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Bertram E. Rathje

Class of 1922

50th reunion Award

Chief Circuit Judge

Jurist, philosopher, lawyer, historian – you have had a profound influence on your fellow men.  Son of an attorney – and father of one – you engaged in private practice after graduation from Northwestern University’s Law School and before election in 1950 as Du Page County (Illinois) probate judge.  Six years later, you were elevated to the circuit bench and have been its chief judge since 1964.  A strict jurist, you nevertheless are a man of great compassion and understanding, one who has the capacity to soothe those wronged while meting out justice on an even-handed basis to those who have wronged others.  A colleague has described the professional admiration you command by noting, “There is no gap between judge Rathje and the neophyte lawyer.” Stimulated at Beloit by the beloved “Teddy” Wright and author of some episodes for the pageant commemorating the College’s 75th anniversary, you have expanded an early interest in history to become an authority on Lincoln and your county.  The city of Wheaton has rewarded your untiring service by naming a neighborhood park in your honor.  Beloit College, to whom you have directed many young men, is proud of your faithfulness to its highest standards of equal opportunity and equal justice; and, as your classmates gather for their Fiftieth Reunion, it hopes to honor you with this Distinguished Service Citation.