Kalamazoo College again is featured in a global guide to institutions of higher education that has been trusted by students, families and guidance counselors for nearly 40 years, the Fiske Guide to Colleges.
Edward B. Fiske was the New York Times education editor for 17 years. During that time, he thought college-bound students needed better information in selecting a college or university. He wrote the Fiske Guide to Colleges to help them and updated it annually with an editorial team.
The guide now includes a selective, subjective and systematic look at more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and the UK along with indexes that break down schools by state; academic, social and quality-of-life ratings; financial aid availability and acceptance rates.
In the 2023 version, available now, the publication says K students “pursue a liberal arts curriculum that includes language proficiency, a first-year writing seminar, sophomore and senior seminars, as well as a senior individualized project—directed research, a creative piece, or a traditional thesis—basically anything that caps off each student’s education in some meaningful way.”
In addition to senior integrated projects promoting independent scholarship opportunities, the guide praises other tenets of the K-Plan, the College’s integrated approach to an excellent education, including:
Academic excellence. The flexibility and rigor of K’s curriculum provides students with a customized academic experience. According to the guide, professors rate highly for their enthusiasm and accessibility while giving students the individual attention they need.
Experiential education. Students connect classroom learning with real-world experience by completing career development internships or externships, participating in civic engagement and service-learning projects, and getting involved in social justice leadership work.
International and intercultural experience. Students choose from 56 study abroad programs in 29 countries across six continents. The guide quotes a biology major as saying, “Kalamazoo College does study abroad so well that it seems ridiculous not to take advantage of this opportunity. They make it financially accessible and ensure that you won’t fall behind by going abroad.”
“K’s academic terms may be fast-paced and the workload demanding, but students are given the flexibility to pursue their interests through individualized projects and off-campus exploration,” the publication says. “The result is a student body defined by open-minded, global citizens.”
A generous leadership gift from Kalamazoo College alumnus Robert Sherbin ’79 will open the door to independent exploration outside the United States for Kalamazoo College graduates.
Sherbin has established the Jerry Sherbin Fellowship, named in honor of his father, which each year will provide one K senior with a stipend to pursue an academic year post-graduation, independently exploring a subject of deep personal interest outside the United States. Applicants will be assessed based on their proposal’s creativity and personal significance, their passion for the subject, and how the work may shape their future plans. The first fellowship abroad will be awarded in spring 2023.
“The College’s K-Plan emphasizes international study and engagement, so this fellowship wonderfully complements a student’s K education,” said Provost Danette Ifert Johnson. “It provides yet another avenue for students to pursue a project of personal interest in a deep and meaningful way prior to starting their graduate study or career. We are grateful to Bob for creating this opportunity for current and future generations of students.”
While an English major at K, Sherbin studied abroad at the University of Nairobi, one of only six American undergrads—and the only K student—there at that time. As a senior, Sherbin applied for a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an external grant through the Watson Foundation that provides the opportunity to design and execute a one-year project overseas. Before attending graduate school at Northwestern, Sherbin spent a year in Central and West Africa as a Watson Fellow, conducting a sociological study of long-distance truck drivers. This opportunity was transformative, helping guide Sherbin’s path to becoming an international journalist and later, a global corporate communications executive. Today he is the vice president of corporate communications at NVIDIA, a technology company based in Silicon Valley.
Sherbin said, “The Watson Fellowship was the most formative experience of my life. I’d not taken an intro to sociology class. My French was appalling. And I didn’t know a soul within thousands of miles, when aerograms were the WhatsApp of the age. But K had given me the tools to learn and sparked my passion to figure out the rest. It’s my hope that this fellowship will enable students to widen their perspectives, taking them from Dewaters to Danang, from the Upjohn Library steps to the Russian steppes and beyond, and discover ways to make a difference before they head into the rest of their lives.”
K is included in the 2022–23 Colleges of Distinction online guide, which lauds schools for going beyond what typically drives rankings to offer a personalized education catered to students’ interests. It spotlights K through the K-Plan, the College’s framework for exceptional academics within the liberal arts and sciences.
“When we focus all of our attention on how schools stack up against one another, we lose track of what really matters: the students themselves,” Colleges of Distinction Founder Wes Creel said. “Every student has individual needs and their own environment in which they’re most likely to thrive. We want to extend our praise to the schools that prioritize and cater to students’ goals.”
High school guidance counselors, college administrators and the Colleges of Distinction selection team nominate excellent schools for inclusion before each institution is vetted to determine its quality through its support for students in all aspects of their lives. Colleges of Distinction judges its nominees on their teaching quality, student engagement, community engagement and outcomes through a selection process that includes in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools and stakeholders.
K received accolades in each area along with honors for its undergraduate programs in science, math and technology; health and medicine; arts and humanities; multidisciplinary studies and social science.
“We pride ourselves on being an institution that prioritizes hands-on student experiences inside and outside the classroom to reflect a well-rounded education through independent scholarship, study abroad opportunities, civic engagement, career development and more,” Dean of Admission Suzanne Lepley said. “When students enroll at K, they should feel confident we will do everything we can in their four years to set them up for success for the rest of their lives. This recognition from Colleges of Distinction confirms that.”
K is also recognized among the top Colleges of Distinction in terms of equity and inclusion as it caters to the unique needs of their students regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender or ability.
“A great undergraduate experience is more than just graduating and getting your first job,” the Colleges of Distinction website says. “Colleges of Distinction graduates are prepared for anything. They are strong writers, speakers and thinkers because their professors have encouraged and challenged them one-on-one. They have meaningful professional experience from internships and advanced research, and they know how to work together with people different than themselves because they have been active on campus, traveled abroad and pursued service opportunities. In other words, when you graduate from a College of Distinction you will be equipped to find better solutions in the workplace, your community and the world at large.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, which required many colleges and universities to offer a women’s athletics program equivalent to any offered for men. Historically, however, many women’s teams have struggled to achieve the same level of funding as men’s teams at K, as at other colleges, said Becky Hall, director of athletics at K.
“Achieving more equity between our women’s and men’s sports programs has been a need and a goal at K as long as I’ve been here, and a gift like this goes a long way toward making that a reality,” Hall said.
Getman hopes creating this fund will inspire others to recognize and address inequities women face in athletics and beyond.
It’s an issue with personal meaning for Getman, who has three daughters, as well as four granddaughters who have been active in high school athletic programs. While one granddaughter went on to play tennis at Smith College, a women’s college, the other three have not participated in college athletics.
Recently, one of his granddaughters received several offers to play softball at smaller colleges, yet at every college and university she visited, the women’s programs fell short of the men’s. She saw discrepancies between locker rooms, field maintenance, seating and more. Ultimately, she decided not to play softball when she heads off to college in the fall.
“Watching her apply to various schools and evaluate their athletic programs and women’s softball, and then, for various reasons, giving that up, taking a pass on playing in college, is the backdrop to this gift,” Getman said. “The College may have the best intentions of equity, but it may take a long time to get there. If alumni come along and help, maybe that’s what it takes.”
Getman said that in watching his granddaughter play in the high school softball district finals recently, he was struck by how the players are athletes above all. Equity in athletics, he feels, can help promote equality in all areas.
Getman said he trusts the athletic department at K to be good stewards of the endowment. He knows the needs are great and hopes other supporters will come forward to contribute.
One of the first plans for the endowment is to add Hornets vinyl wall wraps to the women’s locker rooms to make them more personalized and welcoming, Hall said, and more on par with the men’s locker rooms.
“We plan in the future to use this fund to support and enhance equity in our women’s athletic programs’ operating budgets,” Hall said. “We also hope to fund additional staffing in the future to benefit our women’s teams.”
Getman has been a previous supporter of the Athletic Field Complex and the Fitness and Wellness Center. In his time at K, he studied English and worked for The Index selling advertising.
“In my first two or three weeks, I came to the uncomfortable conclusion that everybody on campus knew more than I did,” Getman said. “Living in that milieu, or society, was very exciting, meeting with people, discussing ideas and discovering new concepts. It was always stimulating and a fun place to be.”
At that time, Getman joked, the best English students wrote for The Index, the next-best took photographs, and he fell into the third category, those who ended up selling advertising.
“I wore a steady path down to the walking mall and got to know all the secretaries on each floor in the Gilmore building,” Getman said. “There was a jewelry store where I said, ‘Well look, the College is where guys propose—of course you want your name out there.’ And they placed an ad.”
Following his time at Kalamazoo College, Getman returned to his family’s business, guiding its evolution from building equipment that transported concrete that aided in the construction of the Mackinac Bridge to becoming a leading, worldwide supplier of safe and efficient mining equipment. He has led the Getman Corporation in multiple capacities for four decades, including his current role of chairman of the board.
“We are grateful to Dana Getman and to all our donors for their generosity and support,” Hall said. “Our goal is to continue to raise the bar, to make them proud, and to work hard every day to impact the student-athletes in our women’s programs in a positive way. Our coaches know the responsibility and power they hold, and they hold it with a lot of pride, a lot of passion, emotion and enthusiasm.”
If you would like to contribute to the Getman Endowment for Equity in Women’s Athletics fund and support women’s athletics, please make a gift online.
Eight Kalamazoo County high school students seeking to major in STEM-related fields have earned Heyl Scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2022-23 academic year.
The Heyl Scholarship Fund was established in 1971 through the will of Dr. Frederick Heyl and Mrs. Elsie Heyl.
Frederick Heyl was the first chemist at The Upjohn Company, later becoming a vice president and the company’s first director of research. He also contributed to about 80 research papers and patents while teaching chemistry at K. He maintained a lifelong passion for science and education and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from K in 1937.
Since then, Heyl scholarships have enabled hundreds of high school graduates from Kalamazoo County to attend Kalamazoo College for STEM-focused majors or Western Michigan University for nursing, with renewable benefits for up to four years that cover tuition, fees, housing and a book allowance.
This year’s recipients of the scholarships, their high schools and their prospective majors are:
Michael Ankley, Kalamazoo Central, physics.
Annaliese Bol, Loy Norrix, biology.
Olivia Cannizzaro, Vicksburg and Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC), 3+2 engineering.
Lillian Daniels, Loy Norrix, biology.
Devi DeYoung, Hackett Catholic Prep and KAMSC, physics or biology.
Alyssa Park, Portage Central and KAMSC, computer science.
Brigid Roth, Kalamazoo Central and KAMSC, biology.
Anoushka Soares, Portage Central and KAMSC, biology.
A ninth Heyl scholar this year, Abigail Houtrouw, has graduated from Kalamazoo Central and KAMSC. She will attend the Western Michigan University Bronson School of Nursing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kalamazoo College alumna, Professor Emerita and former writer-in-residence Diane Seuss ’78 is celebrating more recognition for her latest poetry collection, and this honor is the most prestigious yet.
Seuss was granted a 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry on Monday for frank: sonnets, a collection of poems that discuss topics including addiction, disease, poverty and death. The collection previously received the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and the LA Times Book Prize for poetry.
The Pulitzer Prize committee described frank: sonnets as “a virtuosic collection that inventively expands the sonnet form to confront the messy contradictions of contemporary America, including the beauty and the difficulty of working-class life in the Rust Belt.”
“This is nothing that I would ever, ever, ever have expected of life,” Seuss said of the honor in an MLive interview. “It’s hard to feel these things beyond kind of shock and awe.”
In previous honors, Seuss received the John Updike Award in 2021 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The biennial award recognizes a mid-career writer who demonstrates consistent excellence. Seuss also joined a prestigious group of scholars and artists who have received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation as a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. The fellowship helps honorees slate blocks of time during which they explore their creative freedom. The Foundation receives about 3,000 applications each year and awards about 175 fellowships.
Seuss retired from K in 2016, the year she was a Pulitzer finalist for Four-Legged Girl (Greywolf Press, 2015), a poetry collection the Pulitzer committee described as “a richly improvisational poetry collection that leads readers through a gallery of incisive and beguiling portraits and landscapes.” Her other collections include Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the LA Times Poetry Prize; Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), which received the Juniper Prize; and It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1999).
“For me and others like me, people in the margins for whatever reason, such recognition is an encouragement,” Seuss said of her recent success in a Kalamazoo College news story last month. “It’s saying, your work has worth. It makes all the difference to be seen and heard and acknowledged.”
An independent study from the Princeton Review shows that Kalamazoo College provides one of the most outstanding returns on investment in higher education, as the education-services company profiles and recommends K in the 2022 edition of The Best Value Colleges, an annual guide to undergraduate schools.
The Princeton Review examined more than 650 institutions for this year’s list and selected K among the top 209 colleges and universities. Kalamazoo College is one of just five Michigan institutions, private or public, to be honored this year.
Colleges and universities were selected based on surveys of students and administrators that addressed academics, cost, financial aid, career services, graduation rates, student debt and alumni support. The Princeton Review also factored in data from PayScale.com surveys regarding alumni salaries and job satisfaction.
“The schools we chose as our Best Value Colleges for 2022 are a select group: they comprise only about 7% of the nation’s four-year undergraduate institutions,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. “We commend their administrators, faculties, staff and alumni for all they are doing to educate their students and guide them to success in their careers. These colleges are also exceptional for the generous amount of financial aid they award to students with need and/or for their comparatively low cost of attendance.”
According to K’s profile at the Princeton Review’s website, student respondents said the College “allows students to really develop personal relationships with their peers and professors” and is “a campus run by and for the students.” Students also said the open curriculum means they have more time to explore exactly what they want to learn.
The Princeton Review doesn’t rank the Best Value Colleges from 1 to 209. However, K received a separate honor in The Best Value Colleges guide as the College was ranked No. 18 on a list of the Top 20 Private Colleges Where Students Are Making an Impact. This means K students said through surveys that their student-government opportunities, the College’s sustainability efforts and K’s on-campus student engagement are providing students with opportunities to make a difference in their community. It also means alumni have reported feeling their jobs are meaningful, according to PayScale.com surveys.
“This honor from the Princeton Review affirms through another source what we’ve long known: Kalamazoo College students are receiving exceptional value in their education,” Dean of Admission Suzanne Lepley said. “Plus, the K-Plan—our approach to the liberal arts and sciences—prepares and empowers students to make a difference in communities around K now, and around the world throughout their careers after graduation.”
The Best Value Colleges is one of more than 150 books developed by The Princeton Review and published by Penguin Random House. Others that are resources on this topic include The Best 387 Colleges, which again includes K in 2022.
The Kalamazoo College Singers, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Chris Ludwa, will present their spring tour this month with a concert in Bellaire and two in Traverse City, all on the weekend of April 29-May 1. The performances are:
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, at Church in the Hills, Bellaire, Michigan
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Central United Methodist Church, Traverse City, Michigan
1 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at First Congregational Church, Traverse City, Michigan
The program is titled “More Light, More Love” and will present songs from a variety of sources and styles from the Renaissance to Aretha Franklin, including music inspired by ancient poets such as Rumi and modern composers of American Indian heritage. The music is designed to uplift, inspire and mend the hearts and minds that have been so isolated for the past several years. Some pieces include piano while others are a cappella, and audiences will enjoy music by smaller ensembles as well as soloists. Singers come from as far away as Kenya and as close as Traverse City, reflecting the College’s diverse population and vibrant study abroad emphasis.
COVID-19 pushed the College Singers, like many ensembles, into virtual mode for the better part of a year and a half. Musically, the result was that many groups got stronger. Almost all that have returned to in-person singing are appreciating the beauty of live performances even more. The ensemble is made up of 30 singers whose majors range from music to physical science and from political science to psychology. An academic class, the College Singers seeks to foster love for a wide range of music, awareness of social justice, and a deeper appreciation for the power of communal singing.
No tickets are needed for performances, but a free-will offering will be taken to help defray the tour bus expense for the ensemble. More specific questions can be directed to Ludwa at email@example.com.
Kalamazoo College has announced a $5 million gift in support of its Brighter Light Campaign from alumnus Robert J. Kopecky ’72.
The gift will establish the Ervin J. and Violet A. Kopecky Endowed Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Kopecky’s parents, and the Robert J. Kopecky ’72 Endowed Study Abroad Fund, as well as support other study abroad funding, current-use scholarships and the Kalamazoo College Fund.
“Through my life after leaving Kalamazoo College, I have had an ever-increasing appreciation for the value of liberal arts education,” said Kopecky. “I wanted to help the College make that educational opportunity available to students with limited economic resources and to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate fully in the study abroad program, which is such an essential part of the K College experience.”
Kopecky graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1972 with a B.A. in physics. While at K he studied abroad for six months in Nairobi, Kenya, where he also had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa—an unforgettable experience for Kopecky. After graduating from K, Kopecky earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Kopecky has spent over 40 years practicing law at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, trying cases in state and federal courts and arguing appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as numerous federal appellate courts and state supreme courts. During his years at Kirkland & Ellis, Bob represented numerous pro bono clients in both criminal and civil matters. He also served for several years on the board of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, including one year as Chair of the Board. In March 2021, he published his first book, The Season of Living Dangerously: A Fan’s Notes On Baseball’s Strangest Season.
Kopecky has been a longtime supporter of Kalamazoo College, as both a donor to the Center for International Programs and as a recent member of the Board of Trustees, where he currently serves on the Risk Review Committee. His daughter Catherine (Katie) Kopecky is a 2013 graduate of the College.
President Jorge G. Gonzalez noted that endowed funds such as these can open up transformative opportunities for students. “Our goal as an institution is for talented students to be able to choose K regardless of their financial need, and for students to be able to participate fully in all aspects of K’s experiential education,” said Gonzalez. “We could not be more grateful to Bob, whose generous gift will be opening doors for students for generations to come.”
The Brighter Light Campaign is raising $150 million to provide endowed and annual support for students, faculty and staff, curricular and co-curricular activities, athletics and campus facilities. For more information, visit the Brighter Light Campaign page: www.kzoo.edu/brighterlight