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Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, a nationally recognized research institution that has benefited from the local presence of Pfizer, Eaton Corporation and Stryker Corporation. This has enabled the school to offer strong programs in both its College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Haworth College of Business.

The city is also home to Kalamazoo College (often referred to as "K College"), a liberal arts school located adjacent to WMU's campus.

The city is named for the Kalamazoo River, but there is debate as to where the name Kalamazoo actually comes from. It is generally thought the name originates in the language of either the Potawatomi or Odawa peoples who were native to the area at the time of European settlement.

The common phrase "from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo" resulted from the strange name, and has served to enter it into pop culture. Today, t-shirts are sold in Kalamazoo with the phrase "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo".

 

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