Chapin Society Records
Scope and Contents
The Chapin Society records are mostly comprised of materials generated for the organization’s annual meetings, also called annual dinners. These materials include invitations, programs, attendee lists, award winner lists, and correspondence, especially between the Chapin Society president or executive secretary and the Beloit College Development Office. Also included are many annual member lists and records of their donations.
The Development Office deposits new materials that are added to this collection periodically.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research; however, certain materials are fragile and require Archives staff for handling, or use may be restricted altogether. Other documents contain personal financial information and the Archives must grant permission before use.
Biographical / Historical
The Chapin Society, named for the College’s first president, Aaron Lucius Chapin, is a Beloit College fundraising organization and program begun in 1967, and has close ties with the Beloit College Development Office. During President Chapin’s long presidency, the College became widely known for scholastic excellence, with a curriculum reflecting the classical traditions of his Yale background and that of the early faculty.
The purposes of the Chapin Society are:
- To recognize and honor individuals for demonstrated interest in and financial support for the College
- To provide opportunities for Chapin members to become better informed about the purposes, programs, and plans of the College
- To encourage and prepare individuals to fill a variety of responsible roles as trustees, advisors, and volunteer leaders of special Beloit College activities
- To create and help maintain a firm base of continuing gift support upon which the College can rely to strengthen and enrich its educational program
Members are typically (but not restricted to) College alumni. Though membership types have grown and changed over the years, initial levels have always started at donations of $1,000 per year. Donors became “Life Members” based on an outright gift of $20,000 or more, or a deferred gift of the same minimum amount in the form of a bequest, life insurance policy, life income agreement, or trust agreement.
Key members include James B. Gage (Executive Secretary), Donna M. Stluka (Beloit College Development Office), and Philip Sprague (National Chairman, President), all of whom have correspondence represented in the collection.
The Chapin Society held annual meetings, also called annual dinners or receptions, to recognize the generosity of its members, and featured speakers from both Beloit College and outside the organization. Early dinners and annual meetings under President Miller Upton were very formal affairs held off-campus at the beginning of the summer. From 1976-1979, President Martha Peterson started pairing Chapin Society dinners with larger programs of on-campus events including Convocation, usually held in October. The first of these also coincided with the United States Bicentennial, an occasion for which Beloit College held a special program of events that, in addition to speakers, also featured discussions and panels. These programs often centered on a theme like energy or broadcasting.
Later years saw Chapin Society dinners become less formal occasions as the group became more integrated with other fundraising campaigns enacted by the Beloit College Development Office. 2012 marks the end of the Chapin Society program.
2 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Language of Materials
- Chapin Society Records
- Michelle Tom
- June, 2012
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