Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2014 (July 10, 2014)

10 Things We Learned at Reunion

Share this
July 17, 2014

NO. 1
In improvisation, the number one rule is to “say yes,” said John Kaufmann, assistant professor of theatre, who offered a well-attended Alumni College workshop on improvisation, philosophy, and play at Reunion. Among the exercises were making frozen, physical pictures (of things like your favorite constellation, or a rhinoceros) and a group improvisational game called Zip-Zap-Zop, which built trust and confidence and kept alumni alert and smiling.


mug resize


If you majored in geology, your coffee mug painted with the alliterative geo-nickname you were given as a student is still hanging on a peg in the geology department’s seminar room.  When you come back for Reunion, your former professors, including Hank Woodard and Dick Stenstrom, will pluck it from the upper reaches of the wall with an extension tool so that you can chat over a cup of coffee enjoyed from your very own mug.








Song resize


Beloit has an alumni choir, a relatively new tradition, which in 2014 included 15 alumni who rehearsed on Friday afternoon and then led the alumni assembly in Eaton Chapel on Saturday in singing Amici and Domine Salvam Fac. Ian Nie of the music department directed the choir and emeritus music faculty member Max Yount accompanied on the thunderous chapel organ.








Your Beloit beanie, your beer bong, and your Gladys Knight & the Pips 8-track tape are tucked away safely.  And your alternative 1993 Spring Day T-shirt? Have no fear. Beloit saved all that stuff you left behind. President Bierman trotted a few of these items out for Reunion during his remarks at the 2014 alumni assembly. Fred Burwell’86, college archivist, watches over the Beloity things for posterity.




Hetland Resize

Beloiters broke ground in pledging students of color to fraternities and sororities and, as a result, lost their national charters in the late 1950s and ’60s. At Reunion, Eric Hetland’12 screened his documentary film We Lived Civil Rights, which covers these episodes in Beloit’s history from the perspectives of alumni. Also included in the film is Phi Psi’s pledging of its first transgender student in 2012, believed to be the first transgender student to openly join the organization nationally. Hetland, a Phi Psi himself, completed the documentary by interviewing dozens of alumni and conducting research during an honors term in 2013.





Heart resize


This would have been the year that Jane Catenhusen Steele’64 received a Golden Hood in recognition of her 50th reunion. Jane passed away in 2006, but she was hardly forgotten at her 50th—her college roommate, Sharon Ferguson Phillips’64, and her husband, Dan Steele’64, shared memories of their classmate, friend, and loved one during Remembering Friends We’ve Lost, a new Reunion event. Standing before small clusters of Beloiters scattered throughout Eaton Chapel, Steele told them that “Jane was my major at Beloit. It wasn’t economics. It was a great friendship and love, and Beloit played a central part in bringing us together.”



sky resize

If you’re lost in the desert in the southern hemisphere, the constellation you want to look for to right yourself is the southern cross, according to Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Britt Scharringhausen. Using the same computer programs she uses in her current courses, Scharringhausen walked a dozen alumni through the ins and outs of studying the night sky and her research on the rings of Saturn during a sample class held Friday afternoon.




GNOME resize


A couple of garden gnomes sailed to the top of our unofficial survey of most frequently photographed oddities at Reunion. Scott and Melody Bierman’s whimsical gnomes ride atop turtles and sit in the formal planters among petunias in front of the President’s House. Duncan Rotch’92 caught this shot of the gnomes in their summer splendor and posted it to #beloitreunion14.






dance RESIZE


“In Latin dancing, we always have the toe on the ground before the heel,” said Darrah Chavey, professor of computer science and ballroom dance instructor, as alumni twirled and salsa-ed their way through the Java Joint. It was one of many tips Chavey had for alumni attending his ballroom dance lesson Friday evening.







Another chance to reunite on campus comes during Beloiter Days, aka Homecoming and Family & Friends Weekend, Sept. 26-28, 2014. See for details. Reunion 2015 will be held June 12-15.

Add a comment

Please login to comment.