LuxEsto - The Digital Magazine of Kalamazoo College

life with K

Life with K

Charles Bullwinkle Hamilton ’71 with Weaver
Charles Bullwinkle Hamilton ’71 with former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

Charles Bullwinkle Hamilton ’71 took every opportunity to make the most of his four years at K. He wrote for The Index, played soccer and did an internship in Washington D.C. as a legislative clerk in the Library of Congress. To earn money, he worked in the cafeteria. He met and married his first spouse at K, living as seniors in the College’s married housing. 

Between D.C. and his study abroad at the University of Bonn, Hamilton took a purposeful detour: he enrolled for a semester at Howard University. Growing up mostly in Flint, Michigan, he had become engaged in the Civil Rights movement, joining the Flint Urban League Youth Commission at age 16. He was influenced by both the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Russell Palmer at Flint’s Disciples of Christ Church. These experiences and his friendships with Black students in Flint and at K inspired him to take a deeper dive into African American history and literature. Immersion in these subjects at Howard with Black instructors, and living on campus with Black classmates, added another meaningful layer to his “More in Four” experiences. 

After graduating from K in 1971, Hamilton earned his master’s degree at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. While at Pitt, he worked as a school community agent for the public schools during a major voluntary desegregation effort. He moved to Boston in 1974 and worked in the City’s Youth Activities Commission, Office of Management and Budget, and the Mayor’s Office. In both cities, he worked closely with Black leaders and colleagues who had a lasting influence on his life.

Hamilton moved to California in 1981 and spent the next 37 years working in water utility management. In 2018, he was invited by the Flint Urban League to speak at its annual Black Scholars event, where he talked about his experience joining the Urban League Youth Commission in 1965 and what it meant to him. He says, “I returned to Flint a year later and visited with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of What the Eyes Don’t See, about her role as a pediatrician during the water crisis. I left Flint wondering what I might do to make a difference, to be something much more than just an observer.”

Soon after, Hamilton decided to establish an endowed scholarship fund for Black students accepted to K, preferably from the Flint area, made through annual gifts to the college that will ultimately be funded through his estate. Hamilton is a Stetson Society member, gives to the Kalamazoo College Fund, and has supported athletics, specifically the men’s soccer program. Of his giving to the College, Hamilton says, “Partnering with K, and planting seeds for those who might not otherwise have the means to come to this amazing college, is now an important step for me, in who I am becoming as a person. In 1971, K was for me ‘More in Four,’ and it has been and is now especially for me, ‘More in a Lifetime.’”End of story

Visit kzoo.edu/brighterlight to learn how you can provide brighter opportunities to Kalamazoo College students through the Kalamazoo College Fund and endowed scholarships.

Engaged alumni help move Kalamazoo College to higher levels of excellence. You can advance K’s mission and help build its reputation as one of the country’s exceptional liberal arts colleges.

1. Identify and recruit prospective students.

2. Develop students through mentoring and career preparedness opportunities.

3. Participate in alumni lifelong learning opportunities.

4. Serve as a volunteer. 

5. Make a charitable contribution. 

For more information visit: kzoo.edu/alumni/get-engaged/

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