“Growth through Transition: Mine” letter to the Beloit community
I had the honor of meeting recently with Catherine Day’75- an amazing artist, entrepreneur, and community developer — an exemplary Beloiter — and she spoke of the important emergence of opportunity and growth through transition. She helped give words and meaning to something that has been increasingly on my mind over the last couple of months. It is in exactly that spirit that I write to you to announce my retirement from the presidency at Beloit College at the end of this academic and fiscal year.
I plan to give myself some time and space to properly reflect on the last thirteen years before wading very deeply in those waters, but no additional perspective will ever change my love for the magic that occurs when Beloit students, faculty and staff connect. And, those connections are everywhere and ever present.
From the very beginning of my time with Beloit College I have been resolute in reminding us of the connections (there is that word again) between our past, our present, and our future. Our DNA has been richly shaped by our glorious past. For example, The soul of the college was established when its earliest professors, Jackson Bushnell and Joseph Emerson, committed to making a college based on the power of a liberal arts curriculum within an institution that began as a relationship-building machine. And, by the way, they would absolutely love the integrated learning outcomes.
Our current commitment to Becoming Better - even with the college’s rocky road towards racial equity and inclusion - draws authentic strength from its first significant financial gift in 1845, which committed Beloit to admitting African-American students on the same terms as white students.
You are unlikely to appreciate how Beloit College has an entering class in 2022 made up of 20% international students without knowing that in 1924 Dean George Collie publicly dreamt of Beloit becoming an international college or, for that matter, knowing of the Brussels Sprouts (our first off-campus studies program).
And, you surely cannot understand how stunningly sophisticated we are at the interplay of classroom and out of classroom experiences without understanding the role of the Beloit Plan as a signature part of our history and the core building block of our signature pedagogy. Our higher education leadership today owes itself to this history. Indeed, to take a new important initiative, Impact Beloit is destined for enormous success owing in no small measure to this history.
Alas, I am on the edge of violating my commitment to time and space for reflection. For the moment allow me to simply thank all of you from the bottom of my heart who have been so meaningful, impactful, gracious, patient, and caring to Melody and me during our (eventual) 14 years at this miracle of an institution. I have been very lucky.
In the meantime, we have a terrific year in front of us and it is just beginning. I mean, Folk and Blues is next weekend just to take one example. And the list of wonderful things on the horizon is gloriously diverse and rich. No doubt, as Catherine Day would predict, this will be a banner year of opportunity and growth. I cannot wait. It will be a great year to be a Beloiter.
All the best,
700 College Street
Beloit WI 53511