Kalamazoo College Trustees Elect New Board Chair

Board Chair Charlotte H. Hall '66 Mumma8753R (002)
Kalamazoo College Board Chair Charlotte Hall ’66
cMUMMA New Board Chair Si Johnson 78 hi Alt 5x7 0043
Si Johnson ’78 will begin serving as Kalamazoo College Board Chair beginning July 1, 2019.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. The Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Si Johnson ’78 to become chair of the Board effective July 1, 2019.

A retired Stryker executive, Johnson follows Charlotte Hall ’66 as chairperson. Johnson has served on Kalamazoo College’s Board of Trustees since 1996, and has been vice chair since 2010. Johnson says the Board’s terrific chemistry and passion for K places it in a strong position to execute the College’s new strategic plan.

“Si cares deeply about K,” said President Jorge G. Gonzalez. “His involvement with the College during the past three decades and his experience as a trustee are a tremendous asset to K. This decision continues Charlotte’s legacy of strong leadership, and provides the entire Board great momentum moving forward.”

A long-time leader in United States journalism, Hall has served on K’s Board of Trustees since 1999 and as its chair since 2012. During Hall’s tenure as Board chair, the College has increased its student population and become a more diverse and inclusive community. She was chair of the Board at the conclusion of the College’s most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in its history, and she participated in the selection of K’s two most recent presidents, Gonzalez (2016-present) and Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran (2005-2016). She will stand for re-election for another three-year Board term in June.

“Charlotte’s counsel in the first years of my presidency at K has been invaluable. I am deeply grateful for her support and encouragement,” said Gonzalez.

Recent-Graduate Trustees Ensure Board’s Decisions Empower Students

An idea from the Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees is ensuring that K’s students will continue to thrive in the K-Plan. The board has decided that three of its members, elected to three-year terms, will serve as recent-graduate trustees. The advantage is that trustees with better knowledge of how current students navigate their educations and experiences will help the board make more informed decisions in guiding the College.

Mark Ghafari among recent-graduate trustees
Mark Ghafari ’14 serves as one of three recent-graduate trustees on the Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees.

As the board convenes this month, the recent-graduate trustees are:

Ghafari is beginning his first year on the board, Morales is in her second year and Howlett is in his third.

In his years as a student, Ghafari majored in economics, played men’s basketball, studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, with travels through Belgium and the Netherlands, and learned about internships while working in the Center for Career and Professional Development.

Asia Liza Morales is among the recent-graduate trustees
Asia Liza Morales ’15 serves as one of three recent-graduate trustees on the Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees.

“It’s an unbelievable honor to provide the board with the perspective of a recent graduate,” Ghafari said. “I applaud the College for having this role, and it’s a great opportunity to advance the mission of the College. It’s an exciting time with President Gonzalez and a new strategic plan. It’s exciting to be able to help.”

The board is comprised of 33 trustees including Gonzalez. Its members reflect major sectors of society and represent nationwide locales as well as the Kalamazoo community and College alumni. All are tasked with serving current and future students by assuring K’s continued place among the top private liberal arts colleges in the country.

Morales says to those current and future students, “There are so many experiences to be had at K that don’t happen at other colleges. This place fosters an experience unlike any other. It can be anything and everything you want it to be. Once I got in the workplace, I knew how far ahead I was because of Kalamazoo College.”

Jerrod Howlett among recent-graduate trustees
Jerrod Howlett ’09 serves as one of three recent-graduate trustees on the Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees.

Morales was a Posse scholar on campus, majored in biology, minored in anthropology and sociology, served as a president’s student ambassador, and spent a semester abroad in Cáceres, Spain.

Howlett as a student sought outside-the-classroom activities such as intercollegiate athletics including tennis; arts experiences such as Premium Orange, an a capella group; and a summer internship through Compuware, a software company. He also wanted the personal access to faculty that K provided.

“The relationships I built with my professors and the level of care they took to invest in me were the pinnacle experience of attending Kalamazoo College,” Howlett said. The faculty “always ensured they could take time out of their day so we could learn more. I know I could always go to them to ask questions.

“I have no idea if I’d be in the same place without K. I know it helped me get here.”

Trustee to be Tapped as Peace Corps Chief

Kalamazoo College Trustee Josephine “Jody” K. Olsen will be nominated to head the Peace Corps, the agency has announced.

Peace Corps Chief Nominee Josephine Olsen
Photo provided by University of Maryland, Baltimore – Peace Corps chief nominee Josephine Olsen is a Kalamazoo College trustee.

A K trustee since 2010, Olsen previously has served as acting director of the Peace Corps and was the agency’s deputy director for seven years. She is currently a visiting professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. Her pending nomination by President Donald Trump is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Kalamazoo College has a long relationship with the Peace Corps, ranking 13th among small schools on the agency’s 2017 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities, and hundreds of the College’s alumni have served as volunteers since the Peace Corps was established in 1961.

As part of the confirmation process, Olsen will resign as a trustee. College President Jorge G. Gonzalez praised her service.

“Jody has been a great asset to our board and I am certain she will provide distinguished leadership for this crucial organization at a time when its work is more important than ever,” he said. “The Peace Corps has provided many Kalamazoo College graduates opportunities to make the world a better place while also helping them as they launch internationally focused careers.”

Olsen herself was a Peace Corps volunteer, serving in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968 after her graduation from the University of Utah, where she received a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She also holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

In addition to serving as acting director and deputy director of the Peace Corps, Olsen has been the agency’s chief of staff and regional director for North Africa, the Near East, Asia and the Pacific. She has also directed scholarly and international education organizations and is currently head of the University of the University of Maryland, Baltimore center for Global Education Initiatives, which provides experiential learning opportunities with international health organizations.


David R. Markin (1931-2013)

David MarkinThe K community is saddened to learn of the death of David Markin, a longtime friend of the College. David was an influential businessman, serving as president and CEO of Checkers Motors in Kalamazoo—maker of the iconic Checker cab—for almost four decades. He was also an avid art patron and collector, a tennis enthusiast extraordinaire, and a philanthropist whose generosity benefited Kalamazoo College and many other institutions and organizations in Kalamazoo and elsewhere.

In the world of tennis, David served as president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), 1989-90. He also chaired the U.S. Open committee that planned and executed the revitalization of the National Tennis Center in New York City in the mid 1990s, including the construction of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the centerpiece of the U.S Open and one of the finest sports facilities in the world. He also served as Chairman of the Davis Cup Committee, the Junior Tennis Council, and was, for many years, the official referee of the USTA Boys′ 18 & 16 National Championships held annually at Stowe Stadium on the K campus. He was awarded the Samuel Hardy Award for long and outstanding service to the sport in 1991, and in 2010, was presented a USTA Volunteer Service Award for 40 years of devotion to tennis.

David was a trustee emeritus of Kalamazoo College, having served on its board of trustees from 1973-91. He received K’s Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and was a longtime K benefactor. Examples of his generosity include the Thomas Markin Memorial Scholarship that benefits worthy students and the Thomas Markin Racquet Center (K’s indoor tennis and racquet sports facility), both named after a son who died young. The Markin Center was opened in 1985 and has hosted many high school and college tennis tournaments, including the recent NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division III National Championships. David was a fan of the Hornet tennis program for many years, supporting the efforts of Athletic Director Rolla Anderson and Men’s Tennis coaches George Acker, Timon Corwin ’86, and Mark Riley ’82.

“You can’t talk about the USTA boys tournament in Kalamazoo, the Arthur Ashe tennis stadium in New York City, or the tennis program at Kalamazoo College without talking about David Markin,” said Riley. “David was long treasured and he will be long missed.”

David Markin died Thursday near his Florida home after a brief illness at age 82. The College extends its condolences to his extended family and many friends. Information on funeral arrangements and memorials will be shared when available.


K Trustee Ronda Stryker Receives YWCA Lifetime Award

Ronda Stryker
Ronda Stryker

Kalamazoo College Trustee and Kalamazoo-area philanthropist Ronda Stryker will receive the 2013 YWCA Lifetime Woman of Achievement Award at an award celebration May 21 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

The YWCA Award is given to an area person who has demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the community, state or nation, and has a record of accomplishment, leadership and positive role modeling as a volunteer and/or in a career.

Stryker has volunteered in various capacities with numerous organizations including Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Women’s Education Coalition Fund, Pathfinder International, Girl Scouts, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, United Way, Communities in Schools, Spelman College, University of Northern Colorado, Western Michigan University, Lakeside for Children, Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home Foundation, and YWCA of Kalamazoo.

She has served as a Kalamazoo College trustee for more than 20 years. In 2001, she helped establish the College’s Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service-Learning, named for her grandmother. Through the Institute, K students contribute more than 30,000 hours of community service-learning and civic engagement each year.

Read more about Ronda Stryker and the YWCA award in a recent Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive article.

Kalamazoo College Will Soon Have First Female Board Chair

Charlotte Hall shaking hands with Don Parfet
Charlotte Hall ′66 will take the gavel at the June 2013 meeting of the K board of trustees from current Board Chair Don Parfet. Hall becomes the College′s first female board chair in its 180-year history.

Charlotte Hall ′66 is slated to become the first woman to lead the Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees in the 180-year history of the College.
A K trustee since 1999, Hall will take over from current Board Chair Don Parfet, at the June board meeting. Parfet has been chair since 1999 and will remain on the board. He served a prior term as chair between 1988 and 1993.
Hall is a retired journalist who spent 40 years at newspapers in New Jersey, Boston, and Washington before landing at the award-winning Newsday in New York, where she served for 22 years. In 2004, she moved to the Orlando Sentinel in Florida, from which she retired in 2010 as editor and senior vice president.
Thank you, Don. Congrats, Charlotte.
Read more in the Spring 2013 issue of LuxEsto, the K magazine.