Robert Lee Morris
Class of 1969
20th Cluster Reunion Award
Jewelry Designer – Entrepreneur
Although filmmaking was your initial vocational interest at Beloit, studies in anthropology and art here inspired you to seriously explore jewelry design and eventually catapulted you to international prominence as a trendsetter bridging the worlds of art, fashion, and business – a perfect example of your Alma Mater’s liberal arts tradition. Your unique artwear concept led to the opening in 1977 of one New York’s oldest and best known avant-garde jewelry galleries and later prompted you to expand into such accessories as handbags, belts, scarves, luggage and fragrance. A prolific designer whose highly imaginative, bold, and sleek collections are displayed in more than 300 exclusive stores worldwide, you have won the coveted Coty Award and other industry honors, developing a star-studded clientele and collaborating with such internationally acclaimed designers as Calvin Klein, Kansai Yamamoto, Louis Dell’Olio, and Donna Karan – but you still made time to return to campus twice for extended stays, first as an artist mounting a major exhibit and then as an executive/entrepreneur in residence, a testimony both to your affection for Beloit and the unusual mix of your skills your career embodies. You and your work in multiple media have been highlighted in illustrated articles in major magazines, including Vogue, Newsweek, Forbes, Time, and People, whose writers place you in the forefront as an influential creator of jewelry as an art and a significant force in the world of accessories. In both your personal works and your Artwear gallery, you demonstrate that commercial success need not come at the expense of art that explodes conventional boundaries and traditional forms – art that is lyrical and beautiful. It is with great pride that Beloit College acknowledges your significant achievements by presenting you this Distinguished Service Citation on the occasion of your 20th “Cluster” Reunion.