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vol. LXXII, no. 

Hiaasen Keynotes Isaac Symposium 5

In Search of the ‘Real’ Africa 14

Our engaged, energetic emeriti 17




T he m AGAZINe







Millennials on the Move What should we expect from this generation?

A Winning Idea Mildred Plate Putnam, ’41, met her husband, the late Mark Sheldon Putnam, ’41, in a German class while they were students at Albion. After graduation, the couple eventually settled in Midland, where they raised their family and where Sheldon joined his father at Dow Chemical for his life’s work.

From her own Albion experience, Mildred believes that the faculty is the core of any college. She wanted to do something to honor those teachers who make the extra effort to mentor their students not only in their academic discipline, but in “how to be students.” Additionally, she wanted to extend this honor to those who mentor their colleagues in “how to be teachers.” She has recently established a prize, known as The Mark S. and Mildred P. Putnam Endowed Faculty Award. Each year, nominations will be accepted from students and faculty, and selection of the recipient will be made following input by students, faculty, and alumni. The cash prize will be distributed in part directly to the recipient and in part to the recipient’s academic department.

Mildred Plate Putnam, ’41

This endowment exemplifies how a good idea from a creative and generous donor can benefit everyone involved. In this case, not only will deserving teachers and their academic departments be winners, but so will the students, teachers, and alumni involved in the selection process. And, not least, Mildred and her family will be gratified in knowing that their gift will continue to have an impact for years to come.

If you would like to discuss your own creative philanthropic ideas, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 517/629-0446 or e-mail: .

S. Briggs Photo

office of institutional advancement 611 e. porter st. albion, mi 49224 517/629-0242

Susan Sadler is a partner in the law firm of Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy, The Lux Fiat Society ($50,000 and above) Albion College Io Triumphe! Society ($25,000-$49,999) and Sadler,The PLC, in Bloomfield Giving Societies The Trustees’ Circle ($10,000-$24,999) Hills, Mich. She is currently a The President’s member of Albion College’sAssociates Alumni ($5,000-$9,999) The Purple & Gold Society ($2,500-$4,999) Association Board of Directors. The 1835 Society ($1,835) The Briton Round Table ($1,000-$2,499) The Crest Club ($500-$999) The Shield Club ($100-$499) The Stockwell Society (Deferred gifts)

S. Briggs PHOTO

The family’s ties to Albion College were already strong, including Sheldon’s mother and father, Charlotte Sheldon Putnam, ’09, and Mark Putnam, ’10, for whom Putnam Hall is named. In total, there are 15 alumni in the family, including all four of Mildred and Sheldon’s children. Granddaughter Lauren is a current student.


IoTrIumphe! - 2007-08

THe MagaZine for Alumni and Friends of Albion College



The Millennials Concerned and connected, introspective and goal-oriented, this generation believes it can change the world for the better.



In Search of the ‘Real’ Africa It’s time to move beyond the misconceptions that many westerners hold about Africa.



briton bits




Alumni Association news


Li’l brits

14 17

The Active Life Slow down? not a chance, say these retired Albion profs.


Cover photo by David Trumpie Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 1


IoTriumphe! Staff Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Eric Becher Editor: Sarah Briggs Contributing Writers: Morris Arvoy, ’90, Jake Weber, Bobby Lee Class Notes Writers: Nikole Lee, Luann Shepherd Design: Susan Carol Rowe

‘Modern Maturity’ There it was on the kitchen counter. The first letter asking me to join AARP had arrived. I must say I was not pleased. AARP! How could I possibly be old enough to join AARP? But yes, those canny folks at the nation’s largest organization for “seniors” (boasting a membership of 35 million) are going after the baby boom generation with all the marketing power they can muster. A friend tried to console me. There were some advantages to putting an AARP card in my billfold. “Think of all the great discounts you can get,” she said. Unfortunately, to get those discounts, you have to show your AARP card—you have to reveal to the world that you are, well, old(er). Some years later I’m slowly getting used to the idea of AARP membership and all that signifies. If Mick Jagger and Aretha Franklin can still knock ’em dead at 60+, then maybe I can adjust to this notion of being “senior.” And then again, for an increasing number of Americans, age 50 really is mid-life. I have some great role models to lead me into my retirement years, not least among them my 81-year-old mother who has to be among the most energetic and active people I know, of any age. And in this issue of Io Triumphe! you’ll find some wonderful

 | Io Triumphe!

examples of how productive and satisfying retirement can be. We profile several of our emeritus professors who have entered into their retirement years with grace and style—and who have been creative and committed in both intellectual pursuits and in community service. They have set an incredibly high standard for the rest of us. This edition of our magazine also looks at a generation at the other end of the age spectrum—the Millennials, those young people born since 1982. Critics sometimes describe this generation as self-centered and headstrong, but those same claims have been made about youth for centuries. After learning what the experts are saying about this rising generation—and after talking to representatives of their number here at Albion—I have to say I’m impressed with their self-assurance and their optimism. These are young people who say they like their parents. And who say that, despite our current problems, they still think they can be a positive force for change. After spending some time with this edition you may decide the outlook for the future is brighter than you thought.

Sarah Briggs, Editor 517/629-0244

Web Manager: Nicole Rhoads Io Triumphe! is published three times annually by the Office of Communications, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224. It is distributed free to alumni and friends of the College. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Office of Communications, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224. World Wide Web: Albion College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability, as protected by law, in all educational programs and activities, admission of students, and conditions of employment. About Our Name The unusual name for this publication comes from a yell written by members of the Class of 1900. The beginning words of the yell, “Io Triumphe!,” were probably borrowed from the poems of the Roman writer, Horace. Some phrases were taken from other college yells and others from a Greek play presented on campus during the period. In 1936, the alumni of Albion College voted to name their magazine after the yell which by then had become a College tradition. For years, Albion’s incoming students have learned these lines by heart: Io Triumphe! Io Triumphe! Haben swaben rebecca le animor Whoop te whoop te sheller de-vere De-boom de ral de-i de-pa— Hooneka henaka whack a whack A-hob dob balde bora bolde bara Con slomade hob dob rah! Al-bi-on Rah!

Th e lat e st n e ws arou n d ca m pu s

B r ! ton B ! ts the Rock


Over 180 “little sibs” visited campus for Albion College’s annual Little Sibs Weekend, Feb. 29-March 1. Sponsored by the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Student Alumni Association, the weekend was packed with activities including painting the Rock, a treasure hunt at Wesley Hall, a musical instrument “petting zoo,” a creative writing workshop, a paper airplane race, international taste testing, a fun run, openmic night at the Coffee House, and much more.

Albion College Names Susan Conner as Provost Susan Conner, the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Florida Southern College, will become Albion’s provost, effective July 1, 2008. Conner has served in her current role at Florida Southern, located in Lakeland, Fla., since 2001. At Florida Southern she oversees an undergraduate day college of 1,700 students, as well as four graduate programs. President Donna Randall cited Conner’s breadth of experience and impressive scholarship as two major reasons she was the ideal choice as the College’s chief academic officer. “When we interviewed her she struck us as a person who knows her job extremely well, who has been very successful in her career, and who could immediately start adding value to Albion College,” Randall

said. “She is an active scholar, so she will continue to encourage our faculty to pursue a high level of scholarship.” Conner succeeds Royal Ward, Albion’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty since May 2001. She said she is looking forward to engaging with faculty in further developing Albion’s academic programs. “The fact that Albion is a pure liberal arts institution with wonderful opportunities in service learning, internships, and practical experience really resonated with me,” Conner said. From 1997 to 2001 Conner was the associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences at Central Michigan University, where she

also served on the history faculty for 14 years. While at Central Michigan, she received the Michigan Association of Governing Boards Susan Conner Distinguished Professor Award. Conner received her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Florida State University. Much of her research has dealt with the social and political status of women in 18th- and 19th-century Europe. “If part of Albion’s vision is building on our solid foundation and leading with a strong academic experience, then Susan Conner is the perfect person for that,” Randall said. Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 

Albion College has received a number of new foundation grants in recent months. The math and science departments’ efforts to encourage underrepresented groups and women to study in these fields have been advanced with a $100,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundations. The grant has been used to establish an endowed scholarship fund. Starting in fall 2009, a $5,000 scholarship will be awarded each year to a student who meets the requirements. “The experience for everyone at Albion will be enhanced by the recipients of this scholarship,” said David Seely, chair and professor of physics. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $50,000 to the College supporting faculty development and a review and revision of the Board of Trustees’ governance structure. Regarding faculty development, the Mellon funds will be used to encourage faculty productivity in grantsmanship. Upon announcing the grant, President Donna Randall said, “These initiatives, while seemingly disparate, are based in two key areas that need to be strengthened to support the strategic planning process that Albion College has begun.” Albion’s Education Department and the Fritz Shurmur Education Institute have received four grants totaling $34,900 to help underwrite their collaboration project with the Albion Public Schools. The collaboration promotes excellent teaching in the K-12 grade levels. It culminates each year in a community-wide Learning Fair during which the K-12 students exhibit projects based on the interdisciplinary curriculum developed and presented to them by Albion College prospective teachers teamed with Albion Public Schools teachers. Grants from the Guido A. and Elizabeth H. Binda Foundation, the State Farm Insurance Companies Foundation, the MEEMIC Foundation for the Future of Education, and the United Educational Credit Union’s Bright Ideas Partnership Program are supporting the 2007-08 collaboration and May Learning Fair.

Civil rights activist Juanita Abernathy, the College’s 2008 Martin Luther King Convocation speaker, met with community members, faculty, and students, including sophomore Charles Green, prior to her talk. Abernathy and her husband, the late Ralph Abernathy, worked alongside King in the early years of the civil rights movement. Her visit kicked off Black History Month events including a “mobile museum” of black memorabilia, film showings, a theatre performance on unsung African-American heroes, and a presentation on the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

landmarks & legends

M. Arvoy Photo

Foundation Grants Support Scholarships, Special Projects

These foundation stones are all that remain of a structure that was to be built after the Spring Arbor Seminary was chartered in 1835 by the Michigan Territorial Legislature. In 1839, the charter was amended to permit the seminary, which would eventually become Albion College, to be moved to the city of Albion.


Br!ton B!ts

Old Site ‘Rocks’ In 1835, a group of Methodist clergymen obtained a charter from the territorial government of Michigan to build an educational institution near present-day Spring Arbor in Jackson County. This school was to be known as Spring Arbor Seminary. Work was soon commenced on the foundation of the first seminary building, on a ridge high above the banks of the Kalamazoo River, not far from a sawmill and near an Indian village. Alas, a cholera epidemic and the economic Panic of 1837 struck, halting the construction, and the plans for the seminary were suspended. In 1839, the decision was made to relocate and rename the school. The cornerstone for the Central Building of the Wesleyan Seminary at Albion was laid on July 6, 1841 at the east end of what is now the Quadrangle. The Wesleyan Seminary became Albion College in 1861. The Spring Arbor Historical Society recently donated to Albion College one of the foundation stones from the site of the never-completed building above the Kalamazoo River, 10 miles from Albion. The rock will be relocated to the Quadrangle later this year.

 | Io Triumphe!

These foundation stones are all that remain of a structure that was to be built after the Spring Arbor Seminary was chartered in 1835 by the Michigan Territorial Legislature.

Events of Note

Florida Author to Keynote Isaac Symposium Carl Hiaasen, whose colorful novels about life in south Florida have attracted thousands of enthusiastic fans, will offer the Calvaruso Keynote Address at the 2008 Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium, Thursday, April 24. The event is slated for 7 p.m. in Goodrich Chapel and is free of charge. Beginning with Tourist Season in 1986, Hiaasen has published eight additional novels including Stormy Weather, Strip Tease, and Skinny Dip. His novels are part mystery and part commentary on environmental, political, and social issues. The London Observer has called Hiaasen “America’s finest satirical novelist.” He is also the author of two novels for young readers, the newly released Flush, and Hoot, a Newberry Honor book. A graduate of the University of Florida, Hiaasen joined the Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for

the newspaper’s prizewinning investigations team. He currently writes a regular Sunday column for the Herald. For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen received the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club in 2003-04. During his Albion visit, Hiaasen will also meet with students in the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Institute and will visit the local middle school for a book talk on Hoot.

You can learn more about all of these events, as well as many other cultural and sports activities, at, or by calling the Communications Office at 517/629-0445. Friday, April 18, 7:30 p.m. Inauguration of President Donna M. Randall Goodrich Chapel Wednesday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture: James Beck, ’97 Towsley Auditorium, Norris Center 101 Thursday, April 24, 10:45 a.m. Honors Convocation Goodrich Chapel Thursday, April 24, 7 p.m. Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address: Carl Hiaasen Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m. Gilmore Piano Festival Young Artist Naomi Kudo Goodrich Chapel Saturday, May 10, 10:45 a.m. Commencement Campus Quadrangle

Fontana Wins ‘Irish Rhodes’ tional environmental energy policy at Harvard University. On Albion’s campus, she has been deeply involved in environmental education. A member of the College’s Prentiss M. Brown Honors Catherine Fontana Institute, Fontana has received two Foundation for Undergraduate Albion history professor Marcy Sacks led New York Times reporter John Strausbaugh on a tour of Manhattan’s historic San Juan Hill neighborhood earlier this year, resulting in a Feb. 1 story on the front page of the Times’ Weekend Arts section. In the article and accompanying video, Sacks covers the history of San Juan Hill, once a thriving black neighborhood and now New York City’s performing arts hub. A native New Yorker, Sacks is the author of Before Harlem: The Black Experience in New York City Before World War I (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006). —Jake Weber

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA) stipends to conduct independent research in the fields of parasitology and microbiology. She is also a member of Albion’s Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service and of the Institute for the Study of the Environment. The Mitchell Scholarship program recognizes outstanding young Americans who exhibit the highest standards of academic excellence, leadership, and community service.

To view the full Times article, please go to our online edition at: iotriumphe/ .


Senior Catherine Fontana is one of 12 students in the nation to receive the prestigious George J. Mitchell Scholarship, nicknamed the ‘Irish Rhodes,’ for 2008-09. An English and biology major at Albion, Fontana will spend the next academic year at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science. “Given my environmental management research here in the United States, I am beyond thrilled to expand my experiences and research scope to Ireland and the European Union next year,” Fontana said. Fontana’s Albion career has been distinguished in both academic and leadership achievements. President of the Student Senate during her junior year, she currently holds a leadership position with the national College Democrats of America Women’s Caucus. In 2005, Fontana served as an international intertidal scientist in Hallig Hooge, Germany. In 2006, she won a competitive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fellowship for researching compliance with the Clean Air Act. This past summer, she served as a Volunteer for Science to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct thesis work at Walden Pond State Reservation in Massachusetts and jointly studied interna-

Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 

Br!ton B!ts

short takes

Two Minutes with . . . Locksmith Kent McGuigan By Morris Arvoy

Io Triumphe!: For 28 years you have been the key master of Albion. If you were to estimate how many keys you have. . . . McGuigan: Actually, I did that once, and I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 for about 4,000 keyholes on campus. How have keys changed through Albion’s history? With the old skeleton keys there were maybe only eight or 10 common keys, and if you had a ring of those you could let yourself in anywhere. Anyone with a file could duplicate them, so it became necessary to go to the pin-type lock we have today as opposed to the little levers in older locks. How did you get into keys? Back in the 1980s the guys who were doing all the key work were also taking care of the

boilers. Each one was a handful. So I did a correspondence course in locksmithing, which is real common, and subsequently took over this responsibility. Keycards have really changed your job. Well, in a good way, I think. We now have about a thousand keycard units. We have an opportunity to make the campus considerably more secure because keycard locks are easy to reprogram in order to grant or deny access. Eventually there’ll be a lock system that will be wireless, so we can tap in from our desks and tell the locks who can come in. What is the future of keys at Albion College? They’re going away. I don’t know if they will go away before I retire but they are definitely going away. But once the campus gets saturated with keycards, I almost look for a resurgence of keys because they are different. Keys are still good

security. They simply don’t offer the benefits of electronic locking. Where do old keys go to die? I bury them. I can’t find anyone to make them go away to my satisfaction, so when they get ready to pour concrete for construction projects on campus I take my buckets full of keys and pour them in. They get buried in concrete. Forever. That’s pretty cool. When did you get that idea? I started doing it when they renovated Kresge Gymnasium and filled in the old pool. I probably had close to a thousand pounds of keys that had been building up over the years. Now I don’t have to worry about them coming back to haunt me, because some of them would technically work if you were the least bit creative. There are a couple hundred pounds in the floor of the Ferguson Building. What are some of the stranger requests you have had? One time I got an e-mail from someone who wanted me to work on a chastity belt—an actual chastity belt made out of leather and brass. It was locked, and they wanted to come up with the key for it, so that they could put it in a museum.


Did they tell you where the belt was exactly? In fact, I did ask if it was attached, and they said no. [Laughs.]

A collector of all things related to keys and locks, Kent McGuigan is often approached by people who have skeleton key holes in their homes, and usually he can help. “With old skeleton keys there were maybe only eight or 10 common keys, and if you had a ring of those you could let yourself in anywhere,” he says.

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You seem to like your job. Oh, I love it. It is not all that labor-intensive, but it does require that you use your mind to a certain degree. It requires an incredible amount of trust. I like being trusted. You know, the integrity is something that you aspire to. I’ve been trusted by presidents and vice presidents on little secrets because there was no other way around it. I have enjoyed my home away from home here for a long, long time.

Go Br!ts!

Standing Tall Sports Information Director With the large frame that has led him to success as a linebacker in football and thrower in track and field, senior Mike Culliver would present a strong figure anywhere. However, it is the choices the Albion native has made—including the decision to stay in his hometown to attend college—that have transformed the gentle giant into a strong pillar on campus and in the local community. Culliver remembers that Harry Bonner, one of his mentors as he was growing up, would often quote basketball coach Rick Pitino’s philosophy that “success is a choice.” “I live by that motto every day,” Culliver says. “I had the choice of living on the street or following my dreams. I had the choice of hanging out with kids who were acting up or doing the right thing. Only four or five of us stuck with it and went to college.” Culliver, who is majoring in anthropology and sociology, refers to Albion sociology professor Len Berkey as “his favorite teacher of all time.” With Berkey’s encouragement, Culliver has mentored children locally through Jessie’s Gift, a program linking Albion students with elementary school children in an intensive service-learning partnership, and through work at the juvenile home in Marshall.

It was a weekend trip to Chicago for a class project, however, that persuaded Culliver to choose mentoring children as a career. The trip included a visit to the Betty Shabazz International Charter School. Culliver was impressed at how African-American children seemed to flourish in the environment created there. “The school had a unique way of teaching the kids about their culture and who they were,” he notes. As a standout in high school athletics, Culliver was recruited by a number of institutions, including state universities. However, local educator Nancy Graham Roush, ’72, and fellow Albion High School graduate J.B. Starkey, ’06, convinced him to take a closer look at Albion College. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he could have his mom and many other community members in the stands as he competed for the Britons. And there have been great moments since he arrived on campus in 2004: Culliver was a starter on the 2005 MIAA champion football team, and he has been a fixture on the award stand after the shot put and discus events in the MIAA track and field championships for the past three years. D. TRUMPIE PHOTO

By Bobby Lee

Briton Sports on the Web Did you know that you can find all of the following on the Albion College sports Web site? • Sports news and results

• SportsNet broadcast schedules

• Schedules and rosters

• Sports archives

Follow the Britons at: It’s the next best thing to being here!

To receive regular sports updates, sign up for Briton SportsNews at:

Senior Mike Culliver has mentored local schoolchildren as a means of giving back to his hometown. A football linebacker, he is aiming for a top spot in the discus event during this spring’s league track and field championships. “I saw Albion as a rich college with few African-Americans as a kid growing up, and I did not have intentions to go to Albion,” Culliver says. “But then I thought about my mom when I was being recruited—she had been to all my high school games. What else could I do for my mom but to let her watch me play? If I had gone off to a big college, only five or six people may have come to my games. At Albion, everyone was able to watch, even the kids I mentored when they were in the fifth and sixth grade.” While his mom is always in the stands for his athletic contests and the two talk on the phone every day, Culliver says he has plenty of space to be a typical college student. He has become something of an ambassador for the local community with his fellow students. He wishes they would see his hometown the way he does. “I grew up in Albion,” Culliver says. “It’s a great place to live and to raise a family.”

or e-mail Bobby Lee at

Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 

The Mille

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illennials concerned and connected, introspective and goal-oriented, this generation believes it can change the world for the better. By Sarah Briggs they’re tech-savvy. they’re socially conscious and politically engaged. they’re ambitious and optimistic about the future. they’re destined to change the 21st-century workplace. they’re the Millennials. If the number of books, news reports, and research studies is any indication, this current generation of young adults may be the most closely scrutinized since the baby boomers. And for good reason: the number of Millennials—those Americans born since 1982—is expected to reach 100 million, about a third larger than the boomer generation. It’s risky to generalize about the characteristics of this or any other age group, and it must be recognized that not all members of this generation have shared in the affluence that has shaped the outlook and opportunities of most Millennials thus far. However, some core traits do seem to characterize this generation. Io Triumphe! recently met with four current students to learn how these traits may (or may not) be expressed on

‘Digital natives’ This generation has never known life without computers. They have been termed “digital natives,” unlike their parents who are “digital immigrants.” “I’ve been on the front line of technology my whole life,” says junior Lizzy Thornton. “I take it for granted.” From nintendo to the laptop to the iPod, this generation has had access to an array of increasingly sophisticated technology. And it’s available to them almost everywhere—at home, at school, at work, and at places in between. Technology is so fully integrated into their daily lives they say they have trouble functioning without it. Senior Scotty bruce recalls that when the hard drive in his laptop crashed recently, his life “was put on hold for two days” until the computer was fixed. Plugged into technology from their earliest years, the Millennials now move seamlessly between the real world and the virtual world. “There’s this great common space—cyberspace—and we’re a part of it, and it’s a part of us,” observes senior Jason Sebacher. “Cyberspace is this whole other dimension that’s very real to us. It’s a great, universal, democratic medium, where everyone has an equal voice.”

Albion’s campus.

Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 9

Hometown: ellsworth, mich. major: economics and management Carl A. Gerstacker Liberal Arts Institute for Professional management Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service Post-graduation plan: work as project manager for making waves Communications, London

Hometown: Buchanan, mich. majors: Political Science, History Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service Post-graduation plan: enter educational administration

Lizzy thornton, ’09

scotty Bruce, ’08

millennial teens and collegians are adapting new cell phone, networking, and social software technologies (like mySpace and Facebook) to increase their level of interconnection to a level that has never been seen in any prior generation. They’re less interested in the anonymous freedom of the Internet and more interested in its ability to maintain peer networks. neil Howe and william Strauss, Millennials Go to College (2007)

The Internet is a constant—whether these students are doing research for a project, hunting for the latest fashion item or music hit, or keeping up with the daily news. It is a prime information source—and the information is instantly available 24/7. “I’m more prone to look at than I am to pick up USA Today or the New York Times,” notes Thornton, reflecting this generation’s preference for media that are visual and interactive. Students agree that when the Internet is down, life is “chaos.” They feel completely cut off from the world. This generation often finds it easier and more convenient to stay in touch online than to seek people out face-to-face—and, in their view, that virtual contact is just as satisfactory. In a sense, they are never really alone unless they choose to be. With technology, they can be connected to friends—if only in the virtual world—any time of the day or night and no matter where they happen to be.

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And the advent of social networking Web sites such as and has made the virtual world even more attractive. According to a national survey conducted by uCLA’s Higher Education research Institute in 2007, 86 percent of first-year college students had spent some time each week on a social networking site during the previous year. “Facebook almost rules my life,” says sophomore Annie Gawkowski. “I’m always online.” She has 1,500 Facebook “friends,” people with whom she is in regular contact, and she admits she sometimes spends more time communicating with all of them than she should. While much of what happens on Facebook is purely social, the site has also become an important means for rallying people around a cause. Lizzy Thornton explains that Facebook’s networking features have regularly been used to alert Albion students to an emerging issue and inspire them to act. “We mobilize through technology,” Thornton says. “It’s phenomenal the way you can start a group on Facebook and say we want to support a particular cause . . . and it happens instantly.” Then there’s the cell phone. For Millennials, the cell phone—which has become practically an extension of their arm—is not only a vital telecommunications device, but it also serves as alarm clock, Internet connection, camera, and personal organization tool. Where older generations may find the cell phone merely useful, Millennials say it’s absolutely essential to existence.

Hometown: Sturgis, mich. major: english Prentiss m. Brown Honors Institute Post-graduation plan: Join Teach for America

Jason sebacher, ’08

Hometown: muskegon, mich. majors: Political Science, Philosophy Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service Post-graduation plan: work on Capitol Hill

Annie Gawkowski, ’10

Family first Communications technology keeps these students connected to their friends—and, interestingly, to their parents and other family members. The news media recount how “helicopter parents” regularly check in with their college-age children via cell phone or e-mail, sometimes once a day or even more. How widespread is this phenomenon at Albion? Students say it’s common. “My parents text-message my brother and I . . . probably four times a day,” Lizzy Thornton says. She routinely lets her parents know her whereabouts and what’s on her schedule at any given time. These students do not seem at all uncomfortable with a high level of parental involvement. “I’m very close with my parents, and I would argue that a majority of my friends are too,” says Scotty bruce. And so are most of his generational peers. “More than nine in ten [of Millennial teens] say they ‘trust’ and ‘feel close to’ their parents,” according to neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of Millennials Go to College. This generation shares news of daily happenings in their lives with their parents, and they also seek out parental advice when making important decisions. “This is a time in my life when a lot is going on,” explains Jason Sebacher. “Parents are a resource. We face the same decisions and obstacles they did when they were students.” That’s not to say that these students don’t have space to figure things out for themselves, and even to make mistakes on occasion. Even so, parents are generally there to provide a safety net. “My parents have done a great job of raising me so far,” says bruce, “while allowing me to be independent and make my own decisions. . . . If something really goes wrong, I know they would help me out.”

[millennials are] sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, influential, and achievement-oriented. They’ve always felt sought after, needed, indispensable. They are arriving in the workplace with higher expectations than any generation before them. . . . Claire Raines, Connecting Generations (2002)

And unlike the baby boomers who often rejected their parents’ beliefs, the Millennials are largely “in sync” with their parents’ values. “The share of teens reporting ‘very different’ values from their parents has fallen by roughly half since the ’70s, and the share who say their values are ‘very or mostly similar’ has hit an all-time high of 76 percent,” according to the authors of Millennials Go to College. Much has been written about the structured lives these Millennial students have led since childhood— lives filled with music and dance lessons, “Future Problem-Solving” competitions, team sports activities, community service, and much more. Often, the underlying message is that success is measured by a resume full of accomplishments. American children learn early on that the outcome of an undertaking—being first at something—is what is important rather than the attempt itself, Jason Sebacher believes. “Success must be had, and it must be continual.” The pressure to achieve is real for many in this generation. Annie Gawkowski counters that much of the pressure Millennials experience comes from within. She says she has taken to heart the biblical phrase, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” “I have a lot of passion and a lot of dedication,” she continues. “I just know that I have to do something with that. If I didn’t, I would really be letting myself down.”

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“People are worried about global warming, about overpopulation . . . those are valid concerns, but with technology there’s no reason to think we can’t fix those problems.”

“Each one of us expects to make a positive impact in the world.”

Lizzy thornton, ’09

scotty Bruce, ’08

Scotty bruce doesn’t think Millennials have been pressured so much as guided in their involvements. “They have felt like they’ve had acceptance and support. They’ve had adults around them who would help them get where they wanted to go.”

Global action Millennial college students show a growing interest in world affairs. The uCLA study found that 52 percent of this year’s entering freshmen wanted to improve their understanding of other countries and cultures, a nearly 10 percent increase since 2002. These students also recognize that today’s problems may require solutions that transcend national borders. “The world is getting smaller,” says Scotty bruce. “A lot of students love America and believe it’s the best country in the world, but that doesn’t mean that we Americans can do whatever we want.” In these students’ view, the united States rightly sees itself as a player on the world stage—but a player along with many others. They also expect to live and work in an ethnically diverse world. “We’re more open-minded and accepting of diversity,” bruce says. Given the increased focus in recent years on environmental issues, especially climate change, it’s not surprising that the state of the environment ranks highly among student concerns. More than a quarter of the

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respondents in the uCLA study believe it is essential or very important to be personally involved in programs to clean up the environment, and 80 percent said “the federal government is not doing enough to control environmental pollution.” Spurred by this recognition of environmental problems, Jason Sebacher maintains, “we have to stop making the situation worse, and prepare for the consequences of the environmental change that has already occurred.” Questions of social justice at home and abroad also loom large for these students, according to Lizzy Thornton, whether it’s access to health care or defense of human rights. A political campaign volunteer since her high school days, she believes students today want to focus more on the issues and less on candidates’ lives and whatever personal failings they may have had in the past. While Millennials may be aware of the issues that confront our society, they don’t necessarily act on their concerns, according to Annie Gawkowski. “The biggest fear I have is that this generation is not engaged enough.” An intern last summer with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C., she would like to see many more students become politically active. “I see politics as a positive vehicle for change,” she says. At least when it comes to voting, this generation may reverse the relatively low turnouts of young adults at the polls that have been common in past elections. Studies at both Harvard university and the university of Maryland have shown that the number of 18- to 24year-olds voting in the 2004 presidential election was substantially higher than in 2000 and 1996, and the upward trend seems to be continuing for 2008.

“For me the beat of history is always a progressive one. Progressive ideas eventually come to fruition and become commonplace.”

“I feel optimistic about the future. Having a pessimistic attitude about the world doesn’t help. If we can’t see a better tomorrow, then there won’t be a better tomorrow.”

Jason Sebacher, ’08

Annie Gawkowski, ’10

The Millennials who have come from more affluent backgrounds often are motivated to assist those who are less fortunate. Teach for America, which recruits recent graduates for teaching positions in economically disadvantaged urban and rural schools, is attracting increasing numbers of applicants from elite colleges, and recent college graduates are filling the ranks of similar locally-run programs in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major cities. Annie Gawkowski shares their idealism. “I see education as the solution to all other problems,” she says. Last month, Jason Sebacher decided to join Teach for America, and he will be working in inner-city Chicago next year. The UCLA survey found that 70 percent of the respondents think it is essential or very important to help others who are in difficulty, the highest response in 27 years. The habit of service, instilled in the early school years, continues in college. Lizzy Thornton is a committed volunteer, and she sees this same inclination among her peers. “Volunteering is a big deal for my generation. To us, it’s second nature. A lot of us have been getting involved in our communities since we were little children.” There is also more awareness of human needs on a global scale, according to these students. “People realize helping each other is a necessity to get by,” Thornton says. Scotty Bruce completed two internships with a youth marketing firm in London in fall 2006 and summer 2007, respectively, and will be returning to work there full-time after graduation. He has spent considerable time studying the Millennial mindset. Partly because of the speed of communication today, he says, “we’re used to getting what we want, and getting it very quickly.” The increased ease of communication and rapid pace of change have bred an impatience in this generation of young people, many observers have noted. As a May 2007 Fortune magazine article put it, “[Millennials are] ambitious, they’re demanding, and they question everything.” Whether in the workplace or in the political or social arenas, in the Millennials’ view, change simply can’t happen fast enough.

Future speak Many members of this generation think that careful planning for the future is key, and that the planning needs to begin in high school, if not before, say the authors of Millennials Go to College. “To many Millennial teens, it’s as though a giant generational train is leaving the station. Either they’re on the platform, on time and with their ticket punched, or they’ll miss the train and never be able to catch up.” Likewise, today’s college graduates see the choices they make in the early years of their career as “crucial . . . in a rigorously planned path to success.” Lizzy Thornton would agree. “It is definitely part of the mindset for my generation. It’s a comfort for us and for our parents to say that we know what we are going to do and when we are going to do it.” Annie Gawkowski says she has a “disgustingly detailed plan” for the years following her college graduation. She would like to work on Capitol Hill for a year or two, perhaps involved in the political action committee Emily’s List, and then head to law school. “Ideally, I would like to be governor of Michigan,” she adds. While acknowledging the uncertainties that exist in the world today, and the violent conflicts that are so much in the news, the Millennials remain fundamentally optimistic about the future and confident in their abilities, attitudes documented by the Pew Research Center. They believe they can change the world for the better, and they will keep at it until they see some results. “We’re at a very exciting time,” notes Scotty Bruce. “I think all of us will be ready.”

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In Search of the

Shortening the distance By Jake Weber French professor Emmanuel Yewah can’t say exactly what motivated him to leave his native village of batchingou, Cameroon at a tender age—in large part because he doesn’t actually remember making the decision. “My mom tells me I was three or four years old when her aunt came to visit,” smiles Yewah. “When she was leaving I packed the few things that I had and said I was going with her. One of my brothers had gone to live with a different aunt, to go to school, so maybe I thought I should do that too.” It’s a long way from batchingou to Albion, but Yewah has shortened that distance considerably, not just for himself, but for many of his students and colleagues. In a number of innovative courses he has designed, Yewah has combined his personal background and professional training, helping to spark the increasing interest in Africa and African studies that is much in evidence on campus today. One key to this growth has been his first-year seminar, “Africa: Myth and reality.” In five class field trips over the last eight years, Yewah has taken nearly 75 students to Cameroon, where they visit manufacturing plants, openD. TRumPIe PHOTO

A graduate of the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon, Emmanuel Yewah first came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan. “I applied to several schools at random, and Michigan was the first to admit me,” he recalls. “I got a map of the United States, laid it out, and saw all the blue. I was attracted by the lakes, even though I do not swim. So that’s how I decided to come to Michigan.”

From the growing number of Albion faculty and students who are passionate about African studies, you will hear a recurring theme: Don’t necessarily believe what you hear in the news media, see in popular films, or even read in some textbooks. It’s time, they say, to move beyond the misconceptions that many westerners have about Africa and start to understand the real Africa—an entirely different Africa that lies behind the images of poverty and AIDS, crowded cities and jungle terrain that we see so often. At Albion, as you will discover in the accompanying stories, the real Africa is being explored in a variety of ways, not the least of which is on the ground in countries across the continent.

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air markets, private homes, coffee and tea estates, schools, a hospital, and megachurches, gaining a perspective on their studies that goes beyond books. “I was able to see firsthand the things that we had talked about—the differences in attitudes, standards of living, education, and overall culture,” explains Abby Schoenfeld, ’11. “I was also able to see that the life of a person there isn’t necessarily worse than my own life, as the media often make us believe—it’s just different.” It’s not an easy trip for anyone. The students struggle with culture shock, language barriers, sweltering heat, and the disruption caused by their mere presence. For his part, Yewah serves as tour guide, translator, counselor, and bank, carrying the cash that will pay for the entire group’s food, transportation, lodging, and the occasional “extras” demanded by officials. “I spend so many sleepless nights worrying about the money,” he comments. The impact of the trips has spread from the participating students to the campus in general. Sarah Heddon, ’07, a member of the 2003 seminar and now a Fulbright scholar in Tanzania, founded Albion College’s bitone Project, which supports an orphanage in uganda. Members of the 2005 seminar founded the nwagni Project which has raised $17,000 toward adding a two-classroom building to an elementary school in batchingou. “We met with the village chief, the Parent-Teacher Association president, and the elders,” says John Cawood, ’08, one of four nwagni members who traveled to Cameroon along with the first-year seminar students in January 2008. “We also signed the contract with the developer, allowing for ground to be broken in the coming weeks.” He adds, “The exposure to Cameroon’s culture was invaluable to me as someone who has never been in a developing nation. I learned to let go of everything familiar.” Yewah, a scholar steeped in the discipline of comparative studies, is mindful of how the trip supports one of his instructional goals. “My students can go to their friends [or other classes] and tell them, ‘I went there . . . it’s not exactly what you see on Tv,’” he muses. “A few students at a time add up to a lot who can share this knowledge.” The trip also underscores Yewah’s insistence that African studies requires careful attention to your

‘real’ Africa sources of information and their reliability. “In my teaching, I encourage students to reflect on and question what I tell them. Learning is not merely a retelling of what you just heard me say. It requires critical analyses of what you read or hear.” Yewah says one of the most memorable aspects of the Cameroon trip for his students is the time they spend with children in batchingou, which explains the students’ enthusiasm for the fundraising projects now under way. “President randall is really supportive of what we’re doing,” he adds. “We took a wonderful plaque from Albion College to batchingou, and it was her initiative. I consider the plaque a seal of approval of our collective effort. That encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing, and it encourages the students as well.” The students are not the only ones who find the trip an emotional experience, Yewah admits. “My proudest moment is when I go to my village with students,” he explains. “The people of the village don’t consider me the son of my mom. I’m really the son of my village. That’s the greatest honor I can have. I don’t think the students know it, but they bestow that honor upon me.”

Making the foreign familiar By Sarah Briggs Drop by history professor Matt Carotenuto’s office someday, and you might be invited to join him in a cup of East African tea. A specialist in African history, Carotenuto says he became enamored with the tea, spiced with ginger, during his numerous trips to Kenya over the past 10 years. It provides a sensory connection, he says, to peoples and cultures he has come to deeply respect on both a personal and professional level. Just as sipping tea helps put a visitor in touch with East Africa—if only for a moment—Carotenuto hopes to accomplish much the same thing through his teaching on African history. His classes, he says, focus on getting students to look beneath the surface and discover a much more complex reality. So while

delving into the details of Africa’s past, he also engages his students in reading historical novels by African authors, viewing documentary films, browsing the daily newspapers that are now published online in nearly every African country, and sometimes even sampling steaming bowls of ground-nut stew that he prepares. by drawing on such diverse sources, he says, students move beyond the stereotypes about Africa that they so often find in the popular media and begin to look at Africa from the position of the “insider.” This effort generally begins on the first day of class. “We start all of my African history classes,” he says, “with a discussion of myths and stereotypes, which I feel gives students a chance to question and openly identify what they know about Africa and what they don’t know. Doing this creates a culture of being open to those questions.” Carotenuto and his students together probe the diversity of African societies and the myriad forces that have shaped them. “I want students to come away from my class having skills to understand current African affairs . . . to understand that issues affecting the African continent aren’t something that just pop up out of nowhere—there’s a history behind them.” They confront difficult topics like violent conflict and genocide. “We use the rwandan genocide to understand how ethnicity can be manipulated,” he explains. “There were internal forces at play, as well as external forces. My students look critically at what happened, and I think they can get beyond those horrific connotations. . . . They can place the experiences of that small country in the larger context of the African continent.” Africa’s past and present must also be explored in a larger global context, Carotenuto says, so they spend time talking about the legacy of colonialism, as well as current international influences affecting the continent.

Next fall, Matt Carotenuto will introduce a first-year seminar on “Zamani: East Africa through the Ages” that will include a two-week field trip to East Africa. It will complement the current seminar taught by Emmanuel Yewah in which students travel to West Africa. Such travel experiences are the best way to connect students to other cultures, Carotenuto says.



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“My students really want to understand the present situation in Africa—I talk about the economy, the political situation, issues of development. You can’t understand those if you focus only on what’s going on within a particular country’s borders. You have to look at the external forces that are also in play. This gives students a way of connecting.” As globalization continues, the need for Americans to be well-educated about Africa grows increasingly important. Aided by the ease of travel and improved communication, students will be interacting with Africans in their lives much more frequently, Carotenuto says. Anne Seelbach, a junior history major with a special interest in African studies, notes, “Most Americans do not understand how unique each African nation is in culture and the economic and political issues they face. We should know more—what happens in these countries does have an impact far beyond the continent. And from an international relations perspective, the u.S. must also promote stability in Africa and work for peace.” Carotenuto’s research, which focuses on the formation of ethnic identity in African societies, finds its way into all the courses he teaches. Throughout 2004, he conducted doctoral research in Kenya, uganda, and the united Kingdom under a FulbrightHays Dissertation Fellowship, and he returned to Kenya again this past summer under an Albion faculty development grant.

“My research deals with how we understand ethnicity in East Africa and how Africans have historically constructed that identity,” Carotenuto explains. He worked extensively with Kenyans of Luo heritage, who have recently been much in the news voicing their opposition to the outcome of the Kenyan presidential election in December. “I have met the disputed presidential candidate, and I have other Kenyan friends who have been involved in the [election controversy], so it has become quite relevant.” He is currently finishing a book on ethnicity in 20th-century East Africa. Looking back over the past decade, Carotenuto recalls his arrival in nairobi as a college student to begin a study program that would ultimately convince him to pursue African history as a career path. “I think it is beyond my ability to describe what spending that semester abroad in East Africa meant to me,” he says. “Whether it was studying the delicate relationship between Hadza society and their environment in northern Tanzania or braving the smoke and tears of a rural Taita kitchen to learn how to craft the perfect chapati, my experiences challenged me in ways that were incredibly exciting.” From his classroom, in the heart of the Midwest, he takes his students on a similar journey—if only vicariously—and in doing so makes what once was foreign familiar.

African Perspectives Visit our online edition to find the following stories. Just go to: .


■ Prompted by her first-year seminar visit to Cameroon, Alex Begle, ’09, (pictured back row, second from right) and several classmates have now raised over $17,000 of the

$25,000 needed for a school construction project in the rural village of Batchingou. During a trip there in January, the students and their faculty mentors presented a plaque from Albion that will be mounted on the new building.

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■ Albion sociologist ‘Dimeji Togunde has spent more than a decade transforming thousands of interviews with nigerian citizens into useful information for policymakers and scholars. In the process, he transforms his Albion student assistants into competent research partners. ■ A native of Ghana and currently a premedical student at Albion, Kwame Sakyi, ’09, spent the recent winter break in his home country, interviewing care providers and patients about the intersection of western medicine with traditional practices in prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care. ■ Lindsay Zeigin-netter, ’08, shares observations on her year abroad in Kenya, during which she stayed in a rural village and in the capital city of nairobi. She found much of her learning came from the simple activities of everyday life.

The Active Life Slow down? Not a chance, say these retired Albion profs. dream to transform the Ismon House ( from a private clubhouse to “an affordable facility with a touch of class, where people in the community can gather and celebrate.” He notes, “The Ismon House has really exceeded our expectations, in terms of the variety of functions and events, and in the number and diversity of community people who use it.” The Ismon House project began with the expiration of a 99-year lease agreement between the city of Albion and two private clubs. At that point, the building was in need of extensive maintenance and repair work, and the city was eager for a tenant who could foot the bill. Stohl was invited to the organizational meeting for what eventually became the Friends of the Ismon House. “I was interested in what could be done with the facility,” says Stohl, who quickly began recruiting pro-bono architects and consultants, working on fundraising efforts, and growing the worker-volunteer base. Then the estimate for the renovation came in—$1.15-million. “A lot of people thought it just couldn’t be done,” Stohl reflects with some amusement. “I guess I was blind to that. I told the board, ‘We’re just going to have to go at this a different way.’ And that’s what we did.” Stohl soon found himself working 40- and 50hour weeks as he and the board, along with dozens of volunteers, spent over two years doing prep work for the renovation. The work began on the first floor and moved down to the basement and upward, floor by floor. On the top level, Stohl and others “cleaned out 100 years’ worth of pigeon nestings.” Volunteers cleared the entire building of lath and plaster, wiring, plumbing, and gas lines, and helped with the reconstruction, “saving us more than $160,000 in labor costs.”

Johan Stohl:

Champion of the Possible By Jake Weber


“I’m involved in the community, but I don’t really ‘volunteer,’” says Johan Stohl, contemplating his activity since retiring in 1995. “It’s just that when I am asked to participate, I find myself doing things.” “Doing things” is an understatement in describing the thousands of hours Stohl, professor emeritus of religious studies, has devoted to one of the largest community projects of the decade: restoration of one of Albion’s jewels, the 110-year-old Mary Sheldon Ismon House. Over a remarkably short seven years, Stohl has been the driving force behind a collective

Johan Stohl, professor emeritus of religious studies, has been the driving force behind the restoration of the Mary Sheldon Ismon House as a community gathering place. While work continues on the stairwells, basement, and upper stories, the first floor was opened to the public 21 months ago and has accommodated over 5,000 guests of all ages and backgrounds. Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 17

Emeriti on the go From promoting personal fitness to fundraising for local charities to protecting area water resources, Albion College’s retired professors continue to stay engaged in the greater Albion community.

Bob Armstrong (chemistry) has been a critical part of the success of Albion College’s Habitat for Humanity (ACHH) chapter. Armstrong has served as crew chief for all six ACHH construction projects, and has been on the Albion/Battle Creek Habitat for Humanity board for more than a decade. He sits on the Calhoun County Red Cross board and on the Michigan Red Cross blood drives board, and is also active with the Albion community’s Health/Wellness Action Team.

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When Stohl had time to brush the plaster dust from his hair, he spent a significant amount of time ensuring that the building’s interior would not reflect the low-budget renovation. He combed the Internet for wood to match the original oak flooring. “I also had to design ways to hide the duct work and pipes without lowering the original ceilings. That was challenging,” Stohl admits with a smile. “Some of the interesting architectural details in the house are actually just places where we hid a bunch of pipes.” While he is quick to note that the majority of the Ismon House board has given years of service to the project, it’s Stohl’s persistence that has kept it moving forward. “He’s the one who has been searching and investigating, writing grants, just working,” says former Albion mayor Lois McClure-White, who called the first exploratory meeting. “We all worked. But it would never have gotten done without Johan. I’m convinced of that.” Stohl points out that “local foundations, industries, businesses, and individuals have generously donated the $360,000 needed to cover all construction to date, which includes the commercial kitchen and the four-story elevator.” It should be possible, he believes, to complete the entire Ismon House renovation for another $300,000. Stohl’s Ismon House involvement is just one example of his eclectic interests. Though he spent his career teaching religious studies, earning his Ph.D. in that field at the University of Chicago in 1972, he began his college years as a music major. He completed a bachelor’s degree at Eastman School of Music with a specialty in classical trombone, and his passion for the performing arts continues to this day. During his 28-year affiliation with Albion, he focused on the relationship between religion and culture, including courses dealing with religion and the creative imagination, modern literature, and archetypal psychology. Given the scope of the Ismon House project, it’s astonishing to consider that Stohl also helped found and develop another equally vibrant community group: the Albion Academy for Lifelong Learning (AALL), an Elderhostel-type program that provides courses for a 55-and-over senior membership. “It has been a wonderful project. We’ve steadily increased the number of participants, drawing on active and retired faculty and others to offer very successful classes,” says Stohl, noting that, like the Ismon House, AALL provides another way of bringing together diverse sections of Albion’s community. “We’ve kept to our goal of making AALL an academy for intellectual stimulation and social interaction, and we are delighted that it continues to appeal to a wide variety of adults.”

Stohl has recently reduced his leadership functions on the boards of the Ismon House and AALL, and plans to devote “less time to both endeavors and more time to other retirement activities, such as writing poetry.” Though reluctant to take much credit for his role in each project’s success, he is more than pleased with how each project is making a positive contribution to life in Albion. “When we’re in a community that’s struggling economically, it’s so important to meet the basic survival needs of residents. Thank goodness there are people doing that. But after awhile, ‘without a vision, the people perish,’” Stohl philosophizes. “So we also have a need for positive transcending experiences in our lives, whether they are social, artistic, intellectual, or spiritual. And I believe that meeting these needs is equally important for us, as individuals and as a community.” In 2006, Johan Stohl was one of five finalists chosen for Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Service Award for Outstanding Senior Volunteers, and he was honored as a citizen leader by the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce during the 2005 Festival of the Forks. In 2003, Stohl was recognized for his service to the Albion Volunteer Service Organization. He obtained a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant in the late 1990s which at the time was responsible for the survival of that organization. His e-mail address is:

Robina Quale-Leach:

‘Community Gadfly’ By Jake Weber Like most people in this country, Robina QualeLeach spent many hours of her childhood staring out a car window, in her case on regular trips between Onekama in Manistee County, Michigan and Chicago. Where most of us were simply bored, she became concerned about the people living in the big apartment buildings she saw: how could the mothers keep an eye on children playing outside? “Looking at those apartment buildings got me thinking about how to build houses on narrow lots, where you could have a safe play space that was close to many doors,” Quale-Leach says of her earliest efforts to apply thoughtful planning and careful research to address a problem that others seemed not to notice. By her early teens, Quale-Leach was intent on becoming an architect. In the 1940s, however, “women were in architecture primarily as draftsmen,” she says. “I was too independent-minded to think I would be a draftsperson in someone else’s office. So I decided to teach, instead.”


Emeriti on the go Betty Beese Robina Quale, professor emerita of history, is a regular around Albion City Hall. She has initiated a number of campaigns bringing together governmental, business, and citizen resources to address community issues.

(physical education) has now completed almost 21 post-retirement years teaching a water aerobics class for community seniors. Her twice-weekly sessions average around 15

While earning her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan, she resolved to become a professional historian. She joined Albion College’s History Department in 1957, primarily teaching non-Western history. In 1966, her textbook Eastern Civilizations was published, followed by a second edition in 1975. It was used across the country from the U.S. Naval Academy to Western Washington State University until it went out of print in the 1980s. She also published on the history of family structures across cultures, completing two worldwide surveys (still in print) in the decade before she retired in 1992. Quale-Leach’s lifelong interest in research-based problem-solving, combined with a pragmatic approach, explains her current reputation as a community activist and a force to be reckoned with. “I do what I can when I see a need,” she says of the many campaigns she has initiated, often bringing together governmental, business, and citizen resources to address community issues. Whether raising funds to support professional staff aiding local domestic violence victims, finding a community sponsor for a candidates’ forum, getting out the vote for a millage issue, or educating citizens and state legislators about predatory lending schemes, she doesn’t shrink from tackling the complicated problem of making society work for all. It’s a tough job, and not one that Quale-Leach initially pictured for her emerita years. She had planned to continue her research and publication on the history of family structures, but instead spent a decade caring first for her elderly mother, then for her husband, Richard Leach, and finally for an elderly cousin. The closing of Albion’s hospital, its largest factory, and its largest retailer occurred while she was completing the settlement of her cousin’s estate. “Here I was with this released energy, but I couldn’t go back

to scholarship—I had been out of the necessary habits for too long,” she recalls. “Our community had a desperate need, and I knew I had some capacity to help.” In the summer of 2002, Quale-Leach helped laidoff employees fill out forms for various social service agencies. By the end of that year, she and others put together and distributed a “211” directory for the Albion area, so that users could easily identify agencies addressing their specific needs. This project made her aware of another strong but unmet community need: helping low-income homeowners comply with Albion’s property maintenance code. “Several of Albion’s large employers were concerned that the condition of Albion’s housing stock might discourage new businesses,” Quale-Leach explains. “I decided to learn about available services so owners could be reassured they wouldn’t lose their homes to property maintenance code enforcement.” She then recruited and trained a cadre of volunteers who continue to help low-income homeowners find affordable improvement and maintenance assistance. She also raised nearly $25,000 to support the project. Quale-Leach helped the city “move the property inspection controversy from disagreement to a workable program,” says city manager Mike Herman. “Robina is a positive activist, a voice of reason with a fire under her. If she looks at a policy and she agrees with it, it gives us added legitimacy with many different interest groups.” That legitimacy comes from Quale-Leach’s solid commitments to Albion civic groups. She is a 51year member of the Albion branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and a 19-year member of the Rotary Club of Albion. More recently, she has become active with the Albion branches of NAACP and Business and Professional Women.

people. She estimates that over the decades a few hundred individuals have participated as a way to stay fit.

Phil Hostetler (psychology) was honored as 2007 Volunteer of the Year for Sexual Assault Services of Calhoun County (SAS). One of SAS’s few male victim advocates, Hostetler’s on-call hours since 1997 are estimated to be above 40,000—and rising. He has also logged 17 years with Kids Cardiac Life Support, a program to teach CPR to all Albion Public Schools students. In retirement, Hostetler learned to play the electric bass so he could join his church’s praise band.

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Emeriti on the go Larry Taylor (geology) has become a vocal advocate for the protection of the Albion community’s water resources. His involvements have ranged from determining the environmental impact of a new water treatment plant to promoting the recreational use of the Kalamazoo River through the recently completed Riverwalk running through town. Taylor is also a longtime participant and major fundraiser for the annual Walk for Warmth that provides heating assistance for needy families.

Soon after Rotary International allowed local clubs to induct women, Quale-Leach joined Albion’s Rotary Club, in part because of a personal connection with Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary International. “I remember hearing him say during a dinner conversation in 1942 that he looked forward to the end of World War II, when Rotary clubs in Japan and Germany could revive and help to build a lasting peace,” she recounts. “When I joined, 42 years after he died, I felt a historian’s obligation to share my remembrances. ‘Service above Self ’ is Rotary’s motto, and its focus on both our community and our world certainly fits in with my frame of mind.” Albion NAACP president Bob Dunklin says of Quale-Leach’s service as the branch’s newsletter editor, “Robina has been extraordinary.” In addition, he notes that she is a key member of NAACP’s planning committee, which organizes community workshops on such topics as local government activities, fundamentals of investing, and home improvement. “I just can’t say how thankful I am for all the work she has done.” Quale-Leach has been a dedicated member of St. James Episcopal Church since joining its choir in 1957, and is currently president of Episcopal Church Women and a vestry member. Her problem-solving pragmatism has earned her affection and admiration in both church and community. When asked what she has found most rewarding in her church and community service, she looks back more than 40 years to two events which led to sustained rather than sporadic interracial and interfaith work in Albion. Early in 1965, Quale-Leach was one of the organizers of a march through Albion to support civil rights activists in the South. Inspired by the breadth of participation in the march, a large group of churches all across Albion came together to organize a Lenten Sunday meal, which she remembers as “the first time an event was deliberately planned to bring blacks and whites together around the same tables.” She blinks back a tear with the memory. “At the table I hosted, one elderly black man looked around the room and said, ‘Heaven will be like this.’ I think that’s what it has all been about.” In 2005, Robina Quale-Leach was honored for her facilitation of property maintenance code enforcement in Albion by a Battle Creek Enquirer George Award for not just “letting George do it.” Shortly afterward, Albion’s AAUW branch honored her community service by naming its annual gift to the national AAUW Educational Foundation for her. However, she treasures even more the fact that since 2006, she has been listed in the annual Albion AAUW program booklet, under “Committee Chairs,” as “Community Gadfly.” Her e-mail address is:

20 | Io Triumphe!

James Cook, ’54:

A Writer’s Writer By Morris Arvoy Not many retired professors have agents, but count James Cook as among those who do. The self-described “archival stack-rat” has published five books since retiring as Langbo Trustees’ Professor of English in 2000. For Cook, “retirement” has evolved into a second career as a prolific biographer and reference writer. It’s a career that took root more than three decades ago when Cook was on sabbatical in Toronto and a friend challenged him to try his hand at translating. He enjoyed it, and others liked his work. In 1980, he received a $30,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for more translations, and a new phase of his publishing career began. The Albion College Bookstore now stocks five of Cook’s titles—more than any other Albion author. At a recent Homecoming, the bookstore set up an autograph table for Cook in the Kellogg Center, selling such books as Sun-chaser, his biography of groundbreaking adventurer and explorer Marvin Vann, ’40; his translation of Petrarch’s Songbook; and Man-Midwife, Male Feminist: The Life and Times of George Macaulay, M.D., Ph.D. (1716-1766). “I like doing historical biographies,” Cook explains. “I thought I would be doing more, but I got a wonderful agent, and she said I should be a reference writer. It’s what she finds easiest to sell, and I want to make her happy!” In recent years Cook—a former fellow of the British Academy, the Newberry Library, the University of Toronto’s Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies, and Toronto’s Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies—has written the 600-page Encyclopedia of Renaissance Literature (2005) and translated the Selected Poems of Isabella Andreini (2005). His largest reference project, the Encyclopedia of Ancient Literature, which is 1,600 manuscript pages, will be published this year by the New York firm Facts on File. Cook also translated the English poems of Indian poet and painter Sri Mati Lal into Italian last year for the Indian and Italian markets. When he is not researching or writing, Cook can be found playing viola in the Albion College orchestra, visiting his three children and five grandchildren, or spending the summer in his rustic Ontario cabin


For Jim Cook, professor emeritus of English, “retirement” has evolved into a second career as a prolific biographer and reference writer. (“the Albion College Library North”)—all of which he enjoys with Barbara, “the love of my life.” Cook met his wife of 53 years in the seventh grade when he shot a spitball at someone who ducked. “I hit Barbara, and she turned around and smiled at me with a big mouthful of braces,” Cook recalls with his trademark raised eyebrows, followed by his contagious, bellowing laugh. He credits Barbara with much of his publishing success. “Throughout my life Barbara has been a critical piece of all I’ve done. She is my first-line editor. She catches inadvertent errors of many kinds and keeps my vocabulary in bounds.” For her part, Barbara says her husband just isn’t content unless he has a new project clamoring for attention. “He is really compulsive about writing,” she notes. “He leaps out of bed early in the morning because he’s always thinking about what he’s writing. It’s as if he were still teaching. When they put the table in the Kellogg Center at Homecoming, he enjoyed it very much. He felt like a celebrity.” “Working with him is a lot of fun,” she continues. “He has a great sense of humor and is always cracking jokes and making puns. He’s just great to get along with—very easygoing.”

Cook spent his freshman year at Albion, where he landed in the classroom of Anthony Taffs, who was an English professor at the College before switching to the Music Department. Taffs—a prolific composer and music instructor who taught until the day he died in 2005—became an important influence for Cook. Not only did Taffs inspire the young freshman to pursue a teaching career, but his retirement years were busier than ever with his teaching load, musical pursuits, and other interests. “You talk about a role model,” Cook says of his former professor. “He taught me that you could major in English—something I didn’t know. He was a wonderful, wonderful teacher. He was sort of my role model in that he made me want to become a college teacher eventually. Certainly he got me started down that path.” After his freshman year, finances forced Cook to transfer to Wayne University (now Wayne State), where he triple-majored in English, history, and language. He earned his master’s from the University of Michigan and taught high school in metropolitan Detroit until receiving his draft notice. After working for Army counterintelligence from 1956 to 1958 in Italy (a posting that allowed him to hone the Italian language skills that later led to his translation work), Cook returned stateside. He joined Albion’s English Department in 1962, earned his Ph.D. from Wayne two years later, and along the way discovered that he liked teaching undergraduates and the resources Albion had to offer. Now in his eighth year of retirement, Cook says he is looking for new and intriguing subjects for the historical biographies he loves to write. He has recently updated and revised the Macaulay book, and he says the additional biographies would be a welcome break from the inexhaustible mountain of reference work. Cook, an ardent cross country skier who works out three days a week in the College’s weight room, took a hiatus this winter from the rigors of his second career. Part of his time involved reading “trashy novels.” “There is often more work than I can handle,” muses Cook, not at all retiring.

Emeriti on the go John Williams (physics), is a behindthe-scenes volunteer who has a passion for service, according to his faculty colleagues. Williams has spent the past five years as treasurer for Albion Interfaith Ministries (AIM), devoting much time to auditing and updating that organization’s records. For the past six years he has also served as the local Rotary Club’s treasurer and maintained the computer records of the Jackson Area Emmaus Community. Williams has organized the community CROP Hunger Walk fundraiser for the past 14 years and devotes several hours each week to numerous projects of the Albion First United Methodist Church.

Some of Jim Cook’s books (published under the name James Wyatt Cook) are available at the Albion College Bookstore (517/629-0305) and at and To learn more about any of his books, please contact him at:

Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 21

A L U M n ! A s s o c ! At ! o n n e W s Homecoming 2008—sept. 26-28 Friday, sept. 26

saturday, sept. 27

twelfth Annual Briton classic Golf tournament Join alumni and friends of the College for a great day of competition and camaraderie on the links.

Golden Years Breakfast All alumni who graduated in 1958 or before are invited to this complimentary breakfast.

Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner Help us celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Athletic Hall of Fame. Alumni and student Bonfire and Pep rally Join alumni and students as they show their school spirit at Albion’s traditional pep assembly.

Alumni Awards ceremony A reception and program will honor this year’s alumni award recipients. All-sorority open House All lodges will be open to alumni during this morning open house. Stroll through campus with your classmates and visit the lodges while catching up with your Albion friends.

All-class Picnic Luncheon for Alumni, Faculty, and students All alumni are invited to a pre-game luncheon. There will be reserved seating for reunion-year classes.

and locations will be posted on the web as details become available: .

Football vs. central college (Iowa) Pre-game festivities include presentation of the Hall of Fame inductees. The halftime program will feature the Homecoming Court, the British eighth, and the Alumni Band.

Worship services will be held at the First united methodist Church on Sunday morning.

saturday class reunions For classes ending in “3” or “8,” 1948-2003. Reunion information

sunday, sept. 28

Homecoming choir and orchestra concert The Albion College Choir, together with the Alumni Choir, and the Albion College Orchestra will present their traditional Homecoming Concert.

LUG GAG Don’t e forget to

le Purp ld Go and e

H on t

D roA PHOTO CON TEST office of Alumni/Parent relations

Purple and Gold on the road This Homecoming, the College will be celebrating Albion connections in unique settings through a photography contest. we invite you to submit your favorite photo of you and your alumni friends in an interesting environment. whether your photo depicts an alumni trip to Greece, a recent Detroit Tigers game attended with classmates, a motorcycle trip through the mojave Desert with your Albion roommate, or an annual sailing trip up the coast of Lake michigan, we want to see your most creative photo that illustrates an Albion connection or an aspect of your “Life after Albion.” Photos will be displayed at the Kellogg Center and the Dow Recreation and wellness Center over Homecoming weekend and will be posted on Albion’s online alumni scrapbook.* The top photos will be awarded prizes.

tAG s

stop b get a set of y the regist perso drop o ration nalize ff two d lugg desk t of you o age ta before r busin gs. sim 1 p.m e s s . on s ply c custom a r d aturda s at re Albion gistra y, and colleg will be tion we wil e lugg availa l mak age ta ble fo e two r pick gs for up be you th tween a 3-4 p.m t .


contest rules: All photos must have been shot no earlier than Jan. 1, 2005. Deadline for all submissions: Sept. 2, 2008 electronic submissions: • Prepare digital image with dimension of at least 8 x 10 inches and resolution of 300 dpi. • Please include the story behind your photo (150 words or less) and identify those pictured in the photo. • Go to for instructions on submitting your photo. color print submissions: • Prepare 8 x 10-inch color print on glossy photographic paper. • Please include the story behind your photo (150 words or less) and identify those pictured in the photo. • mail to: Office of Alumni/Parent Relations, Attn: Homecoming Photo Contest, Albion College, 611 e. Porter St., Albion, mI 49224. * Some photos may not be suitable for display due to issues of picture quality, as determined by the Office of Alumni/Parent Relations.

Winter-Spring 2007-08 | 39

Y o U r A L U M n ! A s s o c ! At ! o n Twentieth Anniversary Celebration New Vision for the Future Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner Friday, sept. 26, 2008

we’ll relive great moments in Briton sports history . . . and make some new memories. watch for details this summer at .

think summer! Join us for Albion events ‘up north’! Watch your mail for news of Albion events planned in northern Michigan this summer. All alumni, parents, and friends are welcome to attend. If you have a summer residence ‘up north’ and would like to be included in these mailings, please let us know at: Office of Alumni/Parent relations, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224; telephone: 517/629-0448; e-mail: alumniandparents@ In early summer, event details will be posted at: events.asp .

40 | Io Triumphe!

By Robin Gearhart Michon, ’96 Alumni Association Board of Directors I always find this time of year to be inspiring, but it particularly resonates with me this year. I am eager to leave the snowy days behind me, along with the holiday bills, the extra five pounds I gained, and my new Year’s resolution that I again failed to keep. I am anxious to embrace a fresh start. Spring is right around the corner with the promise of sunny days and the anticipation of walks in the park with my daughter, who is about to celebrate her first birthday. There is much to look forward to on campus as well. President randall’s Inauguration is quickly approaching, and she brings with her a strong vision of how we can make Albion a nationally recognized institution. There is no better time for a college to engage in a self-evaluation than with a ‘changing of the guard.’ Dr. randall has assembled a Strategic Planning Committee to build upon areas where we are already successful, as well as to target advancement opportunities elevating Albion to new heights. More notably, Dr. randall and the committee are inviting alumni to help construct this new vision, and many focus groups have already been held around the country. If you have any suggestions on ways to enhance and enrich the Albion experience, please forward your comments to our alumni representatives on the Strategic Planning Committee, current Alumni Association board member Cheryl Henderson Almeda, ’91 ( or past board member Kirk Heinze, ’70 ( Implementation of the final plan is a significant undertaking that will span several years, but it will produce changes and improvements almost immediately. I am extremely passionate in my love for Albion. I am convinced we do many things right, but I am thrilled about making our college even better. Furthermore, I no longer want to keep Albion our best-kept secret for a tremendous education and a profound, well-rounded experience. Potential students, parents, faculty members, and employers need to know the exceptional quality of our institution, as well as the character of the graduate we produce. It has been more than a decade since I proudly walked across the commencement stage with hope for my own future, believing anything was possible. I am once again inspired by the future . . . Albion’s future. On a personal note, I would like to share my gratitude for being able to serve the past six years on the Alumni Association board of Directors, representing and holding near your best interests. I take that responsibility very seriously. I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure and have had the pleasure of working closely with many devoted alumni. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give a little back to the college that has given me so much!


L ! ’ l B R ! TS

The Play’s the Thing: Sparking an Interest in Theatre Arts

Nursery Rhyme Charades

Mirror Images

Musical Freeze

Seat everyone in a circle and begin by reciting together favorite nursery rhymes. Then ask each child in turn to go to the center of the circle and create a pantomime of an element from one of the rhymes. For example, someone might pantomime Bo Peep looking for those lost sheep, or nimble Jack jumping over the candlestick. The other children then try to guess the rhyme that is depicted. The adult should help guide the pantomime and the guessing as needed.

Children work as partners in this exercise, with one designated as the leader and the other as the “mirror.” Partners stand facing each other, about three feet apart. Using only the upper body, the leader makes simple gestures or movements that the “mirror” should duplicate exactly (as if looking in a mirror). The idea is to move together as precisely and smoothly as possible. Once upper body movement is mastered, lower body movement can be added.

Have an older child gather short musical clips, reflecting different styles and moods, on an mp3 player. Once ready, the adult will play the clips while the children improvise movements to the music. The idea is to use the whole body to reflect how the music sounds. Whenever the adult stops the music, the children must freeze instantly in position. Additional improvisation can be added at this point to further act out the musical scenario or the group can simply move on to the next clip.


Live Theatre for and by Kids


Michigan has a wealth of organizations offering theatre education and productions especially for children. Some of the better known groups are listed below, but local community theatre groups often encourage young thespians and playgoers as well.

Lisa Bany-Winters, On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids Bob Bedore, 101 Improv Games for Children and Adults

All of Us Express (Lansing)

Purple Rose Theatre Company (Chelsea)

BoarsHead Theatre (Lansing)

Wild Swan Theater (Ann Arbor)

Paul Rooyackers and Cecilia Bowman, 101 Drama Games for Children

Circle Theatre (Grand Rapids)

And check out these national and international resources:

Coleman Jennings (Ed.), Theatre for Young Audiences: 20 Great Plays for Children

Flint Youth Theatre

The Stratford Festival (Ontario)

Mosaic Detroit

American Alliance for Theatre and Education

PuppetART (Detroit)

Arts Education Partnership

Lenka Peterson and Dan O’Connor, Kids Take the Stage: Helping Young People Discover the Creative Outlet of Theater

Winter-Spring Winter-Spring 2007-08 2007-08 || 41 41

In Step in Argentina










“ Tango!,” a first-year seminar taught last fall by modern languages professor Rebecca whitehead-Schwarz, culminated in a week long trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina in January. with the tango as a starting point, the class explored Latin American history and culture. while in Buenos Aires, the students visited landmarks including La Casa Rosada (pictured) and, yes, made good use of their dancing shoes.



Io Triumphe! The magazine for alumni and friends of Albion College  

Winter/Spring 2007-2008 edition

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