Last Thursday night, in the Science Center atrium, Beloit College held “Showcase,” the college’s premier event for celebrating philanthropy and the student work that donors help make possible. The event, now in its fourth year, is intentionally scheduled to coincide with Student Symposium so that students, alumni, and donors have the chance to meet, and donors can attend student presentations.
The highlight is the presentation of the D.K. Pearsons Award, which went to Anne and David Myers’49 this year for their extraordinary support of the college, especially the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit, known as CELEB.
Dave Myers is the first alumnus to receive the award. As part of the presentation, President Scott Bierman described a letter Dave Myers sent the college in the early 1980s—what he called “a bolt from the blue”—in which Myers pledged a $5,000 gift to be directed to teaching future entrepreneurs and focusing on small business management. It was the first in a series of increasingly generous gifts.
Scott reminded the audience that, at the time of the letter, most liberal arts colleges disdained anything that smacked of commerce. But that first gift set in motion what would become a widely recognized, nationally successful entrepreneurship center. “The rest of the liberal arts colleges are just now starting to catch up with us,” Scott said. On the day of Showcase, Dave and Ann Myers presented Scott with a very generous gift to support renovations to the CELEB building.
The D.K. Pearsons Award is named for the college’s most illustrious benefactor. The 19th century businessman and entrepreneur had no connections to Beloit College but noted the young school’s promise as he traveled through the area in the college’s early days. He went on to become a major donor, funding the construction of Pearsons Hall and Emerson Hall.