Coming full circle with Beloit College is not something I anticipated, but I am honored the board of trustees has called upon me to lead Beloit during this interim period between the College’s 10th and 11th presidents. It’s already been a very rewarding opportunity for me to serve my alma mater.
I’m looking forward to re-engaging with Beloit, a place I love so much and that has made such a difference to me in my business and civic life. I intend to lead the College this year through collaboration and strong communications. I recognize the value of a talented team, and I know we have one in our faculty, staff, students, and the devoted Beloit family beyond the campus.
Our goals will be based on the College’s mission and strategic plan. We need to continue to recruit and retain an academically strong, diverse, and inclusive group of individuals at Beloit—students, faculty, and staff.
Fund raising is incredibly important. We’re moving forward on the Classic. Daring. Life-Changing. campaign, but we are not there yet. I will take an active role in completing the campaign. We need to build annual giving and continue to grow the endowment. I want to strengthen global education to give more opportunities to students and faculty. Finally, I want to work closely with the trustees in the selection of the 11th president of Beloit College. I will not be a candidate for that post, and I have stepped down from the board for the duration of my presidency.
As I look to Beloit’s future, I’ve also reflected on my student days. In doing so, I want to mention two College people who were very important to me and exemplary of the high caliber of those who continue to be a part of Beloit.
My wife Joan and I recently had the opportunity to endow the Edwin F. Wilde, Jr. Distinguished Service Professorship in honor of Professor Wilde, a Beloit mathematics professor who later became associate dean and vice president for planning. He was a very special person who chose to work closely with a naive freshman coming out of the Chicago Public Schools—one who had not given much thought to what he would do other than fulfill his parents’ desire that he get a college education. Professor Wilde had a significant influence on me, setting high standards and always offering support. While I was intent on being pretty good at math, he expected me to be really good at math.
The other person who influenced me at Beloit was Bill Keefer, the former chair of the board of trustees, who passed away in April. As a senior, I took an accounting class from Bill, who was an executive with Warner Electric Brake & Clutch Co., and who came to campus to teach an evening class. Why I wanted to take an evening class as a senior, I am not totally sure. But it was an important course for a liberal arts graduate because it gave me valuable insight into how business worked.
As I left Beloit in 1965, I was confident that I had developed a couple of critical skills—problem-solving and listening. I know I’ll draw on both of these this year, as well as what I value: academic excellence, social and individual responsibility, integrity and respect, and transparency.
As I get to know Beloit again, I’m going to need to work with the entire Beloit community. I invite you to contact me with your thoughts. Keep in touch. Let’s talk when you’re on campus for Homecoming, an athletic event, or simply a visit.
INTERIM PRESIDENT DICK NIEMIEC'65