Josef, a visiting international student from Germany during the 1972-73 academic year, took a stroll around the K campus with his wife, Dorothea, last October 25. Now living in Marloffstein, Germany, Josef and Dorothea also visited Rob ’76 and Val ’76 Van Patten in Grand Rapids, Carolyn Sevin ’74 in St. Clair Shores, Patricia Harrington ’76 in Cary, Ill., Heidi Gregori-Gahan ’76 in Evansville, Ind., and Jeffrey Barbour ’75 in Titusville, Fla. Josef encourages K pals from yesteryear to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marc died on April 8, 2015. He matriculated to K from Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) High School and majored in French and physics. He studied abroad in Caen, France, and graduated from K summa cum laude. After graduation he returned to France to teach English and do translation work. He returned to the United States to attend graduate school at Princeton University, where he earned a master’s degree in French literature. He interrupted his work on his doctorate to return to France in 1989. He was a journalist for Slate.com and other online media, and he also worked as a talk radio host for a local Paris LGBT program. He was deeply involved with work with the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) as a volunteer, former board member, and member of the site selection committee. “We have lost a special person,” said FGG Co-President Kurt Dahl. “His passion and dedication to the FGG was limitless.” He is survived by his partner, Jimmy Masserson, his sister, an aunt and uncle, and several cousins.
Alfredo Ramon, who taught generations of Kalamazoo College students from 1958 to 1996 in K’s foreign study program in Madrid, Spain, passed away on January 30, 2015, at the age of 92, just days before an exhibition of his paintings opened at the Centro Cultural Nicolás Salmerón on 3 February. A professional painter, inspiring teacher, and genial lecturer, Alfredo embodied in his work and personality the history, spirit, culture, and character of Spain. He was an artist of great versatility who worked in a variety of media and subjects, from portraits to landscapes to street scenes. He also worked in diverse artistic areas such as restoration, stage and costume design, and poster painting. In the words of one of Madrid’s dailies reporting his death, he is perhaps best known for his street scenes of old Madrid which captured its soul and spirit and made of him a chronicler of the visual history of his adopted city. A master teacher, he conveyed to his Kalamazoo College and other American students the essence of Spain, past and present, through its artistic treasures. His classes in the Prado brought to life the glories of a Goya or Velasquez; a trip with him to Toledo resurrected the days of the Christian kings and El Greco. Alfredo was the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, and the list of his one-man shows dates from 1955 to 2015. His works are a part of permanent public and private collections in Spain and abroad, including Kalamazoo College, where he was well known as a visiting professor and frequent visitor. Alfredo Ramon was an esteemed colleague, a loyal and true friend of Kalamazoo College and its students. His contributions to the College and K students reach back to our first program in Madrid in 1958. In recognition of his achievements and role in the life of the College, Alfredo was awarded the degree Doctor of Fine Arts by Kalamazoo College in 1991. (Obituary by Joe Fugate)
Paloma works for the U.S. Department of State as an information officer on the organization’s foreign disaster assistance response team. She is based out of Washington, D.C. and has an apartment there. She has been in Liberia and Sierra Leone for most of the past 10 months working on the Ebola response. The photo shows her in Liberia crossing the river from Bong County to Gbarpolu County to visit a community care center. She still had a hour hike once she hit the shore. She writes a blog about her work.
Recently Paloma wrote her alma mater about one of those K connection moments she experienced in Africa. “Do you remember Deogratias ’Deo’ Niyizonkiza, who spoke at Kalamazoo during the Spring of 2011? Wanted to tell you that I met the co-founder of Deo’s organization, Village Health Works,–Dziwe Ntaba–here in Liberia, Dziwe accompanied Deo to Kalamazoo and remembers receiving a cozy. big black K sweatshirt. He is here as an employee of the NGO International Medical Corps that we (USAID) have funded and that has contributed an amazing amount to the Ebola response.”
Paloma also visits Kenya whenever she can. She did her K study abroad in Nairobi and returned to the country for her SIP. During those sojourns she got to know seven children whose education and care she continues to support. “I’ve been granted two weeks leave to fly to Kenya to spend with the seven kiddos,” she wrote last June. “They remain my personal priority–I still speak to them every few weeks and they are growing fast. They are doing well, studying hard, and I can’t wait to hug them for a few weeks.”
Professor Stavig died on Sunday, Easter morning, April 5, 2015. He was 87 years old. During his tenure at the College Professor Stavig established his legacy in several areas. Generations of students remember him for his inspired teaching, careful scholarship, preparation and dedication to excellence. Colleagues at home and abroad owe a great deal to his skills as a gifted administrator. The College community benefits from the legacy of his high ethical and moral standards.
In 1955 Professor Stavig began his 37-year career at Kalamazoo College as an assistant professor of English. Some 30 years later–in a speech he gave on Honors Day (October 31, 1986) about the beginning of study abroad at Kalamazoo College–he described his feelings on being chosen to accompany the very first group of 25 K students to experience three months of foreign study in the summer of 1958:
“Wonder of wonders, a thirty-year-old untenured assistant professor of English who had been at K only three years, who had never been to Europe, and whose oral language skills were minimal was selected to take the first group over [on the ship Arosa Star, departing from Montreal on June 17] and give them–what else could he give them–minimal supervision. Plans had been carefully made, but there was simply a lot we just didn’t know. We did know, however, that we were involved in a great adventure, an adventure that had tremendous implications for us and our college. And we knew we had the responsibility for making it work.”
That same year he accompanied the first group of students to study abroad Professor Stavig also was promoted to associate professor English.
He became a full professor in 1963 and served in that capacity until his retirement from K in 1992. And he did much more. In 1962–the year the K-Plan launched as the College’s curriculum–Professor Stavig became K’s first director of foreign study. In this role he established procedures and goals that are still valid today. Five years later he was named dean of off-campus education. He served in both of those posts until 1974.
In 1982, Stavig was awarded the Florence J. Lucasse Fellowship for excellence in teaching, the highest honor for pedagogy, and one conferred by one’s faculty colleagues. Stavig’s speech accepting the award is a study in keen and humble insight into the art of teaching. In the speech he shares 11 observations about the profession of college professor. Among those observations one finds these favorites: “2) Education is life for the students, teachers, and others who are engaged in it. Each of us should, therefore, seek to provide pleasure, satisfaction, rewards, and a sense of worth for all those who participate; 5) Anyone who claims to understand completely what happens in the classroom is either a fool or a liar. Each class, each day, is inevitably a new adventure. Sometimes everything clicks and the world is beautiful; sometimes, for whatever reasons, nothing works and one wonders what sins could possibly have earned such punishment; and 7) The longer I teach, the less concerned I am with supplying good answers and the more concerned I am with asking good questions.”
Rightly considered one of the founders of the K-Plan, Professor Stavig loved, believed in and advocated for the educational leaps that result from foreign study. He credited study abroad in large part to the vision of his friend, English department colleague, and fellow K-Plan architect, Larry Barrett, who also died on an Easter morning. “Larry Barrett saw foreign study as a unique opportunity for us to experiment and innovate,” said Professor Stavig, “to see if a boldly different kind of educational experience could be made to work. And he wanted this because he always wanted education simply to be better for the students.” And so, too, did the man who wrote those words about his friend.
In August Mike and Alex Ducoffe ’13 traveled to Ecuador to celebrate the marriage of Tobi Lobeda and Majo Garson. Mike and Alex know Tobi, a visiting international student who attended Kalamazoo College during the 2011-12 academic year. During the visit the three found time for a hike in the Ecuadorian rain forest. Pictured are (l-r) Alex, Tobi and Mike. “We are all even wearing Kalamazoo College soccer apparel,” wrote Mike. “I think this shows the solidarity of the relationships formed at K and how that K connection is felt in even the far reaches of the world.”
Matt is like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps? Absolutely, according to “Imbibe” e-magazine. The comparison is apt because Matt is America’s most decorated beer brewer; he’s won awards multiple times in multiple categories at the annual Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, Colorado. In the feature profile, Matt credits his Kalamazoo College experience in a number of ways. His health science major provided the organic chemistry experience that came in handy during his first job after graduating–in the hops lab at Kalsec (Kalamazoo Spice Extraction Company). At K he met K alumnus Larry Bell ’80, whom he credits for getting him interested in craft brewing. Larry is the founder of Bell’s Brewery. And during his K years, Matt studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, which gave him the opportunity to experience the beer cultures in Belgium and Germany. Matt’s brewing career featured early stops at the Siebel Institute (Chicago), Goose Island Brewery (Chicago), and SLO Brewing (Paso Robles, California), which was eventually purchased by Firestone Walker. The firm soon recognized his talent and made Matt a brewery partner in 2010.
Lor is one of some 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) from the U.S. Department of State. CLS participants spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in one of 13 countries. Lor spent the summer in China focusing on the study of Chinese language. CLS Program participants are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Professor Thioub has been appointed rector of Université Cheikh Anta Diop, a university that serves 80,000 students in Dakar, Senegal. Professor Thioub has been the resident director of Kalamazoo College’s study abroad program in Senegal.