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The Snack That’s a Quality Meal

Andy Mozina at the WMUK 102.1 FM radio station, Kalamazoo’s NPR affiliate, talking on air about his new story collection for the Arts and More program.

It begins with a lie. A good one. The author, after all, is an expert liar. He disarms you for only a moment when he admits it, his expression unchanged.

Andy Mozina, an English professor at Kalamazoo College since 1999 and author of the new story collection, Quality Snacks (Wayne State University Press, May 2014), makes his admission, or confession, on air in a recent interview for the Arts and More program at the WMUK radio station, Kalamazoo’s NPR affiliate. Yes, he lies, he says.

As do all fiction writers, and Mozina is fast gaining notoriety as such. Quality Snacks is Mozina’s second story collection. His first, The Women Were Leaving the Men, also published by Wayne State University Press (2007), won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award and was a finalist for the Glasgow/Shenandoah Prize for Emerging Writer. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, including Tin House, Ecotone, Fence, The Southern Review, and The Missouri Review, and has received special citations in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and New Stories from the Midwest. His critical work, Joseph Conrad and the Art of Sacrifice, was published by Routledge in 2001.

On the morning of his radio interview Mozina enters the studio breathless. He abandoned his car, he says, realizing that he was running late. The car was beached like a whale on the grass, he says, with hazard lights blinking and doors swinging open as he tore up the campus in his race to the studio.

Really? Not quite. As it turns out, Mozina’s car is parked in its parking spot, squared between the yellow lines, doors locked, lights off, engine cool.

Mozina grins, just a little. This is how he tells stories, building on near nothing, embellishing, adding twists and surprises and horseshoe turns on every page. He says he often begins his story idea with the twist, then builds the story around it.

Quality Snacks is a collection of 15 stories, each one with Mozina’s signature sense of wry humor. The stories, for the most part, are built around the efforts of middle-aged men struggling with relationship issues.

Santa Claus as a baseball player may not qualify as middle-aged in the final story, “No Joy in Santa’s Village,” but he nevertheless struggles with deteriorating relationships with his elves, who have come to resent him for what they consider Santa’s shortcomings. In fact, the elves in the dugout are showing a dark side as they clamor for Santa flesh in retribution for those long winter nights.

“His dugout was filled with elves. Some never moved, some never sat still—whittling a piece of wood into a bat, whittling the bat into baseballs, whittling the baseballs into tiny bats, which were whittled into still tinier baseballs. Some were incontinent, some respired entirely through their pores, like plants. Some rooted for Santa, some cast spells against him. At each game they created a locked-ward atmosphere in the dugout. Last year, one or another of the elves would occasionally streak onto the field in the middle of a game, tear up a piece of turf, and retreat toward the bench, gibbering hysterically, holding the turf aloft.” (Page 184, “No Joy in Santa’s Village”)

As for Doritos, a popular snack by Frito-Lay, Mozina says he once had an addiction for the chips, but, happily, has been able to conquer it. His title story, “Quality Snacks,” is a story of a team of Frito-Lay employees brainstorming new and vitamin-fortified flavors for the snack (burrito, chicken quesadilla, enchilada, refried beans), perhaps even marketing them as a main meal rather than just a snack.

Mozina won’t admit to a fear of dogs, but his opening story, “Dogs I Have Known,” begs to differ. He’s convincing. In one mini-story after another, the narrator describes dogs that have made an appearance in his life, none truly vicious, yet Mozina manages to make even the nicest pup at least a little unnerving with toothy potential.

The banker and the college professor meet over sandwich wraps and keep on meeting into what warms and then sizzles into “My Nonsexual Affair: A Tale of Strong and Unusual Feelings.” Lines are not exactly crossed but toed and danced upon with increasing insistence, and Mozina manages his signature effect on the reader once again.

That effect: to make us see ourselves at our nerdiest, geekiest, weakest, most vulnerable and so also most human. Even as we wince and sigh, glad that’s not me…we have to admit, some of it is. The silly human condition, the offbeat element of truth that is stranger than fiction, unless it’s Mozina’s fiction.

Michele Intermont, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Michele co-authored the article “Liberal Arts Colleges: An Overlooked Opportunity,” which appears in the May 2016 issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society. The article cites several advantages for teaching at a place like K, including class sizes conducive to meaningful relationship building, breadth of teaching and freedom to design class syllabi; the opportunity to pursue research and involve undergraduates in research; deeper mentoring possibilities; and even the chance to test oneself beyond one’s discipline, for example in first-year seminars. Michelle contributed to the piece (pages 565-570) along with mathematics professors from Pomona College and the College of Holy Cross.

David Barclay, the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies

In recent months David published three articles.

“Preußen in europäischer und amerikanischer Sicht.” In Preußen als Kulturstaat im 19. Jahrhundert, 57-66. Edited by Gisela Mettele and Andreas Schulz. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2015.

“Das ‘monarchische Projekt’ Friedrich Wilhelms IV. von Preußen.” In Inszenierung oder Legitimation?/Monarchy and the Art of Representation: Die Monarchie in Europa im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert.Ein deutsch-englischer Vergleich, 35-44. Edited by Frank-Lothar Kroll and Dieter J. Weiß. Prinz-Albert Studien/Prince Albert Studies 31. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2015.

“Kein neuer Mythos. Das letzte Jahrzehnt West-Berlins.” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 65, no. 46 (9 November 2015): 37-42.

David also published a book review in the American Historical Review, and has another review scheduled for publication in the Journal of Modern History.

In the fall he traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, to deliver two invited lectures on the history of West Berlin a quarter century after German unification.. The first lecture was at the Vantage Point Subscription Club in downtown Madison, and the second was at the Center for European Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

He also gave the 2015 Moritz Lecture at Kalamazoo College. He spoke about the music scene and its importance in Cold War Berlin.

Ada Letitia (“Tish”) Loveless, Ph.D.

Tish Loveless, foreground, and Marge Schneider, K tennis standouts, at the Markin Tennis Center 10-07.

Tish Loveless, foreground, and Marge Schneider, K tennis standouts, at the Markin Tennis Center 10-07.

Tish, who was a women’s athletics pioneer and longtime director of women’s athletics at Kalamazoo College, died on Thursday, September 22, 2016, at her home. She was 91 years old.

Tish served as director of women’s athletics from 1953 until she retired in 1986. Prior to her arrival, there were no women’s intercollegiate athletic teams at Kalamazoo College. During her tenure, she established women’s varsity teams in tennis, field hockey, archery, swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and cross country.

She is the most successful coach of women’s teams in the history of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the oldest athletic conference in the country. Her teams won 28 league championships: 23 in tennis, four in archery, and one in field hockey. Her 1986 women’s tennis squad finished third in the nation. In 1992, Kalamazoo College inducted Tish into its Athletic Hall of Fame and, in 2015, the College dedicated the “Tish Loveless Court” in the Anderson Athletic Center.

Tish believed in the benefits of competition for everyone, regardless of skill level, and she worked tirelessly to ensure all students had opportunities to compete. She added new sports and classes based on student requests, and not just her own skills.  On several occasions, Tish coached sports largely unfamiliar to her at the urging of passionate students. Over the years, she learned, and then taught, fencing, archery, modern dance, folk dance, social dance, and swimming.

“Tish’s legacy includes the thousands of students whose lives she touched,” said Marilyn Maurer, coach emerita of women’s swimming and a longtime colleague and friend. “She opened their eyes to doors of possibility to which they hadn’t realized they already possessed the key. Many of her students remained in close contact to the very end.”

Tish earned a B.S. in physical education from the University of Illinois in 1948, an M.S. from UCLA in 1952, and a Ph.D. in education from Michigan State in 1977.  In 1988, she was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame.  She received the Weimar K. Hicks Award from the Kalamazoo College Alumni Association for service to the College in 2002.

Thanks to the loving care of friends and caregivers, Tish spent her last days at her Kalamazoo home that she had shared with Marilyn Hinkle, a lifelong good friend and member of Kalamazoo College class of 1944.  Marilyn died on January 25, 2007.

Tish is survived by many nieces and nephews and their children, as well as several generations of Kalamazoo students who always treated her like family.

A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, November 12, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. in Stetson Chapel followed by a reception in Anderson Athletic Center Lobby. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Tish Loveless Women’s Athletics Endowment or the Marilyn Hinkle Endowed Scholarship for Arts at Kalamazoo College.

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.”

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.”

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.