Beloit, WI -- In addition to the return of the Beloit Relays last weekend after a three-decade absence, numerous friends, family members and College administration took the opportunity to recognize the generosity of the late Nicholas Karris, namesake of the Karris Track & Field on which the Relays were taking place.
Karris, who passed away suddenly last December, was the leading force behind the new track and football surface at the Stadium.
A Chicago native, Karris graduated in 1958 from Beloit College and returned to his hometown where he earned his J.D. at DePaul University and passed the bar exam in 1961. Before long, this entrepreneurial Beloiter—who worked his way through Beloit while playing football and earning a degree in economics—transitioned into banking and eventually, real estate development, overseeing a large, multi-faceted corporation as chairman of the Water Tower Companies.
More than 15 years later, Karris and his wife Mary Ann made the lead gift aimed at rejuvenating Strong Stadium and by extension, the college’s athletic program and reputation. The enthusiasm and example he and Mary Ann brought to the project provided the momentum necessary to complete that ambitious renovation. The newly reconstituted turf, track, and field, punctuated with a scoreboard bearing the Karris name, was unveiled on September 17, 2011.
Bill Mack, a longtime friend and former teammate, led the drive for the display, which will be mounted in the Strong Stadium Atrium before the beginning of the 2013 Football season. The Beloit letterman jacket in the display was presented to Karris by the 2011 Beloit football team, along with a helmet signed by the entire team.