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Judith Siess'69

Judith Siess'69

A Beloiter and librarian, Judith Siess’69 has been a long time supporter of the College. Pictured here, she enjoys classroom interaction with students when she returned to campus for her 30th class reunion.

The author of The One-Person Library newsletter is on a one-person crusade to strengthen interdisciplinary studies at Beloit College.

Judith Siess’69 (Cleveland, Ohio) is not alone in her campaign, but her contributions stand apart in the way they revive and pay homage to elements of the Beloit Plan, an innovative and celebrated series of far-reaching curricular changes introduced at Beloit in 1964. Her latest gift of $10,000 was split between the First-Year Initiatives (FYI) Program and the Miller Upton Programs in the department of economics and management.

“President Upton was the author of the Beloit Plan, and the FYI Program brings back many of the best parts of the Plan,” explains Siess, whose previous support funded workshops for faculty and staff as a means to develop interdisciplinary courses. Similarly, FYI requires all incoming students to read a common text and dissect it from many disciplinary perspectives.

Her most recent gift purchased copies of this year’s common reading, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. The gift also funded a reception when the author spoke about “Breathing Life into the Dead: The Art of History” on campus in November.

“I think the book is a fantastic choice,” Siess says.

As a Beloiter and a librarian, Siess has spent most of her life at the crossroads of learning. Her 1965 enrollment at Beloit began a love affair with hands-on, international, and interdisciplinary education. She later folded her anthropology major and Spanish studies into a 17-year career as a librarian in industry. Today, celebrating a 10-year milestone with her own business – Information Bridges International, Inc. – she writes a monthly newsletter called The One-Person Library.

In her line of work, where the intersections of disciplines are endless, she believes in Beloit and the skills gleaned from a liberal arts education: “Learn, think, and integrate.”