After 40 years at Kalamazoo College, Dr. John Fink, the Rosemary K. Brown Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, will be retiring at the end of the 2014-2015 academic school year.
Since coming to K in 1975, Fink spent time at other institutions, holding multiple positions such as Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa (1981), Visiting Scholar at Oxford University (1991), and Visiting Lecturer at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (2003). He also took study leaves in Scotland, Germany, and Ireland.
During the 2015-2016 academic year he will be on transitional sabbatical, a leave period for faculty members planning retirement.
“Next year is my planning year,” said Fink. “(During sabbatical) you must serve your scholarship well.”
Post retirement, he is considering working with middle school students who are underrepresented in the world of mathematics. In the past he participated in Keeping the Doors Open, a math enrichment after-school program on K’s campus that involved tutoring and a summer camp.
“It was intense part of my life,” he said and added that he may want to return to the Northside and Edison neighborhoods to work with middle school students.
Fink said having a stroke a year and a half ago “put things into perspective,” and he hopes to take time to visit the friends he has made in the professional world after his retirement.
“I have become very aware of the reality of my death,” Fink said about how he would like to spend his time, and his 70th birthday in a few weeks. “My panic (about death) is gone. It’s now curiosity.”
Fink added that last fall, he was haunted by the fact of his own death, but now that he is rehearsing the Brahms Requiem at the University of Western Michigan, he finds the lyrics comforting when thinking about mortality.
However, this calmness does not seem to take away from the fact that Fink will miss being a professor at K.
“I’ll miss the relationships and the ever renewing aspect of people coming into college,” he said. He will also miss the potential for new relationships.
“I have been really lucky to have a job that has given me so much life,” said Fink.