Beloit College

Beloit College is a private liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin. Founded in 1846, while the state of Wisconsin was still a territory,[3] it is the oldest continuously operated college in the state. It is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and has an enrollment of roughly 1,402 undergraduate students.[2]

Beloit College
MottoScientia Vera Cum Fide Pura (Latin)
Motto in English
True knowledge with pure faith
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Endowment$159.5 million[1]
PresidentScott Bierman
Academic staff
Location, ,

42.503°N 89.031°W / 42.503; -89.031
CampusUrban, 65 acres (26.3 ha)
ColorsBlue and gold
AthleticsNCAA Division IIIMWC
Oberlin Group
Sports19 varsity teams
MascotBuccaneer (official), turtle (unofficial)


Beloit College was founded by the group Friends for Education, which was started by seven pioneers from New England who, soon after their arrival in the Wisconsin Territory, agreed that a college needed to be established. The group raised funds for a college in their new town and convinced the territorial legislature to enact the charter for Beloit College on February 2, 1846. The first building (then called Middle College) was built in 1847, and it remains in operation today. Classes began in the fall of 1847, with the first degrees awarded in 1851.

The first president of Beloit was a Yale University graduate, Aaron Lucius Chapin, who served as president from December 1849 until 1886.[4]

The college become coeducational in fall 1895, when it opened its doors to women.[5] In 1904, nine years after opening to women, Grace Ousley became the first African-American woman to graduate from the college.[6]

Although independent today, Beloit College was historically, though unofficially, associated with the Congregationalist tradition.[7]

The college remained very small for almost its entire first century with enrollment topping 1,000 students only with the influx of World War II veterans in 1945–1946. The "Beloit Plan" was a year-round curriculum introduced in 1964 that comprised three full terms and a "field term" of off-campus study.[3] The trustees decided to return to the two-semester program in 1978.

The college experienced an unanticipated 7 million dollar budget shortfall during the 2018-19 academic year. Lower than anticipated freshman enrollment and retention of rising sophomores was blamed. In reaction the college made several changes, including laying off faculty and staff and reducing the salaries of employees.[8]


Beloit's campus is located within the Near East Side Historic District.[9]

The campus is host to "20 conical, linear, and animal effigy mounds built between about AD 400 and 1200", created by Native Americans identified by archaeologists as Late Woodland people.[10][11] One of the mounds, in the shape of a turtle, inspired Beloit's symbol and unofficial mascot. The mounds on Beloit's campus are "catalogued" burial sites, and therefore may not be disturbed without an official permit from the Wisconsin Historical Society. Several of the Beloit College sites have been partially excavated and restored, and material found within them—including pottery and tool fragments—is now held in the college's Logan Museum of Anthropology.[10]

Beloit College completed a 120,000 sq ft (11,000 m2) Center for the Sciences in the fall of 2008, which was named the Marjorie and James Sanger Center for the Sciences in 2017.[12] The building was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification.[13] It also won a Design Excellence Honor Award in Interior Architecture from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on October 30, 2009.[13]

In the fall of 2010, Beloit College opened the Hendricks Center for the Arts, a 58,000-square-foot (5,400 m2) structure that holds dance, music, and theater facilities. The building previously held the Beloit Post Office and later the Beloit Public Library. The renovation and expansion of the facility is the largest single gift in the college's history. The building is named after Diane Hendricks, chair of ABC Supply of Beloit, and her late husband and former college trustee Ken Hendricks.[14]

In 2019 Beloit College also started the construction on its newest building project, that being the renovation and resurrection of the towns Blackhawk Generating Station. the Project describe as,"A glorious 21st century use for a quintessentially 20th century facility, the building will provide a spectacular space for the community to come together to work, train, eat, and play. It will be a showcase of sustainable design and be housed in one of the state’s most important historic buildings, tying the college and the city of Beloit closer to the Rock River."[15] Two Beloit campus museums open to the public are run by college staff and students. The Logan Museum of Anthropology and the Wright Museum of Art were both founded in the late 19th century. The Logan Museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, curates over 300,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects from 125 countries and over 600 cultural groups. The Wright Museum's holdings of over 8,000 objects include a large collection of original prints and Asian art. Both museums feature temporary special exhibitions year round. Beloit College

The Beloit College campus also houses two sculptures by artist Siah Armajani, his Gazebo for One Anarchist: Emma Goldman 1991 and The Beloit College Poetry Garden.[16]


Beloit College's curriculum retains many aspects of the Beloit Plan from the 1960s, emphasizing experiential learning, learner agency, and reflective connection-making between out-of-classroom and in-classroom learning experiences, or "the liberal arts in practice." Academic strengths include field-oriented disciplines such as anthropology and geology. More Beloit graduates have earned Ph.D.s in anthropology than graduates of any other undergraduate liberal arts college not affiliated with a university,[17] and the school ranks among the top 20 American liberal arts colleges whose graduates go on to earn a Ph.D. in general.[18]

The geology department continues a tradition that began with T. C. Chamberlin more than a century ago. Today the department combines a course load with mandatory field methods and research. The department is a member of the Keck Geology Consortium, a research collaboration of several similar colleges across the United States, including Amherst College, Pomona College, and Washington and Lee University. The Consortium sends undergraduate students worldwide to research and publish their findings.

The college created a center for entrepreneurship known as CELEB, which was founded by Professor of Economics Emeritus Jerry Gustafson (Beloit '63).[19]

Beloit hosts seven annual academic residencies that bring leaders in their respective fields to campus to work with students and serve as the center of other themed activities. The oldest is the Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing, established in the late 1980s, which has brought Denise Levertov, Scott Russell Sanders, Ursula Le Guin, and many noted writers to Beloit. As part of the Weissberg Program in Human Rights, Beloit hosts the Weissberg Distinguished Professor in Human Rights and Social Justice, held by an individual with significant international human rights experience. Weissberg Chairs have included Palestinian activist and scholar Hanan Ashrawi and U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni. The Upton Scholar presides over Beloit’s major residency program in economics, which includes the Upton Forum on the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations. The Ousley Scholar in Residence hosts a junior scholar committed to social justice work and honors Grace Ousley, Beloit’s first black woman graduate. The Crom Visiting Philosopher brings an influential philosopher to Beloit each year. Two residencies host visual and performing artists: The Ginsberg Family Artist-in-Residence program, and the Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. Endowed Artist-in-Residence program, the latter named for the college’s ninth president.

Beloit College's average class size is 15 students, with one-third of courses having 10 or fewer students.[20]

Student life

Beloit students' housing options range from substance-free dormitories to special interest houses, such as the Art, Spanish, Outdoor Environmental Club (OEC), and interfaith options.[21] Beloit College has these fraternities and sororities: Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Chi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon, national fraternities; Kappa Delta and Alpha Sigma Tau, national sororities; and Theta Pi Gamma, a local sorority.[22] The school also has over 60 student organizations and clubs,[20] which bring visitors (musicians, artists, poets) to campus frequently. While Beloit adheres to Wisconsin state law, which states that the legal drinking age is 21, strict no-alcohol policies found on many other college campuses are not present at Beloit. Resident assistants, employed by the Residential Life office, help to maintain campus safety and encourage responsible behavior.

The student newspaper, The Round Table, was founded in 1853 as the Beloit Monthly. Printed weekly, it provides news coverage, feature stories, and an art section.[23] The student radio station, WBCR-FM, operates at 88.3 MHz and streams online.[24]

Beloit College has a frisbee golf course contained almost entirely within the grounds of the college. In April 2006, Beloit College students broke the world record for the longest game of Ultimate Frisbee by playing for over 72 hours.[25]

In 2011 Beloit College received the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Campus Internationalization.[26] 48 states are represented at the college and approximately 14% of the student body is from countries outside the United States.[27] In addition, about half of all Beloit College students study abroad in places such as China, Russia, Brazil, Germany, India, Spain and other countries. Each year, students can share their experiences abroad on International Symposium Day, which is a day when all classes are cancelled so that everyone can attend the presentations.[28]

The "Mindset List", an annual list of the life experiences of entering college freshman originated at Beloit College in 1998. In 2019, the list moved to Marist College.[29]

In 1969, like many campuses across the country, Beloit College received a set of demands from Black students called "The Black Demands".[30] Various students protested by overtaking Middle College, turning it into a Black Cultural Center, and gathering in front of the Richardson Auditorium before a scheduled board of trustees meeting. The demands were won but the college has not successfully implemented all of the demands, like increasing the percentage of both black faculty and students to 10%. In terms of policy changes, in 2018 Beloit College edited their bias policy to add a section on hate acts, in order to address hate acts that occurred in 2006, 2015 and 2017.[31]


Beloit College is a member of the Midwest Conference NCAA in Division III and fields varsity teams in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's soccer.


As of 2019, Beloit was ranked #68 among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report[32] and #38 by Washington Monthly.[33]

Beloit was included in Loren Pope's book, Colleges That Change Lives, which distinguishes schools having two essential elements: "A familial sense of communal enterprise that gets students heavily involved in cooperative rather than competitive learning, and a faculty of scholars devoted to helping young people develop their powers, mentors who often become their valued friends".[34] Pope also added that, "What Beloit turns out is a better, more effective person, and one who tends to go on getting better … [Beloit] outproduces very selective schools in graduates who make significant contributions and achievements."[35]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. As of June 30, 2017.
  2. "Common Data Set" (PDF). Beloit College Institutional Research Office. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. Martin, Douglas (20 December 2005). "Miller Upton, Innovative Head of Beloit College, Dies at 88" via
  4. "Archives: Aaron Lucius Chapin". Beloit College. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  5. "Archives: Part Two | Beloit College". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  6. "Fridays with Fred: The Ousley Family". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  7. "UCC related Colleges and Universities". Archived from the original on 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2006-08-12.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. Silvola, Ryan (2019-05-09). "Enrollment near target, could still grow more". Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  9. "Near East Side Historic District". Retrieved 2013-06-01.
  10. "Logan Museum of Anthropology: Indian Mounds - Beloit College".
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  12. "Beloit College Center for the Sciences Named After Marjorie and James Sanger". Beloit Daily News. 2017-11-20. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  13. "News for Year". Holabird and Root. 2009-07-11. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  14. "HENDRICKS CENTER ALMOST COMPLETE". 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  15. "The Powerhouse". Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  16. Vogel, Carol (1997-04-18). "Inside Art". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  17. "Measuring Beloit's Strength in Anthropology" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-06-07.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  18. "Best Colleges 2012". U.S. News & World Report. 2012. Retrieved 20 Jan 2012.
  19. Gustafson, Jerry. 2011. Teaching Entrepreneurship by Conservatory Methods. In Disciplining the Arts: Teaching Entrepreneurship in Context, ed. by Gary D. Beckman, 69-82 Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.
  20. "Admissions: Fast Facts | Beloit College". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  21. "Residential Life: Special Interest Houses". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  22. "Residential Life: Fraternities and Sororities | Beloit College". Retrieved 2017-02-20.
  23. "Archives: The Round Table | Beloit College". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  24. "WBCR website". Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  25. "Beloit students break record with 72-hour game". CNN. May 19, 2006. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  26. "Press Room | Eight U.S. Colleges Receive Awards for Campus Internationalization Efforts(2)". NAFSA. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
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  31. "Bias Incident Policy". Retrieved 2019-11-11.
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