Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2012 (March 20, 2012 at 12:00 am)

What a Time it Was


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March 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

What a Time it Was (Print)Few groups experienced such dramatically different eras at the same college as the classes of 1962 and 1972, all within the relatively short span of one decade. 

In 1962, the Chicago Tribune wrote that Beloit’s student body was probably the most conservative among the 10 academically distinguished Associated Colleges of the Midwest—even more conservative than its board of trustees. By 1972, let’s just say that things had changed. Nowhere are the cultural shifts more obvious than in the photos, and even the format, of Beloit College yearbooks.

From 1959 to 1962, The Gold was a uniform, hardcover publication, focused on Greek life, traditions, and pranks, and, in most cases, offering detailed captions and information. The 1969-72 yearbooks were produced in paperbacks of various shapes and sizes, reinventing themselves each edition with a new focus, new name, or no name whatsoever. With scant background information, the stories behind many of these photos, and even the identities of the people in them, are unknown.

Yet both classes’ pictures have much to say. They provide proof that despite the radical changes on campus and in the world, students of both eras frolicked, fell in love, forged their closest friendships, and learned what mattered to them in the universe that exists beneath Beloit’s centenary oak trees.

With the help of professional photographer Peter Billard’72, whose prolific student photography contributed to the yearbooks of his era, and Fred Burwell’86 in College Archives, we present a small collection of photos, mainly from the 1959-62 and 1969-72 yearbooks, in honor of the classes of 1962 and 1972, whose members mark milestone reunions this year. Readers are invited to contribute information about any of the photographs they see here by emailing belmag@beloit.edu.

Additional photos not featured in the print version of the magazine story can be found here.

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