For those who did not experience Alumni Hall, it’s hard to imagine what a typical classroom looked like when the sides of the building used as classrooms currently look like this. This photo dates near the end of Alumni Hall’s tenure as an academic building, the 1970s. At this time, the foreign language department, the art department, the philosophy department, and a few other humanities classes had called these classroom spaces home.
When asked to share their favorite things about Knox, alumni immediately mention the friendships that began in classrooms and dorm rooms that have lasted a lifetime. Alumni Relations is where these relationships will continue to develop and flourish. Each fall at Homecoming, upwards of 1,000 alumni return to campus to attend dinners, receptions, classes, and reunions around campus and the Galesburg community. And when they visit campus, alumni reestablish relationships with faculty and interact with current students, assisting them in their educational and career pursuits.
Alumni Relations also coordinates more than 40 events held across the country and around the world each year, from baseball games and museum tours to pub nights and picnics. And Alumni Relations is where alumni are honored, whether it is for their service to the College or the world beyond. Learn more about the Office of Alumni Relations.
The student literary society that once occupied this east wing of Alumni Hall, Gnothautii, reportedly chose a name based on ancient Greek words that mean, roughly, “know thyself.” It’s safe to say that you, the visitors to this blog, are the first to “know” this part of the building from top to bottom, basement to roof, following the removal of the old first and second floors in January 2014. New floors will be installed as part of the renovation.
Career preparation at Knox does not begin during the last term senior year, nor does it end with Commencement. Students come to the Center early in their Knox experience to assess their interests, explore career options that will drive the course of their education, and browse through a library of resources on careers, employers, and graduate and professional schools. Online tools allow students to navigate the job search process. Through counseling sessions, students will learn the interviewing and negotiating skills and job search strategies that will assist them with their goals, whether that is to receive an internship, attend the graduate program that best meets their needs, or obtain that first job post-Knox that will lead to a successful, fulfilling career.
But the assistance doesn’t stop when students leave campus. All of the resources that are available to students — from self-assessment to job search strategies and a myriad of career management tools — are also available to alumni at the Bastian Family Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development in Alumni Hall. Learn more about the Bastian Family Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development.
Admission counselors travel the globe, attending college fairs and meeting with students to share all that Knox has to offer and to help prospective students determine if Knox is the best fit for their goals and aspirations. But nothing can help these students determine if Knox is their best choice like a visit to the Knox campus. Almost 60% of students admitted to Knox say that their visit “sealed the deal.”
Alumni Hall will be the jumping-off point to experiencing life as a Knox student. Prospective students will meet with professors, coaches, and counselors. They will be drawn into the life of the College, where they will tour campus, attend classes, watch performances, and eat lunch in the Hard Knox Café, learning about the Knox experience. Learn more about the Office of Admission and Financial Aid.
Recent photos posted on this blog have been showing the dismantling of the balcony and ceiling in Alumni Hall — both essential parts of the building during its time as Knox’s theatre.
The same central part between the two literary society buildings that once served as a library was also the College’s theatre from 1928, when the library collection was moved to Seymour Library, until 1965, when the Ford Center for Fine Arts opened.
The photo above is of a play put on in 1930 called Tommy.
Once the books were removed, the seats were restored to the theatre. The floor had a capacity of 625 people, and the balcony held 225 people. The quiet library changed to a resonant theatre with the help of some new paint and acoustic tiles. A 1929 issue of The Knox Student reported on the space’s new “harmonious yellow tint” and “side lights of attractive decorative nature.”
Future renovations, mostly safety-based, took place later. The theatre was prone to fires, and there was a rewiring in 1948 and a major overhaul in 1963. A memo from 1962 reports a careless student lit some drapes on fire. And the memo writer was not pleased: “May I point out this is our second experience with a fire that could’ve been dangerous. The third time, we may not be so lucky.”
The 1963 renovation added a state-of-the-art light board, four dressing rooms, a sewing room, extra closet areas for costumes, a light room, and a makeup room, as well as fire-safety measures.
When the Center for Fine Arts was constructed, Harbach Theatre became the main stage for the College’s productions, although the stage and seating in Alumni Hall continued to be used as a general-purpose meeting area and alternate theatre.
The stars of the Alumni Hall stage were immortalized by the graffiti that each cast member left after a show along the inside walls of the theatre and on the ceiling above the catwalk. Graffiti left over the years can be seen in this video.