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Paul E. Nilson


The Beloit College 168th commencement will begin on Sunday, May 20 beginning at 12:00 p.m. CST due to a slight rain delay. The weather looks to be a bit chilly with a chance of rain, so please plan on bringing an umbrella. More information about the ceremony and full schedule of events is available on the commencement website. Also, for those unable to attend, we will live stream the ceremony at, and the recording will be made available via our YouTube channel after the event has ended. 

Congratulations to the Beloit College Class of 2018!

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1951 Honorary degree presentation by David Wesley Soper, Professor of Religion:

     On behalf of the Faculty, I present Paul E. Nilson. An alumnus of the Class of 1911, Mr. Nilson entered Beloit from Rockford, Illinois, High School. He recieved his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Hartford Seminary in 1918, and the degree of Master of Arts from the University of Chicago in 1926. The Reverend Mr. Nilson was first teacher, and then the President, of the St. Paul's Institute, a missionary shool for boys in Tarsus, Turkey, where Thomas D. Christie, Beloit alumnus from the Class of 1871, had been president from 1893 to 1915. In 1926, Mr. Nilson became President of the American School for Boys at Talas, Turkey; he has continued to serve at this post until the present time. For many years Beloit students supported both St. Paul's Institute and the American School for Boys, through the American Board, as a Beloit-in-Turkey project. The American School is a four-year English-speaking high school, giving Turkish students fundamental education in liberal and vocational arts. Mr. Nilson married Harriet J. Fischer, a native of Illinois, who at the time of their meeting was a teacher in a girls' school in Turkey. Four children, educated in the United States, intend to teach in the Near East, following their father's distinguished career. Paul E. Nilson has devoted his life to Christian education, has combined true knowlege with pure faith. His career is an incarnate prayer for world understanding.

The Citation by President Croneis:

     Paul Nilson: Self-sacrificing man of God, modest missionary, talented teacher, able administrator, for nearly forty years a distinguished tutor to the great and near great of Turkey, you have followed with distinction the noted careers of Caleb Gates and Thomas Christie, those earlier sons of Beloit who, like you, contributed so significantly in bringing American education to the Turkish people. It is altogether fitting therefore, that, on the fortieth anniversary of your graduation, your alma mater confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. As the Chief Marshall now invests you with the appropriate hood, I am pleased to present this diploma and welcome you anew to the Beloit fellowship.


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