April 12, 2024

Making strategic investments to secure a bright future for Beloit

President Eric Boynton As I write this in late February, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc and confused our daffodils. It’s 71 degrees outside, a far cry from the 34 degrees we expect at this time of year. This heat wave has enticed the yellow buds to peek out of the ground, at least a few inches. Our far-below average snowfall and far-above average temperatures have turned a friend’s backyard skating rink into one huge puddle.

Yet, despite the warm temperatures, we’re not fooled. It’s still winter in Wisconsin, and a class-canceling snowfall could be just around the corner. We’re prepared, and if it comes, we’ll be ready.

We’re prepared for the serious challenges facing institutions of higher learning as well. Our faculty and staff leaders, who started this work last summer, continue to build a data-informed, integrated plan that positions the college for mission success and financial health in this frigid higher education environment. At our February Board of Trustees meeting, the plan received a resounding vote of confidence.

The board approved strategic investments in areas that will help us gain enrollment traction. We’re increasing our outreach to students who live in our own backyard, as we refer to it. Qualified students in eight surrounding counties in Wisconsin and Illinois will pay no more in tuition than they would if they were attending their state’s flagships: University of Wisconsin–Madison or the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The Beloit College Commitment is already bearing fruit, and through the work of our talented financial aid experts, we’re navigating the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) mess. We’re providing financial clarity for families by committing to honor our estimated cost of tuition in the absence of a working FAFSA form. No other school is doing this.

We are also investing in the learning experience, and increasing our academic partnerships in the region. In late fall, we launched two professionally driven and market-resonant liberal arts-rooted schools, the School of Business and the School of Health Sciences. Planned partnerships with neighboring institutions will offer students in these schools expanded educational and professional opportunities in their own backyard. And this spring, we are introducing the School of Media and the Arts, and the School of Environment and Sustainability.

Our continuing investment in schools and Impact Beloit (which links community-based learning and career-readiness programs) allows us to make a compelling case for connecting college to careers and successful futures. We are very excited not only for the enrollment potential these schools provide, but for how they improve the value of a Beloit education for our current students.

In addition, we’re updating our residence halls to provide a comfortable environment for our students to call home. We’re starting with Whitney Hall, and through strategic investments over the next few fiscal years, we plan to brighten and refresh the living spaces where so many of you made lasting friendships and memories.

We also will make strategic investments in improving our food infrastructure, which of course will enhance the variety and quality of our menu offerings. We plan to reopen DK’s in Pearsons Hall and expand the kitchen at Hamiltons in the Powerhouse, which gives Bon Appetit the tools they need to deliver consistent, high-quality food.

As we turn the page from winter to spring sports, I want to congratulate all our sports teams for the hard work and dedication it takes to be a student-athlete. A shoutout to our men’s basketball team for making the Midwest Conference (MWC) Tournament for the first time in 22 years. Both our men’s and women’s swimming and diving and track and field teams broke multiple school records during MWC championships.

I’m particularly excited to take in the Bucs’ version of spring training when Julie and I spend spring break meeting with some alumni and friends of the college in Florida.

So far, my travels have taken me to Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, New York City, Asheville, St. Louis, Key West, Naples, Fort Myers, Houston, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Washington, D.C., and I’ve received warm welcomes in each location.

Meeting Beloit alumni around the country is truly my pleasure as Beloit’s president, and I look forward to connecting with more of you in the coming months and years.

There is much to look forward to! We have a well-conceived, data-driven plan to succeed in what is a challenging higher education environment. And we have an abundance of talent in our faculty and staff to achieve our goals and secure Beloit’s bright future.

From the President’s Nook,

Eric Boynton
presidentsoffice@beloit.edu


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