This highest honor originates with submitted nominations for alumni whose overall achievement, personal growth in a career, and outstanding civic, cultural, and professional/business service reflect positively on Beloit.
The generous spirit of Raj Fernando’93 was apparent even at an early age. His sister, Tanya Fernando, recalls him giving away his favorite toy to a family friend’s newborn baby when he was just 4. That spirit has carried Raj through his life and manifested itself in his career. As a student, he interned at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, holding various positions there before founding Chopper Trading in 2002. The company, which trades in national and international markets, has employed several Beloiters and hosted interns from the college. In 2015, he sold the company and launched Workstorm, a secure collaboration platform for businesses. He is involved with a number of organizations, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, PAWS Chicago, and the Foreign Policy Leadership Committee at the Brookings Institution. He is also on the board of directors for the American Security Project and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Marty Dyer Feltus’68
Martha “Marty” Dyer Feltus’68 was once described as the “superlative example of ‘being the change’ our society needs.” The Tulsa, Okla., native arrived at Beloit in time to immerse herself in the Beloit Plan. She studied abroad in Spain and became a Spanish major. She worked for 27 years at Weidmann Electrical Technology in St. Johnsbury, Vt., where she helped develop the company’s customer base in Mexico, before retiring in 2001. After she retired, she was often attending more public meetings than elected officials, so she decided to run for office herself. She’s now in her third term as a representative in the Vermont General Assembly, with plans to run for another term. Feltus serves on several committees, including the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Sexual Harassment Prevention Panel, and the Working Group on Water Quality Funding.
Rosemary Widmann Gruber’68
Rosemary Widmann Gruber’68 dedicated her career to the service of others, tackling perhaps the hardest piece of working in the public sphere—fundraising. She began in 1985 as the development associate for United Arts, where she was responsible for soliciting annual campaign gifts for arts organizations in St. Paul, Minn. She later worked at the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics Foundation, securing the first $1 million gift for the foundation, before moving on to work for the University of Minnesota, where she raised more than $53 million for cancer research. Those who know her say she possesses an authentic integrity. And, she practices what she preaches. She and her husband, Don Gruber’66, have generously supported their alma mater, the YMCA, and a variety of local organizations.
2018 Young Alumni Award
Luke Somers’08 received the Young Alumni Award posthumously in June during the Alumni Assembly of Beloit’s Reunion Weekend. Luke’s mother, Paula Somers, and his brother, Jordan Somers, accepted the honor. Luke Somers was an expatriate storyteller and a wanderer with an affinity for traveling and understanding his adopted communities. A creative writing major, he spent two semesters studying abroad: one in Egypt, the other in Morocco, before heading to the Middle East, eventually traveling to Yemen to work as an English teacher, then again as a storyteller, using photography to document Yemen’s Arab Spring. His photos have been published in The Yemen Times, The BBC, and other international outlets. Somers never saw the full impact of his work. He was killed by militants in Yemen in 2014 after more than a year in captivity. Beloit has established an international studies scholarship and an annual off-campus study photography contest in Luke’s name. Paula and Jordan Somers are pictured with Mark Wold’95, at left, Beloit’s former director of development and alumni engagement.
The Young Alumni Award goes to a member of the alumni community who is marking a 10th reunion year and whose overall achievements, personal growth, and outstanding civic, cultural, and professional service reflects credit on Beloit. The recipients come from alumni nominations and are chosen by the Alumni Association board.