The Knox College Board of Trustees met this past weekend to elect the college’s 19th and first ever female president, Teresa Amott. Amott was one of three final candidates for the position of president that came to the Knox campus earlier this term to meet with students, faculty and staff and tour the campus.
Currently in the position of provost at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) in Geneva, NY, Amott said one of her main focuses in her presidency will be fundraising.
“In this moment at Knox, the really important job of the president is going to be to kick the level of resources up,” Amott said.
Fundraising is no new territory for Amott, nor is community service. She has been a part of such groups as Bread for the World, the Religious Network for Equality for Women and also Women for Economic Justice.
After her visit to the Knox campus, Amott said there was something she saw on theknoxstudent.com that made her sure she would accept the position of president if it was offered to her.
“[It was] the letter signed by 500 students for Knox staff,” Amott said. This letter, which students tabled for in Seymour Gallery the day after a blizzard hit Galesburg two weeks ago, received a large amount of signatures in just a few hours.
“The kindness of it … It spoke volumes about the students,” she said.
She earned her Ph.D. in Economics from Boston College in 1980. She has worked at such institutions as Bucknell University, Wellesley College and Gettysburg College before her current position at HWS. She will take over the position of president at Knox on July 1 of this year.
“It’s very soon,” she said. “I’m going to be a first-year.”
Amott said she has a lot to learn from current President Roger Taylor, and that “he will be an inspiration.”
She has experience in global education, and as a self-described “foreign service brat,” moving to a new place will be nothing new for her. She is coming from a town that is “half the size of Galesburg.”
Because her visit was during a blizzard, her tour of campus was shortened and her visit was not as extensive as she hoped it would be.
Amott is sure that Knox, its community and mission are right for her.
“There is a kind of sacred trust that is passed on from president to president … to preserve and enhance and protect the institution,” Amott said. “To be the first woman president … is a step that fulfills the mission.”