November 14, 2022

Kindred spirits across five decades

Bob Norris’66 and Marcos Arroyo’16 consider each other close friends, talking for hours on the phone every few months. Although they graduated 50 years apart, these Beloiters have plenty to agree on.

Marcos Arroyo?16, left, and Bob Norris?66 met when Norris visited an environmental studies class ... Marcos Arroyo’16, left, and Bob Norris’66 met when Norris visited an environmental studies class on campus. Since then, the two have become good friends.The two met in professor Pablo Toral’s environmental studies capstone course during Arroyo’s senior year. Toral said that Norris, a chemistry major while at Beloit and a father and grandfather of four Beloiters, was visiting his class when Arroyo summarized his upcoming project. Arroyo talked frankly about his summer research at an ecological center in Mexico, where he spoke out against businesses that were disrupting endangered sea turtles’ nesting patterns. Norris was taken with Arroyo’s passion for the planet, which he shares. The two talked after class and, as the old adage goes, the rest is history.

“I met a lot of students in Pablo’s class, but Marcos is the only one that’s continued a friendship for a long time,” Norris says. “It’s because we have a lot of interests in common. It just seemed like a natural relationship.”

Arroyo moved back to his native Florida after a successful stint as a political organizer in the northeast that began right after graduation. He later landed a job with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on a restoration project in the Everglades that included removing invasive Burmese pythons. 

Despite their geographic distance, he and Norris continue to converse over the phone and email — mostly about politics, Arroyo admits — but also about immigration rights, a cause near and dear to both of their hearts.

Last summer, Arroyo visited Norris at his home in Longmont, Colo., and helped out with an event Norris was coordinating with a local non-profit and undocumented migrants.

Norris has been involved in various immigration advocacy groups across the Denver area, even hosting a few Beloiters at his house as they volunteered at organizations like Casa de Paz, which comforts and houses migrants who leave detention centers. He’s also made personal appeals to lawmakers to pass bills supporting migrants in the state of Colorado, thanks to the many high-powered connections he’s made in local government over the years.

During their recent visit, Norris and Arroyo also had time to have fun together in Colorado, taking a few excursions to see the mountains.

“Bob has bad knees and graduated 50 years before me, but he had no trouble keeping up with me,” says Arroyo.


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    Court named for Coach Knapton

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  • Ericka Corral’22, center, with friends.

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  • Capturing the magic of all Reunions, it shows current students crossing paths with returning alumni — in this case, alumni from the 1920s classes, celebrating their 50th reunion that year.

    Generations of Beloiters

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  • Director of Safety & Security Bruce Heine

    All in a Day’s Work: A Minute with Bruce Heine

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