1989 Hall of Honor
A teammate has described Art Floberg as a “golfer extraordinaire,” not only on the strength of his distinguished collegiate record but also for his continued superior play. Having established himself in the sport as a teenager by winning the Rockford junior title and taking runner-up honors in the Illinois state meet, Floberg, as team captain led the Beloit College golfers to three consecutive state championships while capturing medalist honors each time. Having also won the medal in Midwest Conference meets as a junior and senior and broken the Macktown course record by two strokes with a five-under-par 67, he qualified for the 1939 NCAA competition, when there was only a single division without regard for school size, defeated the Big Ten champion, and reached the quarterfinal round. That same year he won the Rockford city crown after three successive runner-up finishes. Testimonials of his continued mastery of fairway and green alike include five holes-in-one, matching his age (72) in a 1988 round, and recognition as a contender, and winner, in club tournament championships in several major flights. A retired accountant and tax consultant, Floberg now divides the year residing and golfing in Sarasota, Florida, and Fontana, Wisconsin.
A 1916 graduate of Walworth High School, Norris Rowbotham was a non-traditional college student because he helped his father farm for five years before enrolling at Beloit. Despite his diminutive size and 170 pounds, he was respected as the scrappiest man on championship football teams, primarily as a lineman who won four letters, gained all-midwest honors as a junior, and earned praise from the legendary Knute-Rockne as an outstanding “vest pocket guard.” He also excelled in wrestling, then an intramural sport, captured the college title, and coached other for three years, picking up the name “Chocker” along the way. Described in references by mentor Tommy Mills as “one of our finest athletes,” Rowbotham accepted a position as coach and physical education teacher at Sheboygan High School. Later, he coached and directed athletics and Milton College for five years and became the first non-alumnus elected to its Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his successful efforts to raise dramatically the standards of the sports program in both physically and fiscally. Rowbotham then turned an interest in land acquisition into a new career, becoming a successful dairy farmer near Walworth before retiring.
Daughter of the late Peter Smith, Beloit professor of modern languages, Ginna Palmer was an excellent golfer who could not compete at the collegiate level because there were no women’s varsity teams. Nevertheless, she has made a lifetime commitment to golf, advancing from Wisconsin junior women’s amateur titlist and college WAA participant to state championship-flight qualifier and district competitor to prominent figure on the state, regional, and national levels. When a bout with Polio ended her serious competitive play in the mid-50’s, she directed her efforts to leadership and assumed major responsibilities, including service as president of both the Wisconsin Women’s Golf Association and the Western WGA, of which she has been a board member for 25 years. Mrs. Palmer helped establish the Western WGA senior championships and is credited with launching almost single-handedly the Western Women’s Golf Foundation, which she has chaired since its founding in 1971 and which partially funds college tuition annually for more than 50 women of high academic achievement. A member of the U.S. Gold Association’s senior women’s championship committee, she lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband John, also a Beloit graduate.