May 01, 2017

Smoking in Smith, entrepreneur center, and Clyde Stubblefield

Letters from readers

Why no smoking in Smith?

I really enjoyed the Student Union story in the last issue. I believe the determining factor of choosing Beloit as my college was how great the Union felt when I walked in as a prospective student in 1969. I was not a very smart shopper, not knowing anything about the Beloit Plan until I got there, but I knew the Student Union was very cool and where I wanted to be.

The first floor was the coffee shop, but the second floor was the place for weekly movies and amazing bands. Being only two hours from Chicago, we had outstanding blues bands come regularly, and live music was a regular feature. When my daughter attended Beloit 30 years later, live Chicago bands didn’t seem to be part of the Beloit culture.

One thing I didn’t see in the article which I would be curious about: Smoking was ubiquitous back then, but it was strictly forbidden at the Union because we were told there was straw insulation between the two floors that could easily catch fire. It kept all the musical noise and stomping from being heard in the coffee house downstairs, but was a known hazard. Is that true—was/is there straw as insulation between the floors?

Sally Frelick O’Byrne’74
Wilmington, Del.

Editor’s Note

Smith building specifications are among the historical records in College Archives, but straw insulation is not mentioned among the construction materials. The extra caution about smoking in Smith Union may have stemmed from a 1964 fire that started in a second floor lounge and was spotted and quickly extinguished by firefighters on patrol. The cause was attributed to a “cigarette in a davenport.”

Entrepreneurship Center is a source of pride

Beloit College Magazine 2017-1 Winter Cover I read “Rethinking the Entrepreneur” in the winter 2017 college magazine with great interest.

In May 2015, Jeffery Cornwall, Massey Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, and I, Richard Lucier’65, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, were asked by Provost and Dean of the College Ann Davies to conduct an external review of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit, CELEB. Over the course of three very full days, we met with more than 30 students, a half-dozen college administrators, and more than a dozen faculty.

Jeff and I came to two findings to share with the Beloit community.

First, CELEB is a program which contributes to Beloit’s uniqueness and attractiveness to potential students and their parents. Additionally, CELEB is consistent with and contributes to the 2011 reaffirmation of experiential education exemplified in the Liberal Arts in Practice (LAP) graduation requirement. Founding director, Professor Emeritus of Economics Jerry Gustafson, and his successor as director, Brian Morello’85, have developed and led a first-rate, liberal arts-based program, which is building a national reputation.

Second, we were impressed, in fact, elated by our interactions with students. They were articulate, bright, open, and thoughtful. We had the same positive experience with faculty, staff, and administrators. As an alumnus, my pride in being a Beloit graduate and my confidence in the future of the college were increased.

Our college is in good hands!

Dick Lucier’65
Saugatuck, Mich.

When Clyde Stubblefield played Spring Day

In remembrance of the late, great drummer Clyde Stubblefield, I want to share a story. Spring Day of 1998 would not have been the same without him. That year, the Student Activities Committee worked hard to put together a musical line-up everybody on campus would appreciate. When word got around that the drummer for James Brown agreed to play our annual music festival, excitement grew quickly.

Since everyone knew Mr. Stubblefield would be the closing act, the pressure to book performers that would both complement Mr. Stubblefield’s sound and expose students to new music, put those of us on the Spring Day Committee on edge. I wanted to bring a folk-musician from Olympia, Wash., named Lois Maffeo. When I called her record label to inquire about her availability, she personally returned my phone call and agreed to play the show only if she could simply bring a friend from Portland, Ore. Not wanting to come off as nosy or a gossip, I never asked who that partner might be.

When Lois showed up with Sleater-Kinney rocker Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia-fame, I felt absolutely blessed to have such an amazing show in which they could take part. Though the rain fell heavily that day, causing us to move Spring Day into the C-Haus, everybody enjoyed Clyde’s famous breaks and funky beats. And that morning I got to eat bagels with Ms. Maffeo and Ms. Brownstein. Of all things, we talked about the rain and how much we anticipated hearing the musicianship of an accomplished master like Clyde Stubblefield.

That day a younger generation learned how grateful they should be for the influence of one whose creativity and humility must continue in the world of today’s music.

Victor Schoonover’99
Rockford, Ill.

Also In This Issue

  • Here’s to the Future

  • 2016-17 Weissberg Chair in International Studies Eskinder Negash.

    International Migration Crisis, Up Close

  • Dave’49 and Anne Myers

    Show of Gratitude

  • Professor Debra Majeed and President Scott Bierman celebrating Majeed’s acceptance of the 2016-17 James R. Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

    Majeed Attracts Underkofler Award


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