Hendricks Resigns from Board of Trustees
On September 28th, 2020, Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, as well as three others, resigned from the Beloit College board of trustees. When the statement of resignation was given, no reason for the decision was provided. Even two weeks later, the students of Beloit College are perplexed by the sudden resignation. However, as the weeks have passed, there has been some speculation among the student body as to why Hendricks and the other three trustees may have chosen to resign.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the other three trustees who opted to resign were Chuck McQuaid, Jim Packard, and Jim Sanger. The Beloit College performing arts center that is located downtown is named after Hendricks, and the new science center is named after Sanger — many students wonder if these two buildings will eventually be renamed in result of the resignation of the trustees. 21 board members remain, as well as two ‘lifetime members,’ according to the Beloit College website. Trustees typically serve three-year terms unless no one is chosen to replace them.
For those that are not familiar with who Diane Hendricks is, she co-founded ABC Supply — a roofing and siding company — with her late husband, and was ranked number one on Forbes’ list of America’s Self-Made Women. Forbes also states that Hendricks’ net worth is $8 billion dollars. Despite her financial contributions to Beloit College, she is also a particularly controversial figure. Hendricks is responsible for financing much of the gentrification of Downtown Beloit, and owns the restaurants Truck’t, Lucy’s, and Blue Collar Coffee. She also plans to open a charter school in Beloit in 2021, which many are not pleased with, according to the Wisconsin Examiner.
Hendricks’ politics have also raised controversy, as she is a staunch Republican who donates to a liberal arts college. She has played an integral role in Donald Trump’s campaign. In fact, UrbanMilwaukee states that Hendricks contributed $8.1 million to a super PAC in support of Trump during his 2016 campaign. At one point, she served as an economic policy advisor for Trump as well. Many Beloit College students have been put off by these facts, as a majority of the student body leans to the political left.
The student body of Beloit College has drawn a parallel between the display of the Black Lives Matter banners across the Powerhouse bridge and the resignation of the four trustees — particularly Hendricks, who is exceedingly vocal about her politics. There is speculation among students that the refusal of the college to remove the banners drove the trustees to resign. Of course, this has not been proven true yet, so we will never know the truth until the trustees decide to come forward and disclose it.