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Beloit College's 167th Commencement Ceremony

“Beloit College’s 268 graduates in the class of 2017 are three times more likely to receive effective mentorship during their four years at Beloit than at another school” Beloit College President Scott Bierman declared at the college’s 167th Commencement on Sunday, May 14, 2017.

Bierman referenced data from an on-campus survey that concluded 98 percent of students agreed that they had a faculty or staff member who made them excited about learning, 97 percent agreed they had a professor or staff person who challenges them, while 90 percent agreed they had a professor or staff person who cares about them.

After citing these data, Bierman encouraged graduates to use their best “outside voice” and yell the name of their mentor loudly.

Commencement speaker Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano, an alumna of the class of 1986 and the  president of Gallaudet University, the world’s only full immersion bilingual university for deaf and hard of hearing students, emphasized the importance of mentorship during her speech. She also encouraged graduates to fiercely follow their passions and to be “active citizens,” for it is the only way to make real change.




“Learning is a community action. Learning is a community activity,” said Cordano.

She continued to push graduates to commit to listening to others, particularly those harboring a different point-of-view and using the totality of those arguments to form a strong opinion.

Her remarks clearly resonated with graduates and attendees, who applauded enthusiastically and frequently using the ASL sign for applause.

Watch Bobbi’s inspiring speech, jump to 1:22:17.

More key moments from Beloit’s 2017 Commencement:

  • April Apfelbaum, of Lake Villa, Ill., received the Warren Miller Blue Skies Award, named for a Beloit alumnus who is famous for his many New Yorker Magazine cartoons., The award pays tribute to a member of the senior class who helped “foster good cheer, a good-humored perspective, and saving grace in the conduct of our daily lives together on campus.”
  • Emily "Emmy" Newman of Seattle, Wash., was voted senior class speaker and advised graduates to remember to take a moment for themselves. “Be kind to yourselves and after a while we can all hope it will become second nature, and we can keep being kind to others the way we now know how,” Newman told her fellow graduates.
  • Jian Zhi "Alex" Cheong, won the Martha Peterson Prize, named after Beloit College's seventh president and awarded to a student who best exemplifies the college's liberal arts traditions as a student and active contributor to the campus community.
  • Commencement speaker Bobbi Cordano’86 was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa from the college.
  • After 37 years of service, Bill Flanagan retired from Beloit this year and was awarded staff emeritus status at commencement. Kathy Greene, professor of education and chemistry, was also awarded faculty emerita status and Shin Yong Robson, adjunct associate professor of Chinese, was awarded faculty emerita status

Giving Day 2017 and the Powerhouse

Alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff of the college truly showed their generosity this Giving Day! You collectively raised over $114,000 for student experiences and the Powerhouse Project and unlocked a $100,000 matching gift from Trustee alumnus, Boon Kang’73. The success of this year’s Giving Day is largely thanks to a number of dedicated ambassadors who liked and shared content throughout the day and encouraged their friends to support Beloit.

Lori 2.jpg Alumni Board Member, Lori Rhoades’09 shares what she enjoyed about being an ambassador this year.

I loved being an Ambassador on Giving Day! I was glued to my computer; watching past Beloiters support current ones so that they might have an amazing Beloit College experience. There is something very powerful about humans coming together to give back and support something they really believe it. In our case, it is the Beloit experience!

Giving Day is an effort spearheaded by the Alumni Board in 2015. Set on Spring Day each year, it is a day to celebrate Beloit. It also coincides with Beloiters Unite events all around the country. To get involved next year as an event host or an online ambassador, email us at As the dust settles, the Alumni Office had a chance to crunch the Giving Day numbers - below you can find some intriguing results, sorted by major. The top three majors with the highest participation were Economics, English, and Modern Languages. The class year with the highest participation was 1989--16 members of the class made a gift, followed closely by 2010 with 15. 2011 and 1990 tied for third with 14, and 2007, 1974, 1968 tied for fourth with 13 alumni each.

For the Buccaneers in the room, so many of you came out in support of the Powerhouse and in honor of longtime Dean of Students and now Executive Advisor the President, Bill Flanagan. Bill is set to retire this June, with many among us sad to see him go. Thankfully, he will still announce home football games. Led by 1889 Council Members, you helped raised over $19,000 in 24-hours and represented almost all varsity athletic teams. See the breakdown below.

Beloit in the Rankings

Beloit continues to impress in the rankings. For ‘16-’17, we tied with two other schools for the No. 62 spot out of 239 national liberal arts colleges. Beloit is also included on U.S. News’ Most Innovative Schools at No. 10, and Best Value at No. 54. Beloit makes it onto the non-ranked lists for being an A+ school for B students, and for being among the schools with the highest four-year graduation rates.

Beloit also ranks No. 147 out of 205 schools in the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” list because of campus sustainability efforts. The Sierra Club is one of the oldest and largest environmental organizations. Beloit is also included on Money Magazine’s Best Colleges list. Beloit ranks overall at No. 213 out of 705 schools, at No. 42 on Money’s Affordable Private Colleges List, and at No.42 on Money’s Best Private Colleges for Merit Aid.

Beloit continues to be included among the only 40 schools in Loren Pope’s Colleges that Change Lives. An excerpt from CTCL’s website goes on to say,

Nearly three-quarters of Beloit College alumni have earned an advanced degree within ten years of graduation. Beloit ranks 31st among baccalaureate degree-granting institutions in the production of Ph.D.s in science and engineering, and 11th among the nation’s most selective liberal arts colleges in the proportion of alumni who complete a Ph.D. program. More anthropology Ph.D.s earned their undergraduate degree at Beloit than any other liberal arts college in the country. In preparation for life after Beloit, over 60% of Beloit students have at least one internship before graduating and 25% of those students said it led to their first job.

Read more at and help us brag about Beloit!

Beloiter Days: Homecoming and Family & Friends Weekend, October 27-29

Save the Date for Beloiter Days 2017: Homecoming, Family & Friends Weekend, October 27-29! Kick-off the weekend with the Homecoming Parade on Friday, and cheer on the Bucs as we face-off against Lawrence University on Saturday. This year, Tau Kappa Epsilon will celebrate its centennial with affinity events throughout the weekend.

The Miller Upton Forum also takes place during Homecoming Weekend, with keynote speaker,
Michael Greenstone addressing Beloiters on Friday, October 27. Greenstone is the former Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, and currently serves on the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board. He is the Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and of the Energy & Environment Lab at the University of Chicago Urban Labs. Read more about his work on our website.