My husband Bruce and I visited Beloit College over the weekend to attend a biannual parent committee meeting and – of course – we were excited to see Ben, who is finishing up his sophomore year.
When you live in San Diego, it’s hard to pinpoint when spring arrives since it is green year round. Actually, more greenish/brownish. At Ben’s school, which is a 90-minute drive from OHare Airport, I enjoyed seeing what spring is supposed to look like. (Sorry the pictures aren’t better, but I was using my cell phone.)
Springtime at Beloit
For the first time I got to see the college’s restored cupola, built in 1880, which graces the top of a building called the Middle College. This is a picture from the work being done on the cupola during the fall.
History is all around Beloit, which is the oldest private college in Wisconsin. If you look closely at the facade of one of the campus’s oldest buildings, you will see the names of students from the 1800’s and early 1900’s, who etched their names in the bricks.
I am always amazed at the pace of changes happening at Beloit. The changes are being spearheaded by Scott Bierman, the former academic dean of Carleton College, who has been Beloit’s president for three years. The school has implemented an innovative advising program that attracted the attention of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Beloit, which has always prided itself on its experiential and international focus, inaugurated an impressive new curriculum this fall. (No photos to illustrate all this.)
I also love visiting Beloit because the students are so fascinating. At lunch, for instance, Ben and a friend were discussing whether logic proofs were as legit as math proofs. At my prompting, Ben’s roommate, a computer genius from South Dakota, who worked for a few months at a computer company in Europe as a teenager, tried to explain the file share program that he had just invented. I didn’t get it, but I was impressed.
At breakfast on Sunday, Ben and his friends Krista and Max got into a discussion about different types of creationism, as well as Buddhism. Ben’s friends are majoring in anthropology, which is arguably Beloit’s best-known major.
Fencing at Beloit
Over the weekend, I got to see Ben fence, which he discovered while at the college. (Sorry for the lousy quality — Ben’s on the left wearing his friend’s pink socks.)
Taking Advantage of the Rock River
The most exciting news of the week was hearing about the plans to build an ambitious new student activity center in the empty power plant, which is directly across the street from Beloit College. Using the existing building, the center would span 8 floors and the preliminary plans looked awesome. Here is the power plant (the smokestack would stay).
Ben can’t believe his sophomore year is almost over – and he’s not happy about it. In the fall, he’ll be headed to Budapest, Hungary to study math and art history.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of the upcoming second edition of The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price.