Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2014 (July 10, 2014)

Commencement: Atop a Stack of Turtles

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July 10, 2014

news si se puede
Photo by Dan Lassiter

Beloit celebrated 278 graduates at its 2014 Commencement ceremony in the company of an award-winning poet, an array of mostly G-rated, meticulously decorated mortarboards, and country singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson, who performed a surprise opener to the May 18 event.

Simpson’s song, “Turtles All the Way Down,” caught the attention of President Scott Bierman, who lured him and his band to Beloit as they wrapped up a Midwestern tour. Bierman often invokes the “turtles all the way down” metaphor to illustrate the interconnectedness of Beloiters everywhere, past and present.

Truesdell, Benedict

Beloit honored two longtime staff members among six emeriti
faculty and staff recognized at Commencement. Nancy Benedict (above,
right) joined Beloit as chief enrollment officer in 2001, while Connie
Truesdale served the college for 27 years, assisting four college
presidents, two interim presidents, and the board of trustees as
secretary of the college.
Click here for a Q and A with the four
faculty members honored. Photo by Dan Lassiter

Among the other highlights was the return of the poet Kevin Young, the 2012-13 Lois and Willard Mackey Professor at Beloit, who delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary degree. Young spoke to students about the power of creating and the importance of being a self-taught learner—an autodidact.

“Put down your bucket where you are,” he urged the graduates. “No matter what you do, stop and think, look under your boot soles, your Uggs or Sorels, see and maybe even say what you find there. Share yourself and not just your selfie.”

Young also asked students to hold on to their excitement. “If you don’t look out, too often the world makes you too busy; it may keep you on the metaphoric treadmill, training and training for a contest that you may feel never comes. It’s up to you to be that boxer who faces knowledge head on. The autodidact I want you to be is the ultimate shadow boxer, learning not from battle but from the dance with the self.”

Sophia Maloney’14, an environmental studies major from St. Paul, Minn., gave the student address, imparting her own advice: “To my fellow travelers: wander free, wander far, remember to stop when you need to rest, and always, always, carry toilet paper.”

Read more about Commencement 2014 and see photos and videos from the ceremony at:

news turtle stack
Nicholas Mischler'14, Rockton, Ill., topped
off his mortarboard with five turtles gathered
from home and the Salvation Army store.
Crane-shaped chopstick holders referenced
his Japanese language and culture major, and
a "Keep Calm and Beloiter On" sticker explained
his thoughts about graduating, delayed by an
upcoming honors term. "I'm going to be here
a few more months, so there's nothing to
worry about," he said. Photo by Dan Lassiter


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