Class of 1989
Awarded in 2014
Few people have done as much as Stephanie Klett to champion the charm and beauty of Wisconsin. In shining a spotlight on her home state, she has, in turn, raised the profile of her hometown, Beloit, the city that shares a name and place with this college. These two intertwined entities could have no greater promoter: she has been called “a person that is as Beloitish as you can get.” It’s a title she’s held literally, in fact—first as Miss Beloit, then as Miss Wisconsin.
Before this philosophy and theatre arts major even graduated from Beloit College, her star was well on the rise, but early on she made a habit of using the attention that came with her pageant titles to further important causes. During her tenure as Miss Wisconsin 1993, she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for AIDS and reached out to teenagers with an educational presentation called Attitude on AIDS, making hundreds of appearances. Her philanthropic work has remained a major part of her life. The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Beloit Regional Hospice, and the Stateline Area Boys & Girls Clubs have all benefited from her talents. In 2013 she was the Honorary Chair for AIDS Walk Wisconsin, which raised more than $340,000.
Her magnetic energy and enthusiasm made her a natural fit for a career in front of a camera, and for two decades she hosted the award-winning Discover Wisconsin television and radio series. Nominated for eight Emmys over the years, she received one in 2010 from the Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Individual Excellence in On-Camera Hosting.
It’s no surprise that Stephanie’s talent landed her on the Wisconsin governor’s radar, and in 2011 she was appointed to his cabinet as head of the Department of Tourism, which has won 35 national and international marketing and public relations awards since she took the helm as secretary of tourism for the state of Wisconsin. Spending by travelers in the state has also increased by several billion dollars in the time that she’s been in this role.
For all her tireless work—usually done with a smile and a joke at the ready—to elevate the state of Wisconsin and the city where her alma mater resides, the Beloit College Alumni Association is proud to count Stephanie Klett among its own, and bestow upon her its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Citation.