Beloit College community reacts to longtime professor’s death

Dan Shea died during research trip in South America
Beloit College community reacts to longtime professor’s death

Students and staff at Beloit College are reacting to news of the death of a longtime professor Tuesday.

Many are now reflecting on the influence of professor Dan Shea’s teachings. For 45 years, Shea took every opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

Summer keeps the Beloit College campus quiet these days, but the unexpected loss of Shea is prompting reflection on campus.

“It’s a loss, a loss we’ll feel,” said Beloit College spokesman Jason Hughes. “All of us, we’ll notice.”

“I remember him as the exact style of teacher that really fits for me,” said sophomore Erik Enderlein. “And it’s everything that I, as a student, needed.”

Enderlein took a class with Shea, who had spent four decades in the Anthropology Department.

“Dr. Shea’s been at the college for 45 years.” said Hughes. “And for more than two decades, he’s been a part of the faculty that leads field schools in South America, in Chile. He’s got a research interest there. So, this is a long tradition.”

Shea was in Chile this month, spending another summer leading his students on a field study.


Late Tuesday, the college learned Shea died after a fall during dinner. In a letter to students and staff, Beloit College President Scott Bierman said Shea “was in a place that he loves, doing what he does best — introducing students to the archeological wonders of Latin America.”

“This is a very personal thing for us,” Hughes said. “We are a small campus. We’ve got about 1,300 students.”

“I’ll remember him as the person who was almost my advisor,” Enderlein said.

Shea was with five students and two study collaborators during this summer’s trip to Chile.

The school is working with the students overseas to arrange a safe return to their homes. Beloit College said it will announce memorial plans for Shea in the near future.