Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2012 (July 12, 2012)

Once Upon a Turtle

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July 12, 2012

Once Upon a Turtle - Bierman'Twas the night before Commencement, and all was quiet in President Scott Bierman and Melody Bierman’s house, even as their College Street grounds were being “turtled” by stealthy members of the class of 2012.

This group of nearly graduated Beloiters scattered small, whimsical turtle figurines and other signed gifts around the home’s front porch, sidewalk, and gardens. (Below, you can see a photo gallery of some of these turtles.)

Many of the mementos came with notes, held in place by stones. Though mostly turtles, Beloit’s unofficial symbol and a widely known fixation of the president, a few other items were thrown in for good measure: a DVD, drawings, even a ceramic duck christened “Goosetrude Stein,” its beak and feet painted a kitschy country blue.

A brown paper sack, found around back in the President’s House driveway, contained a surprise. One of the Bierman’s two missing lawn ornaments, a pair of garden gnomes riding on turtles, was found inside with a note apologizing for breaking the gnome’s mate. The previous whereabouts of the gnomes, which until earlier this spring perched atop two planters in the President’s front yard, remains unknown. A campus buzz that lamented the lost lawn ornaments, including lighthearted criticism in the Round Table, may have led to the surviving gnome’s return.

In his opening comments at Commencement, on one of the most picture-perfect graduation days in recent memory, President Bierman looked out on the class and their large contingent of supporters and asked, “What could be better than this?” Then he pulled the returned gnome out from behind the podium, held it high, and placed it on the table holding the graduates’ diplomas. He added, “Well, maybe if we were joined by an old friend!” The crowd cheered wildly.

“It’s like they are campus celebs,” one person explained to the uninitiated on Facebook following the ceremony.

Below, take a look at a photo gallery of the turtles left on the Biermans' lawn.

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