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The Mindset List

Welcome to the Beloit College Mindset List for this year’s entering college class of 2021.

This year’s entering college class of 2021 can't remember when a "phone" wasn't a video game and research library. Mostly born in 1999, they've always been searching for Pokemon. They've never read a Peanuts strip that wasn't a repeat and they never had the privilege of a Montgomery Ward catalogue as a booster seat. They have persevered in a world without Joe Dimaggio and brightened by emojis. If you ask them about the whine of a dial-up modem, expect a blank stare. 

These are among the items in this year’s Beloit College Mindset List, the 20th such release since the list was first compiled in 1998. The List's current subjects are the last class to be born in the 1900s – the last of the Millennials.

The Beloit College Mindset List is created by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Beloit College Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Professor Emeritus of English; and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology. 

"Members of this class have generally borrowed a lot of money to go to college, so expect them to think of themselves as consumers and not just as students," said Westerberg, former director of Beloit’s Liberal Arts in Practice Center. "And they will also be concerned not just with what they need to learn but also who they are and to what group they genuinely belong." 

More about this List

About the Authors

Tom McBride and Ron Nief are co-authors of numerous articles and books, They speak around the country each year to business, library, history, and education groups. Charles Westerberg joined the Mindset List authors beginning with the Class of 2020 List, released in August 2016.

Tom McBride is professor of English emeritus at Beloit College. A graduate of Baylor University and the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, he teaches Milton, Shakespeare, and critical theory for more than 40 years. He was a co-founder of the program in Rhetoric and Discourse in the English department and for many years headed the college’s First-Year Initiatives seminar program. He has published critical essays and creative non-fiction in journals as diverse as Texas Studies in Language and Literature, The Baker Street Journal, and Two Cities, and on and open He has been a commentator on language for Wisconsin Public Radio and his commentaries are heard on Northern Illinois Public Radio.

Ron Nief is director of public affairs emeritus at Beloit College. He has been communicating the work of higher education for more than four decades, starting with his alma mater, Boston College in the 1960s and including Brandeis and Clark universities, and Middlebury College. He has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor. The recipient of a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America, he also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He created the Mindset List in 1998.

Charles Westerberg is the Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at College, as well as Associate Dean of the College and Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center. Charles Westerberg graduated from Beloit College in 1994 with majors in Sociology and Government. He went on to get his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (2001) in Sociology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. His scholarly work has been split between criminological themes, such as the changing nature of punishment, and new approaches to pedagogy in undergraduate education. He joined the Beloit College faculty in the spring of 2000.

Mindset List
Left to right, Tom McBride, Charles Westerberg and Ron Nief.


For information, please contact:

Ron Nief

Tom McBride

Charles Westerberg

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