Econ Day. Every year the economics department takes its junior and senior majors to Chicago for a day of learning and networking. Beyond the specifics, much of what happens during this day is learning the rights and responsibilities of being Beloit College alumni. It is always a remarkable day.
A couple of years ago, on Econ Day, in a large lecture hall at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, alumni introduced themselves to current econ majors via the prompt, “What do you wish you had known when you graduated that you did not know?” About half way through the introductions, one person said something like this, “With far more frequency than you can imagine, you are going to be at some event—a wedding, a conference, a public meeting—and someone is going to get up and say something that transcends all that has happened at that event. It will be smart, often funny, but, most importantly, it will prompt a new perspective, catalyze a new direction in the dialogue, offer an insight that is pivotal. That person will be a Beloiter.” Right! In a world of often really smart and accomplished people, Beloiters are disproportionately (ridiculously disproportionately) the most interesting people in the room. It is remarkable.
In my office in Middle College, between two windows looking out over the mounds, hangs another reminder of the exceptional character, history, and power of Beloit College.
The college’s coat of arms that greets everyone who visits this office is the same as the one that adorns Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago. Deservedly, Beloit’s seal is in excellent company there, sharing the room with other distinguished universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia—precisely where we should be. Beloit is, and always has been, a premium college.
Symbols like these (and the company we keep) say a great deal about the college, as do the countless other places and ways people encounter and experience Beloit. From the most visible signals to the subtle or even subconscious things we see, hear, or send through our messaging, behaviors, and commitments, one fundamental truth persists—everything speaks. You—Beloit College’s alumni and friends—speak. Every time you are remarkable—and you are so disproportionately remarkable—you speak.
So, what are we saying?
For anyone even vaguely familiar with the troubling public conversations surrounding higher education, and specific assaults on the liberal arts, the challenges are clear. In this space and in other venues across the country, I present evidence that Beloit College offers value to our alumni directly, and to the communities in which they flourish more broadly. There is no question that what we do here at the college is remarkably valuable. Our work is necessary, the outcomes undeniable. More than ever, the world needs more Beloiters and more Beloitish thinking.
The secret sauce? It is and has been the very foundation of a Beloit education. Beloit College’s one-of-a-kind, tailored education teaches Beloiters to entwine their curiosity, passion, and experiences and to approach the world with knowledge, insight, expertise, social responsibility, and intellectual agility. Throughout its history, the college has found remarkable ways to empower people to be more—to revel in constant learning, meaningful reflection, and purposeful practice. The joy of discovering new connections and creating meaning in the world through those connections is who we are.
This is at the heart of the thinking behind the college’s integrated marketing efforts, which are already under way, but elevating significantly in the months ahead. Our message is both accurate and aspirational, celebrating the glory of Beloit journeys that rarely follow a script, but always lead somewhere worth going.
Be More. Be Remarkable.
A quick skim of this magazine, or any of those that have preceded it will, without a doubt, demonstrate this idea. Beloiters: the most interesting people in the room. Beloiters do what needs doing, change what needs changing, and create what needs creating.
And it’s remarkable.
From here at Chapin’s desk,
—President Scott Bierman