In 2011, when he was profiled in this magazine, Corlis said that he hoped “Beloit continues to be a fine school that turns out its share of scholars and good alumni.” When he passed away at the age of 98 in 2014, the college learned that he meant what he said.
He left Beloit a $6.9 million bequest, the single largest cash gift in college history.
The former comptroller for General Motors, Corlis was a longtime benefactor to the college. In his father’s memory, he established the George Russell Corlis Chair in History (his father also graduated from Beloit, and both father and son majored in history). In 2011, a gift from William Corlis made possible the complete restoration of the Middle College cupola that sits atop Beloit’s oldest building, constructed in 1847.
The bequest of William Corlis will fully fund the Corlis Chair and enhance the college’s endowment.