Europe Shrugs Off U.S. Influence in Wake of ‘America’s Berlin’

U.S. influence is on the wane in Europe. But Professor Emeritus David Barclay notes that this wasn’t always the case. From 1948 through the mid-1960s, the United States enormously influenced West Berlin, causing many historians to describe the western half of the city as “America’s Berlin.” Barclay, who retired from K as the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies, focuses on the buildings and personalities that shaped “America’s Berlin,” from Lucius Clay to Eleanor Lansing Dulles, in a special K-Talk. He also briefly considers what happened to U.S. influence after the mid-1960s. Hear from Barclay after President Jorge G. Gonzalez unveils the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History, which benefits K students who demonstrate exemplary capacity for and commitment to scholarly work in the history department.

Encountering, by Littles, the Birds of Bernard

In a sense, painter Bernard Palchick makes his viewers painters as well. How? He invites them to make the symbols of his paintings into symbolism of their own. That makes his tour of the three-artist exhibition—“Suggestion: That is the Dream”—your tour. The exhibition’s title derives from a French poet’s distinction between naming and suggestion. The former suppresses joy, the latter enables discovery, little by little. In his wide-ranging discussion Bernard shares insight about the prevalence of his bird symbolism; his work in oils, acrylics, and alcohol inks; the influences of Kalamazoo College and COVID-19 on his recent work; his approach to liminal space and landscape; and the excitement of not knowing how a painting will finish itself. He also gives a virtual tour of his condo basement art studio. Bernard is professor emeritus of art and the former vice president of advancement and acting president of Kalamazoo College. An apostle of the liberal arts, Bernard gathers spirits as diverse as Giovanni Bellini, Charles Baudelaire, and Mary Oliver to illuminate his artwork. The latter wrote the line that suggests, a little, the importance of birds to Bernard: “Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forests / of our lives.”


For more information about Bernard’s artwork, visit his website at

Around the Horn of Hornet Sports

Think a pandemic adversely affects athletic recruiting? Surprisingly, not so much, given a value like K. Thirteen Hornet head coaches joined Athletic Director Becky Hall to gather with alumni for a virtual round table on the state of sports at K when the pandemic has canceled or postponed all contests and practices. Nevertheless, many of these coaches are enjoying their best recruiting efforts ever. In part that is due to the fact that all K coaches share a dedication to the entirety of the student-athlete experience at Kalamazoo College. The coaches reference several elements of that experience, including outstanding academics, study abroad, the football team’s career development workshops, playing for legends (some of whom played for previous K legends), close coach-and-athlete communication that no pandemic can weaken, new facilities, getting to know student athletes outside one’s sport, community service, and supportive advising. “I am large,” wrote the poet Walt Whitman, “I contain multitudes!” K coaches respect and encourage the “multitudes” in every student athlete. That’s the reason for Hornet athletic excellence and the source of Hornet sports’ immunity to the ill effects of a pandemic.

Mead the Bløm

Allergic to gluten?!! What’s a brewer to do? Make mead and cider, decided Lauren Bloom ’07 and her partner, Matt Ritchey. They pulled up stakes from their successful, Chicago-based brewery and headed east (to Ann Arbor) to open Bløm, a cidery and session meadery. Lauren shares their fascinating mead-making story in this virtual tour. Meads (technically, honey wines) are a diverse lot, more so given the creative fermentations of Matt and Lauren. Their meads might feature hops, rhubarb, ginger, currant, even sumac—all Michigan-sourced, as are the fundamentals of mead and cider—honey and apples, respectively. Yeast makes mead from honey, so a good mead means keeping yeast happy, a task that can take a macabre and cannibalistic turn. Lauren will explain.

Read: “If You Seek a Pleasant Michigan Brew, Look About You” by Jeff Palmer ’76, LuxEsto
Watch: PBS Tastemakers featuring Bløm Meadworks

Couch Kahoot!

How do you teach (and learn) virtually WHILE preserving (as much as possible) the educational values that make K K? Put another way what does virtual learning feel like? Jeff Bartz, the Kurt D. Kaufman Professor and Chair of Chemistry, does more than lecture on this question. In this interactive presentation he gives you the experience of online learning by making you part of a real-time experimental group of surrogate Physical Chemistry and Introductory Chemistry undergraduate students. Feel the challenge (and ingenuity) of translating K when professors and students cannot be in the same room or lab. Hint: It takes a virtual village in Kahoot, and then some.


View the Chemistry handout that was used during the presentation by Professor Bartz.

Gender, Sex, and the LDS

Taylor Petrey, ThD talks (and takes some fascinating audience questions) about the beliefs, teachings, and political actions of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) relative to homosexuality, feminism, and so-called family values. The Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Assistant Professor of Religion recently published a book—Tabernacles of Clay: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Mormonism—which takes a historical approach to LDS positions on gender and sexuality, and talks more broadly on gender and sexuality in right-wing religion generally. His research brings nuance, complexity and some surprises, positing, for example, that, contrary to popular misperception, LDS believes that gender is socially constructed (as opposed to naturally fixed) with boundaries so fragile they require significant church—and societal—support. Also contrary to popular misperception, LDS teachings regarding gender and sexuality have changed over time much more than most people think.

Going For It…and Staying With It

Brooklyn (NY)-based entrepreneur Peter Rothstein ’14, the 2019 Kalamazoo College Young Alumni Award Winner, shares his higher-ed story of trading a stronger brand for a deeper connection. The latter (a.k.a. Kalamazoo College) provides support and develops confidence in ways so that both endure a lifetime. As co-founder of the spiced beverage company DONA, Peter has used that support and confidence to meet the daily unexpected challenges of growing a new business. Don’t miss this story, and stay to the end…it’s as unforgettable as it is inspirational.


Read more about Peter Rothstein ’14 and his selection in the 2019 edition of 30 Under 30, Forbes’ annual list of 600 young visionaries from 20 industries.

Are you interested in hosting a K Talk in your city? Fill out the Hornet Host Event Form.

Remembrance of Grace

Even five-and-a-half decades after the class of 2019 experienced his spellbinding 12-minute commencement address, economist, teacher, author, and liberal arts advocate Kenneth G. Elzinga ’63 hopes those young women and men will, like him, be animated by a remembrance of great teachers. All Kalamazoo College graduates, he contends, share a wonderful heritage of the liberal arts, which is a gift to be cherished. And one expression of that reverence is humility. Do you know the name of the person who takes out your trash? A person with a liberal arts education should and is perhaps more likely to. Kalamazoo College and the liberal arts is a place and way of learning that extends grace—that unmerited favor, the “’Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.’” And grace should inspire a life of love and servant leadership. This short speech captures the heritage, the hope, and the meaning of a K education: past, present, and future.​ Audio Button


Molecule Maker, Mind Shaper

Chemistry drives the natural world. Put another way, life is a dance of molecules. Chemists seek to understand the dance by elucidating molecular structures and making new ones. One of the five major fields of chemistry is inorganic chemistry, the study of elements exclusive of hydrocarbons and their derivatives and the field wherein Tom Smith, the D.H. Heyl Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, has spent four decades with students and fellow chemists across the planet, teaching, advising, supervising Senior Individualized Projects, conducting research and inspiring the research journeys of others. Tom specializes in transition metals, a small group within the Periodic Table of Elements. In his delightful and lay-accessible retirement lecture (“Reflections on Teaching and Research in Inorganic Chemistry: From Small Molecules to Crystals to Metalloproteins”) Tom describes the enthusiasm, clarity of thought, creativity, and collaboration that inspired him as a chemistry student and that distinguished his 40 years of pedagogy and research. Above all, all he did in the classroom and in the lab involved students, from project conception through the subsequent synthesis and purification of compounds and measurement. And he did all this in the wider context of the liberal arts.


K-Plan Game-Changers

A game-changer is an idea whose advent and adoption shifts something in a “before-and-after” manner that could be described as tectonic. Think, for instance the asteroid that ended the age of dinosaurs. Or, says Michelle Fanroy ’88, think Kalamazoo College.

In her Homecoming 2018 lecture, “Game-Changers: Liberal Arts Traits That Make Organizations Great,” Fanroy—a worldwide expert in corporate leadership and mentorship development—describes the game-changer traits cultivated in students by their K-Plan experiences and the particular campus culture of Kalamazoo College. She explores an “all-star” foursome of K-Plan game-changer traits and even touches on five “honorable mentions.”

Are you interested in hosting a K Talk in your city? Fill out the Hornet Host Event Form.