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Colonel Fred J. Ascani

Class of 1939

Awarded in 1952

The following is excerpted from remarks delivered by President Carey Croineis at a special dinner honoring Colonel Ascani in Rockford.

For well over a century former Beloit students have been distinguishing themselves in all of the ordinary walks of life, in all of the forty-eight states, as well as on all the continents. But the Beloiter whom we honor tonight has achieved international distinction in a field which did not even exist so recently as when many in this audience were born; and the sub-field of jet propulsion, in which our guest of honor made his indelible mark, has had most of its development, and all of its flowering, in the short years since Colonel Ascani left the Beloit campus.

Fred Ascani’s personal application for admission to Beloit College was made out on August 28, 1935. In that questionnaire he was asked, “What definite vocation, if any, have you considered?” Answer: “A career in the Army as an officer. If I fail to enter West Point, I hope to attend college for the four years required by the Army before being able to enter the Air Corps from a civilian stage.”

As was predicted, Colonel Ascani became a fine student at Beloit College. He was good in all subjects, but, naturally, he excelled in the mathematics and the sciences. Broadly trained in the liberal arts, he left Beloit College well prepared for his work at West Point.

By authority of the Alumni Council, it now becomes my very pleasant duty to award Colonel Ascani the Beloit Distinguished Service Citation. Before I do so, let me say that this award previously has been won by distinguished ministers, by the president of a great university, by government officials, by prominent missionaries, by a Pulitzer Prize winner and by outstanding engineers and editors. Your award, which is the thirty-fifth in the history of the college, is the second which has been granted to a non-graduate; and, finally – as is proper for an air age hero – you, Colonel Ascani, are by all odds, the youngest recipient of the this honor. And now with the well wishes of the entire far-flung Beloit family, I present to you – Aviator, Soldier, Leader – and member of the Class of 1939 – the Beloit Distinguished Service Citation.