Rod Malcolm has been doing the same job because it’s never the same. Today, he is Kalamazoo College’s Associate Director of Admission and Coordinator of International Recruitment, but his involvement in admission work spans two decades, beginning with his days as an undergraduate “Student Ambassador” for Fitchburg (Mass.) State College. “I love evaluating applicant files,” says Rod. “But just when I think I can’t read another, it’s time to travel, or to interview students, or to speak with parents and guidance counselors. I love all those aspects of my work and perhaps most of all I love the fact that before any aspect can get stale it’s time to move on to some other component of admission work.”
Rod was born in Jamaica and moved to Boston with his family when he was nine years old. He’s the oldest of his mom and dad’s four children (all boys), and he has three older half-brothers by his father’s first marriage. “Growing up was a rough-and-tumble type of situation,” he laughs. “You didn’t have to go far for a fight.” Or for love and laughter! And that’s still true; he gets together with his brothers whenever his travels take him back to Boston. As one might expect from Rod’s job title, his travels are considerable. After all, his admission responsibility starts at the east coast of the United States and stretches east from there, all the way to the U.S. west coast.
What's the best song ever recorded?
I’m a reggae fan, and the best song ever is “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It’s on his Legend album, which worldwide has sold countless copies. I love the song because it tells a story of hope and sharing.
What's your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
I don’t recall a strong favorite, but I do remember watching “Jack and the Beanstalk” on cartoons.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
How’s this for a full-life wish—I want to hear: “Welcome, you can come in, and you’ve made us wait a lonnnnng time.”
What's your favorite word?
“Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” because I had great fun with it as a kid.
What's your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
Food! Especially spicy Caribbean cooking
What turns you off?
What sound do you love?
The sizzle of a steak on a grill. I know what’s coming, and it’s going to be a delight for many senses.
What sound do you hate?
Scratching on a chalkboard. It gives me goose pimples.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
A pilot. I love to fly. When I was little, I wanted to be a pilot and be able to go anywhere.
What profession would you not like to participate in?
A mortician. I wouldn’t want to be around that much death and sadness.
What's been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?
Probably talking to students on the disciplinary committee on policies surrounding the Honor Code. They taught me a great deal about the remarkable integrity of college students.
Who's the person (living or dead) with whom you'd most like to spend a lunch hour?
Wow. A very difficult question. I have an abiding interest in international affairs and so it would certainly be someone who had or has a pivotal effect on the international stage. Perhaps Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-moon, or Gandhi. I would like to ask them this question.
What memory from childhood still surprises you?
I recall my first day in North America at Boston’s Logan Airport. It was a freezing November day and it was snowing and I remember thinking that it looked awesome but I also remember wondering why anyone want to live in a place so cold.
What is your favorite curse word?
I try not to curse, but when I do the word “Ras” (Jamaican) comes to mind.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love cooking.
What is your favorite comedy movie?
The Blues Brothers
What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you most?
The recent earthquake in Haiti, in part because it has affected so many people I know. It’s a tragedy that is still being felt around the world. The earthquake brought to light all that is going on in this impoverished country
If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?