Class of 1998
English Department Professor
Rutgers University, as of the fall of 2012
[Margaret R]When Margaret Ronda came to Beloit College, she knew she wanted to write. She went on to become a published poet—and a teacher herself. A professor (in the English Department of Rutgers University, as of the fall of 2012) and recipient of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, Margaret credits much of her success to her Beloit experience.
“I’ve had wonderful teachers since Beloit,” she says, (she earned an M.F.A. at Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley). “But my orientation to teaching comes straight out of the pedagogy I saw there.” At Beloit, professors “take you on as people to be in dialogue with. I know people who have gone to very distinguished liberal arts colleges and didn’t have the kind of mentoring experience.”
These relationships continue, too. “People keep talking about their teachers years later,” she notes.
Margaret herself remembers professors’ influences in detail. “Steve Wright was so dedicated to making language come alive,” she says. “He would read work out loud.” And her entire outlook shifted through Lisa Haines Wright’s classes. “Lisa’s classes change the way you think. They give you tools for deconstructing and then reconstructing your understanding of the world.”
Margaret felt these influences powerfully during her senior year, when she gave a reading of her creative writing and presented at Student Symposium Day. “I remember those two final moments as singular,” she reflects.
She knows the college’s particular influence has also affected her peers. Beloiters Margaret’s known “haven’t pursued button-down white-collar careers.” What leads Beloit graduates down such interesting paths? “A Beloit education allows you to imagine yourself doing something beyond a career… it allows people to imagine their lives in bigger ways.”