Who made Beloit special?
Last fall, as part of the I’m All In Campaign, the college asked alumni to name names, to say who made Beloit a special place and why they were all in for Beloit. We hand-picked some of the many submissions and stories they shared.
Donna Oliver, Professor of Modern Languages & Literatures
Professor Oliver has supported me since my very first day at Beloit. As my Russian faculty advisor, she guided me through my Russian study abroad program, introduced me to the work of poet Alexander Pushkin, and mentored me as a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar.
Dr. Oliver encouraged me to think beyond the status quo and helped me blend my passions for Russian language, culture, and critical race theory. She genuinely cared about my development as a student, as a professional and, most importantly, as a person. Professor Oliver’s steadfast mentorship has played a major part in where I am today.
— Oceana Gilliam’17, Member of Beloit’s Board of Trustees
Roxie Alexander, Professor of English
Roxie Alexander was such a force of nature. Her knowledge of classic literature along with her amazingly quick wit made every single class with her a pleasure.
I was also lucky enough to have her as my advisor on my not-completely-successful semester abroad in England. Her advice and perspective were like a warm blanket wrapped around my 20-year-old insecurities. I continue to donate to the college every year in her memory.
— Mary Nelson’83
Ron Watson, Associate Professor of Health & Society
Professor Watson guided my Honors Term Project, which focused on the intersection between the rate of sexually transmitted infections and the opioid epidemic in Rock County (Wisconsin).
He pushed me to collaborate with community organizations, collect ethnographies, and use my findings to inform the work of the Beloit Public Health Initiative. Professor Watson helped me to think critically, and when the project was complete, he fully supported my application for a master’s degree in public health.
— Hannah Yee’19, Member of Beloit’s Alumni Association Board
Laura Grube’08, Associate Professor of Economics
Dr. Grube does something spectacular with all her students: She demands critical, careful, purposeful thinking out of every interaction in class or outside of it. She shaped the way I thought about everything at Beloit and beyond and broadened my horizons in countless ways.
She was a mentor from the moment I stepped on campus 3,000 miles from home and continues to be a mentor as we devote our lives to the betterment of this magical place called Beloit College.
— Hernan Santacruz’19, Beloit College Admissions Counselor
Brock Spencer, Professor of Chemistry
Brock showed me through his teaching of non-science majors the importance of a general science education for everyone. I was fortunate to be a TA for several chemistry courses and this experience boosted my confidence as a scientist and teacher.
Despite my average grades, he encouraged me to follow my dreams, attend graduate school, and obtain my Ph.D. in chemistry. He helped me figure out which university would be a good fit by asking great open-ended questions.
Years have passed and my career led me on a completely different path. One thing remains constant: My liberal arts and sciences degree has made me a better scientist, a more aware global citizen, and a well-rounded mom setting up the next generation for success.
— Brenda Waller Kaushik’93
Bud Whiteford, Professor of Anthropology
I left a state university where the freshman anthropology class numbered 250 students to attend Beloit where my first anthropology class with Professor Whiteford numbered seven.
What a difference that made! Whiteford became my mentor and friend who assisted my career choices a decade after my graduation. I eventually became an American diplomat.
— Lewis R. Luchs’57
DeVon Wilson’90, Associate Dean
As director of the McNair Scholars Program, Associate Dean Wilson was a fierce advocate for first-generation minority students like me to work through our self-doubt and go on to graduate studies, many as Ph.Ds.
— Tori Key’03, Member of Beloit’s Board of Trustees
Wendy Avra Gordon’76, fellow student
I’m all in for Beloit because 49 years ago this week, that’s where I met and fell in love with the most important person in my life, my amazing, brilliant wife who has remained as true to her values as the day I met her!
— Zak Gordon’73
Les McAllister, Professor of Economics
In the fall of 1958, I was a transfer student to Beloit. Les McAllister, as my advisor, was the first staff I met. Other than U.S. Economic History, I can’t remember any other economics courses I took my first semester, but eventually I took all of his.
He gave me an interest in economics that continues to this day. I am sure he was behind my Woodrow Wilson nomination and my selection to be a “Brussels Sprout.” I was very fortunate to bring him up to date at my 50th reunion.
— Tom Mullaney’61
Beloit’s first seminar abroad in 1960 went to Brussels, Belgium, to study newly established European common markets. The group earned the nickname “Brussels Sprouts.”
Frank Crivello’76, Admissions Officer
Frank Crivello was my first contact with Beloit College. I always felt like he was in my corner, from when I was still in high school (considering Beloit) through graduation day.
If he happened to see me walk past Middle College to classes, he’d yell out his office window to flag me down. Then I’d walk over, and we’d chat a bit. (It was amusing then and still makes me smile now.) That welcoming, supportive gesture was emblematic of my experience at Beloit.
Did I have awesome professors who also made a difference? I certainly did — several immediately come to mind — but when I think about that not-so-quiet thread of support that screamed follow your passion! the entire time I was at Beloit, I always think of Frank.
— Mary Riley’90
Hank Woodard, Professor of Geology
Dr. Woodard, or “The Chief,” as he was fondly known, was truly inspirational to his students. He exhibited enthusiasm, integrity, a deep knowledge of his subject, and a rare combination of caring for students while maintaining respect and admiration.
Many of his students went on to successful careers, and the Beloit College geology department was put on the map as one of the best programs in the country. Many went on to teach with “The Chief” as their model.
— Bruce Bartleson’56
Marion Stocking, Professor of English
I had an advanced class with Marion Stocking my freshman year; there, I met the work of Samuel Beckett for the first time.
After graduate school and a few decades of life and family, we met again in her retirement haven in Maine. We canoed together on a still lake, discovered a chapel painted by local artists during the Public Works Administration era, stalked birds on the coast.
Our last visit in Atlanta took place when she attended a conference to explore how best to turn over The Beloit Poetry Journal to new editors. She visited my office at Emory to see the legacy her own teaching, her editing experience, and her friendship had influenced: The Letters of Samuel Beckett, which I was co-editing for Cambridge University Press.
Many Beloiters and my entire family looked forward to Marion’s Christmas letters — filled to the brim with sharply worded observations of all sorts.
— Lois More Overbeck’66
Chad Walsh, Professor of English
I grew up on Chad Walsh’s book Nellie and Her Flying Crocodile, first when my mom read it to my brother, my sister, and me, then as one of the first books I ever read.
As a freshman in his creative writing class, the topic of children’s books was raised by another student, and he said he had no experience in that field. I had to stand up and ask, “What about Nellie?” and he blushed.
Never have I witnessed such modesty. He made me a writer.
— Allan Dalcher’70
Scott Crom, Professor of Philosophy
Chad Walsh, Professor of English
When my father died suddenly on a Sunday in February of my senior year, I hurried home to Annapolis to be with my mother and brothers.
When I got there later in the afternoon, Scott Crom had already sent a telegram telling me to stay home as long as I needed to and that he and Chad would talk to my professors. He told me to focus on home and that they would get me caught up when I got back.
Both men were gentle, caring people who treated their students with respect and affection.
— Alfred Kraemer’73
Tom McBride, Professor of English
Through his engaging teaching style and passion for the topic, Professor Tom McBride inspired me to appreciate the power of good writing —whether it be applied to a lengthy honors thesis or a short letter.
Thanks to his help I learned to write well, a skill that opened the doors to a variety of interesting opportunities. I wrote speeches, newsletters, and press releases for a State Senator; I wrote analyses of pending federal legislation for a public-interest law firm; I worked as a freelance writer, successfully selling everything from personal experience pieces to editing services for CEOs. Eventually I settled on a career in foundation philanthropy, a field I was able to enter after winning an entry-level position based on the strength of my writing.
As executive director of a private foundation for many years now, I still use the basic writing and analysis skills I learned from Professor McBride 40 (gulp!) years ago.
— Bob DiLeonardi’81