Professor of Biology John Lutz
John Lutz, professor emeritus of biology, died Feb. 28, 2016, in Vancouver, Wash., at age 88. He and his wife, Ann, had moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2013 to follow several of their children.
John chaired the biology department at Beloit, but his passion was for teaching and mentoring students, which he did over a 25-year tenure, from 1965 to 1990.
In Beloit’s biology department, he pioneered the audio tutorial dissection labs and illustrated and wrote dissection manuals that were used in audio labs across the United States in the 1970s. He was the driving force behind bringing the first electron microscope to Beloit and had it installed next to his office in what was then the new Chamberlin Hall science building. He worked with Rush University in Chicago to establish a program for Beloit students to do their first two years at Beloit and finish at Rush with a B.S. degree in nursing. He mentored countless students on their journeys to medical school, pharmacology doctorates, vet school, park management, and Ph.D. programs.
John was a graduate of Yale and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He served in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army during World War II.
Former Academic Dean Parker G. Marden
Former Academic Dean and sociologist Parker G. Marden, most recently of Topsham, Maine, passed away in Brunswick, Maine, on Oct. 7 at age 77. Marden came to Beloit from St. Lawrence University in New York where he was director of academic resources and planning. He also taught sociology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and at Cornell University in New York. He earned his B.A. from Bates College and his master’s degree and doctorate in sociology from Brown University.
Marden was a widely published sociologist with interests in population, the environment, and alcohol abuse and treatment. Even while serving as dean, he continued to teach one or two courses at Beloit each year. When he was selected to give Beloit’s Commencement speech in 1994, Marden demonstrated his humor and wisdom, and his remarks made it abundantly clear that he knew and deeply cared about many students personally. His Commencement speech was built around a repeated message to students: “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.” He closed by sharing a stanza from Bob Dylan’s song, “Forever Young.”
Throughout his life, he took great joy in the accomplishments of his former students and enjoyed staying connected to them. He attended his last “Beloiters Unite” event in Portland, Ore., in 2014.
Among the survivors are John’s wife, Ann, and four children, including Kathy Lutz Garvey’75.
Theatre Professor Carl Balson
When word came that Theatre Professor Emeritus Carl Balson had died last fall, the memories emerged quickly. Carl was remembered as someone who inspired others, lived in the moment, and relished his role of teaching students absolutely everything about theatre—from performance to promotion to the work backstage. Carl died Sept. 8, 2016, at age 84 in Beloit.
At the college, Carl taught theatre and public speaking and was integral to the success of WBCR radio over many years. He directed the college’s audio-visual services and the language lab during a tenure that spanned from 1957 to 1997. He also founded and directed the city of Beloit’s public access television station and enlisted the studio to teach students.
Carl was a lifelong advocate for the arts, especially of community theatre, including the Beloit Civic Theatre and Janesville Little Theatre. He performed in professional theatre, at the popular New Court Theatre in Beloit and at New American Theatre in Rockford, Ill., founded by artistic director J.R. “Jim” Sullivan’72.
Carl’s multiple talents included performing in other ways: as a semi-professional magician, a musician for the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra, and as an ace joke teller.
“Students and faculty loved Carl,” recalls Donna Thorson, longtime director of the college theatre’s Costume Shop. “I would be working in the Costume Shop and hear uproarious laughter coming from Carl’s direction down the hall. He was telling jokes. And no one could tell a joke better. A crowd of students and faculty would be gathered around him waiting for the punch line. And then it would come, along with spontaneous laughter.”
Carl was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and studied at Bowling Green University in Ohio. He earned his master’s degree from Syracuse University.
For many alumni, Carl was simply their favorite teacher. His former students include Amy Wright’71 and Jameson Parker’71, who both went on to build notable careers as stage and film actors. When Provost Ann Davies emailed faculty emeriti to alert them of Carl’s death, she wrote, “Carl was cheerful, kind, irreverent, and fun. While we’re sad to lose him, I know Beloit is a better place for his gifts.”
All photos courtesy of the Beloit College Archives.