From K to Kenya: Three Unite 8,000 Miles Away at UNICEF

Three K Alumnae at in front of a UNICEF poster in Kenya
Annika Rigole ’04, visiting international program alumna Sharon Musee and Paloma Clohossey
‘11 are three with Kalamazoo College connections who all work about 8,000 miles from campus
at UNICEF in Kenya.

At Kalamazoo College, international immersion and study abroad offers students opportunities to delve deep into other cultures. Along the way, they develop knowledge and skills that parlay into future careers and often form meaningful personal relationships with others around the world.

Such is the case for Paloma Clohossey ‘11, visiting international program alumna Sharon Musee and Annika Rigole ’04. Although each of them had a distinctive road in finding their way to Kalamazoo College, all three have succeeded in journeys that have taken them professionally to UNICEF in Kenya. It might seem amazing that three alumnae from a small liberal arts and sciences institution such as K all ended up at the same employer nearly 8,000 miles away. However, it makes sense that UNICEF is a desirable destination when one considers the College’s connections with foreign study and service learning.

UNICEF, originally called the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund in full, is now the United Nations Children’s Fund, an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.

The organization was established in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II to help children and young people whose lives were at risk no matter what role their country had played in the war. In cooperation with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector and others, UNICEF works to advance and protect children’s rights while providing health care, immunizations, nutrition, access to safe water and sanitation services, education, protection and emergency relief.

‘You’re the Best Female Student in Your Class’

Of the three with K connections, Musee is the only one originally from Kenya. She first attended the University of Nairobi when she began her higher education pursuits, a time that revealed her limited world experience, she said. She didn’t know there was such a thing as an exchange program that would allow her to study in the United States until she got a call from the university’s Registrar’s Office, requesting an appointment.

Musee was apprehensive about the meeting, yet her fears were soon quelled.

“It was within walking distance, so I walked over and they said, ‘do you know why we called you here?’” Musee said. “I said, ‘no, what did I do?’ They said, ‘Yes, you’ve done things, but they’re why we think you’re the best female student in your class.’”

Her recognition as an accomplished student meant Musee was empowered to attend college in the U.S. through an exchange program, and as luck would have it, the program brought her to K.

“I say it was lucky because it wasn’t something I was working for,” she said. “I was working hard to get good grades, but I was not expecting to go to K.”

Today, Musee is a partnerships and resources mobilizations officer who supports UNICEF in cultivating new public partnerships and managing its existing public partnerships.

“Being at K exposed me to a lot to multicultural settings, so I was meeting people that don’t have the same background as I do,” Musee said. “When I left K, I went back to the University of Nairobi, I graduated, and almost immediately got a job in the public sector. I kept traveling in the region. It was very easy for me to fit in if I went into Somalia or into South Sudan. If I went to speak to donors who would be people of a different race or a different culture of a different color, I would say it was very natural for me to fit in as opposed to before K. It came naturally for me as a result of K.”

‘They Immediately Bought My Plane Ticket for Me to Go Visit’

Clohossey, an English and psychology double major from California, first learned of K when her parents read about it in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and encouraged her to visit as a result.

“When I say encouraged, I mean they immediately bought my plane ticket for me to go visit and I’m grateful to this day for all their support,” Clohossey said. “I thought there was no way I would go to college at a place called Kalamazoo. But as soon as I stepped foot on the campus, I remember having an intuitive feeling that it was going to be the place for me.”

Clohossey chose to study abroad in Africa and selected Kenya through a process of elimination. Her study abroad cohort’s visit at the University of Nairobi turned out to be when she would meet Musee—before Musee had ever arrived at K.

When Musee’s life path did curve toward K, the two became friends and they participated together in College Singers. In fact, Clohossey said their relationship makes them feel more like sisters and Musee agreed.

“We share a lot,” Musee said. “We go for random lunches. I know that if I need something quickly, I can reach out to Paloma offline—outside of the office or within the office—and I know that she’s got me. This is the sisterhood I feel knowing that we went to K.”

Clohossey says she splits her time between supporting regional program planning and regional knowledge management efforts for UNICEF.

“These functions involve things like supporting UNICEF’s annual work planning, monitoring and reporting, as well as ensuring that UNICEF is capturing, documenting, organizing and using knowledge to ensure we’re as effective as we can be as we pursue our goal of achieving results for children and protecting their rights,” Clohossey said.

The connections she has with colleagues like Musee is a big part of what makes the job special.

“Meeting again was like going back 10 years,” Clohossey said. “We were super happy to see each other.”

‘K Is Such a Special Place’

After her years as a mathematics and economics and business double major at K, Rigole—originally from Belgium and a Michigander since age 10—served in AmeriCorps where she helped nonprofits and government agencies in the southeastern U.S. alongside a team of about 10 people.

In starting her career, she embraced a passion for nurturing education. Through work with an international educational exchange organization, then grad school at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and subsequent work with NGOs in Malawi and Zambia, she helped improve access to quality education and skill-building opportunities, particularly for young girls.

“Education has always meant so much to me because I love learning and it has been so formative in my life,” Rigole said. “It was important to me that I could help others have similar opportunities.”

When she looked for a career shift toward the end of her time in Zambia, she found UNICEF. Rigole worked with UNICEF in New York for two years as a consultant strengthening monitoring, evaluation and research in education before applying for her position at the regional office in Kenya.

“As a regional office, we provide technical support to our country offices,” Rigole said. “In particular, I focus on strengthening data systems within education, and the use of data to inform decision making. It’s about having data and research speak to policy, for example so governments can better understand the differences between districts or provinces and how they’re doing in terms of equity and quality, or can learn from how some schools perform better than others.”

Rigole didn’t know Clohossey or Musee when she started at UNICEF, but that changed at a July 4 holiday barbecue.

“I didn’t know that many people yet, but I’d been invited by another colleague of ours,” Rigole said. “I was introduced to Paloma and she said she was from California. I said I was from Michigan. She said, ‘Oh, I went to college in Michigan.’ I said, ‘Oh, cool! Where?’ She said, ‘It’s a small liberal arts school.’ I said, ‘What’s the name?’ She said, ‘Kalamazoo College.’ I said, ‘I went to Kalamazoo College!’”

Rigole doesn’t work with Musee very often, although Clohossey has introduced them since. However, working with Clohossey has been special for Rigole since the moment they met.

“Immediately it felt good to have something in common with her,” Rigole said. “It’s not quite like family, but it gives you this bond because K is such a special place and shared experience.”

New Fellowship Provides Post-Grad Opportunity Abroad for K Students

Bob Sherbin establishing fellowship abroad
Robert Sherbin ’79

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.”

Alumna, Professor Emerita Earns Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize recipient Diane Seuss
Kalamazoo College alumna and
Professor Emerita Diane Seuss has received
the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “frank:
sonnets.” Photo by Gabrielle Montesanti
Book Cover for Frank:Sonnets by Diane Seuss
Diane Seuss ’78 published her fifth collection of
poetry, “frank: sonnets,” in 2021.

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.” 

Alumna, Professor Emerita, Poet Diane Seuss Garnering Recognition

Update: Diane Seuss was announced the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry on May 9, 2022, for her work frank:sonnets.

Diane Seuss '78
Diane Seuss ’78 (Photo credit: Gabrielle Montesanti)

April is National Poetry Month, an especially busy time for Diane Seuss ’78, a Kalamazoo College alumna and professor emerita who taught in the English department and served as writer in residence for three decades. With accolades rolling in for her latest book and a new collection of poetry on the horizon, Seuss is marking the month with virtual readings across the country and reflecting on the successes and challenges of the past two years, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the John Updike Award and the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, Seuss joined a prestigious group of scholars and artists who have received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation to help provide fellows with blocks of time to work with creative freedom. The Foundation receives about 3,000 applications each year and awards about 175 fellowships.

In 2021, Seuss received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The biennial award recognizes a mid-career writer who demonstrates consistent excellence.

The Guggenheim and Updike awards have helped Seuss, who grew up in rural schools and earned a master’s degree in social work rather than an M.F.A. in creative writing, feel a hard-won sense of authority as a poet.

“They’re both very prestigious,” Seuss said. “While you would hope that you could feel that you have a right to be heard without that recognition, it sure helps. It’s amazing that I was this kid with a single mom in Niles, Michigan, writing poems in typing class, and truly, through sheer persistence and a lot of luck, I have managed to be here.

Book Cover for Frank:Sonnets by Diane Seuss
Diane Seuss ’78 published her fifth collection of poetry,
“frank: sonnets,” in 2021.

“For me and others like me, people in the margins for whatever reason, such recognition is an encouragement. It’s saying, your work has worth. It makes all the difference to be seen and heard and acknowledged.”

Seuss published her fifth collection of poetry, frank: sonnets, in 2021. The book, from Graywolf Press, is currently a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, was named a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and won both the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Prior to frank: sonnets, Seuss published four other poetry collections: Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Poetry Prize; Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), recipient of the Juniper Prize; and It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1999).

frank got its start during a writing residency at Willapa Bay Artists in Residence near Oysterville, Washington.

“A lot of people had said, ‘You should write a memoir because you’ve had quite a life,’” Seuss said. “You know what is beneath the surface when folks say you should write a memoir! I took that idea with me to the residency, but I just couldn’t hear the memoir in prose.”

During the residency, Seuss took a day trip to Cape Disappointment, where visitors can hike to a lighthouse on a cliff. The drive was beautiful, but when she arrived, Seuss felt exhausted and took a nap in the backseat of her rental car before simply returning to her cottage.

“On the drive back, I started narrating what had just happened,” Seuss said. “I had this line in my mind: I drove all the way to Cape Disappointment, but didn’t have the energy to get out of the car. It’s past tense, but it’s just-happened past tense. Then it came into my head, I’m kind of like Frank O’Hara.”

A prominent poet who died in 1966, O’Hara wrote kinetic, lively poems encompassing his present thoughts and actions, which he called “I do this, I do that” poems. “By the time I got back to my little cottage, I had these lines jotted down on a pad. I saw, this could be divided into 14 lines; this could be sonnet length. Then I thought, Wow, I could write a memoir in sonnets, and they could be composed under the influence of Frank O’Hara, who was so improvisational and spontaneous.”

The poems in frank are contemporary American sonnets, Seuss said, mostly unrhymed but with some vestige of rhyme and meter and a couplet at the end. She employs the tension between the high-end poetic form of the sonnet and her working-class language and storytelling. At the same time, she draws on parallels between the working-class mentality of being economical and the economy of language inherent in the sonnet’s 14-line limit. As one of the poems says, “The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do / without.”

The title references poet Frank O’Hara as well as serving as an homage to Amy Winehouse and her first studio album, Frank. It also refers to frankness itself, a quality omnipresent in the sonnets.

“I’m not writing like I’m a role model,” Seuss said. “I talk a lot about really tough mistakes in my life. I own my stuff. I see myself pretty clearly. I hope that people who read it feel that their lives, too, have value, and that they can be honest about who they are without shame.”

frank is a memoir, but not a traditional or linear one. “It tells the story of my life and my interior, but from shifting perspectives and with a range of approaches to language,” Seuss said.

One section is in the voice of the rural town where Seuss grew up; one is transcribed from text conversations with her son. Several sonnets involve a dear friend, pictured on the cover, who died of AIDS in the ‘80s. Her father, who died when she was 7, appears in some poems, and her mother, a single mother from then on, features prominently. One poem, on the back of a center fold out, is written by her son.

“I think of the book in a lot of ways as a collaboration,” Seuss said. “The book, especially its cover photo, has received attention in countries throughout the world. Maybe especially during the pandemic, readers responded to a collection that values a single life, but also the communities and individuals that contribute to any one life.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly after Seuss received the Guggenheim fellowship, scrapping her original plans for a fellowship project involving in-person research and interviews in her hometown of Niles. Post-frank, the roots of that project have grown into her forthcoming sixth collection of poetry.

“My intention was to be able to go back to my hometown for considerable periods of time and do research, specifically around a legal case that happened in the town involving abuse at a daycare center that really cut the town in half,” Seuss said. “The roots of that project are still there, but I ended up opening the book up to larger questions about what poetry can be up against trauma, loss and our current reality.”

The original project and title, “Little Epic,” ended up as a single, longer poem in the new collection. Seuss had been interested in developing a connection to Latin poet Catullus and his longest poem, Catullus 64, an epyllion or “little epic.”

“It tells the story of a wedding among the gods by reading the images on a coverlet that is given to the bride,” Seuss said. “I loved that idea and wanted to pull it forth into the story of my town.”

K Professor of Classics Elizabeth Manwell proved a “fantastic resource” for Seuss’ efforts to learn more about Catullus and classical poetry in the process of writing “Little Epic.”

The new book is tentatively titled Modern Poetry, “which is kind of an audacious claim in itself for a book of poems,” Seuss said. The title poem is about her first poetry class at K with her mentor, Conrad Hilberry, who sought her out after giving honorable mention to a poem she wrote in high school typing class, entered into a contest for Michigan poets by Seuss’ guidance counselor. Hilberry encouraged her writing, helped her do readings in classes and eventually supported her in finding the resources to attend K.

“That class at K in 1974 also opened the pathway to what the rest of the book is, in quotes ‘about,’ if books are about, and that is poetry itself,” Seuss said. “I lived through the ongoing pandemic, aware of so much loss and suffering, of course, and for me, experienced in isolation. I’m divorced; my son is in the upper peninsula. My mom and the rest of my family are all still in Niles. My dog was my soulmate and he died during the pandemic. Through most of the pandemic, I have been in my house, right across from campus, with nobody.

“I kept asking myself this question, what can poetry be now? What is poetry now? That really is the defining question of this next book. To explore that, I went back to the roots of my education in poetry.”

Seuss also forced herself to abandon the sonnet and take a different formal approach in Modern Poetry.

“You can only do one thing so long,” Seuss said. “I’m writing the longest poems I’ve ever written, in free verse. The new work takes a certain kind of authority, a willingness to take up that much space and to think through some things about poetry itself, and to weigh in. Authority has always been an issue for me as it is for so many people who come from the margins, whether it’s race, class, gender, orientation or identity. I think some of the best teachers come from marginal realities; eventually, you may come to that place where you realize that your perspective has value.”

“In my teaching at K, in my teaching since leaving K as well as in my writing, I have wanted to communicate the value of individual realities.”

From frank: sonnets, copyright © 2021 by Diane Seuss. Used by permission of Graywolf Press. 

There is a certain state of grace that is not loving. 

Music, Kurt says, is not a language, though people  

say it is. Even poetry, though built from words,  

is not a language, the words are the lacy gown,  

the something else is the bride who can’t be factored  

down even to her flesh and bones. I wore my own  

white dress, my hair a certain way, and looked into  

the mirror to get my smile right and then into my own  

eyes, it’s rare to really look, and saw I was making  

a fatal mistake, that’s the poem, but went through  

with it anyway, that’s the music, spent years in  

a graceful detachment, now silence is my lover, it does  

not embrace me when I wake, or it does, but its embrace  

is neutral, like God, or Switzerland since 1815. 

From the forthcoming Modern Poetry, Graywolf Press, 2024.
Originally published in Chicago Review’s Memoir Dossier, January 28, 2022.

Poetry 

There’s no sense  

in telling you my particular 

troubles. You have yours too.  

Is there value 

in comparing notes? 

Unlike Williams writing 

poems on prescription pads 

between patients, I have 

no prescriptions for you. 

I’m more interested  

in the particular 

nature and tenor of the energy  

of our trouble. Maybe 

that’s not enough for you. 

Sometimes I stick in 

some music. I’m capable 

of hallucination  

so there’s nothing wrong 

with my images.  

I’m not looking for wisdom. 

The wise don’t often write  

wisely, do they? The danger 

is in teetering into platitudes. 

Maybe Keats was preternaturally  

wise but what he gave us 

was beauty, whatever that is, 

and truth, synonymous, he wrote, 

with beauty, and not the same 

as wisdom. Maybe truth 

is the raw material of wisdom 

before it has been conformed 

by ego, fear, and time, 

like a shot 

of whiskey without 

embellishment, or truth lays bare 

the broken bone and wisdom  

scurries in, wanting 

to cover and justify it. It’s really  

kind of a nasty 

enterprise. Who wants anyone  

else’s hands on their pain? 

And I’d rather be arrested 

than advised, even on my 

taxes. So, what   

can poetry be now? Dangerous 

to approach such a question, 

and difficult to find the will to care. 

But we must not languish, soldiers, 

(according to the wise)  

we must go so far as to invent 

new mechanisms of caring. 

Maybe truth, yes, delivered 

with clarity. The tone is up 

to you. Truth, unabridged, 

has become in itself a strange 

and beautiful thing. 

Truth may involve a degree 

of seeing through time. 

Even developing a relationship 

with a thing before writing,  

whether a bird 

or an idea about birds, it doesn’t 

matter. But please not only 

a picture of a bird. Err  

on the side of humility, though 

humility can be declarative. 

It does not submit. It can even appear 

audacious. It takes mettle  

to propose truth 

and pretend it is generalizable. 

Truth should sting, in its way, 

like a major bee, not a sweat bee. 

It may target the reader like an arrow, 

or be swallowable, a watermelon 

seed we feared as children  

would take up residency in our guts 

and grow unabated and change us 

forever into something viny  

and prolific and terrible. 

As for beauty, a problematic word, 

one to be side-eyed lest it turn you 

to stone or salt, 

it is not something to work on 

but a biproduct, at times,  

of the process of our making.  

Beauty comes or it doesn’t, as do  

its equally compelling counterparts, 

inelegance and vileness. 

This we learned from Baudelaire, 

Flaubert, Rimbaud, Genet, male writers 

of the lavishly grotesque. 

You’ve seen those living rooms, 

the red velvet walls and lampshades 

fringed gold, cat hair thick 

on the couches, 

and you have been weirdly 

compelled, even cushioned,  

by them. Either way, 

please don’t tell me flowers 

are beautiful and blood clots 

are ugly. These things I know, 

or I know this is how  

flowers and blood clots 

are assessed by those content 

with stale orthodoxies. 

Maybe there is such a thing 

as the beauty of drawing near. 

Near, nearer, all the way 

to the bedside of the dying 

world. To sit in witness, 

without platitudes, no matter 

the distortions of the death throes, 

no matter the awful music  

of the rattle. Close, closer,  

to that sheeted edge. 

From this vantage point 

poetry can still be beautiful. 

It can even be useful, though 

never wise. 

‘Reckoning’ Examines K’s Past to Build a Better Future

Reckoning book at the K bookstore
Copies of “Reckoning: Kalamazoo College Uncovers Its
Racial and Colonial Past” are available on the shelves at
the Kalamazoo College Bookstore and on the
Bookstore’s website.

Anne Dueweke ’84 believes we cannot understand where we are unless we understand where we’ve been, especially when it comes to the racial climate of the United States and, closer to home, Kalamazoo College.

With her newly published book, Reckoning: Kalamazoo College Uncovers Its Racial and Colonial Past, Dueweke hopes to supplement existing histories of K with a racial and colonial history, sharing experiences of people of color at K and examining the role American colonialism, racial history and attitudes toward race have played in the founding and development of K through the years.

Reckoning begins with the founding of K in 1833 on land that was home to the Potawatomi people during the era of Indian Removal. It takes a close look at the events and attitudes affecting racial climate, both in the U.S. and at the College, through the Civil War, long periods of stagnation, the popularity of minstrel shows, the Civil Rights Movement and Black student activism on campus, right up to the recent activism of the changing student body and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by recent College administrations.

“K’s story is not a unique story,” Dueweke said. “It reflects what’s happened in the country and reflects what’s happened in a lot of institutions of higher education. It all plays out here. … Sometimes the College would be ahead, sometimes it would be behind and sometimes it would be right there with the rest of the country.”

Most histories, told from the perspective of powerful white men, have felt unsatisfactory to Dueweke as a woman. “They also didn’t explain why we still have such stark racial disparities,” she said. Reading histories focused on race and colonization, such as A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, helped her understand. “I hope this book plays a similar role for the College, that it helps explain why things are the way they are, why many students of color don’t feel comfortable here.”

Myers Education Press is publishing the book and marketing it to higher education institutions for use in courses on topics such as social justice and history of higher education.

“If people here found it useful that way, I’d be really happy,” Dueweke said. “It was a hard project. I could never have done it if I hadn’t been completely engrossed in it, and I wouldn’t be completely engrossed if I wasn’t so invested in this institution. I really feel that this institution has the potential to go much further in achieving equity with how the campus is experienced and how the educational programs are delivered in terms of race and ethnicity.”

‘It Was Hard for Me at First to Understand What the Issues Were’

Portrait of Author Anne Dueweke
Anne Dueweke ’84

Dueweke graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and chose to attend Kalamazoo College because it had a small student body, robust study abroad program, good academic reputation and beautiful campus.

She studied abroad in Madrid, performed a career internship in the publicity department at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and completed an oral history project and biography with a local artist and poet named Ben Tibbs for her Senior Integrated Project.

“I had a great education and experience here,” Dueweke said. “It was transformative, it was challenging, it was very mind expanding in so many ways, I made a lot of good friends.”

After earning her B.A. in English in 1984, Dueweke earned an M.A. in Spanish literature from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She became a mom and did some free-lance work before starting work at K as director of the Academic Resource Center in 1998. In 2000, she became director of faculty grants and institutional research at K, a job she held until 2019.

At the time, Dueweke was unaware she was joining the College staff after a period of turmoil and tension over multicultural efforts. She started in student development at a time when racial issues were a frequent topic of discussion, often framed as lack of diversity.

“I thought, ‘I wonder why this is such a difficult place for Black students and other students of color,’” Dueweke said. “As a white person, it was hard for me at first to understand what the issues were.”

Dueweke had always considered herself an advocate for students. After helping to conduct multiple student-led focus groups on students’ experiences with racial climate in 2013, she saw a need for her advocacy to involve more engagement with diversity, equity and inclusion work.

For the next two years, Dueweke incorporated leading DEI committees into her work at K. Then, in January 2015, she was participating in an anti-racism training for faculty and staff at the Arcus Center with local non-profit Eliminating Racism and Creating/Celebrating Equity (ERACCE).

The training began with the history of the United States told through the lens of race and colonization, with a timeline crossing the whole room.

“When I was looking at that timeline, I was really struck that the Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830, which was right around the time Kalamazoo College was founded in 1833,” Dueweke said. “I wondered how the founders interacted with the Potawatomi and other indigenous people, what they thought about the Indian Removal Act, and what the impact was of their being here. I began to think it would be interesting to write the story of the College by focusing on issues of race and colonization as a way to better understand why the College is where it is when it comes to these issues.”

Reckoning, Celebrating, Showcasing

Dueweke applied for and was granted an Arcus Center Fellowship for 2015-2017 to support her project to examine the College’s history through a social justice lens.

“The increasing diversity of our student body … represents the future, yet the College’s structures, practices, policies, systems, norms, and values have been shaped by 180 years of serving a predominantly white, middle to upper-middle class, Midwestern population,” Dueweke wrote in the application. “This work will involve placing the College’s story within the larger context of U.S. history … paying close attention to the effects of colonization, racism, … including how the College has both perpetuated and fought against these societal forces. As a result of this work, I hope that the College can come to terms with threads of racism … and other ‘isms’ woven through our institutional history, celebrate themes of social justice that characterize the College’s past and present, and showcase the stories of people in Kalamazoo College’s history who have been marginalized and silenced.”

While Dueweke initially thought she could complete the history in three years, working on it in addition to her full-time job ended up taking more than six years. She was grateful to be able to extend her fellowship, even after she left her job at the College in 2019 and started working as a resource developer for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in Dowagiac.

In addition to reading many U.S. and regional histories, her research involved archival work and oral histories with alumni of color. The Arcus fellowship provided funds to hire student assistants, buy books and travel to interview alumni or visit archives.

“The oral histories were all compelling,” Dueweke said. “One thing I really struggled with, doing this as a white person, is not trying to tell the stories of people of color for them. I did want to relay their experiences, so I relied a lot on their own words from the oral history interviews, and then from people who are no longer alive, from published writings or interviews that they had done.”

Online, Dueweke found the petitions for federal recognition filed by the three local Potawatomi bands, in which the tribes tell their history. That proved vital for the beginning of her book. Fortunately, one of the first known African American students to attend K, Rufus Perry, went on to be a prominent and prolific writer so Dueweke was able to draw on his own words in sharing his story.

“It got much harder to write as it reached the point where people will have their living memory of the recent history, especially the last chapter,” Dueweke said. “There will be a lot of people who remember those years who may or may not feel the same way, people who have their own interpretation of those events.”

‘The Shape of Things’

Reckoning opens with the time of the Native American displacement and the founding of K by Baptist missionaries.

The book relates some experiences of Rufus Perry, the first known African American student at K. He escaped slavery as a young man and went on to become a well-known minister, scholar, writer, newspaper editor and advocate for Black people.

It delves into the impact of the first president, James Stone, and his wife Lucinda, who were progressive and abolitionist. As forward-thinking as they were, Lucinda Stone’s published writing still demonstrates the paternalistic and assimilationist thinking common among white progressives at the time.

The third chapter, “The Shape of Things,” covers the period of time from after the Civil War until the end of World War II.

“That was a long, long time period, and it was a period of real stagnation in how people thought about race in this country,” Dueweke said. “I think that shape is still there; that shape is still very strong. There’s been progress since then, certainly, yet there’s still white supremacy, the country is still run by white people. That really affects how white people think and operate and it has a huge effect on people who are not white.”

The book goes on to address the racial climate at K in the ‘50s, with blackface performances remaining popular on campus despite community objections, and the slow rise of some awareness as K attempted to engage with a broader world, implementing the K-Plan in the early ‘60s. The Black Student Organization formed soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 to advocate for the institution to make itself relevant to Black students.

The College took steps forward and back in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s as calls for diversity and action were met with opposition or were overshadowed by other challenges on campus. Progress often seemed to move at a snail’s pace.

In the conclusion, Dueweke addresses some of the positive progress in racial climate at K in the past 15 years along with some of the continuing struggles. She is aware she could face some criticism for her work from those who feel she did not get it right.

“Race is a really fraught topic,” Dueweke said. “You can’t really work in areas of race without getting into the fray.

“I see this book as a first pass. If other people find portions of the history they would want to elaborate on more, delve more into—that would be really wonderful if people got involved in expanding it.”

Support for Reckoning from K

Dueweke said she received a huge amount of support, encouragement and guidance from Mia Henry, former executive director of the Arcus Center, and Lisa Brock, former academic director of the Arcus Center, among many other people. The current leadership has also been supportive and contributed to publication.

“It’s been really wonderful that they’re willing to embrace a history like this,” Dueweke said. “There are other histories of the College and I see this as a supplement to them. It tells the story from a different perspective.”

Provost Danette Ifert Johnson said it has become apparent over the past few decades that most history is based on a subset of people’s experiences.

“It’s important for us to get that broader knowledge that includes all the perspectives and not just the perspective of the group that’s had the privilege and been in the position of being able to dominate the narrative,” Ifert Johnson said. “It’s important for us, from an institutional perspective, to understand that as much as many of us love K, it doesn’t mean that the same kinds of things that happened in a lot of other places in society over the past almost 200 years didn’t happen here. It’s important for us to be honest about that, to know where we’ve been, because it does inform where we are and where we’re going.”

Ifert Johnson said K has come a long way in terms of diversity—32 percent of the student body at K are domestic students of color—and the administration’s current focus is on inclusion.

“Numbers don’t tell the whole story,” Ifert Johnson said. “Diversity doesn’t necessarily mean that people feel fully included and like they belong in all parts of this community. How do we make sure that all of our students, all of our faculty, all of our staff, all the members of our campus community really feel like this is their place and their voices are valued, their experiences are valued? That’s something we’re working on. I don’t think it’s as fast as any of us would like, but we’re continuing to move forward.”

The College ordered 100 copies of the book, some of which will be available at the library. Plans are still in development for how best to share and distribute the rest. The book is also available at the Campus Bookstore.

“I think there are a number of different ways that it can be integrated into the College and I hope that it will be,” Ifert Johnson said. “I hope that people do read it when they get a chance. I think it’s really informative. It provides a different perspective on the history of the College and one that is important for us to know and understand and acknowledge.”

Reckoning: Kalamazoo College Uncovers Its Racial and Colonial Past 

By Anne Dueweke ‘84 

  • Book launch event 
  • 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7
    Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership 
    205 Monroe Street 
    Kalamazoo, MI 49006 
  • Details: About 25 copies of the book will be available and dinner will be provided. Dueweke will speak about the book, do a reading, and answer questions, followed by an informal reception. 

Humanities Grant Boosts Experiential Learning Project

Portrait of Humanities Project Leader Shanna Salinas
Associate Professor of English Shanna Salinas

A major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide new learning opportunities for Kalamazoo College students and faculty seeking solutions to societal problems and promote the critical role of the humanities in social justice work.

The $1.297 million three-year grant will provide funding for the College’s Humanities Integrated Locational Learning (HILL) project, which is building student coursework rooted in K’s commitment to experiential learning and social justice to address issues such as racism, border policing, economic inequities, homelessness and global warming, while examining history, how humans share land, and the dislocations that bring people to a communal space.

The project was envisioned by Associate Professor of English Shanna Salinas (Co-PI), Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Assistant Professor of Sociology Francisco Villegas (Co-PI) and Professor of English Bruce Mills. HILL will invite K faculty to build curricula that foreground how power structures produce destabilizing dynamics and the collective response(s) of affected communities through the development of course materials, collaborative faculty-student research and community engagement, the development of program assessments and the sharing of oral histories tied to partnering projects and organizations.

Portrait of Humanities Project Leader Francisco Villegas
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Assistant Professor of
Sociology Francisco Villegas

Each class within the curriculum will fit into one of two cluster programs: the first focuses on hubs outside of Kalamazoo such as New Orleans, St. Louis and San Diego; the second looks within Kalamazoo with themes relevant to the city such as prison reform and abolition, and migrants and refugees. Both cluster programs will contribute to a digital humanities initiative for publishing, archiving and assessing coursework and partnerships. Each will provide opportunities for immersing students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences.

Salinas and Villegas will co-direct the HILL initiative. The three sites outside Kalamazoo—New Orleans, St. Louis and San Diego—were chosen for their current or historical dispersion of people from their homeland, as well as dislocated communities with strong histories of social justice movements. About 15 to 20 students at a time will go to those cities to further their experiential learning. Salinas added that faculty and students will first put in research and legwork related to their collaborative partnerships with a year of concentrated work. Then, by about December 2022, they will be ready to conduct in-person learning, first in New Orleans.

Portrait of Bruce Mills
Professor of English Bruce Mills

In addition to co-directing the project, Salinas will also serve as the curriculum coordinator for New Orleans. “We hope that students will develop an understanding of place as a living entity with a storied history and people who are a part of that location,” Salinas said. “We want students to learn what it means to be a part of a particular place. We want them to contend with histories, and meet the residents and people who inhabit the spaces we study with a real sense of generosity and purpose. We want to change students’ understanding about how they approach space and operate within it.”

Villegas plans to build on his strong connections within Kalamazoo County in leading the cluster focused on issues inside Kalamazoo. As a member of an exploratory taskforce (and now advisory board chair), he helped Kalamazoo County launch a community ID program in 2018, allowing residents, including those otherwise unable to get a state ID, to obtain a county ID.

“I think the grant speaks to the Mellon Foundation seeing promise in the kind of work we are imagining,” Villegas said. “It’s encouraging that they are willing to invest so greatly in such a project. They’re also recognizing the ethics of the project. They’re trusting that we’re going to engage with cities, including our home city, with a sense of respect and with a recognition of furthering community agendas already in place rather than imposing our understandings to other spaces. Most importantly, we’re invested in thinking about how students can consider the humanities in these projects as a way of producing nuanced understandings toward addressing very big problems.”

Mills will lead the digital humanities portion of the initiative. He noted that one measure of success for participating faculty will be how HILL shows the enduring dimensions of its partnerships with the digital project playing a large role.

“When you create classes, writing projects, oral histories or collaborate on community projects, these efforts often get lost when they just go into a file or a paper or are not passed along in local memory,” Mills said. “The digital humanities hub is an essential part of this initiative because faculty, students and city partners will have a site for a collective work to be published or presented. Community members will have access to it. That means the work being done will not disappear.”

Beau Bothwell tenure
Associate Professor of Music
Beau Bothwell
Portrait of Esplencia Baptiste
Associate Professor of
Anthropology and Sociology
Espelencia Baptiste
Portrait of Christine Hahn
Professor of Art and Art History
Christine Hahn

In addition to Salinas, Villegas and Mills, Associate Professor of Music Beau Bothwell and Professor of Art and Art History Christine Hahn will be curriculum coordinators for St. Louis and San Diego respectively. The first four courses that will be offered in the HILL project are Advanced Literary Studies (Salinas, English); Missionaries to Pilgrims: Diasporic Returns (Associate Professor Espelencia Baptiste, Anthropology and Sociology); The World Through New Orleans (Bothwell, Music); and Architecture Urbanism Identity (Hahn, Art and Art History).

The Mellon Foundation’s grant to K is one of 12 being issued to liberal arts colleges as a part of the organization’s Humanities for All Times initiative, which was created to support curriculum that demonstrates real-world applications to social justice pursuits and objectives.

“Kalamazoo College’s commitment to social justice is most profoundly realized through students’ opportunities to connect the theoretical with hands-on work happening in our communities,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said. “We’re grateful for the Mellon Foundation’s generous support, which will enable us to build on our foundation of experiential education and demonstrate to our students how the humanities have a practical role in fostering positive social change.”

The Mellon Foundation notes that humanities thought and scholarship efforts influence developments in the social world. However, there’s been a sharp decline in undergraduate humanities study and degree recipients nationwide over the past decade despite students’ marked interest in social justice issues. The initiative targets higher student participation in the humanities and social justice while building their skills in diagnosing cultural conditions that impede a just and equitable society.

“The Humanities for All Times initiative underscores that it’s not only critical to show students that the humanities improve the quality of their everyday lives, but also that they are a crucial tool in efforts to bring about meaningful progressive change in the world,” said Phillip Brian Harper, the Mellon Foundation’s higher learning program director. “We are thrilled to support this work at liberal arts colleges across the country. Given their unequivocal commitment to humanities-based knowledge, and their close ties to the local communities in which such knowledge can be put to immediate productive use, we know that these schools are perfectly positioned to take on this important work.”

K Professor Wants More Diversity in Victorian Studies

Ryan Fong Victorian Studies
Associate Professor of English Ryan Fong is one of four scholars from around the country who founded Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom, a digital humanities project that reimagines how to teach Victorian studies with a positive, race-conscious lens.

A Kalamazoo College English faculty member has helped develop a project that ensures his field will be inclusive and engaging with scholars from underrepresented groups.

Associate Professor of English Ryan Fong is one of four scholars from around the country who founded Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom, a digital humanities project that reimagines how to teach Victorian studies with a positive, race-conscious lens. The title was inspired by a recent essay by Ronjaunee Chatterjee, Alicia Mireles Christoff and Amy R. Wong in the Los Angeles Review of Books, titled “Undisciplining Victorian Studies,” which itself borrowed from York University Professor of English literature and Black studies Christina Sharpe’s call for scholars to “become undisciplined” as a way to undo racist theories and the limited, predominantly white scopes that scholars have inherited.

“The three other founders and I wanted to create a set of resources for how to bring this work into the classroom to infuse our teaching,” Fong said. “The website developed as a result of those conversations, and we collaborated with one another to build the site and involved other scholars from around the world to create our first batch of teaching materials.”

In addition to Fong, the founding developers are Pearl Chaozon Bauer, an associate professor of English at Notre Dame de Namur University; Sophia Hsu, an assistant professor of English at Lehman College, CUNY; and Adrian S. Wisnicki, an associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The K community can take pride in the team’s project because many of the lesson plans featured on the website draw on those that Fong first developed in his classroom through his own pedagogy. Take, for example, the lessons regarding the work of Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican nurse, healer and businesswoman who set up the “British Hotel” during the Crimean War. Seacole hoped to assist with nursing the war’s wounded but was turned away when she applied to be in the nursing contingent. Instead, she traveled independently and set up her own “hotel” for tending to the wounded, making her popular with service personnel, who raised money for her as she faced extreme poverty after the war.

“A lot of what we’ve been doing in the project is creating resources to help instructors teach materials like Mary Seacole’s,” Fong said. “She wrote an important travelogue and memoir about her experiences, and the teaching materials on the site will help teachers contextualize this work and teach it alongside people that we already know and love like Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. We’re hoping that we’re giving scholars tools to incorporate new materials into their classes or perhaps even conceive and remake whole new classes.”

In addition to lesson plans and syllabi that involve writers such as Seacole, the Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom website provides Zoom-based broadcasts with recorded conversations, featuring professors to further promote a diverse base of historical writers.

“We’re recording conversations with colleagues about what we do in our classrooms,” Fong said. “It gives us a chance to share how we teach and how we can expand the materials and approaches that we have typically used. Hosting these has given me a lot of opportunities to share what I’ve developed at K. Bringing the expertise that I’ve been able to gain into these conversations with teacher scholars around the country and around the world has been really exciting.”

In the short term, Fong said the site’s success will be evaluated through the number of people visiting the website. Yet ultimately, the hope is to get experts and scholars throughout higher education excited to collaborate with the project while empowering everyone who does the work of teaching literature in colleges and universities—from graduate students to adjunct faculty and tenured professors.

“Around the world, we’re all really working toward these goals of social justice, anti-racism, and diversity, inclusion and equity,” Fong said. “If we’re working in alignment with those principles and we’re doing it thoughtfully as scholars, then I feel like that we have the potential to make an impact not just in higher ed, but all over.”

Poetry Professor Receives NEA Creative Writing Fellowship

Oliver Baez Bendorf Receives Creative Writing Fellowship
Kalamazoo College Assistant Professor of English Oliver Baez Bendorf is one of 35 writers receiving a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship.

The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that Oliver Baez Bendorf, a Kalamazoo College assistant professor in the Department of English, is one of 35 writers who will receive a 2021 Creative Writing Fellowship of $25,000.

Baez Bendorf was selected from about 1,600 eligible applicants. Fellows are selected through a highly-competitive, anonymous process and are judged on the artistic excellence of the work sample they provided. The fellowships provide funding for recipients to write, revise, research and travel.

“I am honored and still in shock to have received this prestigious grant,” Baez Bendorf said. The fellowship will help fund his work on a future collection of poems, including research travel when that becomes possible again after the pandemic. He hopes to go to Hessen, Germany, to visit the Ronneburg Castle, in which his father’s ancestors took refuge from religious persecution. The castle now houses festivals and a falconry center.

Baez Bendorf is the author of two poetry collections, most recently Advantages of Being Evergreen, published in 2019. Jennifer Natalya Fink, a professor of English at George Washington University, described that book as a “wild queer reimagining of the potential of language to redress our past oppression and imagine new possibilities for gender, nature, and ecstasy.”

In 2020, Baez Bendorf received the early career achievement award from The Publishing Triangle. His work has also garnered fellowships from CantoMundo, Vermont Studio Center and Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. His poems appear in recent or forthcoming issues of American Poetry Review, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, New England Review, Orion, Poetry, the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and other publications.

Since joining the faculty in 2018, Baez Bendorf leads the poetry workshops at Kalamazoo College and teaches introductory creative writing classes. In fall 2020, he taught a first-year seminar he designed titled “Romance and Revolution: The Life and Times of Pablo Neruda.”

Outside the classroom, he has mentored K students in their pursuits of nature writing and literary editing. In 2019, he collaborated with colleagues across the college to host a celebrated writer on campus. A faculty research grant from the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership enabled him to participate in the New Orleans Poetry Festival, which featured his work in ecopoetics.

Baez Bendorf, who was born and raised in Iowa, holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The late Conrad Hilberry, a poet and beloved Professor Emeritus of English who taught at K from 1962 until 1998, also received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the Arts Endowment in 1984.

Since 1967, the Arts Endowment has awarded more than 3,600 Creative Writing Fellowships totaling over $56 million. Many American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships early in their careers. The full list of 2021 Creative Writing Fellows is available online.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these 35 talented poets through Creative Writing Fellowships,” said Amy Stolls, director of literary arts at the Arts Endowment. “These fellowships often provide writers with crucial support and encouragement, and in return our nation is enriched by their artistic contributions in the years to come.”

Visit arts.gov to browse bios, artist statements and writing excerpts from a sample of past Creative Writing Fellows.

Honors Convocation Lauds Students’ Achievements

Honors Day Convocation
Kalamazoo College recognized outstanding achievements by its students Friday with the annual Honors Day Convocation.

More than 250 students were recognized Friday during the annual Honors Day Convocation for excellence in academics and leadership. Students were recognized in six divisions: Fine Arts, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Physical Education. Recipients of prestigious scholarships were recognized, as were members of national honor societies and students who received special Kalamazoo College awards. Student athletes and teams who won Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association awards also were honored. The students receiving Honors Day awards or recognition are listed below. Watch the recorded event at our website.

FINE ARTS DIVISION

Brian Gougeon Prize in Art

Awarded to a sophomore student who, during his or her first year, exhibited outstanding achievement and potential in art.

Elena Basso
Nicole Taylor
Camryn Zdziarski-West

Margaret Upton Prize in Music

Provided by the Women’s Council of Kalamazoo College and awarded each year to a student designated by the Music Department Faculty as having made significant achievement in music.

Katherine Miller-Purrenhage

Cooper Award

For a junior or senior showing excellence in a piece of creative work in a Theatre Arts class:  film, acting, design, stagecraft, puppetry or speech.

Jonathan Townley

Sherwood Prize

Given for the best oral presentation in a speech-oriented class.

Sedona Coleman
Cameo Green

Theatre Arts First-Year Student Award

Given to a sophomore for outstanding departmental efforts during the first year.

Milan Levy

MODERN AND CLASSICAL LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES DIVISION

LeGrand Copley Prize in French

Awarded to the sophomore who as a first-year student demonstrated the greatest achievement in French.

Tristan Fuller
Claire Kvande

Hardy Fuchs Award

Given for excellence in first-year German.

Ben Flotemersch
Elizabeth Wang

Margo Light Award

Given for excellence in second-or third-year German.

Ellie Lotterman
Noah Prentice

Romance Languages Department Prize in Spanish

Awarded for excellence in the first year in Spanish.

Emma Sidor
MiaFlora Tucci

Clara H. Buckley Prize for Excellence in Latin

Awarded to an outstanding student of the language of the ancient Romans.

Sydney Patton

Provost’s Prize in Classics

Awarded to that student who writes the best essay on a classical subject.

Jane Delmonico

Classics Department Prize in Greek

Awarded to the outstanding student of the language of classical Greece.

Nick Wilson

HUMANITIES DIVISION

Allen Prize in English

Given for the best essay written by a member of the first-year class.

Shanon Brown

John B. Wickstrom Prize in History

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s work in history.

Helen Edwards
Sam Kendrick

Department of Philosophy Prize

Awarded for excellence in any year’s work in philosophy.

Julia Bienstock
Emma Fergusson
Luke Richert
Teague Tompkins

L.J. and Eva (“Gibbie”) Hemmes Memorial Prize in Philosophy

Awarded to a sophomore who in the first year shows the greatest promise for continuing studies in philosophy.

Garret Hanson
Clarice Ray
Mikayla Youngman

NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS DIVISION

Department of Chemistry Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s work in chemistry.

Abby Barnum
Marissa Dolorfino
Elizabeth Wang

First-Year Chemistry Award

Awarded to a sophomore student who, during  the first year, demonstrated great achievement in chemistry.

Thomas Buffin
Mallory Dolorfino
MiaFlora Tucci

Lemuel F. Smith Award

Given to a student majoring in chemistry pursuing the American Chemical Society approved curriculum and having at the end of the junior year the highest average standing in courses taken in chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Jennalise Ellis

Computer Science Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s work in computer science.

Eleanor Carr
Vien Hang
Aleksandr Molchagin
Erin Murphy
William Shaw
Hanis Sommerville

First-Year Mathematics Award

Given annually to the sophomore student who, during the first year, demonstrated the greatest achievement in mathematics.

Tolkien Bagchi

Thomas O. Walton Prize in Mathematics

Awarded to a member of the junior class for excellence in the work of the first two years in mathematics.

Joseph Jung
Tommy Saxton
Carter Wade

Cooper Prize in Physics

Given for excellence in the first year’s work in physics.

Oliver Tye
Blue Truong

SOCIAL SCIENCES DIVISION

Departmental Prize in Anthropology and Sociology

Awarded for excellence during the first and/or second year’s work.

Milan Levy
Milagros Robelo
Aija Turner

Wallace Lawrence Prize in Economics

Awarded annually to a student who has done outstanding work in the Department of Economics and Business during the sophomore year.

Kayla Carlson
Mihail Naskovski
Emily Tenniswood

William G. Howard Memorial Prize

Awarded for excellence in any year’s work in economics.

Nicklas Klepser
Nathan Micallef
Sage Ringsmuth
Andrew Sheckell

Wallace Lawrence Prize in Business

Awarded annually to a student who has done outstanding work in the Department of Economics and Business during the sophomore year.

Lucas Kastran
Cade Thune
Alex Wallace

Irene and S. Kyle Morris Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first year’s courses in the Department of Economics and Business.

Zoe Gurney

William G. Howard Memorial Prize in Political Science

Awarded for excellence in any year’s work in political science.

Elisabeth Kuras

Department of Psychology First-Year Student Prize

Awarded for excellence in the first-year student’s work in psychology.

Violet Crampton
Sarah Densham

PHYSICAL EDUCATION DIVISION

Division of Physical Education Prize

Awarded to those students who as first-year students best combined leadership and scholarship in promoting athletics, physical education and recreation.

Sam Ankley
Alexis Petty

Maggie Wardle Prize

Awarded to that sophomore woman whose activities at the College reflect the values that Maggie Wardle demonstrated in her own life. The recipient will show a breadth of involvement in the College through her commitment to athletics and to the social sciences and/or community service.

Camille Misra

COLLEGE AWARDS

Henry and Inez Brown Prize

Denise Jackson
Heather Muir
James Totten
Vanessa Vigier

Heyl Scholars (Class of 2024)

Lukas Bolton
Madeleine Coffman
Emily Haigh
Bijou Hoehle
Xavier Silva
Jordyn Wilson

Posse Scholars (Class of 2024)

Nicholas Davis
Nathan Garcia
Zy’ere Hollis
Tytiana Jones
Aaron Martinez
Udochi Okorie
Joshua Pamintuan
Anthony Peraza
Samantha Rodriguez
Rina Talaba

National Merit Scholars (Class of 2024)

Carter Wade

Voynovich Scholars
Awarded annually to a student who, in the judgment of the faculty, submits the most creative essay on the year’s topic.

Marina Bayma-Meyer
Yung Seo Lee

Alpha Lamda Delta

Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society that recognizes excellence in academic achievement during the first college year. To be eligible for membership, students must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and be in the top 20 percent of their class during the first year. The Kalamazoo College chapter was installed on March 5, 1942.

Jez Abella
Hashim Akhtar
Cameron Arens
Tolkien Bagchi
Elena Basso
Cassandra Bergen
Thomas Buffin
Natalie Call
John Carlson
Mary Margaret Cashman
Cassidy Chapman
Nicholas Cohee
Violet T. Crampton
Lauren Crossman
Sarah Densham
Charles Pasquale DiMagno
Mallory Dolorfino
Marissa Dolorfino
Katia Duoibes
Hannah Durant
Carter Eisenbach
Benjamin Flotemersch
Caelan Frazier
Nathaniel Harris Fuller
Tristan Fuller
Grace Garver
Zoe Gurney
Yoichi Haga
Vien Hang
Garrett Hanson
Lucy Hart
Katherine Haywood
Marshall Holley
Audrey Huizenga
Ian Becks Hurley
Jonathan Jiang
Emily Robin Kaneko Dudd
Benjamin Tyler Keith
Isabella Grace Kirchgessner
Sofia Rose Klein
Lena Thompson Klemm
Rhys Koellmann
Elisabeth Kuras
Caroline Lamb
Am Phuong Le
Dillon Lee
Ginamarie Lester
Milan Levy
Thomas Lichtenberg
Cassandra Linnertz
Alvaro J. Lopez Gutierrez
Kanase J. Matsuzaki
Camille Misra
Aleksandr V. Molchagin
Samantha Moss
Arein D. Motan
Matthew Mueller
Erin Murphy
Maya Nathwani
William Naviaux
Sudhanva Neti
Stefan Louis Nielsen
Keigo Nomura
Rohan Nuthalapati
Jenna Clare Paterob
Sheyla Yasmin Pichal
Harrison Poeszat
Noah Prentice
Isabelle G. Ragan
Abby L. Rawlings
Katherine Rock
Skyler Rogers
Gi Salvatierra
Hannia Queren Sanchez-Alvarado
Madeline Gehl Schroeder
William Shaw
Hanis Sommerville
Alex M Stolberg
Kaleb Sydloski
Clara Margaret Szakas
Claire Tallio
Nicole Taylor
Abhishek Thakur
Kaia Thomas
Blue Truong
Oliver Tye
Duurenbayar Ulziiduuren
Chilotam Christopher Urama
Elizabeth G. Wang
Margaret L. Wedge
Ryley Kay White
Katelyn Williams
Skai Williams
Leah Wolfgang
Camryn Zdziarski-West
Sophie Zhuang
Nathaniel Zona

Enlightened Leadership Awards

Robert Barnard
Irie Browne
Rebecca Chan
Nolan Devine
Daniel Fahle
Grace Hancock
Julia Leet
Lia Schroeder
Matthew Swarthout
Jonathan Townley
Ethan Tuck
Ian Yi

MIAA Award

These teams earned the 2019-2020 MIAA Team GPA Award for achieving a 3.3 or better grade-point average for the entire academic year:

Men’s Baseball
Women’s Basketball
Men’s Cross Country
Women’s Cross Country
Men’s Golf
Women’s Golf
Men’s Lacrosse
Women’s Lacrosse
Women’s Soccer
Women’s Softball
Women’s Swimming and Diving
Women’s Volleyball

MIAA Academic Honor Roll
Student Athletes 2019-2020

The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association each year honors students at MIAA member colleges who achieve in the classroom and in athletic competition. Students need to be a letter winner in a varsity sport and maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average for the entire academic year.

Max Ambs
Georgie Andrews
Grant Anger
Hunter Angileri
Samuel Ankley
Julia Bachmann
Travis Barclay
Elena Basso
Lillian Baumann
Alex Bowden
Austin Bresnahan
Jack Brockhaus
Pierce Burke
Annika Canavero
Raekwon Castelow
Claire Cebelak
Walker Chung
Nicholas Cohee
Thomas Cook
Noah Coplan
Rachel Cornell
Chase Coselman
John Crane
Cameron Crothers
Gwendolyn Davis
Riley Davis
Emmelyn DeConinck
Robert Dennerll
Sarah Densham
Eva DeYoung
Mallory Dolorfino
Marissa Dolorfino
Amanda Dow
Austin Duff
Alex Dupree
Hannah Durant
Thomas Fales
Dugan Fife
Gwendolyn Flatland
Payton Fleming
Matthew Ford
Clifton Foster
Luke Fountain
Sierra Fraser
Rachael Gallap
Brendan Gausselin
Katie Gierlach
Anthony Giovanni
Madison Goodman
Mya Gough
Matthew Gu
Rebekah Halley
Grace Hancock
Laura Hanselman
Lucy Hart
Katherine Haywood
Zachary Heimbuch
Alyssa Heitkamp
Daniel Henry
McKenna Hepler
Sam Hoag
Mathew Holmes-Hackerd
Matthew Howrey
Tre Humes
Aidan Hurley
Amiee Hutton
Benjamin Hyndman
Samantha Jacobsen
Jonathan Jiang
Jaylin Jones
Jackson Jones
Amani Karim
Lucas Kastran
Maria Katrantzi
Greg Kearns
Ben Keith
Will Keller
Jackson Kelly
David Kent
Hannah Kerns
Meghan Killmaster
Dahwi Kim
Alaina Kirschman
Lena Klemm
Allison Klinger
Ella Knight
Nicholas Kraeuter
Brandon Kramer
Matthew Krinock
John Kunec
Nicholas Lang
Juanita Ledesma
Jack Leisenring
Kathryn LeVasseur
Marissa Lewinski
Rosella LoChirco
Rachel Madar
MacKenzy Maddock
Deven Mahanti
Lauren Marshall
Samuel Matthews
Courtney McGinnis
Dylan McGorsik
Keelin McManus
Benjamin Meschke
Tytus Metzler
Nathan Micallef
Camille Misra
DeShawn Moore
Dominic Moore
Maxo Moran
Samantha Moss
Elizabeth Munoz
Alexis Nesbitt
Nikoli Nickson
Madeline Odom
Abigail O’Keefe
Marianna Olson
Michael Orwin
Ella Palacios
Cayla Patterson
Hellen Pelak
Calder Pellerin
Scott Peters
Eve Petrie
Nicole Pierece
Noah Piercy
Jared Pittman
Harrison Poeszat
Zachary Prystash
Erin Radermacher
Harrison Ramsey
Zachary Ray
Jordan Reichenbach
Benjamin Reiter
Ashley Rill
Molly Roberts
Katherine Rock
Lily Rogowski
Isabelle Russo
Justin Schodowski
Michael Schwartz
Darby Scott
Andrew Sheckell
Josephine Sibley
Elizabeth Silber
Nathan Silverman
Jack Smith
Katherine Stewart
Abby Stewart
Grant Stille
Alexander Stockewell
Alex Stolberg
Hayden Strobel
Thomas Sylvester
Jacob Sypniewski
Clara Szakas
Nina Szalkiewicz
Jack Tagget
Leah Tardiff
Emily Tenniswood
Cade Thune
Kaytlyn Tidey
Mary Trimble
Matt Turton
Oliver Tye
Damian Valdes
Madison Vallan
Naomi Verne
Alex Wallace
Maija Weaver
Margaret Wedge
Tanner White
Megan Williams
Madalyn Winarski
Hannah Wolfe
Brandon Wright
Tony Yazbeck
Julie Zabik
Christian Zeitvogel
Sophie Zhuang