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2018 in Review: Carthage stands tall on many fronts

January 01, 2019

As the new year arrives, let’s take a minute to note Carthage’s biggest milestones from 2018. Here’s a recap of the top 10 stories of the calendar year, as selected by the Office of Communications.

1. President Swallow inaugurated

 John Swallow is formally installed as Carthage's 23rd President by Carthage Trustee Jeff Hamar.

Pledging to fulfill the duties of his office “faithfully and with great enthusiasm,” John Swallow was formally installed as Carthage’s 23rd president on April 21.

In the inaugural address, he said the College is uniquely positioned to thrive in the face of rising challenges to higher education. Guest speaker John McCardell Jr., vice chancellor at The University of the South, called his former colleague a leader with “unflappable competence.”

Elected vice chair of the board for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, President Swallow has worked to expand Carthage’s local impact while presiding over the initial development of a College-wide career preparation program. Over the summer, he completed an introductory tour of the alumni network by leading a small Carthage delegation to Asia.

• • •

2. The Tower opens to residents

 The Tower Residence Hall (west entrance shown here) opened to students in August 2018.

After students claimed every available room on the first day of campus housing registration, The Tower Residence Hall welcomed those first eager residents in August.

Six residential floors house sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with shared lounges that residents of two other connected halls can also access. The bottom two stories invite the full student body with areas for study, collaboration, cooking, and downtime — totaling roughly 10,000 square feet of community space.

A dinner on Homecoming weekend (Sept. 28) celebrated the completion of The Tower Initiative, which raised $1.2 million toward amenities like kitchenettes, seminar rooms, and an outdoor fire pit. A dedication ceremony took place the next day.

• • •

3. Largest incoming class enrolls

 Carthage welcomed its largest incoming class ever during 2018 New Student Orientation.

Even as total college enrollment nationwide fell for a seventh consecutive year, new students flocked to Carthage in record numbers. Final enrollment figures taken Oct. 15 depicted an incoming fall 2018 class of 765 freshmen and 92 transfer students.

The newcomers arrived from 25 U.S. states and five other countries. Reflecting the College’s ongoing commitment to maintain an inclusive student body, historically underrepresented minorities made up 27 percent of the class.

Three days of orientation activities brought all of the newbies up to speed, preceded by popular sessions for first-generation and international students.

• • •

4. Record high six Fulbright fellows

 Six students or recent graduates earned Fulbright fellowships for 2018-19, the most Carthage has ...

Cementing its status as a pipeline to prestigious fellowships, Carthage reached a new peak with six overseas placements through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Recent graduates awarded 2018-19 fellowships included Peter Sproule ’16, who received a Fulbright Study/Research Award, and five who were granted Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships: Amerin Idell ’17, TJ Gaertig ’18, Samantha Johnson ’18, Zoe Rodriguez ’18, and Skye Rutherford ’18.

Those announcements followed the news in February that Carthage was the only Wisconsin school to make the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of top Fulbright-producers. The College has had 20 Fulbrighters in the past five years alone.

• • •

5. Black alumni network forms

 Carthage trustees Hoyt H. Harper II ’77 (left) and Alan Mills ’79 helped to launch the Wiggan...

Fellow Carthage trustees Hoyt H. Harper II ’77 and Alan Mills ’79 collaborated with classmate Cynthia Walker ’78 to launch the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network.

Named in honor of the College’s first African American female and male graduates, Lorraine Wiggan ’46 and Alonzo Kenniebrew ’54, the alumni group raised more than $70,000 in its first year to support students of color. The funds cover scholarships, J-Term study tours, summer research, and internships.

The network’s first reunion is planned for the 2019 Homecoming weekend, Oct. 11-13. It’s open to alumni who identify as African American or biracial, those who participated in Black Student Union, and all who support the W-K Network’s efforts.

• • •

6. Manning hired to oversee athletics


Michelle ManningIn April, Carthage culminated its first search for a director of athletics since 1992 with the hire of Michelle Manning.

She arrived in Kenosha in July after seven years at Ithaca (New York) College, where a prominent supervisor called Ms. Manning “a rising star in athletics administration.”

A former college softball star and two-sport coach, Ms. Manning became the first woman to oversee Carthage’s NCAA Division III athletics program. She succeeded Bob Bonn, who retired in June after an influential 26-year career.


• • •

7. Foxconn community forums draw hundreds

 Kenosha mayor John Antaramian was among the panelists in a series of public forums that Carthage ...

Carthage convened a series of panel discussions in February and March, where community leaders and academic experts assessed the potential impact of the Foxconn Technology Group’s manufacturing complex that’s now under construction in nearby Mount Pleasant.

The hot-button topic attracted hundreds of visitors. Organized by first-year Carthage professors Erik Johnson and Darwin Tsen, the series provided a balanced assessment of Foxconn’s cultural, economic, and environmental implications in the area.

The College welcomed the company into the ongoing dialogue, hosting a ceremony in December that recognized first-round winners in Foxconn’s statewide “Smart Cities – Smart Futures” competition.

Watch a replay of the Foxconn panels

• • •

8. Bennett wins NCAA track and field title

 Mia Bennett ’18

Mia Bennett ’18 completed her four-year climb to the top of the podium in March, winning the weight throw in the NCAA Division III indoor track and field championship. She became the 18th individual national titlist for Carthage Athletics.

What made the victory even more remarkable was Ms. Bennett’s decision to take an eye-opening study tour to South Africa in January, which required her to miss multiple early-season meets. The resourceful senior found ways to squeeze in workouts while abroad.

She later completed her collegiate career with a second-place finish in the NCAA outdoor hammer throw.

• • •

9. Best-selling author gives Commencement address

 Author Jon Meacham delivered the 2018 Commencement address.

Fresh off the publication of his latest book, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham shared his timely insights as a Johnson Distinguished Visitor in May.

During a public Q&A session, Mr. Meacham analyzed inflammatory presidential politics and its effect on the nation’s soul. He then addressed the Class of 2018 at Commencement on May 27 — the same day his similarly themed book, “The Soul of America,” reached No. 1 on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list.

“Don’t let any single cable network or Twitter feed tell you what to think,” advised Mr. Meacham, a former academic colleague of President Swallow at The University of the South.

• • •

10. Theatre students earn national recognition

 Carthage Theatre won national recognition in several categories of the Kennedy Center's American ...

Based on an invited performance of “A Seat at the Table” in January, Carthage earned national accolades in the Kennedy Center’s 2018 American College Theater Festival.

The weighty, civil rights-themed original play by Regina Taylor brought group and individual recognition in several categories. Notably, Carthage Theatre received the first Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award “for insisting that theatrical production is central to the urgent community, national, and international conversations” in higher education.

“Up and Away” by Eric Simonson, which followed “A Seat at the Table” in Carthage’s New Play Initiative, continued the program’s enviable track record. Shortly after its premiere in November, the program was selected to perform it at the 2019 regional festival.

• • •

Honorable Mention



Five distinct categories of Carthaginians exceeded participation goals in the April 5 fundraising sprint.


The initial cohort completed the new Carthage master’s program in business design and innovation.


National media credited former CIO Bill Abt’s simple investment strategy for topping Harvard’s endowment returns.