Institute Arts, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the Environmental Concerns Committee in Kalamazoo. She was a member of Poets and Writers America, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, the Asociación De Escritores Costarricenses, the aforementioned Asociación Prometeo De Poesía and Asociación Iberoamericana De Poesía, and many others.

In addition to writing, Betty loved to hike and knit. After her retirement she established an award at K in Latin American Studies that had been given anonymously until her passing.  The fund now bears her name The Betty R. Gómez Lance Award in Latin American Studies. She is survived by two sons, Edward (a graduate of K) and Harold, and the many students (“sons” and “daughters” of another kind) whom she inspired to become teachers of Spanish and Latin American and Spanish literatures. A campus memorial service is being planned for December. More information on the service will be forthcoming.

“I write to give vent to my joys, my sorrows, my feelings, my thoughts,” she once wrote. “I write for personal solace; and when I receive praise for my writings that connection to another soul, the vivencias of another human being, surprises me. It is very comforting to know that they too have these feelings and that we’re all part of the universal human soul.”

Ione Ambrose

Ione, wife of the late Haydn Ambrose, died on August 25, 2017. She was known and beloved by many at the College, where her husband served in several positions during his 21-year career at K, including assistant to the president for church relations, dean of admission and financial aid, associate director and vice president for development.

Analyst and Activist

Since coming to Kalamazoo College in 2011 Lisa Brock has served a dual role. As academic director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, she helps “teachers” (which includes professors, certainly, but also all persons involved in a student’s learning experience at K) think about the ways academic content and social justice can work together. From this work will grow new courses and new programs infused with scholarly rigor and social justice principles. As a result, K students will develop and cultivate throughout their lives the critical thinking skills, the leadership acumen, and the inclination to help build a better world for all. Brock also is an associate professor of history, and her favorite class to teach focuses on Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. She has taught courses on this subject for many years, even before the fall of apartheid and Mandela’s release from Robben Island (1990). Her work in social justice and history reinforce one another. An education so infused with social justice that the learner seeks to make a better world may sound utopian. But Brock the historian, and Brock the activist, knows it is possible. BeLight is delighted to help you get to know Lisa Brock in its February 2015 “Lighten Up” interview.

What is the best song ever recorded?

I love Billie Holiday, the pain in her voice makes every song memorable, but the best ever recorded is Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”

What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?

I don’t recall its title, but my mom used to read me a story about a man who dropped his glasses in black ink, put them back on, and proceeded to move about the world even though he couldn’t see. Maybe it was called “The Man With Ink Glasses.”

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

I hope to hear ‘Here are your folk.’ And there, waiting for me, would be my mom and grandparents, my sister and uncles.

What’s your favorite word?

Analysis.

What’s your least favorite word?

Illness.

What turns you on?

Social justice.

What turns you off?

Profiteering.

What sound do you love?

Children laughing.

What sound do you hate?

A person yelling at another person.

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

A composer. I liked writing songs and enjoyed my music theory classes in college.

What profession would you not like to participate in?

I’d never want to be a bureaucrat buried in the bowels of a corporation.

What’s been a great moment in your liberal arts learning?

Reading people like Karl Marx and Frantz Fanon when I was an undergraduate.

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

Zora Neale Hurston, a writer during the Harlem Renaissance and author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. She also was an accomplished anthropologist, despite having her work marginalized because she was a woman. She studied with Franz Boas. Alice Walker played a role in the re-discovery of this fascinating writer and feminist hero.

What memory from childhood still surprises you?

My parents married young enough to ensure a great deal of grandparent hovering, so I remember enjoying lots of love from my extended family. I took that for granted and was shocked when my first college roommate, who had a very different childhood experience than mine, once told me that she didn’t like her mother. I lost sleep over that. The other thing that surprises me is how childhood is like a snapshot, so temporal. All old photos whisper impermanence. But when we’re children we often think things will always stay the same. Maybe that’s the memory from childhood that still surprises me: that I once could have thought that way.

What is your favorite curse word?

M—– F—–

What is your favorite hobby?

I’m an avid reader and a big fan of mysteries. Lately I’ve taken up listening to mystery novels as audio books. Unfortunately I often fall asleep, and the audio continues for up to an hour, which means I’m quite lost when I resume listening.

What is your favorite comedy movie?

The British version of Death at a Funeral.

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

There are two, and both are positive. One was the campaign and election of Harold Washington as mayor of Chicago. I worked on his campaign. And the other was the culmination of the anti-apartheid campaign (I was an activist in that movement as well) with the release of Nelson Mandela on February 11, 1990. Millions of people around the world “gathered” to be part of that moment. I remember many friends came together at my house at 3 a.m. in Chicago. We were making breakfast, talking excitedly, anticipating that great hopeful moment.

Amelia Katanski ’92, Associate Professor of English

Amelia  has published an article in the new book, The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature. The article is titled “Embodied Jurisgenesis: NAGPRA, Dialogue, and Repatriation in American Indian Literature.” It analyzes the role of literary texts by Native writers in creating legal meanings that shape the interpretation and application of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990.

Christine Hahn, Associate Professor of Art and Art History

Christine was appointed the new chair of the College Art Association’s Committee of Diversity Practices. The CAA Promotes excellence in scholarship and teaching in the history and criticism of the visual arts and in creativity and technical skill in the teaching and practices of art. It is governed by a 22-person board and has its headquarters in New York City.

Siu-Lan Tan, Professor of Psychology

Siu-Lan is a co-author of the paper,”The Influence of Literacy on Representation of Time in Music: An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Study in the UK, Japan, and Papua New Guinea,” published in the November 2015 issue of the journal Psychology of Music. The research was funded by the Onasssis Foundation in Greece and involved fieldwork in various sites in the United Kingdom, Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto), and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby and a remote region in the Eastern Highlands). The origin of this 2015 study has a distinct Kalamazoo College root–a 2004 study titled “Graphic Representations of Short Music Compositions” published in Psychology of Music. That paper was co-authored by Siu-Lan and K alumna Megan (Bartlett) Kelly ’01, a double-major in political science and human development and social relations. She contributed 250 hours of coding during the summer of her junior year. Also involved in the 2004 research was Professor of Music Tom Evans, who coded a sample of participant responses to check reliability; six K research assistants (Amy Seipel, Sandy Levine, Bradley Miner, Erin Rumery, Angela Kovalak and Christy Peaslee) and the 60 study participants, all of whom were K students. Fast forward some 10 years. “George Athanasopoulos at the University of Edinburgh read our 2004 study and was inspired to extend it to a cross-cultural study,” said Siu-Lan. “He invited me to join the project, and it was exciting to take part in research involving participants in five sites throughout the world.”