Beloit College (Wisconsin)

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Beloit College is a private liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin, founded in 1846 by a Yale University graduate Aaron Lucius Chapin. It is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and has an enrollment of roughly 1,300 undergraduate students. Beloit is the oldest continuously operated college in Wisconsin, and has the oldest building of any college northwest of Chicago in continuous academic use.[1]

Beloit gained national attention after its inclusion in Loren Pope's book, Colleges That Change Lives, which distinguishes schools having two essential elements: "A familial sense of communal enterprise that gets students heavily involved in cooperative rather than competitive learning, and a faculty of scholars devoted to helping young people develop their powers, mentors who often become their valued friends".[2]

Among its most prominent nationally-recognized academic departments are its English Department and its Theatre Department.


Beloit College was founded by the group Friends for Education, which was started by seven pioneers from New England who, soon after their arrival in Wisconsin Territory, agreed that a college needed to be established. The group raised funds for a college in their new town and convinced the territorial legislature to enact the charter for Beloit College on February 2, 1846. The first building (then called Middle College) was built in 1847, and it remains in operation today. Classes began in the fall of 1847, with the first degrees awarded in 1851.


The first president of Beloit was a Yale University graduate, Aaron Lucius Chapin, who served as president from December, 1849 until 1886.[3]

Although independent today, Beloit College was historically, though unofficially, associated with the Congregationalist tradition.

The college remained very small for almost its entire first century with enrollment topping 1,000 students only with the influx of World War II veterans in 1945-1946. The "Beloit Plan", a year-round curriculum introduced in 1964, comprising three full terms and a "field term" of off-campus study, brought the college national attention. The trustees decided to return to the two semester program in 1978.

One of the campus Indian mounds, in the shape of a turtle, inspired Beloit's symbol.

It is located within the Near East Side Historic District.[4]


Beloit College's curriculum retains many aspects of the Beloit Plan from the 1960s, emphasizing experiential learning, learner agency, and reflective connection-making between out-of-classroom and in-classroom learning experiences, or "the liberal arts in practice." Academic strengths include field-oriented disciplines such as anthropology and geology. More Beloit graduates have earned Ph.D.s in anthropology than graduates of any other undergraduate liberal arts college not affiliated with a university, and the school ranks among the top twenty American liberal arts colleges whose graduates go on to earn a Ph.D. in general.[5] The geology department continues a tradition in geology that began with T. C. Chamberlin more than a century ago. Today the department combines a course load with mandatory field methods and research. The department is a member of the Keck Geology Consortium, a research collaboration of several similar colleges across the United States, including Amherst College, Pomona College, and Washington and Lee University. The Consortium sends undergraduate students worldwide to research and publish their findings.

In 2011, Beloit was ranked both 55 overall and a "Best Value" in the category of National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, and it ranked 125 of the top 600 schools by Forbes in 2010.[6] [7] [8] In the 2006 college rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Beloit was shortlisted for "Study Abroad" (56% of students participate) and "First-Year Initiative". The 1999 National Study of Student Engagement ranked Beloit in the top 20% of five benchmark categories measuring the quality of the student experience, one of just four schools to achieve this ranking.Template:Citation needed

One of the more unique developments at Beloit is that it found a way to "put the earning back in learning" as described in Treasure Schools College Gems Guidebook. Long before today's conversations about the relevance of liberal arts in a technology-driven economy began, Dr. Jerry Gustafson (Beloit '63) created the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB) to provide hands-on opportunities for Beloiters to hone their entrepreneurial skills in both business and the arts. Jeff Timmons, one of the real pioneers and deans of entrepreneurship at Babson Institute, often referred to Dr. Gustafson as having started the first such program in this country at a liberal arts college. Whether selling art from its in-house gallery, recording music at Maple Tree Studio, producing a broadcast at BATV or founding a micro-business in the Coleman New Venture Lab, CELEB is a place of action. Large numbers of Beloiters are animated by CELEB's offerings and college leadership is committed to the key role entrepreneurship training plays in a liberal arts environment. Brian Morello (Beloit '85) has recently taken the reins as Director of CELEB and has already distinguished himself as a superb leader to guide the program into the future as it teaches entrepreneurship by promoting its practice.

The college long hosted the Beloit Poetry Journal, but the editor, Professor Emerita Marion K. Stocking, now deceased, had retired to Maine and operated the journal from there. In 1985 the complementary Beloit Fiction Journal began, publishing an annual collection of short contemporary fiction every year since. The establishment of the Mackey Chair in Creative Writing has brought a new nationally-known author to campus annually for several years, including Billy Collins, Bei Dao, Ursula K. Le Guin, Amy Hempel, Denise Levertov, and Robert Stone. Beloit biology faculty member, John Jungck, along with Nils S. Peterson, CEO of From the Heart Software, co-founded and run the BioQUEST,[9] and Brock Spencer maintains ChemLinks.[10] Both are special-interest groups on the reform of science education. Beloit has had a faculty and student exchange program with Fudan University in China since the 1980s.

Psychology is one of the most popular majors at Beloit. The Psychology Department started with Guy Allen Tawney, a student of Wilhelm Wundt, who taught from 1897 to 1906. A study abroad program to Morocco and Estonia is targeted at psychology majors (although any student may apply for the program), where they engage in cross-cultural studies.

The nationally-recognized Theatre Department was brought into prominence by chairman Rod Umlas and continues this tradition under the leadership of John Kaufmann.

Beloit College completed a Template:Convert Center for the Sciences in the fall of 2008. The building was designed to achieve a minimum Silver Level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification and was ultimately awarded platinum level certification. It also won a Design Excellence Honor Award in Interior Architecture from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on October 30, 2009.

In the fall of 2010, Beloit College opened the Hendricks Center for the Arts, a Template:Convert structure that holds dance, music and theater facilities. The building previously held the Beloit Post Office and later the Beloit Public Library. The renovation and expansion of the facility is the largest single gift in the college's history. The building is named after Diane Hendricks, chair of ABC Supply of Beloit, and her late husband and former college trustee Ken Hendricks.[11] "The architects and designers, who worked closely with a group of faculty and staff to identify needs and priorities, stayed true to the building’s history throughout the project. Original support beams, exposed brick walls, and vintage terrazzo tile floors are juxtaposed with four new studio classrooms, a state-of-the art film classroom, faculty offices, and design and staging labs." [12]

In 2011 Beloit College received the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Campus Internationalization. In its award statement, NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, noted: "Internationalization efforts at Beloit College in Wisconsin are centered on its long-standing institutional commitment to international education and its urban setting, as the school’s programs reach out to cities in transition around the world." [13]

Since 2010, the Beloit College Philosophy Department has hosted prominent, well-known philosophers through the Selzer Visiting Philosopher Series. In 2010, Martha Nussbaum visited. In 2011, Daniel Dennett.[14]

Student life

Beloit students are offered a wide variety of housing options, ranging from specific substance-free dormitories to "Special Interest" houses, such as the Art, Spanish, Outdoor Environmental Club (OEC), Interfaith options, and, on a trial basis through 2012, gender-neutral housing.[15] Beloit has a student congress (BSC), and in the 2008 elections 275 students (approximately 20% of the student body) voted.[16] A wide variety of student clubs bring visitors (musicians, artists, poets) to campus frequently. While Beloit adheres to Wisconsin state law, which states that the legal drinking age is 21, strict no-alcohol policies found on many other college campuses are not present at Beloit. Resident Assistants, employed by the Residential Life office, help to maintain campus safety and encourage responsible behavior.

Beloit College has a frisbee golf course contained almost entirely within the grounds of the college. This course has undergone many changes with the expansion of dormitories and additions to the grounds, such as the construction of Mauer Link, which drastically changed the course.

In April 2006, Beloit College students broke the world record for the longest game of Ultimate Frisbee by playing for over 72 hours.[17]

The Beloit College campus is known for its diversity. In 2011, Beloit College won the Senator Paul Simon Award for campus internationalization.[18] 48 states are represented at Beloit and Approximately 11% of the student body is from countries outside of the United States.[19] In addition, about half of all Beloit College students study abroad in places such as China, Russia, Brazil, Germany, India, Spain and many others. Each year, any student who would like to has the opportunity to share his/her experiences abroad through an event called International Symposium Day, which is a day when all classes are cancelled so that everyone can attend the presentations.[20]

Two Beloit campus museums open to the public are run by college staff and students. The Logan Museum of Anthropology and the Wright Museum of Art were both founded in the late nineteenth century. The Logan Museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, curates over 300,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects from 125 countries and over 600 cultural groups. The Wright Museum's holdings of over 8,000 objects include a large collection of original prints and Asian art. Both museums feature temporary special exhibitions year round. The Beloit College campus also houses two sculptures by artist Siah Armajani, his "Gazebo for One Anarchist: Emma Goldman 1991" and "The Beloit College Poetry Garden."[21] The campus has numerous prehistoric Indian mounds.[22]

Since 1998, the college has produced the annual "Mindset List," written by Professor Tom McBride, summarizing pop culture references that are allegedly meaningless to incoming college freshmen.


Beloit College is a member of the Midwest Conference, NCAA in Division III and fields varsity teams in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, and men's and women's soccer. The school also had a competitive rowing team sponsored by club funds and alumni support. Men's and women's varsity lacrosse will begin in 2013.

The Ultimate Frisbee club team at Beloit is Beloit Ultimate Frisbee Family, or BUFF.

Prominent alumni

See also Category:Beloit College alumni
File:The Middle College.jpg
The Middle College

Prominent faculty


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  10. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Welcome to the Chem Connections Homepage". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
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  13. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Press Room | Eight U.S. Colleges Receive Awards for Campus Internationalization Efforts(2)". NAFSA. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  14. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Philosophy: Selzer Visiting Philosopher". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  15. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Residential Life: Special Interest Houses". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  16. ^ Template:Cite news
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  19. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Prospective Students: Fast Facts". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
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  21. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Beloit College Public Sculpture". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  22. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Beloit College Magazine". Retrieved 2012-05-20.

External links