Home Away From Home: Alumni Come Back to Share Their Talents with Albion Students 

This sign sits on the corner of Erie and Hannah street, and it welcomes everyone, alumni and students alike, to the college (Photo by Taylor Dietz).

Albion College is home to students from all over the United States as well as from different countries around the world. When students leave this campus after their four years, they are challenged with thinking of their next step: Where do I go from here? 

Many of these individuals chose to go back home. Many decide that they want to travel and experience the world for what it is. And many feel that Albion is the next place that they want to call home. 

Alumni Elizabeth Palmer ’10, Daniel Palmer ’11 and Mackie Black ’19 were just a few of many whose hearts led them to keep their talents in Albion.

Elizabeth Palmer

Elizabeth Palmer is originally from a small town called Zeeland, Michigan. 

“It is a small town with about 5,000 people, where a lot of people are more than likely related to each other,” said Palmer.

Palmer’s sister attended Albion before Palmer, so she was familiar with the campus before she became a student. When she came for her own college tour, as she walked past the spirit rock in the quad, she had a moment of clarity. She knew she was meant to make Albion her home.

The small town aspect of Albion is what draws many students here. Students feel secure knowing that they belong to a community where there is a sense of caring and closeness between the student body, faculty and staff. 

 “Growing up in a small town made me want to stick to it. I never wanted to go to a big school. I wanted to know professors and not feel lost. At home, I liked being part of a community, and Albion was very similar to me,” said Palmer. 

As a member of her high school’s marching band, Palmer was very involved with music and theater in high school. Since Albion is a liberal arts institution, it was possible for her to focus on more than one thing, which is what made it stand out from the other schools she was considering.

Palmer moved back home after college and went to grad school at Eastern Michigan University. In 2010 it was the midst of the recession, so it was hard for her to find a job right away. Following that, she worked for Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, Mich. as the curator of collections. After seeing the job posting in Albion, she talked with her husband, and they both realized it was time for change.

“Jackson is a great community, but Albion did so much for me that I was super excited to give back in a positive way,” said Palmer. 

Palmer is currently serving as the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian. She cares for documents, books, as well as providing access for researchers in Mudd.

Daniel Palmer

Daniel Palmer is a native of Traverse City, Mich. 

“It’s a great place to grow up, full of music and outdoor activities,” said Palmer. 

After visiting several schools, Palmer found that none of them gave him the first impression that Albion did.

“I really enjoyed meeting the students and faculty. Everyone seemed to be having fun, and I liked the overall vibe of the college and campus,” said Palmer. 

After graduating from Albion with a degree in music performance, Palmer saw an opportunity to come back to Albion, and he gladly took it. 

He came back to become the Adjunct Music Faculty, guitar instructor. He teaches 30 minute and 60 minute private guitar lessons; beginning, intermediate and advanced group guitar classes; and a guitar ensemble.

“I can’t do much without thinking of Albion. Albion College has had a very direct role in my life, and has definitely influenced my path and helped me become who I am today,” said Palmer.

Mackie Black

Black is originally from The Woodlands, Texas, which is just north of Houston. Black said that she thinks her hometown is pretty unique because, aligning with its name, it is truly a woodland. 

“It really felt like growing up in a forest,” said Mackie. 

Like most of Albion’s student body, Black was no stranger to Albion prior to attending. Her family is originally from Michigan, and she comes from a long line of Alumni. Black was the 13th person to attend Albion from her dad’s side of the family.

“It was really fun to go to school with three cousins, and it was even more fun to join the same sorority as my older sister and get to know professors who knew my dad and my sister,” said Black.

Currently, Black’s role on campus is the engagement generalist for the department of institutional advancement. 

“I am a part of our Team Chicago, so I plan events and write content for the city as well as write donor proposals, thank you notes and implementation briefings, among other items, for other areas and donors,” said Black.

Following graduation, Black went to Dearborn, Mich. and took a position as a presenter at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Although she wanted this as a career path, she said something there just wasn’t right.

“I wanted that sense of fulfillment that I had had at Albion, so I decided to come back. I for sure can say it was the right choice, as I feel not only fulfilled, appreciated and like I am making a difference, but I also feel like I am back home,” said Black.

Even though she is a recent graduate, Black said that memories from her time here still pop up into her mind.

“I fondly remember that everywhere I went on campus, I ran into someone I knew. Whether it was a professor, a classmate, a friend, a sorority sister or in my case a cousin, it really made Albion feel like home,” said Black. 

Sometimes it seems like a wonder why students choose to spend four years of their lives in a small town, but they all say one thing similarly: “Albion feels like home.”

The atmosphere that this campus has is one that makes it hard to leave.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.