Katharine joined the Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan as a legislative assistant. Prior to taking that position she was the natural resources, tourism, and environmental policy adviser and associate legal counsel in the Michigan’s House Republican Policy Office. Katharine earned her B.A. in psychology at K and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. She earned her law degree from Vermont Law School.
Many Michiganders (and more) have walked the five-mile Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day, an annual event. The bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac. On Labor Day 2015 the 65,000 bridge walkers might have looked down to see 84 swimmers crossing the Straits. Yes, swimmers! And one of them was Sarah. Sarah’s swim was part of a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. The swimmers raised more than $325,000 for Habitat’s neighborhood revitalization program. Twelve teams, each with seven swimmers, attempted the crossing. “The water was not as cold as expected,” said Sarah, “but the wind, strong current and rough water conditions made the swim very challenging.” Sarah swam in tandem with the 65,000 walkers and finished on the shores of the Straits at Fort Michilimackinac in the Lower Peninsula. “Not all swimmers finished,” added Sarah, “and one group required more than eight hours to complete the swim.” Sarah’s group swam the distance in just under three hours. “It was an epic swim for a great cause!”
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Brian to the Illinois State Museum Board. Brian has more than 35 years of experience in natural resources preservation and analysis. His résumé also includes oversight of the Illinois State Museum when he served in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Brian is the deputy executive director of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, where he manages strategic planning and coordinates programs across the five Illinois scientific surveys. Previously, he was the director of institutional improvement at Lincoln Land Community College where he coordinated accreditation compliance, strategic planning and institutional research. Brian also worked for IDNR for nearly 20 years. At K Brian majored in biology. He holds a master’s degree from DePauw University and earned his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Louisville.
Retirement, or “retirement,” can be as alive and crackling as the mind is curious and courageous. So it is with Gail. Her recent writing is incandescent. Her poem, “Devastated,” appeared in the Southern Review last spring. Her essay “Gloria,” was published in PHOEBE. “That essay,” Gail wrote, “is about a ‘colored’ baby doll I was given as a little girl, about the suburban relationship to Detroit, and about white racial confusion and anxiety.” Gail is a trenchant and powerful essayist. Her essay, “A Creature, Stirring,” won the New Ohio Review’s nonfiction contest, judged by Elena Passarello. The essay is part of Gail’s just finished memoir, Widow’s Walk.
Gail keeps busy in other ways besides writing. Last month she became chair of the YWCA-Kalamazoo Board of Directors. She has offered several writing workshops locally, on generating memoir (at Kazoo Books and two branches of the Kalamazoo Public Library) and on writing from life’s thresholds (at the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters in Grand Rapids). She also co-facilitated three workshops on building white anti-racist allies for the local organization SHARE–headed by alumna Donna (Coleman) Odom ’67. Last November Gail co-facilitated a fourth workshop, with local poet/activist Denise Miller, at the Summit on Racism.
Whitney is the new executive director of Land Information Access Association (LIAA), a Traverse City, Mich.-based nonprofit that works with communities across Michigan to improve civic engagement, with a focus on strengthening the cultural and natural resources that support resilient, sustainable communities. Whitney will oversee all LIAA’s programs, including community planning, development, and resource management; website and database development and IT support; geographic information system and mapping services; and LIAA’s UpNorth Media Center, which houses the public- and government-access television services for all of northwest Lower Michigan. Whitney joined LIAA after 10 years at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., most recently as vice president of operations. Her professional expertise includes strategic planning, grants, project management, operations, and organizational development. She earned her MBA degree from Kent State University. Whitney now lives in Traverse City with her husband and three sons.
Will is working on his master’s degree in public administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also works as a graduate research assistant at the university.
Scott was named assistant vice president of investments at Wells Fargo Advisors (Aspen, Colo.). Scott earned his B.A. in economics and business at K and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. Scott also is a lieutenant and 11-year member of the Basalt (Colo.) and Rural Fire Protection District. He and his wife and their three children live in Basalt.
Ron is currently in Micronesia, on assignment with the Peace Corps. “The Peace Corps has a relatively young program for former Peace Corps Volunteers called Peace Corps Response,” explained Ron. “The program is for older folks who have a specific skill set for a specific job in countries around the world. I will be working with the fledgling health-care computer based information system being implemented in the State of Yap,” one of the four states that compose the Federated States of Micronesia (the other three are Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk). Ron’s volunteer position will last a year.
Mary has been a senior vice president at Invest Detroit since 2009. Invest Detroit is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a leading source of private sector financing to support economic and community development in underserved communities, primarily in Detroit. Mary manages Invest Detroit’s core city strategic fund (designed to provide lending to priority commercial real estate projects in Greater Downtown Detroit), the nonprofit predevelopment loan fund, and the new markets tax credit program. Mary also leads the efforts for Invest Detroit’s CDFI / CDE relationship management. Prior to joining Invest Detroit, she was vice president of commercial lending at Detroit Commerce Bank. At K Mary majored in political science and studied abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She earned a M.B.A. at the University of Michigan.
In November Darrin, running as a Democrat, was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, representing District 23. He defeated the Republican nominee Bob Howey by 320 votes. Michigan’s 23rd House District–known as the Downriver District, includes the communities of Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, Huron Township, Trenton, and Woodhaven. At K Darrin majored in political science and studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador. Included among his mentors is alumna Gail Raiman ’73.