LuxEsto - The Digital Magazine of Kalamazoo College


ZooBits Winter 2024

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Joan M. (Van Deusen) West

Joan M. (Van Deusen) West ’64 received an Athena Lifetime Achievement Award in April 2023. Joan is a professor emerita of foreign languages and literatures at the University of Idaho (UI). In the mid-1980s, Joan was instrumental in involving female faculty and staff in informal meetings to discuss formation of a professional women’s association on campus. These meetings gave birth to Athena. Joan served as the group’s first president. She also was involved in the creation of a women’s studies minor, serving as its first coordinator and contributing courses in international women’s literature and women in cinema. She served on many master’s thesis and faculty committees and was one of three faculty to serve on the UI presidential search committee that hired Elisabeth Zinser, the university’s first female president.

“I graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1969, studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, during my junior year, and recently, for no reason, recalled an experience in Avila,” writes Kenneth H. Quigley ’69. “It was an ordinary day of my sojourn, but remarkable nonetheless. The recollection emerged as a short poem. …. As for what I have been up to during the last 50 years—I edited a weekly newspaper; became director of public information at Findlay College, Findlay, Ohio; then director of public relations at Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio; served as president of a public relations firm before launching my own public relations business; served as president of the Morehouse Publishing Group and then vice president North America for the Continuum International Publishing Group, London; and finished my career as director of endowment management services for the Episcopal Church Foundation in New York City. I credit my broad liberal arts education at Kalamazoo College with contributing to the range of careers I have enjoyed over the years.”

Sadly, Ken died on October 23, 2023, after submitting this note to LuxEsto. His obituary will appear in the Spring 2024 edition.

Ken’s poem follows:

By Kenneth H. Quigley

Thank you El Greco for the churches you blessed with your paintings.
We saw them all, or at least enough for that day.
So we cut class and headed for the hills outside of town.
Truants, for sure, conspiring to claim an afternoon
For wine and cheese and not much else.
We basked in the late fall warmth.
Time stopped for a time and we just, were, together.

Nobody talked.
The sun shone.
We slept.
Life put down roots.
That was 50 years ago.
How busy we have been.

Calvert Johnson

Calvert Johnson ’71 is the 2023 recipient of the Big Canoe President’s Award, presented by the property owner’s association board to honor an exceptional volunteer in the private residential community of Big Canoe, Georgia. Cal took on the role of chair of the advisory board for the Knowledge Series at Big Canoe Chapel in 2013, shepherding this recently rejuvenated organization. His many accomplishments around Big Canoe include serving as the chair of the Community Center Committee and of the association’s Conservation Committee, where he oversaw eight subcommittees. In that role, he co-chaired the Wildlife Subcommittee, which successfully fundraised for a bronze sculpture of a mother bear with three cubs. As the chair of the Board of Directors for the ArtReach Foundation from 2009 to 2011, Cal played a pivotal role in establishing a Middle East Institute in Amman, Jordan. Through this initiative, teachers and caregivers of Iraqi children traumatized by war received training in creative arts therapies. Cal’s contributions to Project America, a program supporting American war veterans and their families through art therapy, further demonstrate his commitment to healing and resilience in the face of adversity. From his work on the Board of Directors for the North Georgia Community Foundation to that as the concert manager and executive director of the Casual Classics Concert Series in Jasper, Georgia, Cal’s contributions have touched numerous causes, disciplines and regions.

Class of 1973 handing a check to President Gonzalez

In honor of their 50th reunion, the Class of 1973 was thrilled to present a check for $309,000 to President Gonzalez for an endowed, need-based scholarship in their class’s name. Pictured from the Class of 1973 are Craig Moore, Judy Gudelsky, Gail Raiman and Dave Fege.

Paul Guenette and family

Paul Guenette ’74 writes: In the summer of 1970, I had graduated high school and was set to attend Kalamazoo College in the fall. I received a paper-wrapped package in the mail addressed to “Champion Cross-Country Runner Paul Guenette” from cross country coach Rolla Anderson. Inside were my first real “running shoes”—a pair of blue Adidas Gazelles. Sneakers were still the rule in 1970 (or spikes on grass or cinder tracks), and I found these shoes magical. So new! I went on to become Rolla’s cross country MVP that fall.

Fast forward 53 years to present day. Recovering from major surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, doctors told me, “Walk, walk tall, just keep on walking.” Last Father’s Day, my kids gave me some new shoes: blue Adidas Gazelles. The very same. They had no idea, of course, of their significance. I completed my 2-mile morning walk today en route to 108 miles in September for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. I walked tall. Thanks, Rolla.

Robert Weinstein ’79 recently received the Gold Dome Award, the most prestigious honor from Centenary University in Hackettstown, New Jersey. The CEO and president of Robertet North America, Bob has worked in the flavor and fragrance industry since 1986, serving as president of the Global Ingredients Division at Firmenich before joining Robertet North America as president in 2012. He earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in chemistry from Kalamazoo College, with additional studies at the University of Strasbourg, France. He has been a dedicated supporter of Centenary University’s academic programs and students.

Edwin Hortelano

The ChemQuest Group has appointed Edwin Hortelano ’83 a director. The global consulting firm focuses on tailored business strategy and optimization, technology acceleration, market intelligence, and mergers and acquisitions advisory services for the specialty materials industry. Over the course of his career, Ed has led teams on three continents in the development of materials and solutions for coatings, adhesives, release liners, holographic data storage and additive manufacturing. He will draw on this expertise primarily in support of ChemQuest’s technology development pillar. Ed earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from K and currently serves as a trustee for the College. In addition, he holds a doctorate in physical organic chemistry from Wayne State University.

Four K alum at the Blackburn family reunion

At the Blackburn family reunion in July 2023, held in Wilmington, Delaware, Kalamazoo College grads were well-represented among the 200-plus people attending. Pictured are Marti Haug ’82 of Portage, Michigan; Mary (Haug) Johnson ’84 of Clifton, Virginia; Langston Howley ’21 of Washington, D.C.; and Kevin Howley ’81 of Towson, Maryland. Marti and Mary have a sister, Barbara Haug ’86, who was not in attendance.

Alex Palladino ’87 was recently inducted into the West Michigan Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame, a subsidiary of United States Tennis Association. At K, Alex was two-time NCAA Division III doubles champion in 1986 and 1987, MIAA singles champion in 1987 and doubles champion in 1985 and 1987, and named MIAA Most Valuable Player in 1987. He was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. Alex is the Spring Lake Public Schools tennis coach in Spring Lake, Michigan.


Keoki Williams ’91 was named to the 2023 Best & Brightest Executive M.B.A. list by Poets & Quants for Executives. Keoki is pursuing an M.B.A. at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He holds a B.A. from Kalamazoo College with a double major in chemistry and biology, an M.D. from University of Michigan Medical School and an M.P.H. in health policy and management from University of Michigan School of Public Health. Keoki hopes to develop technology to make the U.S. healthcare system work better for both patients and providers. He is a practicing physician and heads the Center for Individualized and Genomic Medicine Research at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. For more than a decade, he has volunteered at a downtown Detroit clinic that provides free healthcare to the poor and underserved, and he was recently inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Keoki and his wife, Lanette, have three children.

BMW announced Julie Mehretu ’92 as the 20th Art Car artist at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in June 2023. The vehicle chosen as the next Art Car canvas is the BMW M Hybrid V8 race car, which will race the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans event in 2024. When an international jury met to select the next BMW Art Car artist, Julie was the unanimous choice. She has already begun work on her final design for the car, first on a 1/5-scale model before beginning work on a full-sized version. In fall 2023, Julie had her fifth exhibition at White Cube gallery in London, titled “They departed for their own country another way (a 9x9x9 hauntology).” The exhibition included three new series of paintings consisting of nine works each and focusing on enduring conflict, widespread displacement, and the asymmetry of power, using images sourced from current affairs, particularly the ongoing war in Ukraine and the events of the U.S. Capitol insurrection of January 6, 2021.

Theresa Gutierrez

Theresa Gutierrez ’95 has joined the Sustainability ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) team at Dix & Eaton, a strategic communication firm based in Cleveland, specializing in sustainability communication, change management, investor relations, crisis communication, media relations and marketing communication. Theresa, who serves as an assistant vice president specializing in content development and project management, has developed effective strategies for organizations of all sizes over her 25-year career. Prior to joining Dix & Eaton, she held corporate social responsibility and human resources leadership roles within the automotive, corporate aviation, information solutions and early childhood education sectors. Theresa holds a bachelor’s degree in human relations and resources and international studies from Kalamazoo College, as well as a Master of Science in administration from Central Michigan University.

Paul Unwin ’98 writes, “I moved to Seattle the summer after graduation and I’ve lived here since. I have two kids, one of whom is now in college herself. I’ve worked in the field of electromagnetic effects protection in aerospace for 20 years, first at Boeing and at Blue Origin since 2020. I’ve stayed active (with some breaks) in theatre and performance. I was a tenor in The Washingtonians choral group for several years, and I have performed in numerous free outdoor (unsanctioned) Star Trek and Star Wars plays. I’ve been studying German since 2015, because I have always felt that fluency in another language is like a magical power. I have a way to go, but I took my first trip to Germany (also my first to Europe) in 2023. I remain a fan of science fiction, board games and roleplaying games, but I don’t ride my bike that much these days.”

Mark Fino

Mark Fino ’02 recently accepted the position of head coach of the swim and dive program at Sewanee: The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee. In 2022, Mark became the site head coach of the Chattahoochee Gold Swim Team in Cumming, Georgia, where he managed full- and part-time staff for 280 athletes. Additionally, he created and founded Dunmoor Swim Team Inc., a nonprofit swim team serving children from 4 to 16. Mark has coached collegiately for 18 years. His last collegiate head coach position was at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He coached the Blue Streaks for seven years, led the university’s men’s and women’s teams to four Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) titles from 2017 to 2020, and received eight OAC Coach of the Year awards. Before coaching at John Carroll, Mark served as an assistant coach at Oberlin College in 2002, was elevated to head women’s coach in 2004, and was then chosen to lead both the men’s and women’s programs in 2006. Mark graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from K, where he swam for four years. He then completed all coursework toward his Master of Education in exercise science from Cleveland State University.

Aidis Suever ’09 is No. 13 on American Banker’s list of 15 rising stars among women in banking. The honorees, all women 40 years and younger, are nominated by an executive at their institution. When she was 12 years old, Aidis moved with her family to Walled Lake, Michigan, from Albania, where both her parents were bankers. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, she joined Ally Financial in 2009, and has worked at the $196 billion-asset Detroit bank ever since. As executive director of Ally’s auto customer care group, Aidis currently oversees the company’s call centers operated by third-party vendors in the Philippines and, more recently, in South Africa. She manages roughly 325 employees at Ally and oversees another 1,200 people employed by vendors.

Madeleine Chilcote in front of a medical monitor

Madeleine Chilcote ’17 is spending a year as a wildlife and conservation medicine intern at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) in Sanibel, Florida. Maddie received her Bachelor of Science in biology, with a minor in German, from Kalamazoo College and her doctorate at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to clinical duties, CROW interns participate in research and conservation projects, give case and journal club rounds, and help teach students, staff and volunteers. Veterinary interns work closely with staff from all departments in the hospital to gain a better understanding of the rehabilitation process while working with over 200 different species of native and migratory wildlife.

Alex Lee

Alma College has hired Alex Lee ’19 as the Scots’ next head swimming and diving coach. Alex joins Alma from Vassar College, where he served as the lead assistant coach and aquatics director. Before Vassar, Alex worked as the volunteer assistant swimming coach at Carthage College, where he also served as Esports graduate assistant and producer of the team’s Twitch streams. Before moving to Carthage, Alex was assistant swim coach at Alma College, helping facilitate four school records during the 2019-20 season. He also served as the recruiting coordinator, helping to bring in 17 recruits to the 2020 recruiting class and 13 to the 2021 class. A four-year letter winner at Kalamazoo College, Alex swam his collegiate career for the Hornets. He graduated from Kalamazoo in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and completed a Master of Science in business with a sports management track at Carthage in 2022.

Kalamazoo County hired Taylor Van Winkle ’19 to lead county efforts on combatting climate change and advancing sustainable practices. Taylor will serve as the county’s inaugural climate sustainability coordinator, tasked with creating a countywide climate action plan toward promoting a sustainable future in the county. Taylor previously served as an associate planner for the city of East Lansing. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology and history from Kalamazoo College and recently obtained a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, with a focus on climate resiliency, from Michigan State University. She has experience developing urban greenspaces, securing grant funding and fostering collaboration with the community.

ZooBits Book Review
The Brisling Code book cover

Janet Oakley ’68 published The Brisling Code, a prequel to The Jøssing Affair and the third in her series of historical thrillers set in Norway during the World War II and post-World War eras. An experienced intelligence agent at 22, Tore Haugland faces certain danger when he accepts an assignment in occupied Norway, knowing that his predecessor was killed by the Gestapo only a week before. The dying agent left a mysterious message in his interruption code that London calls the “Brisling Code.” The mission is jeopardized when a ruthless SS officer with his own secrets is alerted to Haugland’s presence by a traitor. The Brisling Code is available in paperback and ebook, and an audiobook will be released this winter. It is currently on the long list for the Goethe award in post-1750 historical fiction.

Helen Rietz holding her book, A Disappearing West

Helen (Tatro) Rietz ’70 is excited to have published her first book of artwork. A Disappearing West features 70 of her paintings, in full color, including many from past museum and gallery shows, along with the stories and inspiration behind them. To learn more, email, or visit

Lost in Taiwan book cover

Mark Crilley ’88 published his most recent book in May 2023. Lost in Taiwan is a graphic novel about stepping out of one’s comfort zone that pays tribute to Mark’s two and a half years living and teaching in central Taiwan after graduating from K. Many of the pictures were inspired by sketches made during that time. Set in a fictional town, the story features a traveler who finds himself lost in Taiwan searching for his older brother’s apartment and soon learns that this forced disconnect helps him explore and experience the big wide world around him. “The story’s sincere message of broadening cultural horizons is accompanied by detailed illustrations that resemble pencil line art and watercolor washes,” says Kirkus Reviews. “A visual love letter to Taiwan.” Mark is the author and illustrator of more than 40 books, including several acclaimed graphic novels.

The Rock that is not a Rabbit book cover

The Rock That is Not a Rabbit, the third collection of poetry by Corey Marks ’92, was recently published by the University of Pittsburgh Press as part of the acclaimed Pitt Poetry Series. Throughout this collection, change arises as something both desired and mourned in poems that reckon with a world where perspectives blur, names drift, “billowing, unattached,” and language yields a broken music. Meditative and richly imaginative, these poems cast and recast the self and its relation to other selves, and to memory, history, power and the natural world. Corey is the author of Renunciation, a National Poetry Series selection, and The Radio Tree, winner of the Green Rose Prize. His poems have appeared in Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, AGNI, Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, The Sewanee Review and The Threepenny Review. He has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Natalie Ornish Prize from the Texas Institute for Letters, and the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review. A university distinguished teaching professor at University of North Texas, he directs creative writing for the Department of English.

Grow: Take your Business from Chaos to Calm book cover

Michael J. McFall ’93, co-founder and co-CEO of Biggby Coffee, has published his second book, Grow: Take Your Business from Chaos to Calm, a strategic blueprint for entrepreneurs trying to reach the promised land of stability and sustainability in their businesses. Grow emphasizes that the leader is the most important part of a successful and sustainable business, and shares tips on how to develop future leaders and cultivate a nurturing, loving workplace culture for employees. Filled with real-life examples from Mike’s 26 years of experience, Grow plants the seeds to help readers recreate themselves as the leaders their organizations need them to be and take their business from chaos to calm.

Have a ZooBit to Share?

Did you get married? Have a baby? Get a new job or move to a new city? Tell us about your recent travels, career developments, family updates, mini-reunions or anything else! Photos are welcome. Use our online form or email us to submit a note. If you email, please include your class year.

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