With the original wood floor, stage and balcony now entirely removed, foundation work continues in the central section that once used as an auditorium, later a library, a theatre, and finally offices; in the background, new steel floor panels are visible in one of the wings.
In the Gerald and Carol Vovis Center for Research and Advanced Study, Interim Director Mariangela Maguire is eager for the move to Alumni Hall. “I look forward to working more closely with the Bastian Center, the Stellyes Center, and the Kleine Center,” she says. “All four programs support Knox students in their efforts to challenge themselves intellectually by taking what they learn in the classroom and applying it through international experiences, internships, community service, and research.”
Though the staff of the Vovis Center enjoys their central location in Old Main, they look forward to the opportunity for even more crossing of paths and sharing of ideas. “Our work overlaps in important ways and the close proximity of our program offices in the new space will allow us to capitalize on those areas of overlap.”
The relocation also means much more space for the Vovis Center, which they plan to use for the Horizons showcase of student work, to host Knox Ford Fellowship Program seminars, and scholarship and fellowship application workshops.
“A new space means opportunities we haven’t even thought of yet,” says Maguire. “We look forward to working with Knox students and the other occupants of the building to be creative and thoughtful in making the most of the renovated Alumni Hall.”
The basement of Alumni Hall held auxiliary offices since 1950, but it was in 1977 that the Offices of Alumni Affairs, Development and Public Affairs were housed permanently in the basement. This is an example of what those offices looked like. Astute viewers will notice in the left side of this image that the brick structure is the old fireplace from when the space served as The Hearth. The transformed Alumni Hall will be home to many administrative offices once construction is completed.
Starting in 1949, the Knox College Bookstore called the basement of Alumni Hall home. It was housed in the lowest level of the east wing next to the Hearth, later called the Gizmo, until the mid-1960′s. This shop for students was one of the many uses of the versatile basement space through the years.
Alumni Hall will welcome a myriad of visitors each year, from prospective students and parents to community members and returning alumni. The Dick and Joan Whitcomb Heritage Center, housed on the third floor and visible to all via the second floor atrium, will introduce these visitors to the remarkable heritage of Knox College and the City of Galesburg thanks to the museum-quality display housed within the center.
As the cold continues in Galesburg, this type of springtime fun seems harder and harder to imagine. This is a shot of students enjoying playing Frisbee on the south lawn of Alumni Hall in 1965. This view seems more familiar to us in February, though.