When Professor Shuyan Gao Shipplett checked her K-Box last week, she expected to find a couple of brochures or the occasional memo from Knox. Usually, she doesn’t get anything at all.
But when she opened up her mailbox, she found a small envelope addressed to her K-Box from Greg Bird, class of 1982, who occupied the same mailbox during his tenure at Knox. Enclosed was 10 dollars and a letter addressed “Dear Student.”
“I hope you use the modest sum of money for something other than laundry — pizza, beer, etc. I hope you enjoy your days at Knox as much as I did,” the letter said.
Shipplett was stunned.
“The money is not a big deal to me … I think [it’s] the gesture. Such a big heart, and to do something like this is so unexpected. I was definitely moved,” she said.
Immediately, she brought the note and money to her Chinese 102 class. She considered using the money to buy pizza for her class, or to contribute to the Chinese New Year party she’ll throw for her students later this term.
Ultimately, Shipplett decided to hold a lottery for her class. The student whose name she draws will get the $10, she’s decided.
“He wanted somebody to open their mailbox and find something nice. I said sometimes I feel the lonesomeness too … you go there and there’s nothing there, so I relate to him. But I didn’t say anything to him in my card. I just said thank you.”
It’s this sense of community, Shipplett says, that’s made her love Knox since she started in 2006.
“The part I like most about Knox is the students, seeing them have fun in the class. That gives me joy,” she said.