Kalamazoo College: Wikis


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Kalamazoo College

Seal of the college
Motto Lux Esto
Motto in English Be Light
Established 1833
Type liberal arts college
Endowment $172 million[1]
President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran
Faculty 103
Undergraduates 1,340
Location Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
42°17′24″N 85°36′04″W / 42.290°N 85.601°W / 42.290; -85.601Coordinates: 42°17′24″N 85°36′04″W / 42.290°N 85.601°W / 42.290; -85.601
Campus Urban
Colors Orange and black            
Nickname K
Mascot Hornets
Website http://www.kzoo.edu

Kalamazoo College, also known as K College or simply K, is a private liberal arts college located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States. Founded in 1833, the institution was American Baptist in origin, and acknowledges its historical relationship with that denomination, but today maintains no religious affiliation. In addition to being one of the United States' 100 oldest academic institutions, Kalamazoo College has the distinction of producing the largest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita, and of ranking in the top 1 percent for number of graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D [2].

Kalamazoo College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association. It is listed in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.



Brown Hall and dormitory in 1906

Kalamazoo College was founded in 1833 by a group of Baptist ministers and was originally named the "Michigan and Huron Institute." The Institute's charter was granted on April 22, 1833, making Kalamazoo College the first school to be chartered by the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan.[3] Instruction at the Institute began in the fall of 1836. In 1837, the name of the fledgling college was changed to the "Kalamazoo Literary Institute" and the school underwent its first attempt to secure recognition as a college from the state of Michigan. [4] In 1838, however, the University of Michigan opened the Kalamazoo Branch of the University of Michigan, providing a local competitor to the Literary Institute.[5] In 1840, the two schools merged, and from 1840 to 1850 the College operated as the Kalamazoo Branch of the University of Michigan.[6] In 1850, the Kalamazoo Literary Institute name was restored and in 1855 the school finally received an educational charter from the State of Michigan, establishing explicit recognition of the school as a college. [7] After receiving its educational charter, the school changed its name to Kalamazoo College.

James Stone, the first president of Kalamazoo College, led the school from 1842 through 1863 and was responsible for instituting the high academic standards that allowed the College to receive its charter. Shortly after becoming president, Stone proposed the addition of a theological seminary to increase the supply of ministers in the region. [8] With the support of the Baptist church, classes at the Kalamazoo Theological Seminary began in 1848 with 11 students. [9] At the same time, the Female Department continued to expand under the watchful eye of Lucinda Hinsdale Stone.[7] In 1845-46, almost half of the 90 students enrolled in Kalamazoo were women. [10]

The Stones also played a role in the creation of the Republican Party. A meeting of disgruntled Michigan Whigs, Democrats, and abolitionists at the Stones' Kalamazoo residence set the date for an anti-slavery convention in Jackson, Michigan, which resulted in the formal birth of the Republican Party.

The first known student of African descent to attend Kalamazoo College was ex-slave Rufus Lewis Perry. Perry attended Kalamazoo Theological Seminary from 1860-1861, but left before he received a diploma.[11] He was ordained a Baptist minister in Ann Arbor in 1861, and later earned a Ph.D. from State University in Louisville, Kentucky. [12] Jamaican-born brothers Solomon and John Williamson were the first black graduates from "K," receiving their diplomas in 1911. [13] Kalamazoo College also served as a pioneer in coed education, granting its first degree to a woman, Miss Catherine V. Eldred, in 1870. [14]

In 1877, Kalamazoo College students published the first edition of The Index, a student-run newspaper that continues to publish today. In addition to the newspaper, the college also publishes "The Cauldron," an annual literary-arts journal; and "The Passage" — an annual compilation of students' work from study abroad.

Kalamazoo College's reputation as an academic powerhouse and a leader in international education was built during the presidency of Weimer Hicks, who served from 1954 to 1971. [6] Hicks conceived of the "K Plan" program under which most Kalamazoo students spend at least one term abroad and spend at least one term working in an academic internship. As part of the original "K Plan," Kalamazoo College students had the opportunity to attend school year-round. One typical pattern was:

  • First year: Fall: On campus; Winter: On campus; Spring: On campus; Summer: Off
  • Sophomore Year: Fall: On campus; Winter: On campus; Spring: Career Development Internship; Summer: On campus
  • Junior year: Fall: Study Abroad; Winter: Study Abroad; Spring: On campus; Summer: On campus
  • Senior year: Fall: Senior Individualized Project; Winter: On campus; Spring: On campus

Variations to this schedule — such as spring-term study-abroad programs, full-year study-abroad programs, and winter SIPs — were also common. However, the college scrapped its summer term in 1996 due to the difficulty of attracting students to a year-round college.


Hicks Center and Stetson Chapel

Kalamazoo College is among the 100 oldest colleges and universities in the United States. It offers 28 majors spread across the fields of Fine Arts, Humanities, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Education, and Social Sciences. There are 11 unique interdisciplinary majors as well.

Students at Kalamazoo College must fulfill specific degree requirements in order to graduate. During the first term, students must enroll in a First-Year Seminar. Upon graduation, students must demonstrate a proficiency in a second language at an intermediate level and satisfy a quantitative reasoning requirement. There is a physical education requirement as well.

To facilitate a liberal arts education, students must also fulfill general course requirements in four areas of study:

  • Literature, Creative Expression, Fine Arts and History (3 units)
  • Natural Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science (2 units)
  • Philosophy and Religion (2 units)
  • Social Science (3 units)

The student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. Ninety-five percent of Kalamazoo College's faculty have doctorates or terminal degrees in their fields.[2]

On January 3, 2006, Kalamazoo College opened the new Upjohn Library Commons which includes the completely renovated skeleton of the older library, and an extension which adds to its volume capacity.


Kalamazoo College is an academic leader among national liberal arts colleges and emphasizes the importance of an experiential education. The academic plan — known as the "K plan" — consists of a rigorous liberal arts education supplemented by one or more terms abroad and internship opportunities during the summer. All students are required to complete a Senior Individualized Project (SIP), which may take the form of a thesis, an artistic performance, or any other work-intensive project of a student's choosing. Kalamazoo College is also unique in that it requires its students to take comprehensive exams in their major field of study before graduating. Kalamazoo College is the only undergraduate institution in the United States that requires both a senior project and a comprehensive examination.


Kalamazoo College initiated the service-learning program in the 1997. In 2001, Trustee Ronda Stryker dedicated to her grandmother the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service Learning. This Institute was created to house several Service-Learning programs in the school. The current director of the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute is Alison Geist. In 2008, Kalamazoo College had twenty-three on-going service-learning programs. There are several courses in the college that incorporate service-learning into their curricula. The programs in service-learning include Community Advocates for Parents and Students; Helping Youth through Personal Empowerment; Academic Mentorship In Giants On-going Success; the Woodward School; and Farms to K.

Study abroad

US News & World Report America's Best Colleges 2003 ranked Kalamazoo College's study-abroad program number one in the country. Nearly 85% of Kalamazoo College students spend at least one term abroad and the college maintains partnerships with over 50 foreign universities on six continents.

Academic distinctions

A recent study by Higher Education Data Sharing lists Kalamazoo College in the top 1 percent of colleges and universities whose graduates go on to earn a Ph.D. According to this study, Kalamazoo College is ranked number eight among all small colleges and—when compared with all academic institutions—it ranks number one in Ph.Ds per capita.[15] Among all undergraduate institutions, Kalamazoo College was #1 per capita in 2005 for recruitment of Peace Corps volunteers.[16]


The school's sports teams are called the Hornets. They compete in the NCAA's Division III and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). As of 2006-2007, the Hornet tennis squad have won their conference's championship an astounding 69 consecutive years. Kalamazoo College competes in the following sports:

Fall Sports:

Winter Sports:

Spring Sports :

Men's Tennis

The Kalamazoo College men’s tennis team has won 70 consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships (1936 - 2007) with a record of 426-2 in the MIAA from 1935 - 2007.[17] Kalamazoo has won seven NCAA Division III national championships and has made 25 consecutive NCAA III tournament appearances.[18]

National Runners-up - NCAA Division II:

  • 1972 - Men's Tennis

National Championships - NCAA Division III:

  • 1976 - Men's Tennis
  • 1978 - Men's Tennis
  • 1986 - Men's Tennis
  • 1987 - Men's Tennis
  • 1991 - Men's Tennis
  • 1992 - Men's Tennis
  • 1993 - Men's Tennis

National Runners-up - NCAA Division III:

  • 1982 - Men's Tennis
  • 1985 - Men's Tennis
  • 1997 - Men's Tennis
  • 1999 - Men's Tennis

Men's Swimming and Diving

Men's swimming and diving at Kalamazoo College has an impressive history. The team is known for producing individual national champions in the pool and on the boards, and also for maintaining a national presence with regular appearances as a top-10 team at the NCAA Division III national championships. The swimming and diving team is the second most successful athletic program at Kalamazoo College, after the men's tennis team, and it is also one of the top-10 most-successful teams in the MIAA with 25 MIAA championships.[19][20]

Academic achievement

  • Don Knoechel, NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship 1980
  • Curt Crimmins, NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship 1984
  • Markus Boos, GTE Academic All-American 2nd Team 2000
  • Evan Whitbeck, NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship 2002
  • Scott Whitbeck, NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship 2004
  • Robert Dekker, NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship 2009

Athletic achievement and contributions

  • Brad Shively, Head Coach of Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving at Washington University in St. Louis.[21]
  • Jeff Gorton, competitor at the 2004 Olympic Trials in 3-meter diving.
  • Mark Fino, Head Coach of Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving at Oberlin College.[22]
  • Scott Whitbeck, assistant swim coach at The College of Wooster (2005-2007), University Massachusetts Amherst and State University of New York at New Paltz.[23]
  • Derek Jansen, Founder of d3swimming.com[24]
  • Allison Iott, 2008 NCAA D-3 and USTFCCCA All-American in Cross Country Finishing 10th. Kalamazoo's First ever Womans Cross Country MIAA conference Meet Champion and MIAA Conference MVP.[25]

Men's basketball

Basketball dispute

In 2001, the Kalamazoo College men's basketball team was at the center of a lengthy dispute regarding the outcome of a January 20 game with league rival Olivet College. With Olivet leading 70-69, Kalamazoo College center Kevin Baird made a shot at the buzzer that was initially waved off by referees. The referees reviewed videotape of the game and determined that Baird had, in fact, released his shot before the buzzer and then awarded Kalamazoo College a 71-70 victory. After the game, Olivet filed a protest with the conference commissioner, claiming that officials had misapplied the way in which videotape may be used. On January 23, the conference upheld the protest and awarded Olivet the victory. Kalamazoo then filed a protest with the NCAA, claiming that Olivet's protest was in violation of NCAA bylaws. On February 1, the NCAA upheld Kalamazoo's counter-protest and again awarded the game to the Hornets. The dispute between Olivet and Kalamazoo received national attention and Baird's shot was shown repeatedly on ESPN.[26]

Fight song

The words to the college fight-song, "All Hail to Kazoo," were written by A.G. Walton (1911) with music by D.R. Belcher (1909), arranged by Burton Edward Fischer.[27]

Student life and traditions

Hoben Hall taken from Hicks Center

Student organizations are one of the main sources of entertainment for the student body. They routinely bring in speakers as well as stage performances, dances, and movie showings.

During the fall quarter, there are two main events: Fall Fest and Homecoming dance. In Fall Fest, student organizations provide activities for the students, such as pumpkin carving and bobbing for apples.

During the winter quarter, the college holds the annual Monte Carlo night, on which the student body raises money by gambling in a makeshift casino where the professors are the dealers. They play for scrip redeemable for prizes, and the money is changed from year to year to prevent counterfeits.

Crystal Ball

Kalamazoo College's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally Student Organization, Kaleidoscope (originally called GLBTSO) hosts Crystal Ball each spring. Crystal Ball is a Kalamazoo College-sponsored dance event in which attendees typically dress in drag or unusual costumes. A long-standing tradition at K College, this event was created to educate the campus about GLBT issues and celebrate the persons who make up the GLBT community. The annual event features live music and dancing, performers, and contests.

Day of Gracious Living

Since 1974, the college has upheld a springtime tradition of canceling all classes for an unscheduled “Day of Gracious Living” (DOGL). The day was initially instituted by the administration to give students and faculty a break from the rigors of campus life. Like today's students, many took this opportunity to spend a day at the beaches of Lake Michigan. In the years since, the authority to schedule and announce the DOGL has been transferred to the president of the College Student Commission.

Recycling program

Kalamazoo College has become a leading institution in the area of recycling and environmental awareness. A crew of student workers operates one of the nation's most successful recycling programs and organizes the school's participation in the annual RecycleMania event, a competition among over 400 colleges and universities across the United States. In 2005, Kalamazoo College came to national prominence with a 3rd-place finish in the Grand Champion category. While annually placing in the top 5 in a variety of categories, in 2008 Kalamazoo College placed 1st in both the Grand Champion and Stephen K Gaski Per Capita Classic competitions.[28]


Kalamazoo College signed the President's Climate Commitment in 2007 and has completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory.[29] The college's Hicks Student Center is partially powered by wind and solar energy,[30] and the student group D.I.R.T. (Digging in Renewable Turf) maintains an organic garden on campus.[31] The spring 2009 Energy Sting competition encouraged students to reduce their energy consumption.[32] Kalamazoo received a C- on the 2009 College Sustainability Report Card.[33]

Presidents of Kalamazoo College

In 2005 Dr. Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran became Kalamazoo College's 17th President and first female president, as well as the first African-American president of the school. She is the 22nd President overall, including interim and acting presidents. Her immediate predecessors are Bernard Palchick, who served as interim president and returned to the administration, and James F. Jones, who departed to become President of Trinity College, in Connecticut.

Humphrey House, home of the Humanities division.
  • James Stone (1843 - 1863)
  • John Milton Gregory (1864 - 1867)
  • Kendall Brooks (1868 - 1887)
  • Monson A. Wilcox (1887 - 1891)
  • Theodore Nelson (1891 - 1892)
  • Arthur Gaylord Slocum (1892 - 1912)
  • Herbert Lee Stetson (1912 - 1922)
  • Allan Hoben (1922 - 1935)
  • Charles True Goodsell (1935 - 1936) (interim)
  • Stewart Grant Cole (1936 - 1938)
  • Paul Lamont Thompson (1938 - 1948)
  • Allen B. Stowe (1948 - 1949) (interim)
  • John Scott Everton (1949 - 1953)
  • Harold T. Smith (1953) (interim)
  • Weimer K. Hicks (1953 - 1971)
  • George M. Rainsford (1972 - 1983)
  • David W. Breneman (1983 - 1989)
  • Timothy Light (1989 - 1990) (acting)
  • Lawrence D. Bryan (1990 - 1996)
  • James F. Jones (1996 - 2004)
  • Bernard Palchick (2004 - 2005) (interim)
  • Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran (since 2005)

Notable alumni


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  2. ^ a b "Kalamazoo College". American Council on Education. http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=4225/.  
  3. ^ Goodsell, Charles; Willis Dunbar (1933). "Centennial History of Kalamazoo College: 1833-1933". p. 11. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  4. ^ "Willis and Dunbar". p. 24. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  5. ^ "Willis and Dunbar". p. 27. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  6. ^ a b "Local History". Kalamazoo Public Library. http://www.kpl.gov/local-history/education/kalamazoo-college.aspx/.  
  7. ^ a b "Willis and Dunbar". p. 57. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  8. ^ "Willis and Dunbar". p. 46. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  9. ^ "Willis and Dunbar". p. 50. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  10. ^ "Willis and Dunbar". p. 43. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  11. ^ Brooks, Samuel (1903). "Historical Catalogue of the Students of Kalamazoo College and of Kalamazoo Theological Seminary, 1851-1902". Ihling bros. & Everard. p. 71. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/5593.  
  12. ^ "Brooks". p. 71. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/5593.  
  13. ^ "Kalamazoo College Alumni Directory, 1940". Kalamazoo College Bulletin. February 1940. p. 10. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/5555.  
  14. ^ "Willis and Dunbar". p. 87. http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/3405.  
  15. ^ "American Council on Education". http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=6150.  
  16. ^ "USA Freedom Corps Press Release: Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities". http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/about_usafc/newsroom/announcements_dynamic.asp?ID=1198/.  
  17. ^ "MIAA Men's Tennis Team Champions". Kalamazoo College Archives. http://www.kzoo.edu/sports/mt/mthistory/mtmiaa.html/.  
  18. ^ "NCAA Division III Men's Tennis History". Kalamazoo College Archives. http://www.kzoo.edu/sports/mt/mthistory/mtncaa.html/.  
  19. ^ "History of Wins". http://www.miaa.org/history/hiswon.html.  
  20. ^ "MSW Champions". http://www.miaa.org/msw/mswchamp.html.  
  21. ^ "Washington University in St. Louis Athletics Coach Bio". http://bearsports.wustl.edu/swimdive/swimdivecoach.html/.  
  22. ^ "Oberlin College Department of Athletics Coach Biography". http://www.oberlin.edu/athletic/varsity/swimming/coachingstaff.html/.  
  23. ^ "University of Massachusetts Athletics Press Release". http://umassathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-swim/spec-rel/052208aaa.html/.  
  24. ^ "www.d3swimming.com". http://www.d3swimming.com/about.php/.  
  25. ^ "WCC". http://www.kzoo.edu/sports/wcc/.  
  26. ^ "d3hoops.com Notables Press Release". http://www.d3hoops.com/notable/01/videotape.htm/.  
  27. ^ "Kalamazoo College Fight Song in CACHE, the Kalamazoo College Digital Archive". http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/4569.  
  28. ^ "RecycleMania 2008 Final Results". http://www.recyclemaniacs.org/blog.html/.  
  29. ^ "ACUPCC Kalamazoo College". American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. http://acupcc.aashe.org/index.php?abs=&q=Kalamazoo%20College. Retrieved 2009-06-29.  
  30. ^ "Hicks Student Center". Kalamazoo College. http://www.kzoo.edu/green/index.php?p=hicks. Retrieved 2009-06-29.  
  31. ^ "Orange, Black, & Green". Kalamazoo College. https://reason.kzoo.edu/green/campusinitiatives/food/organicgarden/. Retrieved 2009-06-29.  
  32. ^ "Orange, Black, & Green 2009 K-College Energy Sting". Kalamazoo College. https://reason.kzoo.edu/green/campusinitiatives/es/. Retrieved 2009-06-29.  
  33. ^ "Green Report Card". http://greenreportcard.org/report-card-2009/schools/kalamazoo-college.  
  34. ^ "Business Week". http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=154258&symbol=FTD.  
  35. ^ "World Bank" (pdf). http://www.worldbank.org/afr/gper/Tribute.pdf.  

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