Billionaire Diane Hendricks, 3 others, resign from Beloit College board

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BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — In a sudden move, four members of the Beloit College Board of Trustees have stepped down from their positions, putting the college’s fortunes in question.

Diane Hendricks, Jim Packard, Chuck McQuaid and Jim Sanger resigned Thursday, according to a statement from the college.

The school did not give a reason for the resignations, saying only, “After many years of support, including completing the Powerhouse student union and recreation center project, and helping Beloit College finalize a new five-year financial plan, four Board of Trustees members have decided to step down from their official duties.”

Diane Hendricks is chairman of ABC Supply Co. Inc., the company she co-founded with her late husband, Ken Hendricks, and joined the board in 2011. Hendricks, one of the wealthiest people in the U.S., is known for her philanthropic projects – including breaking ground on a new Beloit charter school for low-income students, The Lincoln Academy, set to open in 2021 – and is a major Republican donor.

Packard is the former president and chief executive officer with Regal Beloit Corp.

Sanger, former president of Rath Manufacturing, has been on the college board for over 20 years. According to the Beloit Daily News, the college’s Center for the Sciences was named after both he and his wife, for supporting scholarships and other college projects.

McQuaid, a board member since 2011, is the president and chief investment officer at Chicago’s Columbia Wagner Asset Management.

There are 21 remaining board members and two lifetime members remaining, according to the college’s website.

While four trustees resigning at the same time is an unusual move, the college’s statement continued, “Because regular turnover on college and university boards is the norm, we have identified a number of potential Trustee candidates whose names will be presented to the Beloit College Board in coming months.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Beloit College had an enrollment of 1,143 students in 2019, but has seen a decline due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Wisconsin Examiner says the college faced a $7 million shortfall last year, due to the drop in enrollment.

In August, the college announced it would be offering a 9th or 10th semester tuition-free to help students finish or supplement their degree.

In the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake and subsequent riots in Kenosha, in late August the Beloit Student Government issued revisions to the Student Statement of Culture, which reads, “We recognize that historically white institutions like Beloit College were created to serve the privileged and perpetuate white ways of knowing that can inflict violence towards nonwhite members,” and continued by saying, “We, the students of Beloit College, expect all members of our community to practice anti-racism by continuing to unlearn internalized racist ideologies.”

The Black Student Union also issued a set of demands for Beloit students via The Round Table newspaper, which later issued its own Statement of Anti-Racism from the Editorial Board.

The administration also charged the Student Government with setting a set of Behavioral Expectations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In September, Beloit College announced it would be providing weekly testing of its entire student body for COVID-19.

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