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The Story Zoo


A menagerie of stories from K alumni, some heartfelt, some hilarious, all uniquely K.

The Sweetest Sound

“We are KAY-ZOO!” erupts following the dramatic final race touch-out of Head Coach Bob Kent’s swansong season.

Constant Traveller

The K-Plan’s study abroad experience awakened the peripatetic spirit of Reshona Harris ’06. Her current tally: four continents visited, three to go.

Swim Turns

His worst race was also the happiest in the K swim career of Jay Daniels ’13, and turned out to be the most significant influence on his life after K.

An Arresting Exam

For David Kessler ’70, among the most important tests of K’s compassion was the administration’s courageous stand for a student’s second chance. It’s why he became a class agent.

Roommate Recruiters

Athletics was an indispensable K-Plan component for Judy Hehs ’85. Her more in four included three!…sports, that is, and that meant more for a lifetime.

Wise Fools

Karen (Lake) DeVos ’59 got to know President and Mrs. Hicks very well. She and three other sophomores were members of the Hicks household for a semester and may have prompted a predecessor of the Day of Gracious Living.

K-Tucky Derby

Churchhill Downs and mint juleps have nothing on Angell Field and Stroh’s beer. First Saturday in May K was the place to be in the ’80s. Elizabeth (Fiore) Vogel and Carolyn Dadabay (classmates, 1985) explain why.

10 Best for the Clueless

A quad “coat” in fall colors inspired a key decision for Pam Brown Gavin ’74. After four years the coat morphed to cape, and it’s never failed to warm.

French Influence to K: “Lighten up!”

Campused? Late minutes? Forty-five of the latter metes out the punishment of the former. But (first ever) study abroad in France meant change was in the wind. And Trowbridge head proctor Karen (Lake) DeVos ’59 was happy about that.

S.O.B.—Old Rules, New Prank

The Student Observation Bureau caused quite the ruckus during its short life. Class of 1985 friends Rachel Robinson and Carolyn Dadabay reveal its clandestine origins.

I Was Welcome

Meghan-Morrissey The power of a single informal invitation makes Kalamazoo College home and family. Meghan Morrissey ’06

Drama in Yugoslavia

John Petrakis John Petrakis ʼ74 chose one of those roads less traveled—study abroad (and acting) in Yugoslavia.

Giving Back

“Come on over and we’ll make eggs”—the kind of student-professor bond that inspires postgraduate service as a class agent. Brittany King-Pleas ʼ13


For Class Agent Kira Dow Castle ’09 one of the great outcomes of a K liberal arts education is thriving in the uncertainty of life’s spiral journey.

The Spark in Me

Class Agent David Clowers ’64 credits K for his liberal arts life: professor of English, attorney, poet, and creative writing teacher for a retirement community.

Wonderful Ride, With Family

West Nelson From metro cards to class agent to Alumni Association Executive Board member—it’s all about family for West Nelson ’81.

Lives Changed, Lives Saved

Bruce Benton A foreign study experience in France contributed, years later, to one of the largest and most successful health programs in Africa. Bruce Benton ʼ64

Stick it to the Man!

An appreciation of an administrator, Provost Mickey McDonald, and his willingness to “be there” and precipitate change. Cooper Wilson ʼ11.

A Kinnell Kindling

A studentʼs doubts about K are devoured by THE BEAR. Jim VanSweden ʼ73.

Measures of Devotion

Jothy Rosenberg ʼ78 recalls the “clean start” of K, a matter of dancing, math, and the extraordinary devotion of Professor T.J. Smith.

Bowen Paean

Susan Larson ʼ63 Susan Larson ’63 guides the listener through Bowen Hall, basement to theatre aerie (and the incomparable Nelda Balch).

Fun, and Late Minutes

Sally Goddard ʼ62 Sally Goddard recalls campus life in the late ’50s and early ’60s: Lots of fun! … worth every late minute.

Wonderful Woodward

Alex Rigney ’13 A book writing project in a local elementary school made a memorable connection for Alex Rigney ’13.

Pursue Your Passion

Tom Smith ’55 Chemistry professor and tennis coach Allen Stowe provided some life-changing advice to Tom Smith ’55.

Liberal Arts Hocus Pocus?

Not hardly. Business consultant Chris Rollyson ’82 describes how liberal arts passions have a way of working out in unexpected and profitable ways.

London Holiday

When Christmas dinner prep was interrupted by a kidney stone, these K friends crashed a hospital party. Amy (Vargo) Buttery ʼ82 and Betty (Johnston) Rudolph ʼ82 share the story

River Farewell

Dana Bourland ʼ94 Dana Bourland ʼ94 said goodbye and thank you to the women with whom sheʼd worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize. It was a day in a place the local women had never visited.


How Rebecca Bond Culbertson ʼ62 found her calling in library technical services during her Junior year.

A Lifetime of Friendship

Jason Muller ʼ83 and Leslie Simmer ʼ82 talk about the friendship that started during freshman orientation and continues to this day.

When you see Rose Kennedy in the Market

David Easterbrook ʼ69 David Easterbrook ’69 weaves together his study abroad and Peace Corps experiences in this moving story about the delivery of a 20 year-old message from a Masai elder to the Kennedy family.

To Not Be American

A good measure of study abroad immersion occurred in a hitchhiking story shared by Linda (Zalkauskas) Hahn ’82.

Beach Party

Summer quarter parties sometimes seem a joy forever.  Karen (Hink) Anderson ʼ82 recalls one in Crissey Hall in 1980 that she sure considered a thing of beauty.