Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2013 (March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am)

Nicholas A. Karris’58: benefactor, namesake of Karris athletic fields

March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

Nicholas A. Karris’58Nick Karris’58, a major supporter of Beloit College, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Dec. 1, 2012, in Oak Brook, Ill.

The Chicago-based real estate developer, lawyer, and entrepreneur studied economics at Beloit. He was a three-year letter-winning tackle for the Buccaneers football team and a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He earned his law degree from DePaul University.

He was founder and CEO of the Water Tower Companies in Chicago at the time of his death.

Karris, who came to Beloit on a scholarship, made a substantial impact on contemporary Beloit College students, most notably through his support of college athletics and improvements to campus recreational facilities. In the 1990s, the Karris’s financial support made possible the establishment of the Karris Field, used for athletic practice and intramural sports at the northern edge of campus. Karris also played a leadership role among a small group of donors who made possible the major renovation of Karris Track & Field at Strong Stadium, which opened in September 2011. That project is allowing Beloit to field intercollegiate lacrosse teams and host games starting this spring. The reconfigured and resurfaced competition-quality track also brought home meets back to Beloit after a 15-year hiatus, and will return the Beloit Relays to campus in April.

Karris and his wife, Mary Ann, were friends and fans of student athletes, regularly driving to campus from their home near Chicago to cheer Beloit teams on during practices and games.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Nick, a daughter, Holly, and four grandchildren. The family has directed memorials to Karris Track & Field at Beloit College.

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