Beloit College is older than Wisconsin itself. The ideals upon which it was founded (in 1846, to be exact) are even more deeply rooted than statehood (1848) or a college charter. The notion that a person should be wholly, holistically educated came to the territory on the backs of pioneers: Aratus Kent (a founder) and Aaron Chapin (the college’s first president). Abe Lincoln was a personal fan.
“To the labors of home missionaries like Mr. Kent and…Chapin…who started and fostered church and college in the Northwest, we owe the saving of the Northwest to the Union, and so the saving of the Union itself,” said Lincoln in 1865.
Though it rose from the Midwestern frontier, the college was initially the vision of seven New Englanders who met in the stateroom of a steamer, the Chesapeake, while sailing across Lake Erie. A little village in Wisconsin offered the supplies, labor, and cash to help make the leap of faith a reality.