The Skylight Room was packed this morning as students, faculty and staff crowded in to hear the official announcement of who would be Knox’s next president. Although The Knox Student had broken Dr. Teresa Amott’s name earlier in the day, many were excited to hear her speak.
“I’m really excited,” sophomore Anna Novikova said as students were filing in. “Everybody I talked to thought she was great and that she has the most relevant set of skills [for the position].”
Amott received an enthusiastic round of applause after being introduced by Chair of the Board of Trustees Jan Koran, ’71.
“On occasions like this, it’s customary to say that one is honored and humbled, and I am honored and humbled, but it is from the heart,” Amott said.
Amott began by thanking the search committee for accurately reflecting the close-knitted nature of the Knox community. She also thanked current President Roger Taylor for his leadership and service, noting that he would serve as a “daily inspiration” for her.
Although she was initially drawn to Knox because of its academic program, commitment to educating students regardless of their finances and the partnership between Knox and the Galesburg community, Amott said that it was a letter on The Knox Student website that sealed the deal for her. While browsing the website after her on-campus interview, she came across a letter signed by over 500 Knox students thanking the Knox staff for coming into work during the Feb. 1 and 2 snow days.
“This was a group of students who understood what others had done for them,” she said. “It was a turning point for me.”
“I started crying,” junior Erin Duff said. “I love [Amott]. I’m excited that she’s inspired.”
Amott was unanimously elected as the next president by the Board of Trustees on Saturday, Feb. 12
“She was our rockstar candidate,” Koran said.
Koran cited Amott’s vast scholarship and service to previous colleges at which she has worked. She elicited laughs from the crowd when she mentioned how Amott had described her “love of fundraising” in her application letter. Amott played a large role in orchestrating the Campaign for the Colleges at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, which raised over $160 million.
Most important, however, was Amott’s “love for and commitment to the liberal arts tradition at schools like Knox,” Koran said.
Koran announced that there would be a series of celebrations over the next several months to recognize Taylor and his wife Anne Taylor for their service to Knox. She also commended the Presidential Search Committee for their hard work in selecting the next president.
Special recognition was given to trustee and search committee chair Richard Riddell, ’72, and search committee member Bob Bondi, a lifelong Galesburg resident and the president of Bondi Building Corporation. Bondi organized community meetings throughout the search and ensured that the relationship between Knox and Galesburg played a role in the search process.
“[Bondi’s role] shows the growth in the community’s commitment to Knox over the past several years,” Koran said.
Amott said that she would work to strengthen the ties between Knox and Galesburg during her time as president, as well as working on expanding the college’s resources.
Amott will assume the position of President of Knox College on July 1, 2011.