Hats Off to Beloit
In honor of Beloit’s 175th anniversary year, we round up five chapters in the college’s history that speak to the spirit of this place over time. Archivist Emeritus Fred Burwell’86 assisted us with the project and tipped us off to this curious photograph, featuring members of the class of 1887 who seem to be anticipating a reason to celebrate. One of these hats, the one on our cover, still resides in Archives, making a tactile connection to Beloit’s rich past.
This momentous 175th year of the college sent us hunting for stories that illuminate Beloit’s spirit over time. Among the many treasures we uncovered in past alumni magazines, college histories, and College Archives are five chapters in the life of the college that reflect this remarkable institution’s character.
Beloit took its sweet time when it came to admitting women to the college. In fact, the campus was a man’s world until trustees voted in 1895 to admit women ‘quietly and without ado.’
From the Freedom Rides of the early 1960s to student advocacy for an integrated curriculum in the 1990s to Black Lives Matter today, Beloit students have pushed the college and the country forward, especially toward racial justice.
Men’s basketball at Beloit rocketed to a national stage in the 1940s and ’50s, followed by another four decades of sustained success. But in between, Beloit’s outsized triumphs in the sport were touched by a scandal.
Beloit’s first forays into international education started with missionary work. As the college’s international outlook evolved, it led to developments like a historic exchange program with a top Chinese university and an integrated approach that thrives today.
The Beloit Plan, with its year-round curriculum and emphasis on experience in new learning environments, was a complete rethinking of what a college education should be. It attracted an extraordinary cohort of students and produced a remarkable generation of alumni.