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.
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.
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.
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.”
The Honorable Gerald E. Rosen ’73, retired federal judge and the chief mediator of the Detroit bankruptcy case in 2015, describes the vital role of the K-Plan to his career path and life. For Rosen, the liberal arts, K’s emphasis on off-campus experiences, and his participation in Hornet tennis inspired confidence, nurtured independence and initiative, and provided a network of mentors and opportunities—wellsprings he often taps as lawyer, judge, professor, public servant, and, most fundamentally, empathetic critical thinker.
Classmates (2007) Karman Kent and Matt Thieleman share insights about the vital role of mindfulness (being conscious of what’s going on RIGHT NOW) to self-awareness, empathy and leadership; and, in turn, the importance of self-awareness, empathy and effective leadership to productive (and pleasing) work and a fulfilling life. Matt works with businesses; Karman with college students. Their connection underscores the relationship between Kalamazoo College networks and the collaborative ways vulnerable individuals (which includes us all) can make a difference in the world.
Do you want to hear more about mindfulness? Watch Matt Thieleman’s TEDx Talk from September 8, 2018 on Why the World Needs Mindful Leaders.
Applied anthropologist (and Professor of Anthropology) Kiran Cunningham ’83 designs and implements research that yields an immediately tangible result: people gain more control of the trajectories of their lives. Such work works best when it involves students at K and abroad. Welcome to the “scholar’s sweet spot,” those projects that lead to meaningful social change, integrate multiple strands of the scholarly self, connect to classroom teaching, allow for student involvement, and require collaboration with a diverse group of incredible colleagues. Cunningham’s work with Uganda’s Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment and with the city government of Kalamazoo has led to a collaboration of communities—as well as students—to help ensure that public policy works for people on two continents.