Once again, Knox opened its school year with a convocation rallying students to remember Knox’s greatness, the big names who have spoken at the Knox over the past four years, and to keep their pockets bottomless with consideration to their alma mater.
Harbach Auditorium was already humid and filled with people, excluding the three rows reserved for the choir, which they did not use, when the professors filed in to Professor Bruce Polay’s piano music last Thursday. Charles F. Smith, ’84, Vice Chair for Advancement on the Knox College Board of Trustees, gave a welcoming speech to begin the ceremony. He encouraged current students to take advantage of their time at Knox, or as the college puts it, their “freedom to flourish.”
“‘Freedom to flourish’ means freedom to fall on your face,” said Smith. “The best way to experience Knox is to try things.”
Smith also encouraged students to make connections while at Knox as well as connect to alumni and carry those relationships throughout their lives. President Roger Taylor told the audience that Smith and his wife are in the top 25 percent of Knox financial donors.
After reminding the audience of Knox’s past, including its connections to the abolition of slavery, education for women, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Taylor focused on ways to improve Knox in the future.
“Another challenging moral degradation has arisen: sustainability,” said Taylor. He praised the college for the measures taken by different groups to recycle more and become energy efficient. He also suggested individuals be more conscientious of their personal waste.
Awards were also given out. The Phillip Greene Wright award for distinguished teaching was given to Fernado Gomez, assistant professor of modern languages, and Bruce Davis, associate professor of modern languages. The Albert Pierce award went to senior Hailey Gosnell while the faculty scholarship went to senior Steven Hertzog. Dan Marty, director of maintenance, and Karen Hawkinson, coordinator of the Center for Global Studies, received the Janet C. Hunter award.
The convocation address was given by Christopher Welna, president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). Being a member of ACM means Knox students have the opportunities to travel abroad and participate in programs put on by the organization.
“The ACM is a network of people and connections that you can call your own,” said Welna. “It is an investment that will pay back for a long time.”
Welna encouraged students to participate in the travel abroad programs.
“It teaches you things you can only learn away,” said Welna.
Additionally, Welna talked about the recent studies that have been conducted on cognition in the classroom and teaching fellowships the ACM offers as well as the way technology builds upon the experience of living abroad.