Obon Festival to Feature Taiko Drums, Dancing

Obon Festival Featured Performer Ken Koshio with stretched out arms and a drum looking over a city.
Taiko Master Ken Koshio will be among the featured performers Saturday
at Kalamazoo College’s Obon Festival.

Kalamazoo College will host a Japanese cultural festival on Saturday that traditionally is held to commemorate deceased ancestors as their spirits return to visit their relatives. 

The Obon Festival, the first of its kind at K, will feature Bon dancing, Japanese martial arts and taiko drums with Japanese Taiko Master Ken Koshio, along with crafts and food. The event is presented by K’s International Percussion Ensemble, a group that features a West African ensemble and Caribbean steelpans in addition to Japanese taiko. 

K’s taiko group will perform with the Michigan Hiryu Daiko drumming group, the Japanese instrumental group Sakura and Fort Wayne Taiko. The free event will be conducted on the Quad from 2 to 5 p.m. with the Dalton Theatre in Light Fine Arts reserved as the rain site.  

For more information on this performance, contact Susan Lawrence in the Department of Music at 269.337.7070 or Susan.Lawrence@kzoo.edu

WMUK interview: Hear from Ken Koshio and Carolyn Koebel of the Michigan Hiryu Daiko Taiko Drummers.

Academy Street Winds Concert Slated for Friday

Poster of a dancer says the Academy Street Winds, Thomas G. Evans conductor, Celebration and Dance, Friday October 28 2022, Dalton Theatre, Light Fine Arts Building, Free Admission, Donations Appreciated
The Academy Street Winds will perform their fall
concert at 8 p.m. Friday, October 28, at Dalton Theatre
in the Light Fine Arts Building.

Music lovers will gather at 8 p.m. Friday for a free Academy Street Winds concert at Dalton Theater in the Light Fine Arts Building.

The group, formerly known as the Kalamazoo College Symphonic Band, functions as a beloved creative outlet for woodwind, brass and percussion students. Community musicians joined the ensemble in winter 2016 to expand the group’s sound and capabilities. Director of Bands and Professor of Music Thomas Evans serves as the group’s conductor.

The theme for the fall-term concert will be “Celebration and Dance” as it features some of the great dance themes from around the world. If you can’t attend in person, listen in through a livestream on Vimeo.

For more information on the Academy Street Winds or this concert, contact Susan Lawrence in the Department of Music at 269.337.7070 or Susan.Lawrence@kzoo.edu.

Thompson Lecture Slates Author, Lecturer as Guest Speaker

Author, podcaster and Bates College Visiting Assistant Professor Megan Goodwin will be the
guest speaker at this year’s Thompson Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. October 18.

An author, podcaster and Bates College visiting assistant professor of religious studies will be the guest speaker at this year’s Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. October 18 in the Hicks Student Center Banquet Room.

Megan Goodwin’s lecture is titled “Undrinking the Kool-Aid: Mis/remembering Peoples Temple.” The presentation will provide popular incorrect memories of the Jonestown Massacre and invite the audience to consider who benefits from the erasure of many Black women’s deaths at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana. The material is excerpted from Goodwin’s current book project, which is tentatively titled Cults Incorporated: The Business of Bad Religion.

Goodwin is the author of Abusing Religion: Literary Persecution, Sex Scandals and American Minority Religions (Rutgers University 2020). She earned a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts in religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a Master of Arts in women’s studies at Drew University and a Bachelor of Science in print journalism at Boston University. Goodwin writes, teaches and produces podcasts about race, gender, sexuality, politics, popular culture and American minority religions. Her podcast, “Keeping it 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion,” is available on most podcast platforms.

The Thompson Lecture was established by a gift from the sons and daughters-in-law of Paul Lamont and Ruth Peel Thompson. A committee of alumni and friends of the College worked diligently to build the fund with gifts from those many students whose lives were enriched by Thompson’s leadership during his days as the College’s president from 1938 to 1949.

The lecture, hosted by the Department of Religion, brings to K speakers who enrich the community’s ethical understanding of its position in the larger society, beyond the College. Please note that masks are required at this event.

Free Concert Targets Environmentalism

Free concert duo Bruce Cain and David Asbury standing back to back with a guitar
Bruce Cain and David Asbury, a duo committed to environmental activism,
will offer a free concert Thursday at Dalton Theatre.

Kalamazoo College’s Department of Music is offering a free concert Thursday featuring a duo committed to environmental activism.  

Bruce Cain and David Asbury have collaborated for more than two decades on concerts of art songs for voice and guitar. Since 2011, the duo has been commissioning and performing new works in English and Spanish by composers from across the United States and beyond. At K, they will present a program titled Cantos Por La Vida, consisting of mostly new pieces for voice and guitar that are environmentally themed and written especially for them. 

The concert will feature selections from A River of Words Song Cycle, based on award winning poems by school age children in a contest sponsored by the Library of Congress; Amor Y Desventura by Mexican composer Julio César Oliva; Cantos Por La Vida by Cuban composer Eduardo Martin; and Sobre La Naturaleza by Ecuadorian composer Diego Luzuriaga. These works, which are new within the past decade, evoke the distinct groups and heritages they represent. 

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Dalton Theatre. For more information, contact the music department at 269.337.7070. 

Campus Begins Buzzing on Move-In Day

Each September brings a fresh start at Kalamazoo College as campus buzzes with the excitement of those joining the hive for the first time. Orientation events for first-year students and their families run throughout the week, kicking off with move-in day on Wednesday, September 7.

Be sure to catch the following highlights and opportunities on Wednesday.

Moving in

Resident assistants and First-Year Experience (FYE) mentors will be ready to welcome students at check-in tables in each residence hall from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on September 7. Families are encouraged to arrive throughout the day, as the morning traditionally is extremely busy in the residence halls. Pick up your orientation folder from the FYE mentors, then see Residential Life staff to get your student ID and room key, check into your room and get settled. Health verification forms must be completed before check in. Students with incomplete requirements will be directed to the Health Center in the Hicks Student Center, which will be open until 4 p.m.

Information Services staff will be available in Harmon, Hoben and Trowbridge main lounges to answer questions and offer help connecting to K’s computer network from 1–4 p.m.

Resident assistants and First-Year Experience mentors will welcome students at check-in tables in each residence hall on move-in day, September 7.

Getting what you need

Stop by the information table at the Hicks Student Center atrium between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to pick up schedules and maps or get directions and answers to all your questions. The Kalamazoo College Bookstore, in the lower level of Hicks, will be open from 9 a.m. –5 p.m. and offer 20 percent off Kalamazoo College imprinted items.

Eating right

Families are welcome to have lunch and dinner on campus at the Hicks Dining Center from 11 a.m.–12:45 p.m. and 5–7 p.m. Students may use their student ID, which serves as their meal card, while families may pay at the entrance ($8.15 per person for lunch and $11.50 per person for dinner).

The Book Club Café, on the first floor of the Upjohn Library, will serve Kalamazoo Coffee, hot chocolate, tea and specialty drinks as well as grab-and-go options such as pastries, house-made salads, sandwiches and sides from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. In addition, the Richardson Room will be open from 1–5 p.m. in the Hicks Student Center, offering a variety of options including an extensive deli line, homemade soup, grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, yogurt parfaits, fruit, sweet and salty snacks and beverages.

If you want to eat off campus, ask for a list of nearby restaurants at the information table and explore Kalamazoo’s excellent restaurant scene.

Building community

First-year students are required to attend three sessions Wednesday evening. First, make your way to the Quad with your orientation folder by 7 p.m. for the Hornet Student Welcome. The College’s president, dean of students, first-year class dean, college chaplain, FYE mentors and the Office of Student Activities will welcome you to campus.

Next, meet your seminar group and FYE mentors on the Quad at 8 p.m. for introductions. Learn more about the orientation schedule for the rest of the week and get answers to your questions.

Then, meet with resident assistants and your fellow residents at 9 p.m. to talk about community expectations, living in residence halls, and college policies, and get to know your new neighbors. Trowbridge residents will meet in Stetson Chapel, Hoben residents in Dalton Theatre and Harmon residents in their building’s main lounge.

Finally, take some time to get your room set up, relax and get ready for a full day on Thursday.

But wait … there’s more!

Athletic practices for fall sports (football, soccer, volleyball, golf and cross country) have already begun and will continue throughout orientation week. A program for first-generation students and their families will also be held on Wednesday. Check your K email for an invitation and information.

We’ll keep you busy the rest of the week with social opportunities, advising appointments, shared first-year experiences and discussions, and information on a variety of important topics to help you start your first year at K. Expect to learn a lot and have fun

For more information on the orientation schedule and move-in day, visit the First-Year Experience website.

Commencement Returns to Campus Quad on Sunday

A female graduate wears a graduation cap that says Lux Esto during last year's commencement
Commencement for the Class of 2022 is at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12, on the campus Quad.

For the first time since 2019, Kalamazoo College’s Commencement is returning to the campus Quad at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12, with more than 350 students receiving their bachelor’s degrees. Here’s what you need to know about the weekend’s events surrounding Commencement and the ceremony itself. 


Seniors are required to attend Commencement rehearsal at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Dalton Theatre. Faculty and staff will provide graduating seniors with pertinent information including what to do during an intricate line-up and processional. Students who need to be excused from rehearsal should contact the Office of Alumni Engagement in advance at alumni@kzoo.edu

Commencement Saturday 

Receptions for individual departments help families meet professors and see individual projects from selected seniors. Consult the department schedules for information on the time and location for each event. 

The day’s remaining events—including the Senior Awards Program, the Senior Music Recital and the Baccalaureate—will take place at Stetson Chapel. A livestream will be available for each of those events for those who can’t attend in person. 

Seniors receiving awards will get an invitation from the Provost’s Office after finals to attend the Senior Awards Program, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Contact the Office of the Provost by email if you have questions about the event. The Senior Music Recital is a public concert at 4:30 p.m. featuring performances by graduating seniors who have been involved in music. All seniors and guests are invited to attend. The Baccalaureate is a public non-religious service with student and faculty speakers and musical performances beginning at 8 p.m. 

An information desk will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the atrium at Hicks Student Center. The College’s bookstore will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Bronson Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Manns

Before the Ceremony on Sunday 

Commencement will take place rain or shine on the Quad. However, if there’s heavy rain showers or severe weather, the ceremony may be delayed by up to two hours. Communication about a delay would be sent through K alerts, social media and email no later than 8 a.m. on Sunday. Seniors should arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Dalton Theatre with their caps and gowns. No tickets or rain tickets are required for the ceremony, which will last about two and a half hours. The information desk and College bookstore at Hicks Students Center will open at 8 a.m. 


A limited number of handicapped parking spaces will be available on campus streets and in parking lots. Handicapped spaces are reserved for vehicles with a state-issued permit. With a limited number of spaces, a designated drop-off area will be available on Campus Drive, accessible from Academy Street, in front of Hoben Hall. Families may drop off guests for barrier-free access to the Quad and then find parking elsewhere on campus. 

All faculty, staff and student parking lots will be open for public use. Street parking on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods will also be available. Please observe any posted street-parking restrictions and avoid driving or parking on sidewalks or lawns, or next to a building entrance. A printable campus parking map is available. 

Class of 2022 Commencement Speaker Reyna Rodriguez
Reyna Rodriguez ’22

Keynote speaker 

Bronson Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Manns will address the class of 2022 and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Manns oversees all Bronson services from primary care to critical care across more than 100 locations. 

Before joining Bronson, Manns was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston from 2018–2020, the president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus in Grand Rapids from 2013–2018, the Alameda Health System chief operating officer (Oakland, California) from 2005–2013, and Ascension Providence Hospital (Southfield, Michigan) chief operations officer and executive vice president from 1996–2005. 

Class speaker 

Reyna Rodriguez, a chemistry major and psychology minor, has worked for two years as a Civic Engagement Scholar at El Sol Elementary School in Kalamazoo through the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement. El Sol functions like a magnet school and offers instruction in English and Spanish while accepting students from all areas of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Through El Sol, Rodriguez has recruited, educated, interviewed and submitted background checks on K students, coordinated their schedules with El Sol, and participated in and led structured reflections to help literacy and math tutors along with classroom assistants. 

COVID-19 protocols 

Given the high vaccination rates between our students, faculty and staff and the low community-spread level in Kalamazoo, K will not require vaccinations to attend Commencement activities and masks are optional, although not required, throughout the weekend. Unvaccinated guests are strongly encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test before arriving. Those who are ill should refrain from attending. 

More information 

The Office of Alumni Engagement maintains a website that offers more details regarding Commencement including a list of frequently asked questions, dining and lodging information, and ceremony accommodations. For more information, visit the site at commencement.kzoo.edu

Thompson Lecture Spotlights ‘Jesus and John Wayne’ Author

Thompson Lecture Speaker Kristin Kobes Du Mez
Best-selling author and Calvin University Professor
Kristin Kobes Du Mez will speak Tuesday, May 10,
at Kalamazoo College’s Thompson Lecture.

The public is invited to hear from a New York Times best-selling author and professor of history and gender studies at Calvin University at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the religion department’s annual Thompson Lecture at Kalamazoo College. 

Kristin Kobes Du Mez will speak about her latest book, Jesus and John Wayne and the White Evangelical Reckoning in the Olmsted Room at Mandelle Hall. The book is an account of the past 75 years of white evangelicalism, which shows how American evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism. The talk will further explore the recent history of evangelicalism and politics, and examine divisions within the evangelical movement while reflecting on what it could mean for the future. 

Du Mez earned a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and her research focuses on the intersection of gender, religion and politics. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, Religion News Service, and Christianity Today. She has been interviewed on NPR, CBS and the BBC among other outlets.  

The Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture was established by a gift from the sons and daughters-in-law of Paul Lamont and Ruth Peel Thompson. Serving as president from 1938 to 1949, Thompson played a crucial role in K’s development during the Depression and World War II by emphasizing high academic standards and selectivity in the student body, enhancing the reputation of the College as a quality institution of the liberal arts. He also founded the College’s annual fund and pension plan, ensuring K’s financial integrity.  

For more on the lecture and its history, visit the religion department’s website

Bronson Senior Executive to Address Class of 2022

Bronson Healthcare President and Chief Executive
Officer Bill Manns will address the class of 2022 and
receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters
at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12.

The senior executive of the largest employer and leading healthcare system in southwest Michigan will serve as the keynote speaker at Kalamazoo College’s commencement ceremony in June.

Bronson Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Manns will address the class of 2022 and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12, as the ceremony returns to the campus Quad. Manns oversees all Bronson services from primary care to critical care across more than 100 locations.

Before joining Bronson, Manns was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston from 2018–2020, the president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus in Grand Rapids from 2013–2018, the Alameda Health System chief operating officer (Oakland, California) from 2005–2013, and Ascension Providence Hospital (Southfield, Michigan) chief operations officer and executive vice president from 1996–2005.

His professional memberships have included the National Association of Healthcare Executives, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and an appointment by the Governor of Michigan to the state’s Public Health Advisory Council. Modern Healthcare magazine named Manns to its Top 25 Innovators list in 2021, recognizing his innovative approach to engaging leaders and physicians in counteracting the negative financial impact created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Manns has served on the boards of several organizations across Michigan, including Bronson Health Foundation, Cascade Engineering, First National Bank of Michigan, Gilmore Car Museum, Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA), MHA Service Corporation, Aquinas College, Southwest Michigan First and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, M.D. School of Medicine. He has two degrees from the University of Michigan, a bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology and a master’s degree in health services administration.

Find more information about commencement including a full schedule of events at our website.

Lecture to Address Sustainable Energy Systems

Luis M Campos to discuss sustainable energy systems
Columbia University Associate Professor of Chemistry Luis M. Campos

An associate professor of chemistry at Columbia University will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at Kalamazoo College’s Dalton Theatre about his research involving the creation of new materials that could reduce our carbon footprint and build sustainable energy systems.

Luis M. Campos’ talk, sponsored by the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, is titled “Organic Materials Design for Next-Generation Energy Systems” and serves as the 2022 Tourtellotte Lecture. The lecture is open to the public. K visitors must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations including boosters, if eligible, at the door and in the form at hr.kzoo.edu/visitor. A dessert reception will follow at 8 p.m.

Campos grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, until age 11 when he moved to Los Angeles. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2001, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006. At UCLA, he was awarded the National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, and the Saul and Silvia Winstein Award for his graduate research in solid-state photochemistry.

Later working in materials chemistry, Campos went to the University of California, Santa Barbara as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. At Columbia, his group researches physical macromolecular chemistry. To date, he has co-authored more than 100 articles, has 13 patents and has been honored with several awards.

For more information about Campos and his research, visit the Campos Research Group website.

Jewish Studies Lecture Slated for Wednesday

San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Rachel B. Gross

A religious studies scholar and finalist for the 2021 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish studies will visit Kalamazoo College at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, in the Olmsted Room.  

Rachel B. Gross, an assistant professor and the John and Marcia Goldman chair in American Jewish studies at San Francisco State University, will deliver a lecture titled “Feeling Jewish: Nostalgia and American Jewish Religion.” The talk, sponsored by K’s Jewish studies program, will delve into the nostalgia on American Jewish material culture, foodways, education and naming practices. Her presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer discussion with the audience. 

Gross studies 20th and 21st century American Jews and is the author of Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice. She received an honorable mention in the 2021 Saul Viener Book Prize, given by the American Jewish Historical Society, and is currently working on a religious biography of 20th century immigration writer Mary Antin. 

The event is free and open to the public, though, visiting attendees must register in advance and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations and a booster, if eligible, at the door. To register or watch the livestream, visit the event’s page at our website.  

For more information, contact Professor of History and Religion Jeffrey Haus at 269.337.5789 or jeffrey.haus@kzoo.edu