Alumni News Fall 2017

Engaging community through theater

Alumna shares her passion for Shakespeare

by Susan Howard, ’10 and ’15

In today’s modern world of constant stimulation, the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company has built its success by focusing on the original, simpler staging practices of the 16th and 17th century, and taking to heart what William Shakespeare wrote in King Richard III, “An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.”


Katherine Mayberry

Based in Grand Haven, Pigeon Creek is Michigan’s only year-round, touring, professional Shakespeare company. As an undergraduate student, Katherine Mayberry, ’00, performed with and helped establish the company during her summers at Grand Valley. Mayberry, who earned degrees in liberal studies and philosophy and was a theater minor, now serves as Pigeon Creek’s executive director and still performs in its productions.

Central to Pigeon Creek’s Shakespearean approach is having the audience and the actors in the same light. Since artificial lighting was not used in London’s Globe Theatre during Shakespeare’s time, audience and actors alike could see each other. Mayberry said actors couldn’t pretend that the audience wasn’t there, which led actors to speak directly to the audience, pulling them into the show for a more active theater experience.

“If you research Shakespeare companies, you’ll see that there’s a current movement toward original practices at places as renowned as the Globe Theatre. We’ve been doing this for years,” she said.

The company has many Laker connections. Pigeon Creek’s current board includes alumni Kathleen (Hanley) Bode, ’12, Scott Lange, ’05, and Sarah Stark, ’10, and it maintains strong ties with the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival.

Mayberry said Pigeon Creek has two specific partnerships with the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival. “We provide the teachers for the Will Power Shakespeare Camp, a summer day camp at Grand Valley for elementary students. The other partnership happens at the biannual Shakespeare Festival Conference. We always perform at the conference and provide volunteers to help ensure the event’s success,” she said.

Mayberry is an adjunct professor in Grand Valley’s theater and English programs, further connecting her to the Shakespeare Festival. She earned a master’s of fine arts degree and master’s of letters degree in Shakespeare and performance from Mary Baldwin University’s American Shakespeare Center in Virginia, and has studied classical acting with the London Theatre Exchange and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

“My favorite aspect of theater when I was a student was getting to work on the Shakespeare Festival,” Mayberry said. “Now my whole career is Shakespeare, so it’s really exciting for me to be able to bring my expertise back to Grand Valley and work with students who have the same passion.”

Mayberry teaches a one-week Shakespeare camp for high school students every summer at the Interlochen Center for the Arts near Traverse City, and teaches at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, which built a replica of the Elizabethan theater, the Rose. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, in Twin Lakes, is for middle and high school students and offers a Shakespeare major.

Shakespeare play

Between her multiple teaching roles and her touring with the Pigeon Creek company, Mayberry is able to share her love of Shakespeare with a wide array of students and audiences, a fact she finds especially appealing about building her career in Michigan.

“People generally think that if you work in theater, you have to go to a big city, but big cities already have lots of theaters serving them,” she said. “While touring in Michigan, sometimes I go to tiny towns where there’s never been a Shakespeare performance before. It’s a chance to create community and engage community through performance, which I think is fantastic.”

Original Lakers hold 50th reunion

Members of Grand Valley’s first graduating class celebrated their 50th reunion June 23-24 by recreating their commencement walk, touring new campus buildings and reminiscing with friends.

More than 130 people participated, including 52 of the original 138-member Class of 1967. These original Lakers paved the way for more than 110,000 alumni and countless future students.

Student guides led participants through a tour and were reminded that many current campus buildings did not exist in the 1960s. The tour ended at Lake Michigan Hall, Grand Valley’s first building, where classmates lined up in pairs and headed to lunch under a large striped tent on the marching band practice field, recreating the walk they took on their commencement day.

Participants were surprised with a speech from Mark Zumberge, the youngest son of James Zumberge, Grand Valley’s first president. They also heard from a panel of students about the current Grand Valley experience. The weekend closed with a modern-day hootenanny and remarks from President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers and President Thomas J. Haas.

ice sculpture
large group outside
man at podium

Mark Zumberge

group walking

Alumni Events

crowd at baseball game

2,245 tickets were sold for GVSU Night at Comerica Park, raising $11,225 for the general scholarship fund. President Thomas J. Haas threw out the first pitch.

Upcoming Events

Laker Connections: Giving Tuesday: November 28

Gradfest: November 29-30

Holiday Brunch With Santa And Louie: December 2

Lints Alumni Track Meet: January 27

Community Outreach Week: March 24-31

For additional information, visit Events are subject to change.

group of people

Film And Video Alumni Reunion In Los Angeles, 7/16/17

helping move in

Freshmen Move-In, 8/21/17

group of people

D.C. Alumni Reception, 6/7/17

large group at baseball game

Charlotte, NC, Alumni at The Knights Baseball Game, 8/4/17

five men on golf course

Football Alumni Golf Outing Reunion Weekend, 6/23/17 & 6/24/17

Laker Updates

These Lakers are staying connected by using the Laker Landings website, Alumni can share updates of the following types: Anniversary, Award/Recognition, Birth/Adoption, Community Involvement, Career Update, Military Service, and Wedding. Share your Laker Landing today!


two babies, one toddler

Rita Kais Graham, '98, '02

Dahlia Nora and Sylvia Nadene Graham were born April 28, 2016. They are welcomed by Rita and Eric Graham, Elliott (age 3) and handpicked for our family by our first twins, sister and brother, Lydia and Henry (age 4), in heaven (who share the same birthday 4-28-12).

wedding portrait

Mackenzie Krygowski, '10

Mackenzie Whims and Michael Krygowski were married in East Jordan on June 24, 2017.

Kevin Patterson, '04, '05

Kevin Patterson received a promotion to audit partner at BDO USA, LLP. Patterson has 11 years of public accounting experience with both BDO USA, LLP and Crowe Horwath, LLP; the majority of his clients are in the automotive manufacturing industry. He serves in committee roles with Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, John Ball Zoo, and Start Garden.

headshot Kevin Patterson

In Memoriam

Mary J. Alcorn, B.A., 2002, and M.S.W., 2005, of Muskegon, on June 1, 2017

Elayne A. Barry, B.S., 1972, and M.Ed., 1990, of Jenison, on May 27, 2017

Steven M. Bollenbach, B.S., 1977, of Muskegon, on June 17, 2017

Loretta D. Cuellar, B.S.W., 1990, of Morganton, North Carolina, on August 10, 2017

Lynn W. Deuel, B.B.A., 1994, of Wyoming, on July 5, 2017

Michael Grabinski, B.B.A., 1977, of Oracle, Arizona, on May 27, 2017

Patricia A. Harper, M.Ed., 1982, of Holland, on July 1, 2017

Mariel R. Hawley, B.S., 1975, of Grant, on June 8, 2017

Richard A. Hollenbeck, B.B.A., 1992, of Avon Park, Florida, on July 19, 2017

Cynthia C. Maxson, M.Ed., 1984, of Chandler, Arizona, on July 1, 2017

Bruce E. Mulder, M.Ed., 1992, of Grand Rapids, on July 24, 2017

Charlene A. Nash, B.S.W., 1993, and M.S.W., 1994, of Grand Rapids, on July 17, 2017

David L. Schipper, B.S., 1979, of Lake Odessa, on August 21, 2017

James E. Sharpe, B.S., 1976, of Los Angeles, California, on June 20, 2017

Jennifer A. Stepnak, B.N., 2010, of Fennville, on July 19, 2017

Joseph Tonno, B.S., 1981, of Jenison, on June 19, 2017

Julia E. Twining, B.S., 2007, and M.S., 2009, of Grand Haven, on June 24, 2017

William H. Van Koughnet, B.A., 1967, of Southport, North Carolina, on June 23, 2017

Robert A. VanRhee, B.S., 1975, of Ludington, on August 4, 2017

Beverly S. Wall, M.B.A., 1987, of Grand Rapids, on July 11, 2017

Robert G. Zoellmer, B.S., 1975, of Whitehall, on July 20, 2017

Page last modified November 14, 2017