Future Hornets: Find Community at K

Dear Future Hornets,

Every day at approximately the same time, I receive a photo or video of a two-year-old in Oakland, California. Each time, the glinting smile of a bubbling toddler lifts my spirits tremendously.

Suzanne Lepley, pictured with a K alumna, helps Future Hornets
Director of Admission Suzanne Lepley often visits with K graduate Becca ’06. Lepley advises Future Hornets to build a strong community of friends in their years at K.

She’s the daughter of two Kalamazoo College alumni, Becca ’06 and Matt ’02. I have known Becca since she first set foot on campus; she was a student and eventually my daughter’s babysitter, and I was in the early years of what would become my 22-year career with K. I had the great fortune of witnessing the highs and (sometimes) lows of her four years at K. Years later, I watched as she found great love in her partnership with Matt.

The two moved to California a decade ago to build a life together. I watched the pair establish careers in tech startups, welcome a tiny human to the world and settle into their Oakland community. Through all of this, our relationship has evolved into a treasured friendship. Every trip to Kalamazoo for homecoming or holidays includes shared meals and laughs. When my family visited California, we explored San Francisco with personal tour guides. Matt challenges my son in video games, and Becca serves as a sounding board and steadfast support to my 17-year-old daughter as she navigates her high school experience. And we all snuggle their tiny human every chance we get.

I am lucky to spend my days talking about the value of a K education, a value that is exemplified by Matt and Becca’s experience. Both studied abroad and successfully graduated from K in four years, and both were employed quickly after graduation and built fulfilling careers.

Yet when I think about why a K education is valuable, especially in these challenging times, I also think of this: relationships matter. The connections you make at the College matter. The K community isn’t a four-year experience; it’s a lifetime of meaningful connections.  Beyond business or career connections, we achieve success in human connections. My friendship with Becca and Matt is just one small example of this gift.

Seniors, as you make this decision in a truly unprecedented time, consider the strength of the community you will join and the power of lifelong networks. I know with great certainty Kalamazoo College has the unique ability to connect people, as I continue to connect with so many students that I have met through the years. This is evident every day around 5:30 p.m., when a certain toddler brightens my inbox!