Thank You for a Wonderful Commencement

Dear Knox Community,

It was a glorious day in Galesburg for the 173rd Commencement, with so many uniquely Knox touches. Our honorary degree guests remarked on the beauty of the campus, the joyful spirit of the event and the warmth​ and closeness​ of ​our community.

On behalf of all the graduates and their families, I thank everyone who worked on this annual and all-consuming project. I am so grateful to Knox staff in Alumni Relations, Advancement, the Business Office, Campus Safety, Communications, the many offices led by the Dean of the College, Dining Services, Facilities, Student Development, the Registrar’s Office, and the President’s Office, with special thanks to Kathleen Ridlon and all the volunteers who served as ushers. All of this was overseen by Karrie Heartlein and her skilled committee, building on tradition and finding creative innovations so that every class feels they have had the best Commencement ever.

This year, I was especially moved that the faculty chose to bestow the ​Faculty Achievement Award on our distinguished and beloved colleague Fred Hord, in recognition of his extensive scholarship, his decades-long work establishing and leading an Africana Studies program, and his determined advocacy and care for students, faculty and staff of color.

Without the heroic work under deadline of Tim Gray, Karen Benedict and Tim Foster, those diplomas would never have passed into our graduates’ hands. The faculty completed the high-pressure work of senior grades with their usual care, and 312 students walked across the stage…in order!

Please join me in thanking Mike Schneider, for his remarkable work as Interim Dean of the College. Mike will be taking a long-delayed sabbatical leave next year, which he has truly earned by virtue of his stewardship of the curriculum, faculty hiring, College governance, and all the many emergencies that come to the Dean’s attention every day. I have much benefited from having his institutional perspective as the faculty worked to re-imagine the Knox curriculum, and will miss his sense of humor, encyclopedic knowledge, and willingness to take on every task, no matter how daunting.

​Today, the cycle begins again as we launch our preparations for the entering students, who will be the Class of 2022! I know that your dedication ensures that four years from now another joyous Commencement ceremony will take place on the South Lawn.

​My best wishes to you all​,