Dr. Robert Porter’56 set out to accomplish many goals with his gift for the Porter-Brown Auditorium in the new Center for the Sciences. He wanted to honor his family legacy and recognize a life’s work in science and the importance of science education at Beloit. He also wanted to contribute to the Reunion Giving Program in honor of his 50th class reunion, and he wanted to stretch beyond what he thought he might be able to give.
Porter was first descendant of the Porter-Brown crossover between two pioneer families, both having been committed to the College and community since the 1800s. “I grew up in the Beloit community. When I came to Beloit College, I didn’t appreciate my family connections, and I certainly didn’t want anyone to know that my mother was a teacher there. But over time, I learned that heritage is important. It gave me a sense of place and responsibility.”
A science major during his undergraduate years, Porter says he took the minimum requirements for pre-med, preferring to engage in discussions of literature and history. “This liberal arts background gave me a broad scope of knowledge and the opportunity to succeed in my future studies by helping me to develop a thoughtful and curious mind.”
A proud member of the class of 1956, Porter set his campaign and reunion giving goals high. “I wanted to think about doing more than what I could write a check for that day. It wouldn’t have been as easy for me to do that without the creative thinking, knowledge, and experience of Susan Cleverdon, director of planned giving at the College.” At the same time, Congress was approving the Pension Protection Act of 2006. This legislation allows those over age 70½ to make gifts from retirement accounts that may benefit them. The passage of this act and additional creative planning made Porter’s substantial gift possible–in honor of his family, his profession, and his class.