Meet Lena Neal'68
[Lena Neal'68]Alumni Board Member
What is your current occupation?
An Organizational Change Management and Strategy Consultant. I work a good deal with organizations that are implementing new systems, technology or business strategies. I work with them from the people side of the change.
What was your major and how has that played out into your life today?
I earned a BA in Government with a minor in Theatre Arts in 1968. That was followed in 1969 with a MA in Teaching. Theatre and Teaching have played very important roles in my life as so much of what I have done has been linked to communications and educating. I immediately taught grades 7-12 for 3 years following Beloit and then had careers in marketing, sales, corporate training and development, human resources, and organizational change management consulting for the last 20 years.
Tell us your favorite Beloit memory.
There are so many that especially revolve around old Scoville Hall and the Court Theatre which was performed in the round on campus during the summers for a number of years at the Wright Art Center. One memory was from a Court Theatre rehearsal of a Thorntown Wilder play. A group of us were in period costumes for the dress rehearsal and had to come on stage in the dark led by Professor Carl Balson. Carl has a wonderful sense of humor and could always be counted on to say or do something that would crack us up. That night was no exception, he made me laugh so hard that I have to admit I wet my pants. Normally that would not have been an issue but I was wearing a vintage dress…I can’t remember if I was ever asked to be a performer after that.
What is your favorite alumni event?
Homecoming/Reunion Weekend. I enjoy catching up with my college buddies during reunions, talking with students at the annual networking event, and attending classes as a “former” student.
What do you consider your greatest achievement that Beloit has played a part in?
Heck, graduating and earning a BA and an MA degree in less than 5 years during the tumultuous 1960’s. Being a member of the “1968 Guinea Pig Class” under what was then the New Beloit Plan was an amazing adventure. It is really hard to believe that so many significant world events took place during our time at Beloit. Tom Brokaw wrote about it in his book about 1968 and the Class of ’68 lived it. From the Viet Nam War, to Civil Rights, to the Peace Movement, to the rise of the Black Power Movement, to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the candidacy of Eugene McCarthy, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Democratic National Convention riots and the election of Richard Nixon. Wow, we somehow still managed to graduate and that was without our personal challenges of coming of age!!
Why do you support Beloit College?
I support Beloit because Beloit supported me during my formative years. The college provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to learn and grow. I was the first one in my family to go to college. Beloit provided financial support to me which other institutions did not match. I want others to have the same opportunities I had.
What do you hope to accomplish on the Alumni Board?
I don’t have a specific agenda or platform other than to be a voice of the older Baby Boomers. I’d like to tap into my creative side, take advantage of my business background and help the college maintain its rich legacy and yet go boldly forth to where others may not have gone.
Any advice you have for current students?
Live, laugh and love. Be open to learning and enjoy this time…it might not occur again. Oh yes, and travel if at all possible!