Mary has begun her one-year term as board of directors president of the National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS). Mary is vice president of product management for OCLC, a global, nonprofit cooperative of libraries throughout the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. NFAIS is the nation’s leading membership association for the information services industry.
David is the subject of an article that supports one’s faith in human kindness. “A recipe for life: Bake. Swim. Give.” (Gretchen Kell, Berkeley News, 29 January 2016) describes David’s morning routine, centered around his morning swim for exercise. Or, is that actually true? Perhaps the swim is centered around the homemade sandwiches (with homemade bread baked three times a week, circa 5 a.m.) that David makes (sometimes up to 24 in number) to share with student lifeguards and fellow early morning swimmers. His actions are about much more than giving food–it’s a matter of touching lives and braiding different lives into shared stories. Several of those stories are mentioned in the article. One of his poolside beneficiaries calls David “the closest thing to a grandparent at Cal. He genuinely cares.” And another friend says, ““Who would do that? Nobody does something for nothing anymore. I thought there must be an angle, an ulterior motive. But it isn’t anything other than what we should all do. He’s making people’s lives better each day. He is being an example for others in a quiet, understated, unique and gracious way. And he doesn’t ask for a favor in return.” This is one article you definitely want to read. David makes K proud!
Dan is the subject of “Member Spotlight” for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The article (by Laura Petersen) is titled “Dan Blustein journeys from marine biology to Hollywood and back again,” and it’s a good read, chronicling his interesting forays in the saga explicit in the title–though “back again” might more accurately refer to “marine robotics” rather than marine biology. Of particular note is the reference to Dan’s opportunities in K’s externship program. Those two experiences, one with octopi at the Seattle Aquarium and the other job-shadowing a physician, helped clarify what he wanted to do. Of course the article showcases that Dan’s path has been more spiral than straight line. How cool (and liberal arts!) is that.
Jean died peacefully in her home with family present on the night of July 20, 2015. Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Jean earned her B.A. from K in biology. Later, while attending the University of Michigan’s summer graduate biology program at Douglas Lake, she met Nathan (Pete) Riser, her future husband. After completing her M.A. (zoology) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she studied and became a certified medical technologist at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. During World War II she worked in a pathology lab near Lansing, Michigan. Her enthusiasm for that work was evident in her stories and detailed knowledge of pathogens. Before moving to Damariscotta, Maine, Jean spent more than 50 years in the Boston area, as a hospital pathology lab volunteer, a college anatomy instructor, a Girl Scout troop leader, a conservation advocate and a docent at the Peabody-Essex Museum of Salem, Mass. She was a lifelong learner, an avid naturalist, birder, photographer and hiker. Past 90, she was still able to walk two miles and to enjoy identifying fauna and flora. Jean was a world traveler, who took great pleasure in attending international scientific meetings with her husband. She also enjoyed living in New Brunswick and in New Zealand during sabbatical years, as well as participating in an East African ornithological safari and a South Seas sailing adventure. Throughout her life Jean maintained detailed records of natural history, family health, travel and other events of interest. In addition, she possessed encyclopedic knowledge on a great variety of topics from Asian art to Wagnerian opera to European history to scientific discoveries. Her daughter once said, “She was Google before Google.” Several of Jean’s relatives have K connections. Her mother Ruth Desenberg Folz attended K for a year. Jean’s first cousin, Samuel Folz, was a member of the class of 1947. And Jean’s daughter Claire graduated in 1967. Jean was predeceased by her husband and is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Doug retired on August 31 after a 21-year tenure as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cooperstown, New York. He majored in religion at K and studied abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. His career service quarter with the Sioux tribe of South Dakota convinced him to enter the ministry. After graduating from K he attended Colgate Rochester Divinity School. He was ordained in 1976. Doug and his wife, Susan, plan to move to Cortland (N.Y.) to be close to their daughter and granddaughter. They also have a son and two grandchildren living in Seattle. One of Doug’s passions is model trains. He had train gardens set up in the yard of his Cooperstown home, where he would sometimes invite the public to watch train runs. Doug has more than one hundred model trains, and he expects to spend several years of his retirement setting up the train layout at his Cortland home. A retirement activity that he and Susan intend to share is visiting National Parks. And they also expect to babysit their granddaughter a lot.
From the “It’s a small world” department: Laura was hiking in early April the Chapel Trail in Sedona, Arizona. She happened to be wearing a T-shirt with the K logo. Two women she passed on the trail inquired if the shirt was related to Kalamazoo College. Turns out the two women–Larissa Miller Bishop ’96 and Stephanie (Gorman) Foote ’96–are alumni classmates, and both know Carrie (Graveel) Diegel ’96, a mutual friend of all three hikers. What prompted Laura’s recollection of the incident was a similar occurrence on a glacier trail in New Zealand, involving Holly Gillis ’09 and Jeff Palmer ’76. Holly remembered Laura; Laura remembered her recent story of Hornets crossing paths. Pictured in Arizona are (l-r): Laura, Larissa and Stephanie.
Welcome home, Andy Miller! The proud Kalamazoo College alumnus—class of 1999, English major, music minor, creative writing concentrator, Michigan-certified secondary school teacher (English and music), and K intramural softball phenom—has returned to his alma mater. He’s worked here before. Following graduation he was associate director of LandSea, a program he loved as both participant and patrol leader. He also worked to help the Stryker Center liaison with the greater Kalamazoo business community. Former K president Jimmy Jones recognized great talent, and when he became president of Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) in 2004 he convinced Andy to go east for a decade. At Trinity, Andy created the Quest Program, which became that college’s outdoor orientation program for first-year students. Simultaneously Andy worked for Trinity’s advancement office—in major gifts, planned giving, alumni relations, and parent giving, making him one of the great five-tool players (think whatever corresponds to speed, power, contact, glove work, and a cannon arm) in the world of advancement. Andy and alumna Mary-Katherine Thompson ’06 married in 2009. They first met on LandSea. This past August Andy came back to K to serve as the College’s executive director of development. Why the return? “It’s a perfect fit,” he says. “It’s coming home.” And we think it’s great to have him home!
And now his answers to the questions we’ve all been eager to know.
What’s the best song every recorded?
“Apologies to the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Petty, Guns N’ Roses, and especially Springsteen’s ’Jungleland,’ which comes in second, but I’m going to have to go with ’Layla’ by Derek and the Dominos.
What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
“’Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter.”
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“’You did a good job down there.’”
What’s your favorite word?
What’s your least favorite word?
“Irregardless. People use it all the time, but IT’S NOT A WORD!”
What turns you on?
“Autonomy…challenge…the opportunity to create things…and, of course, my wife.”
What turns you off?
“Hate, prejudice, and close-mindedness.”
What sound do you love?
“The electric guitar. Specifically, a Fender telecaster coming through a Vox amp.”
What sound do you hate?
“I absolutely love dogs…but I have two at home who bark like maniacs every time another dog is being walked outside our house, which is regularly. Training remains a work in progress!”
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
“Professional rock and roll songwriter.”
What profession would you not like to participate in?
“Accounting. My lack of interest would pretty much assure my uselessness…and vice versa.”
What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?
“There are two, both of which happened spring of my senior year and involved synthesizing my previous three-and-a-half-years worth of learning and developing. My Senior Individualized Project gave me the opportunity to do a deep dive into every ‘art’ I had any competency in–a manuscript worth of poems (thanks Diane Seuss), a related series of photographs (thanks Richard Koenig), and an album’s worth of music (thanks Tom Evans). On the more traditionally academic side, my English Comprehensive Exams required me to, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a Saturday, write essays on three different questions, with each essay using three literary references drawn from a list of texts read over the course of my entire time at K. Handing in my SIP and my ’comps,’ admittedly at the absolute last minute in both cases, was so fulfilling to me because they truly served as twin capstone projects of my liberal arts learning.”
Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?
“Neither is famous. It would either be my paternal grandfather, who died when I was very young, or my maternal grandmother, who died before I was born.”
What memory from childhood still surprises you?
“I remember very well burning my arm on the stove at the age of two on Valentine’s Day when I was reaching for some Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup my mom was making for me. Somehow, despite being so young, I had managed to get my arm on top of the stove. My mom has never forgiven herself because she was out of the room preparing for a date with my dad to celebrate the birth of my cousin on that very day.”
What is your favorite curse word?
What is your favorite hobby?
“Songwriting and recording in my basement.”
What is your favorite comedy movie?
“Blues Brothers is a pretty solid go-to. I use the phrases ‘We’re getting the band back together’ and ‘We’re on a mission from God’ regularly.”
What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you most?
“Probably 9/11. I may remember it so distinctly because it happened when we were on LandSea in Ontario. Tom Breznau got a call from President Jones and we went to the one TV at the nearest one-street town to learn what was going on, which was unbelievable. And we had to figure out how to inform all the patrol leaders and participants scattered throughout Killarney. Then to live in the east for 10 years…9/11 has shaped a lot of what New York is like today.”
If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?
“Absolutely, unless she was drinking orange juice.”
Gretchen recently received a Fulbright Fellowship (her third), which she will use to teach in Bosnia next year. Gretchen is the author of the four books, Dissent in Wichita: The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954-72 ; Herstories: Woman to Woman ; Maybe Crossings; and Finding Duncan. At K Gretchen majored in history and studied abroad in Sierra Leone.
Corey retired from the U.S. Army in August, 2015, as a Major. Since then she has taken classes in underwater research methods and scuba diving in Key West, and she is currently learning about sustainable agriculture by volunteering with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and exploring the U.S. national park system. Love that liberal arts spirit! Corey is also helping plan the class of 1997’s 20-year reunion this fall.
Anita was inducted into the Michigan Lawyers Weekly Class of 2014 “Women in the Law,” a distinction that honors outstanding accomplishments in private practice, the corporate arena, and social advocacy. In addition to being honored as one of the Top 30 “Women in the Law,” Anita has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2015 in the field of commercial litigation. She was named as a ‘Michigan Super Lawyer’ by Law & Politics Magazine in 2014. Anita also serves as a case evaluator for Ingham County and the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan and is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University College of Law. At K Anita earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and studied abroad in Colombia. She earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law.