President Teresa Amott welcomed students to Knox during Monday’s Opening Convocation by encouraging them to embrace diversity on campus and surround themselves in the unfamiliar. Amott said that by doing this the college can move towards its goal of being “One Community.”
In Amott’s convocation address, she spoke about the important role that diversity plays in the college’s vision of being “One Community” and questioned how it can be achieved when so much prejudice and segregation exists worldwide.
She cited the shooting in Ferguson, struggles in the Middle East, and the segregation of individuals by class and race as obstacles in achieving “One Community” and noted that the phrase could easily be interpreted as a “marking slogan” or “something instrumental and shallow.”
Amott asserted that the problem of exclusion is not absent from Knox’s campus and recalled the student walkout that occurred Spring Term 2014, in which students spoke out about the issues they saw with Knox’s treatment of diversity in the classroom.
The college held a Town Hall meeting in response to the walkout and Amott announced that a second is already scheduled for May 2015. She encouraged students to use it as an opportunity to give feedback to the college.
Amott urged students to embrace the diversity present at Knox and reach out to people from different backgrounds in order to “break the rules of exclusion and conformity that increasingly separate us from others.” She noted that mindsets that encourage segregation contribute to the injustices and violence that society currently faces.
Amott closed her speech by telling the audience that they should take their time at Knox as an opportunity to transform themselves through new encounters and to break away from what is familiar to them.
“You will learn the most from the people the least like you,” she said.
Along with Amott’s address, Dean of the College Laura Behling introduced the college’s new faculty members and the Knox College Choir Performed.
Several prizes were also awarded to students and faculty members during the ceremony, some of which include:
The Phillip Green Wright/Lombard College Prizes (for distinguished teaching):
Eldridge Pierce Prize (for the senior who made the greatest academic improvement between sophomore and junior years):
Faculty Scholarship Prize (for a student how has shown exceptional academic ability with significant extracurricular involvement):
Janet C. Hunter Prizes (for a salaried and an hourly staff member to recognize their outstanding accomplishments and service):