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June (Wilmsen) Severance ’45

June has published, at age 90, From the Inside: A Look at Nursing Homes and Their Patients in Today’s Elder Care System. The book provides her insider look at the day-to-day happenings of  nursing homes both as a resident and a friend to residents.  Central to those observations is her unique mix of humor, introspection, and occasional depression as she faced the work of getting well and coping with pain.

During the last decade June spent nine months in three different nursing homes in Montana and the Midwest. “People need to know what it’s like to be in a nursing home,” she said.

Though it occurred decades ago, her father’s nursing home stay in New York  remains seared into her memory, and was the impetus for the book.   “I was so furious,” she remembers.  “It was so negative.  To be in a nursing home is to truly be someone different.”  But, over the years, she says, she learned that “Nursing homes are NOT the worst thing in the world.  I came to scorn and stayed to praise,” she concludes.

June enrolled in Kalamazoo College at the age of 16.  She majored in English and theatre. The latter may not be surprising, given the fact that she had been a child performer at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. During her student days at K, a weekly campus segment she did on the local radio station eventually became a full-time job with CBS-WKZO in Kalamazoo. She worked on a feature called “News of Women Today,” which carried stories on women’s responses to World War II throughout the world and the effect the war had on women’s status and work.

June and her husband, Wayne, have lived near Whitehall, Montana for 20 years.  They spent most of their marriage in East Aurora, N.Y., where Wayne worked for Fisher-Price.  June earned her M.A.  at Syracuse University and taught there. She also directed plays at both the Buffalo and the East Aurora theaters. And she performed her own material in a series of one-woman shows. She and Wayne eventually moved west to be closer to their two sons and five grandchildren. She helped establish a theatre group in Whitehall. For four years, “Jefferson Valley Presents” staged an outdoor dinner theatre production on the Lewis and Clark expedition. June wrote the script, performed, and helped with the costuming.

Walter Edmund Ash Jr. ’61

Walter died on August 5, 2015. He matriculated to K from Vicksburg (Mich.) High School. He earned his degree in biology and was deeply involved in theatre productions on campus. After graduation he attended Yale School of Drama for a year. On June 2, 1963, he married Lela Davis in Vicksburg. Walter followed his love of theatre as a freelance theatre director his entire career. He directed more than 100 plays in his lifetime and acted in many as well. He also was a founding member of the Festival Playhouse at Kalamazoo College. He was a true liberal arts spirit with many varied interests. He was a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and the American Conifer Society. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather blessed with a very curious mind and insatiable love of the arts. Walter is survived by Lela, his wife of 52 years, their three children and two grandchildren.

Lisa Kron ’83

Lisa will be able see her Tony award-winning Broadway musical Fun Home staged in her home town of Lansing, Mich., next year. The Wharton Center in Lansing announced it will stage a professional production of Fun Home during the Center’s 2016-17 season. The play, based on Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, was nominated for 12 Tony awards in 2015 and took home five, including best musical and best original score. Kron wrote the musical’s book. She grew up on Lansing’s west side and studied theater at K before moving, in 1984, to New York City.

Emily Harpe ’08

Emily played Elizabeth Bennet in the Jon Jory stage adaptation of Jane’s Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The play was performed last November at Indiana University’s Ruth N. Halls Theater. Emily is a third-year graduate student in acting at IU. She was a theatre arts major at K, and she studied abroad in India. An enthusiastic Monkapult improvisational artist, Emily also was a frequent performer for Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College. Among her most prominent roles was Hamlet in Festival Playhouse’s all-female version of Shakespeare’s play, and she played the role of fellow alumna Lisa Kron ’83 in the latter’s Tony-nominated play Well.

Charles Langton ’83

Charles is legal analyst, reporter, weekend morning anchor, and a co-host at FOX 2 (WJBK) in Southfield, Michigan. He also is a practicing attorney with his own law firm. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and won a best supporting actor award for a Festival Playhouse role in William Inge’s play Picnic. He earned his law degree from the Detroit College of Law and later enrolled at (and graduated first in his class from) the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts. Since then he has worked in several radio and television positions and has won four Emmys and three Wade McCree Jr. awards for excellence in legal journalism presented by the State Bar of Michigan.

Dan Blustein ’06

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.

Lisa Kron ’83

Lisa’s latest theatrical project, the Broadway show Fun Home, has drawn rave reviews. (The New York Times called it a “deeply moving triumph.” And critic Ben Brantley lauded it as extraordinary, pumping “oxygenating fresh air into the culture recycling center that is Broadway.”) The musical is an adaptation from Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel about growing up in a funeral home with a closeted gay dad who suffers an untimely death. Lisa wrote an accompanying book and the lyrics for the musical.

Ryan Biziorek ’04, LEED AP, CTS

Ryan leads the acoustics, audiovisual, and theatre consulting practice at Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm. Ryan works in the company’s Chicago office. At K, he majored in physics and economics. He earned a master’s degree in sound and vibration studies from the University of Southampton. Since joining Arup in 2005, Ryan has been involved in providing technical expertise and project management skills for various building types. He is an active proponent of performance-based design, constantly evaluating the prescribed criteria and standards for different facilities whose users’ needs and requirements are incorporated into the project. He strives to implement integrated acoustic and audiovisual solutions into the design using innovative tools and techniques. Some of his projects include the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece; the St. Louis Art Museum Expansion in St. Louis, Missouri; and the public address system redesign for the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.