September 01, 2017

Remembering Frank Caleb Blodgett’50, Life Trustee

Frank Caleb Blodgett’50, a longtime member of Beloit’s board of trustees, food industry executive, and creator of the granola bar for General Mills, died at age 89 on April 6, 2017.

A prominent leader in food operations, he started out in his family’s milling business in Janesville, Wis., and later joined General Mills, where he worked his way up through the ranks. In 1992, he retired as a co-chairman of the board and chief financial and administrative officer of the company. In his earlier years at General Mills, he observed six-by-300-foot sheets of granola cereal rolling out of a commercial oven at one of the company plants. He said, “Let’s cut that into bars,” spawning a wildly popular product in 1974: Nature Valley Granola Bars.

Blodgett’s ties to Beloit stretch back generations. In 1836, Caleb Blodgett—his namesake and great-great-great grandfather—was credited with being the first permanent white settler in a place he named “New Albany,” now known as the city of Beloit.

Blodgett served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-46 and later graduated from Harvard Business School. In addition to his service on Beloit’s board from 1976 to 1999, when he was designated a life trustee, he sat on a number of other boards, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He received a Distinguished Service Citation from the Beloit College Alumni Association in 1990.

His generosity included a substantial gift from his estate to be used to meet the strategic needs of the college. To honor his lifelong service to Beloit, the board of trustees designated this gift to fund the F. Caleb Blodgett Director of the Powerhouse.

He was predeceased by his wife, Jean, his father, Frank C. Blodgett, Sr. (1917), and his brother, William’51. Among the survivors are two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and a great grandson. The family requests memorials to Beloit College.

Also In This Issue

  • Grace Ousley (1904) was the first African-American woman to graduate from Beloit College only nine years after the college opened its doors to women.

    They Made History

  • Photo by: Ray Metzker’53

    Remembering Ron Bontemps’51, a Giant from Beloit’s Golden Age of Basketball

  • Soldier Sister, Fly Home and other alumni books.

    General-Interest Books by Alumni and Faculty Authors


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