Campus / News / October 3, 2019

Convocation welcomes school year

History Professor Cate Denial receiving the tenured position award from Provost Michael Schneider (Katy Coseglia / TKS)

Knox’s 182nd opening convocation marked the start of fall term on Tuesday, Sept 17. Coinciding with Constitution Day, remarks touched on the historical implications of the American Constitution, plus college prizes and new faculty were announced.

Director of Spiritual Life Monica Corsaro gave the opening address in Harbach Theatre, welcoming the Class of 2023 for the first time. President Teresa Amott then gave her welcome address, thanking the faculty and staff that worked on campus over the summer, the college’s alumni, trustees and anti-slavery founders.

September 17 also marked the 232nd anniversary of the day the American Constitution was signed, and Amott touched on the status of a current “constitutional crisis” — urging students to participate in classes this year that engage with topical issues such as immigration, voting rights, government regulation, surveillance and incarceration.

“We gather here in the spirit of hope to set an intention for the new academic year,” Amott said.

Provost and Dean Michael Schneider’s convocation address “Our Global Constitution” focused on the connection and influence the American Constitution had in the cultivation of civil rights in East Asia. Although a country may espouse liberal values in their constitution, Schneider noted that many around the world contain hypocrisies, such as the U.S.’s three-fifths compromise.

Schneider also announced new faculty members and joined Associate Dean of the College Tim Foster in awarding college prizes to students and faculty.

Junior Janie Sutherd was notified she would be recognized for an award at convocation but described being “extra excited” when she was recognized for two. Sutherd was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the Faculty Scholarship Prize along with senior Michelle Dudley.

Sutherd said she had wanted to be a part of Phi Beta Kappa since her first year at Knox, so the recognition was exciting but did not come as much of a surprise as when she received the Faculty Scholarship Prize — an award ordinarily only given to one student a year.

“I didn’t think I would because it was one student out of all these other students,” Sutherd said.

Sutherd attended convocation with her friends senior Natasha Caudill and senior Courtney Pletcher. Pletcher said she was glad to see that the new faculty members included many people of color, and Caudill said she enjoyed seeing many college prizes awarded to women.

“I really liked that anyone who had a B.A. from Knox got cheered super loud. That just made me feel so part of the community and I loved it,” Caudill said.

For freshmen Mouhcine Oubih and Shubhanga Satyal, this was their first Knox convocation. “I thought it was awesome, I liked it a lot. I loved the choir, I mean their voices are angelic,” Oubih said.

Oubih also said it was the “cherry on the cake” that the event was only an hour long and did not take up the entire day.

Satyal enjoyed that the convocation included prizes, and said he hopes to be recognized on stage one day.

“They recognize people of all kinds regardless if they are students or staff members, that is also nice,” Satuyal said.

Besides Sutherd and Dudley, Seniors Adee Athiyaman, Nicole D’Alterio, Sarah Henderson and Sarah Smith were recognized into Phi Beta Kappa. Senior Alyssa Stetkevych was awarded the Elbridge Pierce Prize for greatest scholastic improvement since the end of the first year at Knox. The Janet C. Hunter Prize, designed to honor outstanding service to the college by staff members was awarded for the hourly position to Admission Services Senior Associate Patricia Harden, and for the salaried position to Advancement Services Director Sandra Gray.

The Philip Green Wright Lombard College prize is reserved for professors of “distinguished teaching.” The untenured position award was given to Assistant Professor of Psychology Sara O’Brien and the tenured position award was given to American history Professor Cate Denial.

Sam Lisec, Co-News Editor
Co-News Editor
Samuel Lisec is a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism and philosophy. During his sophomore year, he worked as a staff writer. At the start of his junior year, he became a news editor. He is the recipient of the Knox Theodore Hazen Kimble Award for best feature story in 2018, and the Illinois College Press Association Honorable Mention Award for a Comic Strip in 2018. Email:

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