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Loraine Smith Gates

Class of 1959

Awarded in 2009
50th Reunion Award

Loraine Smith arrived on campus in the fall of 1955 with plans to become an educator.  One way or another, she has been teaching ever since.  She added service through Tri-Delta, student government, and campus publications to her Beloit career, graduating on the Dean’s List as an English major four years later.  Like many alums, she left campus with a degree to her credit and a career on her horizon.  She walked into the future hand-in-hand with a fellow Beloiter, Philip Gates, a member of the previous year’s graduating class.  Their partnership has produced a lifetime of accomplishment and giving, whether for their parents (including two Beloit alums), their three children, their grandchildren, or for the thousands of students they have served through the nation’s public schools—including nearly two decades of work by Lorie with gifted children and fourth graders in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

No example could better demonstrate this couple’s commitment to social justice and to one another than their recent collaborative protests over the links between a U.S.-sponsored combat training school and human rights violations made by its graduates.  The pair agreed in 2005 that Phil, then age 70, would take part with 15 other participants in a civil disobedience protest about the program.  Lorie stood with him the next year as he prepared to serve a 60-day federal penitentiary sentence for his action.  She went on to give voice to the victims of Latin American violence by presenting a one-woman show about Sister Dorothy Kazel, an American nun murdered in El Savador in 1980, performing her monologue on this very stage some 18 months ago.

It gives great pleasure to recognize Loraine Smith Gates by awarding this honor of distinction from the Alumni Association during her class’s fiftieth reunion celebration at Beloit College.