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.

Benjamin Drier ’43

Ben died on January 2, 2015. He matriculated to K from Three Oaks, Michigan, and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He served in the United States Army during World War II, working in a field hospital in central Europe. When he returned to Three Oaks he met and married Norma Petruske, and they raised their family there. Ben was the owner of Drier Insurance and Real Estate, where he worked with his brother for five decades. After retirement, Ben and Norma enjoyed traveling throughout Europe (he was proficient in French and German). He was happiest when he was with family.

John Grandin ’63

On a recent trip to Florida from Rhode Island, John and his wife, Carol, stopped in Atlanta and had a great two-day visit with Dick Compans ’63 and his wife, Marian. John is professor emeritus of German and director emeritus of the International Engineering Program at the University of Rhode Island. Dick is professor of microbiology and immunology in the Emory University School of Medicine. He also directs the Influenza Pathogenesis & Immunology Research Center.


Joe Brockington, Ph.D., Associate Provost for International Programs

Joe died on August 12, 2015. In addition to his post in the Center for International Programs, he also served as professor of German language and literature.

He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D degrees from Michigan State University, and began his career at Kalamazoo College in 1979 as an instructor in German language and literature. During his 35-year career at K, Joe served in several roles in the Center for International Programs before being named associate provost in 2000. He was recognized internationally as a safety and risk management expert in study abroad programming. During his career he served in various positions of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, including chair of the Section on U.S. Students Abroad and member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Committee. He also served as a member of the founding board of the Forum on Education Abroad, the Association of International Education Administrators. Joe published and presented numerous papers on modern German literature as well as a variety of study abroad topics, including orientation and re-entry, international programs administration, and campus internationalization. He led best practices workshops in legal and risk management issues and co-edited the third edition of NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad for Advisers and Administrators.

“Joe interacted with generations of K students,” said President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, “and increased their opportunities for independent research and service learning abroad. He was a faithful advocate for international students at K, working with colleagues to ensure a full and productive K educational experience. Joe significantly expanded K’s reputation as a leader in study abroad and international programming. He will be missed by many in the K family and throughout the world.”

In the fall of 2008 Kalamazoo College celebrated its 50th anniversary of sending students abroad. Joe devoted his career to that important educational tradition. Some 80 percent of K students have studied in programs ranging from China and Japan to India and Israel; from Kenya and Senegal in Africa to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, and Mexico in South and Central America. Their options have included European programs in Greece, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, and England as well as the opportunities that have continued (since the program’s origins) in France, Spain, and Germany. Most students study in a foreign language and live with host families. And most participate in an Individualized Cultural Research Project that requires them to get out into a community, participate in a service project, and write a report about the experience. All of that is part of the legacy of Joe Brockington. “The goal,” he once said, “is to help the student look at other cultures, other peoples, and say ‘we’ instead of ‘they.’”

Chris Bussert ’78

Chris and his son, Shaun, made it all the way to the finals of the USTA National Senior Father/Son Clay Court Championships in November. The tournament took place in Sarasota, Fla. It was the Busserts first senior circuit tournament, and making the finals was a good week of work. They lost to a team that has won the event the previous two years. Chris won national singles and doubles titles during his days as a Hornet tennis player.

C. Conrad Browne Sr. ’43

Conrad, a retired Baptist minister and missionary who dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice and peace for all people, died on January 26, 2016. He attended Kalamazoo College and later received his divinity degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He continued his post-graduate studies at the Interdenominational Divinity School (Atlanta), Harvard Divinity School (Cambridge, Mass.), and at the Episcopal Theological School (Cambridge, Mass.).  Conrad was a Conscientious Objector during World War II and entered into military alternative service with several organizations, including the YMCA and the National Forest Service. For 54 years he served the American Baptist Churches USA in many capacities. He retired from the ministry in 1994. He was married for 50 years to Ora Helen (Smith) Browne until her death in 1995. He is survived by his wife, Catherine. Conrad’s family includes five children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Carrie VanDerZee ’05

arrieTroyerCarrie and Adam Troyer ’05 got married in Punta Cana (the Dominican Republic) in January. They were thrilled to have a number of fellow Hornets attend. Pictured are (l-r) Liz Okey ’07, Nate Troyer ’02, Sara (Kellogg) Troyer ’03, Garrett Weatherhead ’03, Lindsay (Basler) Weatherhead ’05, Adam and Carrie, Anny Price ’05, Ed Thomas ’05 and Bridgett Blough ’08.

Alexandra Foley Altman ’97

lexandraAltmanAlexandra joined classmates, friends and their families for a summer picnic in Battle Creek, Michigan. Adults (l-r) included: Michael Ejercito, Karen Reed ’97, Miguel Aguirre, April Riker ’97, Alexandra, Chris Altman ’97, Angela Pratt Geffre ’97, Dan Geffre, and Paula Feddor Frantz ’97. The kids (l-r) included: Felicity, Dante and Sierra Ejercito; Santiago and Felix Aguirre; Maeve Altman; Connor Geffre; and Ryan and Max Frantz.

Gerald Poggi, assistant professor of classics

Gerald Poggi (left) in Cairo, Egypt

Gerald Poggi (left) in Cairo, Egypt

Jerry died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack on September 28, 2016, in Cairo, Egypt. He taught in the classics department at Kalamazoo College from 1966 to 1970.

Jerry was born in New York City and attended Regis High School in Manhattan. He graduated from Iona College (New Rochelle, New York) and accepted a fellowship in Latin and Greek from the University of Chicago in 1965 where he earned a master’s degree.

After his four years teaching at K he returned to the University of Chicago to work in administration. He and his partner, Bill (who died in 1992), left Chicago and went to the West Coast where Jerry entered the corporate world as an executive with Hughes Aircraft. Jerry also earned a Ph.D in comparative literature from the University of Southern California.

Jerry and Bill moved to Milwaukee where Jerry worked with Miller Brewing. His last position was with the State of Maryland  as a personnel director. He retired at the age of 62 and moved to Cairo, visiting the United States for several months each year. Jerry is survived by his partner, Ashraf, and his brother, Gregory, who is a professor at the University of Michigan.