Archives

Index Throwback: Dave Brubeck

When famed jazz band leader Dave Brubeck visited Kalamazoo in 1974, WJMD and The Index were able to sit down for an interview

By Katie Schmitz

Take Five: Dave Brubeck (left) and his ensemble performing at Kalamazoo Central High School in 1974.

 

Dave Brubeck was a famous jazz pianist and composer. His career started in the 1940s, and he gained wider recognition after appearing on the cover of Time Magazine in 1945. He is perhaps best known for his song “Take Five,” which he composed with his group, the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

In August of 1974, Brubeck and his son came to Kalamazoo to perform in the auditorium of Central High School. The show what a part of a tour Brubeck was doing in which he visited multiple College campuses with his son and their band.

Kalamazoo College’s radio station, WJMD, and the Index were able to get an interview with Brubeck’s son, Darius, and a fellow band member. During the interview, the K Student interviewer played songs for Darius and his band to see if he could guess what they were. After the test, which they passed, the band members discussed what they thought of the selected pieces.

Throughout his career, Dave Brubeck received endless recognition and awards for his work. He was even recognized during the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors for “exhibiting excellence in the performing arts.” At the ceremony, Brubeck was introduced by President Obama, who stated, “You can’t understand America without understanding jazz, and you can’t understand jazz without understanding Dave Brubeck.”

Along with his title of Kennedy Center Honoree and recognition from the President, Brubeck has also received an honorary degree from Kalamazoo College. In 1991, the presenter of the honorary degree stated, “Dave Brubeck continues to enrich the world with his performances, his compositions, and his tireless devotion to the world of music.”

Brubeck passed away one day before his 92nd birthday on December 5, 2012. He will forever be remembered by Kalamazoo College, and the rest touched by his music, as one of the most influential jazz musicians to ever live.

 

Index Throwback: The Feminine Form Takes Shape

By Katie Schmitz

The sculpture outside of the Light Fine Arts Building is another aspect of Kalamazoo College’s campus that many students see every day, but not many actually know the history or meaning behind.

The sculpture, entitled “Prospect” was made by art Professor Marcia Wood in 1982 for K’s sesquicentennial celebration.

The project was funded by the Women’s Council of Kalamazoo. According to an interview with the council in a 1982 issue of the Index, the sculpture was intended to “promote women on campus,” as well as “honor [the artist] who is a woman.”

The Women’s Council continued, ‘the feminine curves and outstretching limbs are constructed of stainless steel. Catching and reflecting sunlight, the sculpture is intended to give a hopeful feeling.”

The sculpture took Professor Wood one and a half years to make, and cost $25,000. It weighs 4 tons. Wood expressed her hope that the sculpture would “speak for itself,” and she designed it specifically to compliment the Light Fine Arts Building.

Paul H. Todd, who was the Chair of the Board of Trustees in 1982, expressed hope that 150 years into the future a group of people might gather again, “graced by the same sculpture, celebrating all the exciting things that college is about.”

“In marking a new chapter in the history of the college I have designed a sculpture which in its

title suggests ’looking forward,” Wood explained to the 1982 Index. “…in its bright material a sense of ’promise and hope.’ The physical form of the sculpture is a figure, which creates its own environment. It invites one to see it from all sides; so walk under it and around it. I hope this sculpture will stand as an emblem of the creative work which is the life force of the college.”

Prof. Marcia Wood also has a sculpture of a similar motif on display in downtown Detroit.

Index Throwback: Williams Hall

Before Trowbridge and Hoben Halls, there was Williams Hall, an all-male dorm completed in 1849 and partially destroyed by fire in 1916.

Inside: Two Kalamazoo students study for exams in their dorm in the now defunct Williams Hall Dormitory.

By Katie Schmitz

In 1849, construction on a new men’s dormitory, named “Upper Hall,” was completed. The hall was located very close to where Hoben Hall stands today.  The hall was renovated and fit with electricity, steam heat, adjustable temperature water, and uniform furniture. Before this, coal stoves were still used to heat rooms.

Unfortunately for K, many of their renovations were ruined when the dormitory caught on fire in March of 1916 due to faulty wiring in the attic. Nobody was hurt, but the third and fourth floors of the hall were ruined, and many students lost all of their possessions.

Thankfully, insurance covered the damages, and the hall was rebuilt as a three-story building. Also, generous donations from the community helped the young men who lost their possessions. Shorty after the reconstructions were complete, the hall was renamed “Williams Hall,” after a man named Dean Clarke Benedict Williams who died in 1923 earthquake in Yokohama, Japan.

Although the Index did not put out an issue the month that the dorm caught fire, a few months later they reviewed the new renovations. “As one enters the large reception room on the first floor, his attention is at once drawn to the beautiful interior decorations, including new inverted electric lights and a magnificent open fire place.”

Again, however, the operation of the dormitory was fairly short lived, and all students were moved into the brand new Hoben Hall in 1937 and Williams Hall was completely demolished.

Williams Hall’s relatively short lifespan (compared to other K dorms) is not to say that it did not have an impact. According to a 1937 issue of the Index, Williams meant so much to one K alum, Van Tifflin K’1912, that he paid $10 for a brick of the demolished hall.

“He wishes the brick as a tangible evidence of the happy hours he spent there during the year 1908-09 and wishes the money to be used for the new Hoben Hall,” explained the article.

This Week in Kalamazoo History

Photo courtesy of Kalamazoo College Art Collection

By Katie Schmitz

Everyone has, no doubt, noticed the large mural in the cafeteria that takes up the whole wall above the entrances. Most people seem to just think of this mural as creepy, often times pointing out the strange and, in some cases, pained looks on the subjects’ faces. Not many stop to appreciate the history of this mural, and still, more question its relevance today.

The mural was painted by artist Philip Evergood. Evergood was appointed in 1940 by K to paint the mural in the current Cafeteria and to be the “Resident Artist” for the College. Evergood started work on the mural in 1941 and completed it in 1942.

Entitled the “Bridge of Life,” the mural is intended to show “scenes typical to Kalamazoo.” Evergood told the Index in 1940 that mural would be “an expression of people in this part of he country.” Prior to starting work on the mural, Evergood even traveled all over southwestern Michigan looking for inspiration.

Work on the mural was paused in 1942, however, when Evergood became ill and had to stay in the hospital for 12 weeks and undergo several surgical procedures. He was able to return to K and finish for the unveiling in May of 1942.

Philip Evergood was a very well known artist during his time, and has had his work displayed in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Evergood was born in 1901 and passed away in 1973 when his home in Connecticut caught on fire.

Currently, a new project is in the works to be placed in the cafeteria after concerns were raised about how the Evergood mural does not reflect Kalamazoo College’s growing diversity. The project titled “Kolors of K” was funded by Student Commission’s Innovation Fund last quarter and will be completed over the next year.

 

Index Throwback

By Katie Schmitz

A picture from Kʼs first production of the Firebugs in 1964. This image was published in the 1965 issue of The Boiling Pot.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kalamazoo College’s Festival Playhouse, the Theater Program reproduced one of the first plays ever performed here at K, The Firebugs.

The play first debuted on the K stage in August of 1964, and was directed by Mrs. Nelda K. Balch.

The original article about the 1964 production seems to be very similar to feedback regarding the play’s production today, especially in regards to the strange plot line of The Firebugs.

During the beginning of the play, it is unclear whether the play is supposed to be a drama or a comedy. As the play progresses, however, the audience seems to understand that they are watching a dark comedy, and proceed to regard it as such.

The student reviewing the play in 1964 also noted the audience’s confusion: “Towards the end, the audience finally learned when to laugh. ‘People don’t believe in God any more,’ someone had cracked earlier in the play, ‘—they believe in the Fire Department;’ and no one had seemed to notice the joke. A bit later, then, there were inappropriate giggles at the announcement of a man’s horrible gas-oven suicide.”

Despite the confused audience, the reviewer went on to say that “The Festival Playhouse has been successfully launched.”

It is safe to say that the 2014 production of The Firebugs will also be regarded as a success for the Festival Playhouse for years to come.

Index Throwback

By Katie Schmitz

The Men''s 1938 Championship team, 2 years after the winning streak-started.

As many already know, the Kalamazoo College men’s tennis team has won 75 consecutive MIAA conference championships.

This is the longest winning streak record held by in college, in any division, in any sport.

According the Men’s Tennis webpage: “The string of championships dates back to 1936. Kalamazoo has won the title outright every year except for three seasons (1944-46) during World War II when no competition was held, and in 1962. They tied for the title twice: in 2003 when the Hornets shared the championship with Hope College, and in 2013 when Kalamazoo, Hope, and Calvin shared the title.”

Back in 1936, when the streak started, the tennis team were very successful, “smearing” everyone else in the conference. According to the May 1936 issue of the Index:

“Kalamazoo retained its lead in M.I.A.A. tennis Wednesday when the local lads smeared Hillsdale to a shutout on the Dales court. Friday the Orange and Black meets Hope here in one of the most important matches in the season. If Kzoo is defeated, the struggle for the title will go into a three way race. Hope and Albion are tied for second now, followed by Olivet and Hillsdale in the cellar position.”

Index Throwback

By Katie Schmitz

George and Lenore Romney in the Olmstead Room

Kalamazoo College has hosted many guest speakers in the past who have been considered “controversial.” Just last quarter, many students were up in arms because Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator, visited campus to discuss bullying by liberals.

In 1976, however, K hosted two guests that would likely make many current students’ skin crawl: the Romneys.

That’s right, George and Lenore Romney left little Mitt at home (actually, he was about 29 at the time and already married with two children), and came on over to visit K.

The couple spoke on different topics. Of George Romney’s talk, the May 1976 issue of the Index summarized: “In his recent visit to Kalamazoo, George Romney, former Michigan Governor, President of American Motors and Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, expressed his views on the issues currently afflicting this country—specifically, the economic situation, November’s presidential contest, and the problems affecting American cities.”

Mr. Romney also discussed his optimism concerning that decade’s economy, and shared his opinions on that year’s upcoming presidential election (in which Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford).

On the other hand, Lenore Romney, who lost a senate race six years prior, talked more about what it was like to be the wife of a political figure. The writer of the 1976 article observed: “Lenore Romney is a singularly aware woman; in the context of political wife, she is rather unique. She is a woman who knows her values and why it is best for her to hold them.”

Mrs. Romney also discussed women in general and their role in 1970’s society. “[She talked about women’s] prerogatives, their effectuality, their status—and she jumped to say that, unfortunately, what most women have been liberated from is their inherit sense of strength and dignity as females in society.”

The two articles posted in the Index following the Romney’s visit were more news-based. There was no reporting on how the Romney’s were received by K’s students, a majority of whom have always been liberal.

It is clear that the visit was controversial, because the editor stated: “The Romney’s visit was, by all accounts, controversial. The two articles presented here reflect only two impressions; we would welcome alternative responses.” No students submitted any more opinions to be published, however.

 

Index Throwback

By Katie Schmitz

George and Lenore Romney in the Olmsted Room in May 1976.

Kalamazoo College has hosted many guest speakers who have been considered “controversial.” Just last quarter, many students were up in arms because Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator, visited campus to discuss liberal bullying.

In 1976, however, K hosted two guests that would likely make many current students’ skin crawl: the Romneys.

That’s right, George and Lenore Romney left little Mitt at home (actually, he was about 29 at the time and already married with two children), and came on over to visit K.

The couple spoke on different topics. Of George Romney’s talk, the May 1976 issue of the Index summarized: “In his recent visit to Kalamazoo, George Romney, former Michigan Governor, President of American Motors and Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, expressed his views on the issues currently afflicting this country—specifically, the economic situation, November’s presidential contest, and the problems affecting American cities.”

Mr. Romney also discussed his optimism concerning that decade economy, and shared his opinions on that year upcoming presidential election (in which Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford).

On the other hand, Lenore Romney, who lost a senate race six years prior, talked more about what it was like to be the wife of a political figure. The writer of the 1976 author observed: “Lenore Romney is a singularly aware woman; in the context of political wife, she is rather unique. She is a woman who knows her values and why it is best for her to hold them.”

Mrs. Romney also discussed women in general and their role in 1970’s society. “[She talked about women’s] prerogatives, their effectuality, their status—and she jumped to say that, unfortunately, what most women have been liberated from is their inherit sense of strength and dignity as females in society.”

The two articles posted in the Index following the Romney’s visit were more news-based. There was no reporting on how the Romney’s were received by K’s students, a majority of which have always been liberal.

It is clear that the visit was controversial, because the editor stated: “The Romney’s visit was, by all accounts, controversial. The two articles presented here reflect only two impressions; we would welcome alternative responses.” No students submitted any more opinions to be published, however.

 

Index Throwback

By Katie Schmitz

“Our newspaper is the oldest in MI,” says Hillsdale College. “False,” says Kalamazoo College.

Hillsdale College is a small liberal arts school located about an hour southeast of Kalamazoo College, in Hillsdale, MI. Since I am not a Michigan native, I have never heard of the school neither, nor have a lot of my Michigander friends.

So when I heard that Hillsdale is claiming to have the oldest collegiate newspaper in the state, I asked, “who?”

I have been spending a lot of this academic year digging through the Index archives. I have become very familiar with the history if the Index and that smell of old newsprint. I found it hard to believe that another school’s newspaper was published before ours, which first went to print November 1877. I thought I should do a fact check on Hillsdale’s claims about their paper, The Collegian.

What I found on The Collegian’s website was the following statement: “Since 1893, The Collegian has delivered local and campus news written and reported by Hillsdale students. We are the oldest college newspaper in Michigan.”

By doing simple math, we know that the Index is 16 years older than The Collegian.

I can understand how maybe when Hillsdale was checking the publication dates of all the other collegiate newspapers in Michigan they may have accidently skipped Kalamazoo College. What baffles me, however, is that Hillsdale also “overlooked” University of Michigan’s paper, The Michigan Daily, which was published three years before the Collegian in 1890.

Attempts to contact the editors of The Collegian for questioning and clarifications have so far been unsuccessful. Thus far, all I have been able to do is passive-aggressively edit their Wikipedia page.

It is clear that The Collegiate is not the oldest paper in Michigan. Although the Index predates it by almost two decades, it would be premature to state that we are the oldest collegiate publication. To make such a claim would take far more extensive research.

However, the Index and the Collegiate are both very old newspapers filled with American history from a liberal art’s college perspective. Both publications should be celebrated for providing student’s with news for over a century.

The Index has changed a lot during its 137 years of publication. But, according to the Staff Editorial published in our first issue, it seems as though our goals have stayed the same:

“The Index for 1877-78 will be, so far as its present editors can make it, all that its name implies. It will in its literary department strive to reflect some, at least, of the culture a college course should give. The articles contributed will be those who are now students in the College, and will be as far as possible on subjects of general interest.

In its news columns it will give full information of the condition, progress, and needs of Kalamazoo College and will be the only reliable source of such information. To the students it will be what each one of them will wish as a memorial in after life of his or her college days. To outside friends, it will be a complete record of the College. To all alumni who retain any interest in their alma mater and the welfare of their former companions, it will be indispensible. The alumni and personal news will be as complete and accurate as the industry and perseverance of our local editor, backed by the staff can make it.

In the editorial columns we shall endeavor to discuss candidly and impartially (discuss them we shall at any rate), all topics of interest relating to the college, its needs, management, and progress; nor shall we omit those topics that are of interest to the student as a student. In short, whatever relates to the College and its students will be considered proper matter for our columns.

These are our intentions: to our readers, we shall leave the decision of how well we carry them out.

That there has long been a felt want of a paper for Kalamazoo College we are convinced; that the Index will supply that want we are confident. The students of Kalamazoo have entered into the enterprise with a zeal that promises success. To the alumni, we turn and ask them if they will as heartily do their share. It seems peculiarly fitting that now, when the interest in the college is increasing, this enterprise for furnishing more accurate and systematic information should be begun. It is the duty of all who have an interest at Kalamazoo to see that it does not fail through want of means.”

Index Throwback: Trowbridge House is Now Occupied, 85 Girls Are Rooming in New Dormitory

Curated by Katie Schmitz, News Editor

Article taken from Number 1 Volume 24 of The Index published on September 24, 1925.

With the opening of College this fall, Trowbridge House, a $150,000 dormitory, and the latest addition to the campus, is ready for occupancy. A two month delay in the building program nearly caused disappointment for fac- ulty and students alike.

Dr. Hoben is very proud of this structure. He points out that Albert Kahn, architect for the building has,
not only, been able to furnish a building capable of rooming 85 girls, with dining room capacities for 150, but he has pre- served the home atmosphere through- out. From the dignified and beautifully furnished living room with the solarium adjoining, and throughout the whole structure the home atmosphere prevails. The exterior of the building in its beauti- ful setting of trees further carries out this spirit of hospitality.

Mrs. Barbara Mead is matron of this home for the girls, succeeding Mrs. Archibald Wheaton, who served in this capacity for 22 years. With the opening of Trowbridge House, the use of Ladies’ Hall for a men’s dormitory is made pos- sible, and all roomsthere will be occu- pied by men. With the men residing in William’s Hall, this means that there will be 125 men living on campus this year.