I Was In The Right Place. You Are, Too.

By Dick Aft ’60:

The terms “global warming” and “cyber crime” didn’t exist when I was at Knox. My memories are all positive (except for 8 o’clock classes). My liberal arts education and four years of growing into adulthood in the Knox community provided skills, tools, and gifts that have enriched my life every day since graduation. My many visits to campus have reassured me that I was in the right place from 1956 until 1960.  I’m convinced that you are, too!

You Will See Your Friends Again

From Jill Krippel ’13:

When I graduated from Knox, the thing that made my heart break was the realization that I might not see some of the people I had spent four years of my life with ever again. The Knox community shares a strong bond, and I was afraid that once I was off campus, it would fray. Now, almost seven years after graduation, I am relieved to say that I was wrong. You don’t get to see them every day anymore, but the ties you made between your fellow Knoxies don’t unravel with time. It may be a year or two between visits, but once you see each other again, it’s like time didn’t pass. You will see so many people at homecomings and weddings that you never imagined getting to see again, and you will be able to make a few more fond memories with them. Being at home without the community physically surrounding you is a drastic change that came too soon for you, but it’s not over. You will see your friends again. You will see your professors again. Knox doesn’t end once you leave campus. It’s with you for life.

Class of 2020, Your Future is Bright

From Sam Jarvis ’09:

Class of 2020, you have been presented with a particularly challenging and frightening situation, but before you fret anymore, please know that your future is just as bright as it was before this global pandemic ensued. 

As an alum, I can attest to the world class education you are receiving and now receiving virtually. It may not have the same look and feel, but I know your faculty are working hard to continue to challenge you and provide the experience you expect and deserve.

Your responsibility to yourself and your classmates remain unchanged: to continue to challenge each other in thoughtful discussion and debate, to engage your passions and field of study, and to care for each other as the Knox Community has done through every major event it has faced. 

This Will Pass

From John Heyer ’68:

To the Seniors: Yes indeed, you have had something dear taken away.  Nonetheless, you will be stronger in the long run, and this will pass.  Life will bring you many challenges, and because you will have made it through this one, you will be that much more ready.  How about the entire class comes to campus for Homecoming next fall, and you can have your Senior Week!

Dougherty Book on Integration Published

A book co-authored by Deirdre Dougherty, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Making School Integration Work, was published by Teachers College Press. The book tells the story of how two school districts—one a predominantly white and wealthy suburban community and the other a more diverse and urbanized community—were merged into a single district to work toward a solution for school segregation.

Fear Not, You Are Better Prepared Than You Think

By Michael Cinquegrani ’75:

I’m writing to you as an alumnus of our great College to let you know the education you are receiving will pay dividends for you as you go forward. In light of our current stresses, going forward is exactly what we all need to be doing. It’s particularly tough on Knox seniors who have looked toward their spring term, anticipating their next adventure while also sensing early nostalgia for their years at Knox. I’m very sensitive to these issues since my daughter is a senior at another university and will be missing her spring semester and probably graduation. Trust me, graduation is just as important to your parents as it is to you.

So fear not, you are better prepared to meet new challenges than you may think. I wish you the best and I hope you and your families stay well.

A Good Time To Reflect And Plan

From Mike Tweedle ’73:

This 2020 certainly isn’t what you expected for your final semester and graduation.  All the news is “stay at home, avoid contact with your friends and classmates, the threat of death from an unseen virus.”  It can be depressing. 

There is not a lot of upside to a pandemic. But you did not get into Knox by being thoughtless and making bad decisions, and now is just the right time to make a few good ones. Above all else, follow the rules of physical isolation (not social isolation!). The pandemic is temporary and we will get through it, as we did with SARS and MERS.  There are 60 therapies for COVID-19 being tested as well as a large number of vaccines. Science works! Remember Ebola? There are several working antibody therapies today for the Ebola virus, which is far deadlier than COVID-19. COVID-19 will be beaten even faster.    

One upside of this–and other of life’s major detours–is that you have an opportunity to test your intelligence and your will.  Great and successful people respond to adversity by adapting, developing a plan of action, and finding meaning in the pursuit of that plan. They stay positive. They look for the bright lights in the darkness.  One of my classmates (class of 1973) was Scott Luebking, who suffered a freak accident in the summer after his freshman year that rendered him a permanent quadriplegic. When he arrived for classes again, he was way behind the rest of us and bound to a wheelchair. He went into computer science, worked very hard, caught up, and then then graduated with our class as an honor student. He was a lifelong inspiration to all of us. He went to graduate school, became a professor at UC Berkeley. He was a visionary and futurist and led a life of achievement, always knowing that his life expectancy was limited. He died an extraordinarily accomplished man at 58.

Maybe this time of the pandemic of 2020 is a good one to reflect and to plan.  We are meaning-seeking creatures living in a world that often seems meaningless, sometimes adverse to us, even deadly.  The trick is to define our own meaning and live for and towards that. This pandemic pause might be just the right time for a young adult to decide on a life path that fits your personality and talent.  You may even surprise yourself in the process!