October 01, 2021

Activism in the ’60s and Beloiters as ambassadors

Letters from readers

More nuance to the ’60s

A formal tip of the hat to celebrate Beloit's 175th anniversary comes courtesy of an authentic Be... As usual, you edit the history of activism at Beloit to the needs of the present ideology to which you have committed the college. The ’60s of the last century were a far more interesting time than you seem to want people to know about.

There was a strong and principled conservative movement at the college. Young Americans for Freedom was well situated on the college scene and of course they saw Reagan elected president. There was a small anarchist group that invited Ammon Hennacy to the campus: He had established the Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Salt Lake City … following in the steps of Dorothy Day who had founded the movement many years [earlier] and which still exists on the street where I live in NYC.

The John Birch Society was on campus as I remember, and [former English Professor] James Missey worked for peace and always picketed the various military who came to campus.

In the midst of the civil rights struggle, Beloit was open enough to invite BOTH SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) and the White Citizen Councils to send speakers to the college.

The Beloit Plan was a disaster and nearly broke the college though I did have a job at the New York Times — a rare real job — thanks to it while I waited to go to the Peace Corps in 1966.

Thomas McGonigle’66
New York, N.Y.

Alumni ambassadors

It was interesting to read the magazine’s list of U.S. Ambassadors among our Beloit alumni community. One you didn’t mention was Roger McGuire’65, a fraternity brother (Sigma Pi) and friend of my husband, Gene Banucci’65.

Roger graduated from Beloit and went to the University of Wisconsin for a graduate degree in international relations. He joined the U.S. Department of State and worked his way up as a career foreign service officer in various posts at foreign embassies and in Washington, D.C. He ended up focusing on countries where Portuguese is the official language. He served in Brazil and in several African countries.

We stayed in touch over the years and met his wife, Harriet, also a career foreign service officer. In 1992 we received an invitation to attend Roger’s investiture as Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, where he served until 1995. I remember this event well. It was held in a large, beautiful reception room on the top floor of the Department of State. Not only was the investiture an impressive ceremony, but on display throughout the room were fascinating historical memorabilia. Roger and Harriet continued to serve in various posts for several years.

Unfortunately, Roger passed away about 18 years ago.

Phyllis Wolff Banucci’65
Scottsdale, Ariz.


Corrections

In the section of our 175th anniversary story about international education, we made an error in identifying Ying Pang’90 as a participant in Beloit’s historic exchange program with Fudan University in China. Ying Pang was enrolled at Beloit during the early Fudan years, but she attended Beloit independent of that program.


Tell Us What You Think

Write to us about anything you’ve read in this issue. Send emails to belmag@beloit.edu. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity.


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