September 01, 2018

Skies Clear for the Class of 2018

After their May 20 ceremony was delayed for an hour by persistent rain, 290 graduates were finally able to take a well-deserved victory lap at the college’s 168th Commencement.
  • Graduates at Beloit College graduation May 20, 2018 (Photo © Andy Manis)
    Andy Manis

Gary Arnold’92, an advocate for people with disabilities, delivered Beloit’s 2018 Commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. A former board member of the Little People of America, Arnold is now with the Progress Center for Independent Living in suburban Chicago. His candid message to students encouraged patience and flexibility: He recounted how it took him seven years to find his true calling through a position at Access Living, a post he landed through a Beloit alumni connection. (The pioneering, Chicago-based advocacy organization was founded by Marca Bristo’74.)

Arnold said he not only found meaningful work there, he also developed a different way of seeing the world. He recalled how he went from trying to fit in as a person with dwarfism to realizing it was “not his job to try to fit in.” Rather, through the disability rights movement, he realized that his calling was to help all people have the right to participate in a world without physical and social obstacles.

Gary Arnold’92 delivered the college's 168th Commencement address and receives an honorary de...Gary Arnold’92 delivered the college's 168th Commencement address and receives an honorary degree at the Beloit College graduation May 20, 2018 Credit: Andy Manis

The ceremony’s usual order was turned upside down because of inclement weather. After President Bierman tore up his opening remarks in an effort to save time, he explained that students would receive their degrees first—before the speeches and awards—in case it started raining again. It did not.

For the first time at a Beloit College Commencement, those in attendance were reminded that the land where they were assembled—in front of Middle College—is a sacred indigenous place. “Recognizing and honoring Native occupancy is new at Commencement, but it is long overdue,” Bierman said.

For a number of years, anthropology department faculty, Logan Museum staff, and groups of students have worked to raise awareness of and respect for the Beloit Mound Group, which contains human remains.


Also In This Issue

  • Steven Hawkins (right), Beloit’s 2017 - 18 Weissberg Chair, poses with Pulitzer Prize-winning international journalist Roy Gutman (left), and Beloit’s 2002 - 03 Weissberg Chair, Marvin Weissberg (middle).

    On Criminal Justice Reform

    more
  • Eva Laun-Smith’21 competes in the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships Event - Women’s Triple Jump.

    Not One, But Two Championship Athletes From The City of Beloit

    more
  • Stephen Robinson joined Beloit College in August of 2018 as the inaugural director of the college’s Powerhouse.

    Powerhouse Updates

    more

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