) is a private liberal arts college
located in Kalamazoo
, 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. Kalamazoo College is one of the United States' 100 oldest academic institutions.
The school has an impressive study abroad program, perennially atop national undergraduate study abroad rankings. Over 85% of the roughly 1300 students spend either one, two or three quarters studying in a foreign country.
Kalamazoo College also has the distinction of producing the largest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita, as well as ranking in the top 1 percent for number of graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D.
Kalamazoo College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association. It is also listed in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.
2008-09 tuition is $38,166.
Kalamazoo College was founded in 1833 by a group of Baptist ministers and was originally dubbed the "Michigan and Huron Institute." 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
. In 1838, however, the University of Michigan
opened the Kalamazoo Branch of the University of Michigan, providing a local competitor to the Literary Institute. In 1840, the two schools merged, and from 1840 to 1850 the College operated as the Kalamazoo Branch of the University of Michigan. In 1850, the Kalamazoo Literary Institute name was restored and in 1855 the school finally received an educational charter from the state of Michigan, entailing explicit recognition of the school as a college. After receiving its educational charter, the school changed its name to Kalamazoo College.
James Stone was the first president of Kalamazoo College and led the school from 1842 through 1863. Stone was responsible for institution of high academic standards that allowed the College to receive its charter. Stone 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 that resulted in the formal birth of the Republican Party.
Kalamazoo College served as a pioneer in coed education, granting its first degree to a woman in 1870. 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 an annual literary-arts journal, "The Cauldron," and an annual compilation of students' work from study abroad, "The Passage."
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. 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.
Kalamazoo College is recognized as one of the most outstanding liberal arts colleges in the nation and 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 to choose from 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.
Kalamazoo College opened the new Upjohn Library Commons on January 3, 2006. The new library includes the completely renovated skeleton of the elder, and an extension adding 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 is a national leader in study abroad
opportunities. US News & World Report
America's Best Colleges 2003 ranked Kalamazoo College's study abroad program #1 in the country (Note: 2003 was the last year study abroad programs were ranked, now US News & World Report clumps 'Programs to look for' together in a general list). The school offers students the opportunity to study abroad for three, six, nine, or twelve months and requires no extra tuition payments. Comprehensive fees for the 2007-8 academic year total $35,838. 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.
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 #8 among all small schools and when compared with all academic institutions it ranks #1 in Ph.Ds per capita. Among all undergraduate institutions, Kalamazoo College was #1 per capita in 2005 for recruitment of Peace Corps volunteers.
The school's sports teams are called the Hornets. They compete in the NCAA
's Division III and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
(MIAA). Kalamazoo College is best known athletically for men's tennis due to an incredible conference win streak. As of 2006-2007, the Hornet tennis squad have won their conference championship an astounding 69 consecutive years. Kalamazoo College competes in the following sports:
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. Kalamazoo has won seven NCAA Division III national championships and has made 25 consecutive NCAA III tournament appearances.
National Runners-up - NCAA Division II:
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 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
- 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
Athletic Achievement and Contributions
- Brad Shively, Head Coach of Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving at Washington University in St. Louis.
- 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.
- Scott Whitbeck, assistant swim coach at The College of Wooster (2005-2007), University Massachusetts Amherst and State University of New York at New Paltz.
- Derek Jansen, Founder of d3swimming.com
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 then reviewed videotape of the game and determined that Baird had, in fact, released his shot before the buzzer and 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
Student Life and Traditions
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 to do 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.
Currently, the spring quarter of every year contains several notable social events. One is the Day of Gracious Living. On the Day of Gracious Living, classes are canceled. This day is never given a specific date, and is instead announced the night before by the President of the Student Commission as a surprise to the student body. Though this tradition was originally started with the intention that the students devote their free day to community service, it has evolved into a campus-wide trip to the beaches of Lake Michigan in South Haven or elsewhere. Another is the Spring Fling which is an all-day, family-friendly student party. There is usually cotton candy, live music, inflatable jungle gym equipment, and a wide variety of other social activities. Crystal Ball, a popular cross-dressing dance hosted by the school's GLBT club Kaleidoscope, also takes place in the spring of each year.
Another notable tradition for K College freshmen is an optional portion of the orientation program called LandSea. Each year, 100 freshmen, along with 20 student leaders and multiple guides, venture into Killarney Provincial Park before the school year begins. The program consists of 18 days of hiking, canoeing, climbing, rappelling and sailing. This program imparts both 'hard skills' like orienteering and outdoor survival, as well as 'soft skills', such as conflict resolution and relationship building. Student "patrols" travel through the park with two student leaders and also participate in a 2-day solo experience. Many regard LandSea as significant in bridging the difficult transition from high school to college.
Service Learning is also one of the most common extracurricular activities for K students. Many work with children from the surrounding public elementary schools, such as Woodward Elementary, and also with local high schools. The college organizes these activities through programs such as PALS and AMIGOS. Some students volunteer at health clinics; others work as Spanish translators at Bronson Methodist Hospital and Borgess Medical Center.
The campus is built around a grassy hill known as "The Quad". The Quad is also the site of numerous large scale events throughout the year, including Homecoming, Spring Fling, Convocation, and Commencement. Furthermore, at the top of the hill sits Stetson Chapel, which is a favorite location for alumni wedding services. The Quad is home to another popular Kalamazoo College student tradition, "streaking the Quad", a noisy, late-night descent from the Chapel, down the hill, and back to the top again. Tradition dictates that students must touch the school sign before returning to the top. There is a mass-streak after the spring performance by Frelon, the Kalamazoo College dance group, and also during the day by the senior class.
In the 1970s the school did away with the Greek system because of its social divisiveness, though an agreement with Western Michigan University allows Kalamazoo students to rush there.
List of notable student organizations at Kalamazoo College:
American Chemical Society
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Chapter
Anime Club (Japanese animation films)
Asian-American Student Association
Black Student Organization
Cauldron (Literary magazine)
Childish Games Commission
Economics and Business Club
EnvOrg (Environmental organization)
Habitat for Humanity
Health Professions Society (Pre-Med. organization)
Hindu Student Organization
Index (Student newspaper)
International Student Organization
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship
Jewish Student Organization (Hillel)
Kalamazoo College Democrats
Kalamazoo College Republicans
Kaleidoscope (Gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/ally organization)
Mixed and All-Women Acapella Groups
Mud and Mayhem Society
Music Performance Club
Progressive Organization for Women
Sisters in Science
Students for Barack Obama Chapter
Up 'Til Dawn
WJMD (Campus radio station)
- Please note that there are many other student organizations not on this list.
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 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.
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
- Larry Bell, businessman, brewer (Bell's Brewery, Inc.)
- Kevin Benham, Former Professor of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology
- Selma Blair, actress (graduated from the University of Michigan but studied at Kalamazoo from 1990 to 1992)
- Garry Brown, politician
- Harry Garland, founder Cromemco
- Richard Hudson, series producer Newton's Apple
- Holly Hughes, artist
- Gerald Ellis Rosen, United States District Court Judge
- Nagai Kafu, author
- William DeGrado, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania, and member of the National Academy of Sciences
- Lisa Kron, Tony Award nominated actress and playwright
- Vincent G. Liff, Broadway Casting Director
- Alexander Lipsey, Michigan politician
- Martin A. Larson, religion scholar
- Lila (Orbach) Lazarus, Detroit area reporter
- Sean Mann, bioethicist, author, professor
- John E. Sarno, innovator in back pain therapy
- Bradley A. Smith, Former Chairman, Federal Election Commission
- Benjamin Stevens, innovator in organic chemistry
- Peter S. Tippett, Norton AntiVirus creator
- Dany H. Trinh, Pokemon Blue concepts designer
- Ty Warner, founder, Ty Inc. (Beanie Babies)
- Maynard Owen Williams, National Geographic correspondent
- Julie Mehretu, Artist
- Michael McFall, President of Biggby Coffee
- Mr. Paul Eads, Emmy Award winner for Production Designer/Art Director for Motion Pictures and Television ("N.Y.P.D. Blue" and "Murder One")
- Mike vasas, singer/songwriter