Beloit College


From Portrait & Biographical Album of Rock County, Wisconsin


©1889 Acme, Chicago, Illinois


pp. 1031-1033


Courtesy of Lori

This celebrated institution has earned the reputation of being the equal in every
respect of any institution of its kind in this country. The first Freshman class, composed of five members, under the direction of Hon. S. T. MERRILL, of Beloit, was started Nov. 4, 1847, in the basement of an old stone church, located on the northwest corner of Broad and Prospect streets. In May, 1848, the faculty was increased by the acquisition of Profs. J. J. BUSHNELL and Joseph EMERSON, classmates at Yale. In 1850 the Rev. A. L. CHAPIN was called to the college, and became its first president in July of that year, retaining that position for more than thirty-six years.
The first college building, now known as Middle College, was erected in 1847 and
1848, the cornerstone being laid June 24, 1847, and was ready for occupation in the autumn of the following year, and for six years was the only college building; all public exercises being held in what is now the geological room, except Commencement, which was held out-doors.
The buildings have since been increased to eight, all of which are situated upon a
beautiful bluff on the eastern side of the Rock River. A new academy building is projected. The college grounds consist of twenty-five acres, the larger part of which was donated by the city of Beloit. The location is not only one of great beauty, but most healthful. This college in every respect offers every advantage that the best Eastern colleges offer, without the besetting temptations so common to college cities. The citizens of Beloit manifest a cordial interest in the welfare of the students, and a healthful restraint is put on anything that would have the least tendency to lead them into vicious channels. It is a settled principle of the faculty not to retain any one as a student who does not show a manly purpose to make good use of the advantages afforded. The cost of tuition is comparatively low; board and home comforts are obtainable here at much lower rates than in the East, while many opportunities are presented by which industrious students can meet part of their expenses while attending college.
The library contains over 14,000 volumes, which have been thoroughly indexed,
facilitating their use by the students. Astronomical studies are rendered specially interesting and practical through the college observatory, which contains a telescope surpassing even that of Yale College. Students of astronomy have much more latitude in the use of this telescope than is given elsewhere. The college has an equipment of thirteen large microscopes. The course of geology is unsurpassed for extent or thoroughness, by an university, east or west. The gymnasium is well equipped, and offers an unfailing means of exercise and recreation.
An idea of the general method of procedure adopted by the college can be conveyed
in no better way than by quoting a few paragraphs from its prospectus, i.e., "The work comprehends a training (a) in language, as the great instrument and condition of all culture, civilization and thought; (b) in mathematics and exact science, as a most valuable discipline, as well as furnishing the mind; (c) in the histories of nature and of man, as the source of practical knowledge; and (d) in those philosophic and religious principles necessary to complete the general preparation for a broad and useful life, and, when supplemented by special technical training, for the best success in any good profession or employment. This work is distributed in two departments: 1. The college proper, with two parallel courses: (a) A classical course, giving prominence to ancient languages and literature. (b) A philosophical course, combining with Latin a wider range of science and of modern languages. 2. The academy, which is under the immediate charge of the principal and his assistants. The college Faculty have a general direction respecting the duties, advise concerning the discipline, and take part in the instruction of the school. The work of the academy comprises three courses of study - a classical, a scientific, and an English or business course."
The classical and scientific courses are especially designed to prepare the student in
a most thorough manner to enter the college, while the English course is designed to thoroughly prepare students to enter upon the active duties of business life, and for teaching in the common schools of this region. Suitable apparatus is provided in each department, necessitating their use, and quantitative and qualitative chemical analysis is a special feature of laboratory work in the department of chemistry and mineralogy. Several prizes and scholarships are annually distributed, the most deserving, of course, being the recipients.
Voluntary literary societies in the several departments are sustained by the students.
The degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Philosophy, respectively, are conferred upon graduates of this college, while at any time, not less than three years after graduation, the degree of Master of Arts will be conferred upon any student of Beloit upon presentation of satisfactory evidence that he has spent at least one year of the intervening time in some professional or liberal study, together with a satisfactory thesis on some topic of science or general literature.
Although undenominational, this college was started with a conviction that a complete
liberal education must combine in its culture, learning, religion and morality, that christian truth received and obeyed in love, is essential to the development of the faculties of perception and reason, and is the spring of righteousness in the individual life, and of pure and healthful morals in the State. Prayer and biblical study are among the exercises of the week, while on Sunday every student is required to attend divine worship at some one of Beloit's churches. The influence for good that has gone out from this model institution has diffused itself through every avenue and by-way in this vast country, emanating, as it continually is, from the persons of hundreds of noble men, whose mental, moral and spiritual faculties have been quickened into a broader and deeper though at this overflowing fountain of the waters of true life.
They are now discharging their respective duties among their fellow-men in varying
capacities, as ministers, college presidents, editors, physicians, lawyers, statesmen, manu- facturers, merchants, etc., in a manner most creditable to themselves and to the institution, as well as acceptable to those among whom they labor.
From its inception, the scholarship of this institution has ranked with the most famed
Eastern colleges as a comparison of the alumni will verify. Founded by men from Yale, they modeled it after their Alma Mater. At a great pecuniary sacrifice the scholarship has been maintained on a high plane, as many who desired an education by an easy process would not undergo the rigid courses of Beloit College.
The second and last president of this institution to the present time, Rev. Edward D.
EATON, D.D., LL.D., was called to the position on the retirement of Rev. Dr. CHAPIN, a biographical sketch of whom appears on another page. Mr. EATON was born in Lancaster, Wis., Jan. 12, 1851. After his graduation from Beloit College in 1872, he took a three years' theological course, the first and third years at the New Haven Theological Seminary, from which institution he graduated in 1875, and the second year at Andover Theological Seminary. After spending some time in educational pursuits at Leipsic and Heidelberg university, in 1876 he accepted the pastorate of the Congregational Church of Newton, Iowa, and in 1879 that of the Oak Park, Ill., Congregational Church, where he remained until, in 1876, he accepted the Presidency of Beloit College. In 1887 the degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by the University of Wisconsin, and that of D.D. by the Northwestern University at Evanston.
Beloit College is especially strong in its faculty, which ranks among the ablest in the
United States. Rev. Joseph EMERSON, D.L., professor of Greek, has been identified with the college since its inception. He is a graduate of Yale College and was a member of the Yale faculty when he received the call to Beloit. He had also studied theology both at Yale and Andover. He is a cousin of Ralph Waldo EMERSON and is endowed with brilliant qualities similar to his. Rev. William PORTER, D.D., professor of Latin, and secretary of the college, has been connected with the institution nearly forty years. A biographical sketch of the Rev. James BLAISDELL, D.D., professor of mental and moral philosophy, appears elsewhere in this volume. Rev. Henry M. WHITNEY, M.A., professor of rhetoric and English literature, is a brother of Prof. W. D. WHITNEY of Yale and Prof. J. D. WHITNEY of Harvard. He was elected an honorary member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881. Since 1883 his leisure time has been mostly given to work as associate editor of the forthcoming Century Dictionary, and a Dictionary of Synonyms and of Synonyms Discriminated, written by him, has been incorporated into that work. Thomas A. SMITH, Ph.D., is professor of mathematics and physics. Erastus G. SMITH, Ph.D., has been professor of chemistry and mineralogy since 1881. He graduated from Amherst College in 1877 and received his degree of doctor of philosophy at the University of Gottingen, Germany, in 1883. Rollin D. SALISBURY, M.A., is professor of zoology, botany and geology. Rev. Almon W. BURR has been principal of the academy for five years. Calvin W. PEARSON, Ph.D., is professor of modern languages. Theodore L. WRIGHT, M.A., is assistant professor of ancient languages. Hiram B. DENSMORE, B.A., is instructor in botany and zoology. Robert C. CHAPIN, M.A., instructor in civil polity, is a son of Ex-President CHAPIN. Rufus B. McCLENON, M.A., is assistant in the academy; so also is Llewellyn J. DAVIES, B.A; Edward M. BOOTH, M.A., is instructor in elocution.

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