Beloit’s 163rd Commencement ceremony in May was a lot like Beloit: It was about tradition and the future, the expected and the unexpected. It celebrated individual and collective accomplishments without taking itself too seriously.
Above, Anthony Bostler'13 and Timothy the Turtle. Photo by Dan Lassiter.
Where else would a turtle puppet share a podium with a U.S. senator, a college president accessorize with striped socks and Nike “Beloiter” sneakers in the school’s colors, and graduates decorate their mortarboards with everything from the flags of the countries whose languages they speak to a collection of colorful, packaged condoms? The latter mortarboard-wearer, Liz Chiquoine’13, of Reedsburg, Wis., is a public health advocate who plans to go to medical school after an honors term that focuses on community health in Beloit. Chiquoine also received the Martha Peterson Prize at Commencement for best exemplifying Beloit’s liberal arts traditions.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin delivered the Commencement speech at the invitation of the senior class.
In January, Baldwin made history as the first woman elected to represent the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate and the first openly gay person ever to serve in that chamber. She previously served seven terms representing Beloit through Wisconsin’s Second Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Baldwin was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Beloit College by Catherine Orr, professor and chair of critical identity studies.
Commencement landed on Mother’s Day in 2013, which called for a special welcome to the mothers in the audience, but no one expected it to come from Timothy the Turtle, a puppet created and animated by Anthony Bostler’13, of Carol Stream, Ill. Timothy even received a hug from the senator.
President Scott Bierman’s remarks cited a host of stories about the ways members of the class of 2013—305 graduates strong—had made their Beloit education their own.
“The best colleges will be ones that prepare you to be the tailor of your dreams. The success of your time here is correlated nearly completely with how you made this place fit; it did not come ready-made. You made Beloit yours,” Bierman said.
Hannah Warren’13 from Amherst, Mass., delivered the class address. “Wherever each of us is headed next is sure to be incomparable to Beloit, but we need to keep channeling
the energy,” she said. “We need to remember that energy, the Beloit spark, the same phenomena that brought curious, imaginative, and adventurous people here in the first place.”
Ed Hoerr’57 and Dick Niemiec’65, both past interim presidents of the college, were awarded honorary doctorates at the ceremony. Professor of Economics and founding director of Beloit’s entrepreneurship program Jerry Gustafson’63, Vice President for Administration John Nicholas, and Kohnstamm Professor of Chemistry Brock Spencer received emeriti status. All three retired at the end of the academic year.
A video of the 2013 Commencement exercises is available on Beloit’s YouTube channel.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Scott Bierman. Photo by Dan Lassiter.