Beloit’s dreamers, Ray Metzker’53, and more
Hilary Dickinson’s article, “On a Historic Whaling Ship, a Chance Encounter,” (fall/winter 2014) reminded me of my favorite similar experience—stepping into a gondola in Venice, Italy, in the summer of 1956 and discovering that the strangers sharing the ride all knew Beloit College and Professor Ivan Stone—a couple from New York through his work with the U.N. and the Corliss Andersons as members of the Beloit College board of trustees. It sparked a friendship with the Andersons for as long as they lived.
Chomingwen D. Pond’50
I can’t name many braver actions than four undocumented students outing themselves, offering their identities in front of their peers and in writing. Fabiola, Milica, J.P., and Katia give me tremendous pride as a Beloiter. As an alumnus, I hope that our college continues to see the path we provide undocumented students as historically meaningful and even patriotic. The work that they and their families have put in to attain this education inspires me to work harder myself. More importantly, they helped us understand a little bit more about what it means to be undocumented in America.
Thank you for your editorial decision to move ahead with this piece as a feature in our quarterly magazine.
After reading about the college’s policy for undocumented students, I must say I have never been prouder to be associated with the college. The four young people who stepped forward to share their stories showed a lot of courage. Bravo!
I read with interest the article you published on undocumented students.
I am glad they were given the opportunity to obtain the same great education at Beloit that I received. What concerns me is the lack of attention to the fact that their hardships resulted directly from their parents’ illegal entrance into this country.
I immigrated with my parents in 1950. After first undergoing extensive background checks, securing a U.S. citizen sponsor, and swearing to be self-sufficient, we were placed on a waiting list for five years. Thankfully, due to my parents, I was able to apply for U.S. citizenship in 1966.
Dr. Hans W. Peters’62
San Clemente, Calif.
I never thought or knew about this aspect of undocumented persons. I am thrilled that these young people are able to have the opportunity to attend Beloit, and I am very proud of Beloit for this program.
Dr. Lawrence C. Pakula’53
Your article [on undocumented students] showed the courage and leadership of Beloit College in putting a human face to this group of students. The article documented the variety of family stories and the strength and determination of the four students who have learned to live with fear and the unknown their families face every day since coming to the United States. Beloit did not secretly accept this group of students, but knowingly sought their participation.
My daughter had the privilege of having an undocumented roommate for two years while at Beloit. Her roommate became a national leader in the movement that brought DACA forward, seeking to pass a Dream Act.
Thank you, Beloit.
(parent of Casey Dickson’12)
As a graduate student studying higher education, reading “There’s No Single Face to an Undocumented Student” reminded me how thankful I am that I attended a college with such diversity and open mindedness in its student body. I learned as much from my peers as I did from my professors, so reading the stories from these four students was incredibly powerful.
‘Last Word’ Sparks Memories
I enjoyed reading David Benjamin’s reminiscences (fall/winter 2014) about his time as sports information editor in the early ’70s. As someone who played football for Beloit back then—and, as Benjamin says, there weren’t many of us—I remember those days fondly now. Probably less fondly than on any one of those Saturday afternoons. I recall the St. Olaf shellacking well; I think the Ole Benjamin referenced was in the process of setting all kinds of Division III rushing records that season, and he no doubt added to that pace at Strong Stadium. They showed up that day with 80 blonde-haired Swedes on their team; at least that’s the way I remember it. Meanwhile, I looked over at our sideline from the huddle and saw six lonely Bucs. The Coe game that year I remember as a 63-0 drubbing, but maybe the 87-0 was the next year. 63, 87…what’s the difference, really?
One of the young men Chuck Ross brought with him from his Chicago coaching days was a giant named Ron Triplett’74. One of our defensive schemes was the Ron Triplett ‘lay down’ defense. The idea was that he was so huge he’d just lay down on the line of scrimmage and everyone on the other team would simply trip and fall over the pile. That’s not to suggest that we always took a light-hearted approach to football. We were all pretty serious about the game. But we were well aware that the spirit of the times pointed in a different direction. We knew, for example, that the Beloit kazoo marching band was renowned for its crack precision half-time formations like the ‘toothpick’ or the ‘crumpled Kleenex.’ We all knew that it was OK to play soccer, but football was somehow part of the imperialist war machinery. The late ’60s and early ’70s were very political times, needless to say.
In the end, though, my memories of that experience are wholly pleasant: a personal ritual of walking to Strong Stadium on game day, enjoying the smell of burning leaves; going to teammate Dick Upton’s house after a game to have a dish of his mom’s fruit casserole (Dick could punt the crap out of a football, by the way!); seeing my dad in the stands at Carleton on a frigid November Saturday. It was the last game of my senior year. We lost that one, too … but somebody I loved showed up to watch.
Steven A. Hilsabeck’71; MAT’72
Thanks to David Benjamin for his “Last Word” column about football coach Chuck Ross, because it sparked a memory for me about field hockey at Beloit in 1969. Unbeknownst to most students that year, a group of young women strove to organize a field hockey team at the same time the football program was waning. My roommate and I pulled together a group of about 14 lasses to play field hockey. I do not remember a coach, although I am sure we had a faculty advisor, and I have no idea where we procured equipment and uniforms, but we practiced most afternoons and even ventured down to Northern Illinois University for a game, which we lost 9-0. I do not remember any coverage of our contest, and I never met Dick Sine or David Moore from the Office of Information.
Like David Benjamin I was inspired by my experience. I went on to promote women’s sports for seven years as an assistant sports information director and swimming coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Because of my experiences in sports at Beloit, and at Kirkwood High School, as SID I pushed for coverage of women’s events and as a coach for more pool time, a decent locker room, scholarships, assistant coaches, and opportunities to raise money for our program. My efforts led to confrontations with the athletic director and the SID about the status of women’s athletics. I also wrote a document for a campus wide report on the status of women at the university. By the time I left UIC in 1986, change was in the air for female athletes at Beloit, UIC, and all over the country. Although my roommate and I did not save field hockey at Beloit in the fall of ’69, we were lucky to have the opportunity to play an organized sport. Since then it has been gratifying to learn that the women’s athletic program at Beloit has flourished.
Kathy Brown Marchant’73
Belvidere Center, Vt.
Teaching Ray Metzker’53
Photographer Ray Metzker’s death was sad and timely news. Ray and Harry Callahan will be the subjects of the final segment of a course in American Photography that I’m teaching this semester at Georgetown. I was captivated by Metzker’s multiple-image photographs when I first encountered them long ago in a course taught by Michael Simon. My appreciation of his work has only grown as I came to teach photo history myself. He seems to have shared with the earliest photographic pioneers a sheer fascination with the world around him. Combining that with the technical inventiveness of Man Ray and other Modernists, he developed a unique style that I think of as a sort of clear-eyed Midwestern surrealism. He showed us that the world, as it is, is stranger than anything we could possibly imagine.