A Practice in Gratitude: Scholarship Honors Late Professor Emeritus T. Jefferson Smith 

The late T. Jefferson Smith was a long-time beloved Kalamazoo College math professor, the driving force behind bringing change ringing and the English tower bells to Stetson Chapel, and a true Renaissance man with a breath-taking assortment of hobbies. 

Known as both Jeff and T.J., Smith was respected and admired by students and colleagues alike during his nearly 30 years at Kalamazoo College. His life and legacy are now being honored with the Professor T. Jefferson Smith Memorial Scholarship. 

An anonymous donor established the fund as a practice of gratitude after a classroom experience where students were asked to name a personal hero, and many shared stories of teachers that changed their lives. 

“I thought, ‘Shouldn’t we do something to recognize teachers for how much they do for us?’” the donor said. “My feeling is that teachers may not know the impact they have on students, in part because students have a long trajectory ahead. Learning experiences can have an effect that may not appear for 10, 20, 30 years. It’s important to recognize our teachers for the formative effect they have on us at a very formative time of life.” 

Smith was initially hired by Kalamazoo College in 1961; after his first year of teaching, he was offered a research position with the geophysical staff at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. The opportunity was too good to pass up. Smith told his family that working in applied science would balance his theoretical training and benefit his future students when he returned to the College, which he did eagerly in 1967. Smith taught at K for nearly three decades before retiring in 1994. 

“Jeff and I enjoyed, admired and had deep and sincere affection for our students and our colleagues,” said his widow, Carol Smith, who was a reference librarian at K for many years. “K was a wonderful place to be and we loved all the time there.” 

Smith died in April 2019, at the age of 88. The scholarship, which supports Kalamazoo College students with financial need, would have pleased him, Carol Smith said. 

“Education was paramount in Jeff’s mind—the combination of the intellectual fulfillment of education and the ability to change your life,” Carol Smith said. “He grew up in rural Georgia—no plumbing, no running water, milk the cows before you go to school. His family was very close, very warm. They were very, very poor, and no one then had a college education, but his interest in music and education was encouraged. Jeff was an outstanding high school student, and he must have had some scholarship help to get through college, even though he worked as well. This scholarship would have meant so very much to him. It’s a perfect memorial for Jeff, and my children and I appreciate it very much.” 

Contributing to the fund is a practice of gratitude and appreciation for Alan Hewett ’71, very much in the spirit of the establishment of the scholarship. 

“I have supported K continuously since I graduated as a form of appreciation for the training and growth I gained there,” Hewett said. “I just added a gift to the T.J. Smith fund because T.J. was such a good mentor for me and because I wanted to acknowledge and honor that experience and the man. My biggest hope is that, in some small way, it will provide an opportunity for a few more people to attend K and gain some of the advantages that I received from K.” 

Those advantages included the opportunity to learn from Smith. 

“He was not only my favorite professor; he was one of the main reasons I went back to reunions while he was still teaching,” Hewett said. “At the time, it didn’t occur to me that T. J. was a Renaissance man.  I just liked his teaching style. In retrospect, he truly was a Renaissance man, interested in so many things and fun to be around.” 

Smith would bring his many interests into the classroom, incorporating stories of fighting kites, bell ringing, playing the viola, bicycle racing, model airplanes, bread baking and more into math lectures. (After retirement, he would continue and expand his hobbies, including yo-yos, spinning tops, apple growing, antique tractor restoration, the melodeon—a small, accordion-like musical instrument—and more.) 

“He could make people who didn’t care much for math enjoy it because they could get into the story,” Hewett said. “He managed to take things that were fun to do and move them into something you would have to use math for.” 

Smith received the Florence J. Lucasse Lectureship for Excellence in Teaching Award in 1985 for outstanding achievement in creative work, research and publication. In 1993, he was presented the Weimer K. Hicks Award for providing excellent service in the performance of his job and making a significant contribution to the College in founding the Kalamazoo College Guild of Change Ringers in 1977 and spearheading the 1984 installation of eight English bells in the tower of Stetson Chapel. Those efforts also led to him being named Ringing Master of the College in 1988. 

Change ringing with Smith has been a key part of the K experience for many alumni, including Tom Farthing ’83. With his first term under his belt, Farthing started winter term 1980 confident that he could handle the academics, yet unsure how and where he fit into the College—until the first Sunday of the term, when he tried change ringing. 

“It made sense to me immediately,” Farthing said. “It was this two-pronged thing: There was an activity that made sense to the way my brain works, and then there was Jeff, who was teaching people, encouraging people, smoothing the path. I found my people there, and that was the majority of my connection with the College.” 

The change ringing community brought Farthing together with his wife, Christine (Stibal) Farthing ’85, who was a friend in college. They stayed in contact after graduation, eventually becoming a couple, due to the community Smith developed and nurtured so well. 

“When I was a sophomore, my suitemates threw a surprise birthday party for me, and they invited Jeff, and he came,” Farthing said. “I can still picture him walking toward our suite and instantly everyone was all around him, which was typical. He was so engaging and eloquent and full of stories. He was just a magnet.” 

Smith was also an excellent professor, Farthing said, always prepared and interesting, and a role model. 

“He was big on self-improvement,” Farthing said. “He knew he should improve his handwriting because he was writing in front of students, so he studied calligraphy and developed his beautiful handwriting. He would work on his vocabulary, one word at a time. I remember ‘ubiquitous’ was his word for a while, and he just worked it into everyday conversation, and you’d say, ‘Oh, there’s that word again.’ ‘Copacetic’ was another one. He did that for years.” 

In the Smith family home on Bulkley Street, Carol Smith said, “there was a little southern porch off our bedroom, and Jeff turned it into his office. One of the classroom buildings was being renovated and he got an old chalkboard, which he put up in his office. He would go through his lectures, even writing on the board, before all his classes.” 

Smith was devoted to his students as well as his family, Carol Smith said. 

“He was extremely ethical, caring and warm and generous,” she said. “He was very devoted. He was quite passionate about things in an understated way.” 

Within the math department, those qualities helped Smith serve as a respected colleague and mentor. He was the first person whom Professor of Mathematics Emeritus John Fink met in Kalamazoo, greeting Fink at the train station with a firm handshake—a grip Fink can still feel.  

When Fink was a young professor struggling with the transition from his mathematics Ph.D. program to an undergraduate classroom, Smith—who generally was not one for giving advice—offered him a phrase Fink would return to again and again. 

“The gulf between where professors are as trained Ph.D. mathematicians and where the students are is so vast,” Fink said. “It was a shock to me, and I think it’s a shock for a lot of people. I came into Jeff’s office, and I was complaining about something, and he said, ‘It’s the undergraduate gamble.’ He didn’t say much more than that, but I carried it with me. It’s the undergraduate gamble. Whenever I would get frustrated, those words would come back to me. What’s the gamble? Well, I’m betting on the potential that is not yet evident in this student. I think that was Jeff’s approach to lots of things. He would bet on the potential, and I think he won most of the time. 

“Jeff was a great mentor for me. He took the undergraduate gamble on me. When I didn’t see anything in myself, he saw something in me—or maybe he didn’t, but he behaved in a way that would bring it out of me anyway.” 

In department meetings, two professors who had strong personalities would sit at either end of the table and “be talking past each other with lots of energy,” Fink said. “At some point, Jeff would just put his head into the exchange and say, ‘So what I hear is this.’ He would say it in a clear, accurate and eloquent way, and whatever he said, that turned out to be what the department did.” 

Smith had an appreciation for clarity, rigor, economy and beauty, Fink said; a positive, generous, attitude; a disarming Georgia accent and “aw shucks” attitude; and a way of holding students to rigorous expectations while maintaining a positive relationship with them. 

“If I was in the hallway outside of his classroom, I would listen to Jeff teaching and just appreciate his wonderful approach to the subject,” Fink said. “Whenever I would think that I might have gotten up to Jeff Smith quality in my own teaching, I would stand outside his classroom to listen and see how much farther I had to go.” 

Smith taught Fink how to handle the ropes for change ringing before Fink’s 1990 sabbatical to Oxford, England, so that Fink could ring while he was there. Fink currently teaches a class at Kalamazoo College on ringing, and is part of the band of change ringers that regularly rings in Stetson Chapel tower. 

When Fink learned of the Professor T. Jefferson Smith Memorial Scholarship, he felt joy, he said. He recalled how former students and change ringers came from all over the country for Smith’s memorial service, which he saw as a measure of the impact Smith had. 

“It’s fitting, then, that he can still have an impact on future students by this scholarship,” Fink said. “Now, I want those scholarship recipients to know Jeff in the way his students and colleagues did. This scholarship allows Jeff’s relationship to the College and his memory to be part of the foundation of another student’s education.”  

If you would like to support K students and give in honor of Professor Smith, please make a gift online to the Professor T. Jefferson Smith Memorial Scholarship or contact Nicki Poer, associate director of special initiatives, at 269.337.7281 or nicki.poer@kzoo.edu

Jeff Smith pointing at a blackboard
The late T. Jefferson Smith was a long-time beloved Kalamazoo College math professor and the driving force behind bringing change ringing and the English tower bells to Stetson Chapel.
T. Jefferson Smith received a plaque for 25th anniversary at Kalamazoo College before retiring with nearly 30 years of service in 1994.
Jeff Smith on Chapel Steps
Smith was respected and admired by students and colleagues alike. His life and legacy are now being honored with the Professor T. Jefferson Smith Memorial Scholarship. 
Jeff Smith with Students
Smith died in April 2019 at age 88. The scholarship named for him, which supports Kalamazoo College students with financial need, would have pleased him, his widow, Carol Smith, said. 
Smith received the Florence J. Lucasse Lectureship for Excellence in Teaching Award in 1985 for outstanding achievement in creative work, research and publication. In 1993, he was presented the Weimer K. Hicks Award for providing excellent service in the performance of his job and making a significant contribution to the College in founding the Kalamazoo College Guild of Change Ringers.
Jeff Smith with Student
When Professor of Mathematics Emeritus John Fink learned of the Professor T. Jefferson Smith Memorial Scholarship, he felt joy. He recalled how former students and change ringers came from all over the country for Smith’s memorial service. 

K Parents Geoffrey and Kathleen Fieger Create Endowed Scholarship

Geoffrey and Kathleen Fieger
Geoffrey N. Fieger and Kathleen J. Fieger are funding
the Keenie and Julian Fieger Endowed Scholarship,
named for Kathleen and the couple’s son Julian,
a rising junior at Kalamazoo College.

A generous $1 million gift from Geoffrey N. Fieger and Kathleen J. Fieger will support Kalamazoo College’s current and future students and further its strategic plan, Advancing Kalamazoo College: A Strategic Vision for 2023.

The couple are funding the Keenie and Julian Fieger Endowed Scholarship, named for Kathleen and the couple’s son Julian, a rising junior at K. The scholarship will be awarded annually by the College’s Financial Aid Office.

“We are deeply honored by the Fiegers’ amazing gift to the Brighter Light Campaign,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said. “We are grateful that parents of one of our current students have recognized the incredible impact of a K education and have chosen to share with us their commitment to opening doors for others. It’s truly inspiring. This scholarship will provide students access to a K experience for generations to come.”

Geoffrey Fieger is the leader of the Fieger Law firm, which is considered by many to be one of the top personal injury law firms in the U.S. He has been a practicing trial lawyer for more than 42 years and has experience as a trial litigator and a scholar. He has been repeatedly featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox and various other networks to provide legal insight and commentary throughout his career. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the Detroit College of Law, which is now Michigan State University Law.

Kathleen Fieger, a native of Garden City, Michigan, attended Schoolcraft Community College and the Center for Creative Studies. She worked for 15 years in advertising on accounts that included Ford Motor Co. and Lincoln-Mercury. She later pursued a degree in architecture and design, graduating from Lawrence Technological University with honors.

For nearly every student of Kalamazoo College, financial aid opens the door to life-changing opportunities, and it is the College’s greatest annual expense with 98% of K students receiving financial aid. By growing its base of endowed scholarships, K can attract and retain talented students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, better meet the demonstrated need of every student and ensure lower student debt upon graduation.

“Keenie and I knew of K’s reputation for academic excellence when our oldest son Julian began his college career,” Geoffrey Fieger said. “We soon learned that along with academics comes a beautiful campus environment in which to learn, and a solid vision for the future. President Gonzalez’s commitment to the College is infectious. His passion encouraged us to participate and invest in K’s future.  By our creation of these scholarships, we hope to provide for and offer a way for others to experience and share what has truly been, for our family, a life-affirming experience.”

About Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo College, founded in 1833, is a nationally recognized residential liberal arts and sciences college located in Kalamazoo, Mich. The creator of the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College provides an individualized education that integrates rigorous academics with life-changing experiential learning opportunities. For more information, visit www.kzoo.edu.

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

K Student Earns Alpha Lambda Delta Scholarship

Alpha Lambda Delta scholarship recipient Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24
Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24 is receiving a merit
scholarship from Alpha Lambda Delta.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, a Kalamazoo College student is receiving a merit scholarship from Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), the honor society for first-year academic success.

Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24 will receive one of 50 undergraduate scholarships worth $1,000 to $6,000 each, as the honor society issues a total of $105,000 nationally through the Jo Anne J. Trow Award.

Akhavan Tafti is a computer science major and German and psychology minor from Iran who is looking to expand K’s involvement in Alpha Lambda Delta while collaborating with the chapter at Western Michigan University.

The Jo Anne J. Trow Award was instated in 1988 to honor a past national president of Alpha Lambda Delta. The scholarship requires that applicants gather at least two letters of recommendation and maintain a 3.5 grade-point average on a four-point scale.

“One of the reasons my application stood out was my proposed plan to expand Alpha Lambda Delta’s presence throughout our campus,” Akhavan Tafti said. “I hope to do this with the help of this year’s new ALD initiates. The end goal is to create a self-sustaining ALD organization to facilitate academic excellence and engagement with ALD, which will allow more students from our College to receive ALD scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and study abroad funding in return for their contributions to ALD.”

Gilman Scholarship Allows Four to Study Abroad

Gilman Scholar Caelan Frazier
Caelan Frazier ’24

Four Kalamazoo College students will each receive funds to study abroad in the upcoming academic year through the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Plan.

Since 2001, the Gilman scholarship has given more than 33,000 students with limited financial means up to $5,000 to study or intern abroad. By going abroad, recipients develop skills critical to national security and economic prosperity.

Angela Hernandez and Anna Canales, both ’24, are expected to study in Japan. Caelan Frazier ’24 plans to visit Northern Ireland. Natalie Barber ’23, after deferring her award as a result of the pandemic last year, will travel to Costa Rica this year.

All the opportunities hinge on the host country’s progress with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Frazier, for one, is optimistic his program will proceed as planned with arriving in Belfast, Ireland, in September.

“While I am there, I hope to increase my knowledge in STEM, specifically chemistry and computer science, in order to be more experienced for future jobs,” Frazier said. “Not only that, I want to learn a lot more about the culture and everyday life in Northern Ireland. I have not actually traveled abroad before. I feel that it is important for me to return with a better understanding of life outside of America. Since social norms and cultural conflicts will be so different, I want to be able to take in all the new information and apply it to my own life.”

By awarding the funds competitively to students with limited financial means, the program assures that students from traditionally underrepresented groups will participate. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, undergraduate students in good standing at their institutions and federal Pell Grant recipients.

“As an African-American individual, I feel that having the opportunity to travel abroad is not a common occurrence,” Frazier said. “It is only through scholarships such as the Gilman scholarship that I am able to accept the opportunity to study abroad. That is why I am incredibly grateful to be offered this opportunity and I want to make sure I make the most of my experience.”

Scholarship Helps New K Alumnus Hone Chinese Skills

Students Build Chinese Skills in Study Abroad
Daniel Mota-Villegas ’21 (back row left) was studying abroad in Beijing in January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to return early. Now, though, Mota-Villegas is enhancing his language skills in Chinese through a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) through the U.S. Department of State.

A Kalamazoo College representative is enhancing his skills in Chinese this summer through a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).

Daniel Mota-Villegas ’21 is among about 700 scholars currently in the CLS program, which actively recruits in regions that have been historically under-represented in international education. The opportunity enables those chosen to gain critical language and cultural skills in areas vital to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

Since 2006, CLS has awarded scholarships to more than 8,000 students while building respect and positive relations between Americans and citizens of other countries. CLS normally sends scholars to countries where they fully immerse themselves in the language of their choice, but the lingering effects of COVID-19 are requiring about 30 hours a week of virtual learning and cultural activities instead.

Nonetheless, “it’s been a very rewarding experience and it’s everything that I imagined it would be,” Mota-Villegas said. “It’s an intensive Chinese program that pushes me to expand on what I already know about Chinese language and culture. We learn upwards of 70 characters each day.”

Mota-Villegas spoke Spanish in his home life growing up and never considered learning another language—and taking those opportunities to see the world—until he attended K. At that time, he enrolled in his first Mandarin Chinese class and developed a fascination with China, its society and its values. In his sophomore year, he learned about China’s complex relationship with Taiwan, fueling his desire to study abroad and gain a deeper understanding of international relations.

In his study abroad experience, Mota-Villegas was among four K students in China in January 2020 when the pandemic began spreading, forcing students to return home early. However, he hopes to return to East Asia for an international master’s program in Asia Pacific studies at National ChengChi University in Taipei, Taiwan this fall while examining the complex relationships between China, Japan and Taiwan.

“The opportunities to continue practicing Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan will be abundant,” he said of his upcoming master’s experience. “I will not have to be sitting in a classroom to study because I’ll be outside, engaging with people in the community who have firsthand experience dealing with mainland China and Japan.”

Mota-Villegas wants his experiences at K, with CLS and in his master’s program to provide a springboard to a career in the foreign service, where he would promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.

“I’d be open to traveling anywhere,” he said. “I love learning about languages and culture. My dream job would be to work in mainland China, Taiwan or anywhere else in East Asia. I’m fascinated with East Asia, with all its history and culture, and CLS is giving me more experience with all of them.”

Eight New Heyl Scholars to Attend K This Fall

Heyl Scholar Elizabeth 'Ellie' Grooten
Elizabeth ‘Ellie’ Grooten

Heyl Scholar Anna Buck
Anna Buck

Heyl Scholar Ava Apolo_
Ava Apolo

Eight Kalamazoo County high school students seeking to major in STEM-related fields have earned Heyl Scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Heyl Scholarship Fund, marking its 50th anniversary, was established in 1971 through the will of Dr. Frederick Heyl and Mrs. Elsie Heyl.

Maggie Lekan_
Maggie Lekan

Cole Koryto
Cole Koryto

Alex Kish
Alex Kish

Frederick Heyl was the first director of research at the Upjohn Company and he taught at Kalamazoo College. The scholarships are renewable for four years and cover tuition, fees, college housing and a book allowance.

This year’s recipients of the scholarships, their high schools and their chosen majors or professional goals are:

Laurel Wolfe
Laurel Wolfe

Emerson Wesselhoff
Emerson Wesselhoff

  • Ava Apolo, Loy Norrix High School and Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC), biology.
  • Anna Buck, Loy Norrix High School and KAMSC, mathematics.
  • Elizabeth “Ellie” Grooten, Kalamazoo Central and KAMSC, biology.
  • Alex Kish, Comstock and KAMSC, mechanical engineering.
  • Cole Koryto, Portage Central and KAMSC, computer science and business.
  • Maggie Lekan, Kalamazoo Central, biology or chemistry.
  • Emerson Wesselhoff, Loy Norrix and KAMSC, biology with an environmental science concentration.
  • Laurel Wolfe, Loy Norrix, biology.

Emeriti Trustees Establish New Scholarship with $5 Million Gift

Brown Scholarship Endowment
A $5 million commitment to Kalamazoo College from emeriti trustees Rosemary and John Brown will create an endowed scholarship fund that will help students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

A generous $5 million commitment to Kalamazoo College from emeriti trustees Rosemary and John Brown will create an endowed scholarship fund to help provide access to talented students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Browns are active philanthropists, particularly as strong supporters of higher education.

The Rosemary K. and John W. Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund will further the College’s strategic plan by assisting future students in achieving their goals through a K education. The Browns have donated to higher-education institutions through scholarships, faculty-chair funding, capital projects and programs within engineering, sciences and mathematics, the performing arts and veterinary medicine including many gifts to K over the years; in particular, they made two large gifts to establish the Rosemary K. Brown Endowed Professorship in Mathematics and Computer Science, showing their generosity to the College. Such efforts nurture future breakthroughs, progress and leadership. One of their favorite quotes is by Nelson Henderson: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

“We are profoundly grateful to the Browns for their remarkable gift, which opens the doors of our unique institution to students who otherwise might not have this opportunity,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said. “A K education is truly life-changing for our students, and we are honored that the Browns have chosen to invest in our mission and our students through both their past service as trustees and their financial support of the College.”

Rosemary Brown is a lifelong educator who shared her passion for math with students in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and several schools in Kalamazoo. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Auburn University and her master’s degree in mathematics education from Rutgers University. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Freed-Hardeman University, an honorary doctor of science degree from Auburn University, and was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Auburn’s College of Science and Math. Rosemary is an emerita trustee of the College, having served on the board from 1998 to 2009. She was also a member of the Kalamazoo College Women’s Council.

John Brown is former chairman, president and CEO of Stryker Corporation. He was named Chairman Emeritus of Stryker in 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Auburn University, an honorary doctor of humane letters from Kalamazoo College, an honorary doctor of laws degree from Freed-Hardeman University, and an honorary doctorate in science from Auburn University. John is an emeritus trustee of the College, having served on the board from 1980 to 1995.

Reflecting on their gift, the Browns shared, “Our involvement with Kalamazoo College dates back to the late ’70s when we moved to Michigan.  It has been a rewarding experience: getting to know the administrators, the faculty, the students, attending the Boys’ tennis tournaments, the concerts, the Kitchen lectures…we are happy to play a role in helping students have the opportunity to become part of the K family.”

Barclay Endowed Scholarship Honors Retired Professor

David Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History
Professor Emeritus David Barclay, who served Kalamazoo College for 43 years, devoted his professional life to teaching, researching, and writing on European history. Alumni, current and retired faculty and staff, and friends of the College are honoring Barclay and his time at the College by establishing the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History.

Alumni, current and retired faculty and staff, and friends of the College have established the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History to honor Professor Barclay and his 43 years at the College. Professors Emeriti David Strauss and John Wickstrom were the driving forces behind the fundraising initiative to create this scholarship.

“News of the new scholarship has humbled me more than I can possibly express,” said Barclay, who retired from K as the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies. “I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to so many of you who have contributed to it, and especially to my dear friends and colleagues, David Strauss and John Wickstrom. “They — along with the late Edward Moritz — played central roles in developing K’s history curriculum, and were a daily inspiration to me as teachers, scholars, and human beings.”

Strauss and Wickstrom described the purpose of the scholarship as supporting K students who demonstrate exemplary capacity for and commitment to scholarly work in the history department. Their motivation for creating the Barclay Endowed Scholarship was to both signal K’s tradition of excellence in history by undergraduates—past, present and future—and also honor Barclay’s extraordinary career in an appropriate fashion.

Barclay devoted his professional life to teaching, researching, and writing on European history. As a scholar, he achieved national and international distinction for his work in modern German history. He shared his achievements in those fields with several generations of students while working tirelessly to expand the influence of the discipline of History at K.

Collaborating with colleagues at the College, Barclay wrote a successful proposal for the Center for Western European Studies, a Title VI Undergraduate Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The award establishing the program was the only one made to a liberal arts college and was competitively renewed every three years for 15 years. Barclay also joined students on study abroad and served as a mentor, adviser and friend to countless alumni.

Barclay received the Weimer K. Hicks Award in 2018, which honors a current or retired K employee who has provided long-term support to College programs or activities beyond the call of duty.

To celebrate the establishment of this endowed scholarship in his name, Professor Barclay will be giving a virtual K-Talk on Tuesday, April 20, at 5 p.m. The K-Talk, “Germany’s American Outpost,” will explore the relationship between Berlin and the United States during the Cold War.

If you would like to support K history students and give in honor of Professor Barclay, please make a gift online to the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History or contact Andy Miller, Executive Director of Development, at 269.337.7327 or Andy.Miller@kzoo.edu.

Six Earn Heyl Scholarships

Heyl Recipient Madeleine Coffman
Madeleine Coffman

Heyl Recipient Lukas Bolton
Lukas Bolton

Heyl Scholar Jordyn Wilson
Jordyn Wilson

Six students from Kalamazoo County high schools received Heyl Scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2020-21 school year. Pursuant to scholarship criteria, all will major in STEM-related fields.

Since 1971, the Heyl Scholarship Fund has been available to remarkable Kalamazoo-area math and science students, and was established through the will of Dr. Frederick Heyl and Mrs. Elsie Heyl.

Heyl Recipient Emily Haigh
Emily Haigh

Heyl Recipient Bijou Hoehle
Bijou Hoehle

Heyl Recipient Xavier Silva
Xavier Silva

Frederick Heyl was the first director of research at the Upjohn Company and also taught at Kalamazoo College. The scholarships are renewable for four years and cover tuition, fees, college housing and a book allowance.

Recipients of the Heyl Scholarships include: Lukas Bolton, Kalamazoo Central; Madeleine Coffman, Hackett Catholic Prep / Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (KAMSC); Emily Haigh, Portage Central / KAMSC; Bijou Hoehle, Kalamazoo Central; Xavier Silva, Portage Northern / KAMSC; and Jordyn Wilson, Parchment / KAMSC.

K Senior Receives Venture for America Fellowship

Venture for America Fellow 1
Rosella LoChirco ’20 walks through El Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain, where she studied abroad. LoChirco has earned a Venture for America Fellowship.

In a few short months, K senior Rosella LoChirco will begin a two-year commitment as a Venture for America Fellow. The prestigious fellowship prepares recent college graduates for careers as entrepreneurs, and fellows are placed in ambitious start-up businesses across the U.S. In April, Rosella will be matched with companies that are a good fit for her interdisciplinary skills, and she’s excited to begin the process of picking her fellowship site.

Rosella began her K experience like many other students: excited and more than a little nervous for what the future might bring. As the first student in her family to attend college, Rosella said, “It was so terrifying to sit in my first class — I didn’t know if I would fit in.”

Rosella found her way. Participation on the women’s soccer team benefited her with teammates and a coach, Bryan Goyings, who she said “really believed in me, and really supported me no matter what.” Early in her first year, Rosella developed a mentorship with Professor Chris Latiolais, who supported her philosophy major without reservation. “Every day that I come to class, he tells me about a new career that I could do,” Rosella said.

Venture for America Fellow 2
Rosella LoChirco ’20 (center) poses with mentors Allyson McLean ’05 (right) and Brennan Smith during LoChirco’s Quicken Loans internship.

When it was time to select a research subject for her Senior Individualized Project, Rosella was cautious once more, yet she let her instincts guide her. “I loved this one anthropology and sociology professor, Professor Katerina Stefatos. I knew I wanted to work with her. We had so many meetings and calls to figure out my topic!” Rosella said.

Simultaneously, Rosella was completing a summer internship at Quicken Loans and the FIFA Women’s World Cup was making headlines. To the student-athlete, it seemed like fate: “I put together a pitch for Quicken Loans about why they should invest in the women’s soccer team,” Rosella said. “I started digging into the question of why women’s sports are not societally valued as much as men’s sports. That became a perfect jumping-off point for my SIP, and all the theories involved from my philosophy background helped.”

The Quicken Loans team saw Rosella’s potential; several colleagues, including a K alum, were well-connected to Venture for America. “They said, ‘if you’re up for learning things and a team environment, you should make this two-year commitment,’” Rosella remembered. “They really encouraged me to do it, because I had never heard anything about it.”

Once she learned more, Rosella knew she had to apply. “I’m a liberal arts student who didn’t study anything too technical, so I loved the idea that an organization was really valuing someone like me to make an impact in a start-up from day one.” Now, when Rosella looks to the future and her two-year fellowship, she is confident. “I see a lot of connections between K and Venture for America,” she explained. “I’m going to a small team, working closely together, and that’s very close to the K experience. I found my way at K, and I’ll bring my same energy to this commitment. I know that I have the skills and tenacity to figure it out.”