Change Ringing Award Honors K Alumnus, Student

One Kalamazoo College alumnus and one student have ensured K’s reputation as a home for change ringing will continue by earning a national award named after a former K professor.

Change Ringing Award Recipient Ian McKnight
Ian McKnight ’19 is one of two with Kalamazoo College ties to receive the first Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award.

Ian McKnight ’19 and Sam Ratliff ’21 are among ringers from towers in Kalamazoo; Kent, Connecticut; Shreveport, Louisiana; Northampton, Massachusetts; Marietta, Georgia; and Sewanee, Tennessee, to earn the first Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award from the North American Guild of Change Ringers. The award recognizes bell-ringing achievement and a commitment to local change ringing communities.

Change Ringing Award Recipient Sam Ratliff
Sam Ratliff is studying mathematics and computer science on study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland, this fall and rings regularly with the band at St. Machar’s Church there.

The award is named after the late Jeff Smith, a longtime and beloved professor at Kalamazoo College. In addition to teaching mathematics, Smith taught hundreds of students to ring changes and inspired the College to install change ringing bells at Stetson Chapel on campus.

Change ringing developed in England and is traditionally heard after royal weddings as well as before and after most English church services. It requires a group of ringers working in tight coordination to ring the bells in changing permutations. Because each tower bell takes more than a second to complete its full 360-degree rotation, the bells can’t ring traditional music or melodies. That constraint led to an intricate system of generating unique permutations known as change ringing.

In addition to strengthening the abilities of the Kalamazoo band of change ringers, McKnight and Ratliff have both rung quarter peals. A quarter peal contains a series of at least 1,250 permutations rung in rapid succession according to rules that ensure no permutations are repeated. A quarter peal takes about 45 minutes of concentration and cooperation among the band of ringers, creating beautiful sounds.

McKnight graduated with a degree in political science in June after earning a senior leadership award. He once wrote about his experience with change ringing in K’s student blog. He now works for State Rep. Darrin Camilleri in Detroit.

“It’s a real honor to receive an award named for Jeff Smith, without whom I would probably never have discovered ringing,” McKnight said. “I first went to the tower after hearing the bells that he brought to Kalamazoo College and was hooked after just one practice. For four years since, ringing has been a great joy and a source for friends on both sides of the Atlantic. I know that will continue to be the case for many years to come.”

Ratliff is studying mathematics and computer science on study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland, this fall and rings regularly with the band at St. Machar’s Church there.

“I heard that ringing was a cooperative musical, physical and mental exercise, all of which interested me, so I dropped into the tower the first week of my first year at K,” Ratliff said. “The algorithmic methods that we use to make music held my attention and I’ve been ringing ever since.”

The Kalamazoo College ringers welcome visitors and would be pleased to show anyone how the bells are rung. The ringers can be contacted at

Luce Fellowship Fuels K Student’s Health-Career Goals

Luce Fellowship Recipient Anthony Diep Rosas
Anthony Diep Rosas ’19 is Kalamazoo College’s first Luce Fellowship recipient.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Bensel.

Anthony Diep Rosas ’19 has accomplished an impressive first for a Kalamazoo College student, earning a prestigious Luce Fellowship that will enable him to live and work in Asia, furthering personal and professional aspirations to improve public health.

Launched by the Henry Luce Foundation, the nationally competitive Luce Scholars Program offers funds, language education and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15 to 18 scholars each year. The program is designed to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society.

This year, Diep Rosas was one of 18 students chosen from 162 applicants. The program attracts applications from college seniors, graduate students and young professionals in many fields who have had limited exposure to Asia. Diep Rosas will hear official word of where he will go as a Luce Scholar in the next couple of months and then spend a year abroad after an eight-day orientation in New York City, which is scheduled after graduation in June.

“For me, there’s beauty in not knowing what to expect,” Diep Rosas said of the uncertainty regarding his destination. “Coming from Los Angeles, especially Compton, to a place like Kalamazoo—it was such a huge shift. K taught me how to be uncomfortable and learn what it means to connect with a different environment. As a result, I appreciate and value difference as a way to catalyze change.”

The change Diep Rosas seeks involves better health outcomes for underserved communities in the U.S., especially communities of color. During his time abroad, he plans to explore how his assigned community in Asia engages its people in developing policies that serve their local needs, an experience he expects will strengthen his efforts at home. After his Luce year, he plans to study medicine and public policy in graduate school. There he hopes to holistically address health disparities by working with patients and community members to tackle the underlying systemic issues that contribute to patient health through equitable policy change.

As a Luce scholar, “I will be able to learn what it means to listen to folks in the community,” said Diep Rosas, a biology major with a concentration in community and global health. “This will teach me to know what it means to build connections. That’s special about Luce. It will do an amazing job helping me learn what it means to champion vulnerability and listen.”

Diep Rosas first came to K as a Posse Scholar, one of 10 students to attend that year from Los Angeles through the Posse Foundation, which provides scholarships and support to outstanding student leaders from diverse backgrounds. Upon learning about Kalamazoo College as a Posse nominee, Diep Rosas was enamored with its name and intrigued by its small-school environment that nurtures community and offers study abroad opportunities.

In his time at K, Diep Rosas has amassed an impressive resume. Among his accomplishments, he works as an administrative assistant with Director of Faculty Grants and Institutional Research Anne Dueweke, Assistant Professor of Sociology Francisco Villegas and Director of Intercultural Student Life Natalia Carvalho-Pinto on beginning qualitative research regarding the racial climate on campus. He received the U.S. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Costa Rica. In the Kalamazoo community, he worked with Cradle Kalamazoo and Eliminating Racism and Creating/Celebrating Equity (ERACCE) to reduce Black infant mortality and promote respect for families, women and their children. Diep Rosas was one of the first research fellows at the Arcus Center for Social Justice and he co-founded the Minority Association for Pre-Health Students for students of color with pre-health majors. He served English Professor Bruce Mills as a teaching assistant and Residential Life as a resident assistant. He was also awarded the Jon L. Stryker Future Leaders scholarship, and was recently recognized at the annual Senior Leadership Recognition Awards.

Diep Rosas credits people and resources including Dueweke, his recommenders and mentors, the Intercultural Center, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, and the Center for International Programs for their work in helping him receive these opportunities, the Luce Fellowship in particular. These opportunities have “inspired me to have a vision for K after I graduate,” Diep Rosas said. “I think about my own story and where I would be had I not gone to K, because K has provided me with the support and resources I’ve needed. I would love to support others, and I would encourage them to reach out to me and [Dueweke] about the Luce Fellowship program especially, because I think it speaks loudly to how K nurtures a student’s education.”

Forbes Honors K Alumnus Rothstein in 30 Under 30

Kalamazoo College alumnus Peter Rothstein ’14 is celebrating his selection in the 2019 edition of 30 Under 30, Forbes’ annual list of 600 young visionaries from 20 industries.

Rothstein, originally from West Bloomfield, Michigan, is the director of operations for Brooklyn, New York-based Dona Chai. He and his sister, Amy, founded the company, crafting tea concentrates and sodas brewed with spices from around the world. Its products are available at independent coffee shops and Whole Foods stores, mostly on the East and West Coast.

Peter Rothstein, a 30 Under 30 honoree, in a black t-shirt and blue jeans
Peter Rothstein ’14 and his sister, Amy, were included in the 2019 edition of 30 Under 30, Forbes’ annual list of 600 young visionaries from 20 industries. The pair founded the company Dona Chai.

Tea leaves couldn’t have predicted a coffee-shop-inspired success for Rothstein after he graduated from K with a business degree. Rothstein admitted he doesn’t care for coffee and the last time he had any was years ago.

“And that was when I tried a decaf cappuccino with sugar packets and more sugar packets,” he said. However, in 2014, “Amy was attending New York University when she noticed a trend toward better coffee. People wanted higher quality and better baked goods, but people were still using big brand names.”

Armed with ideas and some encouragement from their dad, who is a venture capitalist, the pair created Dona Chai. Today, the company’s masala chai and turmeric tea concentrates are mixed with milk and served hot. Its soda flavors include Juniper Lime Spice, Turmeric Honeybush and Pink Peppercorn.

“There was a lot of learning and trial and error for us at first,” Rothstein said. “It took about two years for us to realize we would be successful.”

At that point, Dona Chai products started getting sold at Whole Foods locations, and the company eclipsed $600,000 in revenue after developing trade-show popularity.

“Even then it still took a couple of months,” Rothstein said, adding that selling a new tea in a retail location requires customers to change something about their morning routine for the product to draw demand. “It took working with customers and baristas. But after that, we saw inventory turn rapidly, and we realized we would be successful.”

When Rothstein reflects on his success, he credits K, the liberal arts and the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College’s distinctive approach to the liberal arts and sciences, for teaching him to think differently and solve problems. Rothstein added a corporate finance course, led by Associate Professor of Economics and Business Tim Moffit ’80, was among his favorites at K.

Although he had first attended Johns Hopkins, Rothstein quickly learned he wanted a different experience, and meeting Kalamazoo College men’s tennis coach Mark Riley convinced him to switch schools.

Riley is “the type of guy who can put his arm around you and nurture you, or he can push you beyond what you think you can do,” said Rothstein, who competed in tennis and studied abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland, in his years at K. “Once I got to K I realized it had a lot of Mark Rileys. That included everyone from my professors to the general staff, to the trainers, to the Registrar’s Office and others. I can’t thank Kalamazoo College enough.”

Read more about Rothstein, his sister, Dona Chai and others honored in the 30 Under 30 Food and Drink category at Forbes’ website.

New Study Abroad Programs Will Connect Students, Interests

Students will learn about social, racial and economic issues in five new study abroad programs coming to Kalamazoo College in the 2019-20 academic year.

Center for International Programs Executive Director Margaret Wiedenhoeft said the new programs will align with K’s values and offer experiences in:

  • Havana, Cuba. From early September through late November, students will live in a historic Afro-Cuban working-class neighborhood. The program will help students

    New Study Abroad Programs
    Kalamazoo College students will have five new study abroad programs to choose from in the 2019-20 academic year including one in Havana, Cuba. Creative Commons-licensed photo of Plaza Vieja by Brian Snelson (exfordy). Photo available at License:

    understand how the current government and economic systems affect the typical Havana resident.

  • Seoul, South Korea. Students will take courses in English from mid-August to mid-December across disciplines such as computer science, business, economics, East Asian studies and political science, and will have opportunities to learn Korean. The program is ideal for business and economics students who want to experience a large international city. It would also help East Asian studies students, who might have already traveled to China or Japan, develop an understanding of an additional country in Asia.
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil. K students, from early August through early December, will learn in this program about the African roots of Brazilian culture and study the local effects of issues such as poverty and inequality while working with the people affected through local organizations.
  • Cali, Colombia. Offered from July through early December, this program will focus on Afro-Colombian experiences as the city has the second-largest population of people with African descent in South America. Students will study race and ethnicity from an Afro-Columbian perspective.
  • Oaxaca, Mexico. The fall-term experience will be K’s second program in Oaxaca. Students in this program will enroll directly into a local university, live with local families selected by the university’s international student office and take classes with local Oaxacans.

“What students will do in these new programs and who they work with will connect well with who they are,” Wiedenhoeft said. “They will get more agency and choice, yet the programs are structured and tailored to fit into majors and interests at K.”

Most students will participate in the new study abroad programs as juniors. However, Wiedenhoeft added there will be some flexibility in the future to involve sophomores.

“These programs will provide a lens of personal experience very different from what students would receive by learning in a museum, for example,” Wiedenhoeft said, noting alumni will also recognize and appreciate how the programs are structured. “Students will work alongside local organizations and people while maintaining the traditions of study abroad at K.”

These five opportunities will join 45 others in 22 countries accessible to K students. For more information on the CIP or to schedule an appointment to discuss the new study abroad programs or others, call 269.337.7133 or visit the CIP at Dewing Hall.

K Tour Guides Offer 4 Tips for College Visits

Several Kalamazoo College students with local ties are helping prospective students and their families learn about the school, the campus and the city this summer through the Admission Center. Madelyn Betts ’19, Leah Todd ’20 and Faruq Schieber ’20—all of Kalamazoo—are among the campus tour guides, and they say summer is an excellent time to visit.

Leah Todd among tour guides at Hicks Center
Leah Todd ’20 is one of several tour guides serving Kalamazoo College this summer.

“Summer gives you an opportunity to see things when they’re at their best,” on campus and in the City of Kalamazoo, said Schieber, an international area studies major. “Everything is in bloom and it’s quiet without the hustle and bustle on campus.”

As members of the Holistic Inclusive Visitor Experience (HIVE) team, these three also fulfill roles as communicators and hosts to prospective students and their families. Each is an excellent source of information on the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College’s distinctive approach to academics in the liberal arts and sciences, and what you can see and do when you visit. Here are four of their tips for college visits.

Have Questions for Your Tour Guides

Betts, who studies German and business with a concentration in film and media studies, advises prospective students and families to develop a list of important questions to ask when they’re on campus. She said she commonly answers questions ranging from whether first-year students can have cars on campus to inquiries about academic support and leadership opportunities.

“Everyone is here to help you get everything you want out of your visit,” Betts said, adding it’s also a good idea to ask about activities on campus.

Madelyn Betts Works as one of several Tour Guides
Madelyn Betts ’19 is a member of the Holistic Inclusive Visitor Experience (HIVE) team. Her duties include serving as one of several tour guides on campus this summer.

“There’s so much going on each term you don’t hear about ahead of time, you’ll think, ‘If I only had more time,’ ” said Betts, who is the president of K’s student Swing Dance Club and Film Club, and a member of Cirque du K, a student circus troupe.

The practice of asking questions will also benefit students when they’re attending K. Todd, for example, said when she needed advice about a class, several people responded to a single email, including volleyball Head Coach Jeanne Hess, even though Todd no longer plays volleyball.

“A teacher, a dean, my study abroad adviser and my academic adviser all responded about this one class, even Coach (Hess),” Todd said. “She’s always reaching out, trying to make sure there’s a connection. We have nice people here. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world.”

Reach Out

Schieber said it can be intimidating for high school students to plan campus visits, especially if they’re uncertain about what college they want to attend. The solution for easing that intimidation is to connect with Admission in advance.

“Make a phone call to us before you come and point out your interests to us,” he said. “You can even request an interview with an admission counselor. That call can help us as guides and counselors get more of an idea of what you would like access to so we can show you a good fit.”

Faruq Schieber among Tour Guides
Faruq Schieber ’20 is among the Kalamazoo College tour guides who suggests visiting the College and the city over the summer.

As a prospective student a few years ago, Schieber said that fit involved study abroad opportunities and the easy access to professors he wouldn’t have gotten at a larger school.

“This is an environment where professors care about your success—you matter,” said Schieber, who will study abroad in Ecuador this fall.

Prepare for the Weather

Regardless of the season in which you visit, it’s a good idea to prepare for the weather. Check the forecast for Kalamazoo in advance and dress appropriately for being outside, Todd said. Also, notify Admission if you’re running late for your tour. Calling ahead ensures tour guides are at your service when you arrive.

Picture it

Betts advises that students take pictures of the campuses they visit, especially when they visit schools far from home, to ensure they remember which is which.

“I heard a horror story once about a student who visited a campus and loved it,” Betts said. “She applied to what she thought was that college, was accepted and registered for classes, only to find when she arrived on campus she had applied to the wrong college.”

Our virtual tour, equipped with pictures and video, offers a preview of our campus, although we recommend seeing it yourself. Learn more about your options for visiting, plan your individual visit or contact Admissions today at 269-337-7166.

K Named a Best Buy in Fiske Guide to Colleges

Kalamazoo College is among 20 colleges and universities nationwide to be named a Best Buy School in the just-published 2019 edition of the highly respected Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Logo says 2019 Best Buy School Fiske Guide to Colleges
Kalamazoo College is among 20 colleges and universities nationwide to be named a Best Buy School in the just-published 2019 edition of the highly respected Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Fiske says it based the ratings on “outstanding educational value as determined by academic quality in relation to the net cost of attendance.” The guide says of Kalamazoo College: “Ninety-eight percent of students at this globally oriented liberal arts school receive financial aid and 70 percent study abroad for the same price that they pay for regular tuition.”

Eric Staab, K’s dean of admission and financial aid, says Fiske’s recognition comes as no surprise.

“At Kalamazoo College, the flexibility of the K-Plan, our integrated approach to an excellent education in the liberal arts and science, allows us to seek out students with a broad array of interests, achievements and experiences,” Staab says. “We work hard to ensure that cost is not a barrier for students who can contribute their distinctive ideas and talents to, and benefit from, our richly diverse campus and programs.”

Chartered in 1833, Kalamazoo College is among the nation’s 100 oldest colleges and universities. It ranks in the top 2 percent among the nation’s four-year liberal arts colleges for the percentage of graduates who go on to earn doctorate degrees.

K is the only college in the Great Lakes region named to the Best Buy Schools list, which is comprised of 10 public and 10 private universities and colleges.

Established by former New York Times education editor Edward B. Fiske, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has been among the foremost sources of information about higher education quality and affordability for more than 30 years. USA Today has deemed it “the best college guide you can buy.”

For more information about Kalamazoo College, visit