Thoughts on the Election from President Amott

Dear Knox Community,

As this tumultuous week comes to end, I write to share my thoughts in response to numerous conversations with students, faculty and staff at Knox. Like many of you, I have struggled to comprehend the deep political, economic and cultural fractures revealed by Tuesday’s electoral results. Although ballot counting continues, the popular vote is nearly tied. Our nation appears to be torn in half. Many of us, on both sides of the divide, feel rage or fear. In this time of rancor, I turn to you, to every member of the Knox community, to consider how you can help to repair our nation.

Recommit to the core values of inclusion, respect, equity and reason on which Knox College was founded and which will serve as guiding principles for the future. Each of us can do our part in restoring social trust and rebuilding the bonds of community.

Use this moment to lean in and listen deeply to all those who fear the future, no matter how they voted. Stand in solidarity alongside those who may be harmed in the months to come. Build the community in which we want to live with open hearts and open minds. Ask yourself in all humility if you have retreated behind a wall of privilege or armed yourself with weapons of resentment and work diligently to dismantle these barriers.

Put your liberal arts education to work for the common good.

Students, seek out courses in which you can critically engage with the policy decisions ahead; faculty, consider how your courses might contribute to that learning; staff, make the most of every teachable moment. The arts and humanities offer us the perspective of the ages along with limitless opportunities to take an empathic leap into the bodies and souls of others and experience their pain. The social sciences shine a light on hidden processes of marginalization and empowerment, exploitation and enrichment. The natural and physical sciences construct empirically verifiable knowledge of the complex world we inhabit. Mathematics and statistics give us tools to test conflicting claims.

Turn from private reaction to civic engagement.

We cannot afford to withdraw in disgust from the work of politics, no matter how tainted we believe that work to be. There are complex questions of national policy that must now be addressed and international relationships to be reformulated. Much lies in the balance: immigration status, health care for millions of Americans, climate change, criminal justice reform, tax and spending policy, infrastructure repair, and national security, among other matters. Communicate your views to your representatives at local and national levels of government, not just once, but over and over again. Voter turnout on Tuesday was at a 20-year low, but a new election cycle begins now.

Personally, over the past few days, I have drawn much inspiration from the words of President Barack Obama in an important speech 8 years ago. This is what he said:

I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren. This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people.

Like many of you who have spoken with me over the past few days, I share a deep faith in our American democratic project, however unfulfilled and imperfect our present moment. I am also inspired by the Knox community’s long commitment to values of equality and inclusion. I am optimistic that together we can defend our historic values and thus contribute to our communal and national healing.

With hope for the future,


Campus water testing update

On April 13, I wrote to the campus with information on the Knox College water supply, noting that the College had made arrangements to test the water in all College buildings serviced by older water lines. This morning, I received the results of those tests from an independent laboratory and am writing to share the reassuring results that all of the locations tested had lead readings below the action levels prescribed by the EPA. You may recall that those locations made up fewer than 5 percent of College buildings. While these results are encouraging, we will replace all lead service lines on campus this summer and will continue to monitor the quality of the College water supply.

The health and safety of the Knox College community remains our primary priority, and we will take all actions necessary to ensure the safety of the College’s water supply into the future.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me or Scott Maust, director of facilities services.


Keith Archer
Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services

Knox and the National Movement

Dear Knox Community,

As we near the end of our fall term, students on campuses across the country are raising critical questions about bias and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and other forms of identity. I am proud that Knox students have been in the lead on these issues and out in front of the national movement. In dialogues, social media postings, individual protests and demonstrations over the last 18 months, our students have reminded us that we all can do more to live up to our ideal of One Community: to be an inclusive and respectful college where all community members participate fully in every educational opportunity.

Together, we have taken a number of steps toward that goal, including a new bias incident reporting system, a greater focus on diversity in hiring faculty and staff, diversity training for faculty and staff, new programming on issues of inclusion and respect, and the engagement of nationally-known consultants on diversity, equity and inclusion. We anticipate that the consultants’ report will be complete by February and will share the report with the campus. We will also be updating the Becoming One Community website over the winter break to reflect these and other ongoing efforts.

Although these are necessary reforms, we all recognize that the work is incomplete and much more remains to be done. Over the winter break, I hope that every member of the Knox community will pay careful attention to the voices of our own students and those at other campuses so that we can continue our dialogue when we reconvene in January to build a campus culture of respect, equity, and inclusion.

Wishing you good luck on finals and safe travels over the break,


New Exhibit in Alumni Hall

Dear Knox Community,

Last week, a prototype for a new interactive exhibit in the Petrovich Atrium of Alumni Hall was installed. The exhibit is designed to be a Portrait Gallery that brings together both contemporary and archival photography to create a window into the Knox experience. Its goal is to provide visitors to Alumni Hall (primarily prospective students and families, as well as Galesburg and campus community members) with an opportunity to actively learn more about Knox; its students, faculty, and staff; its academic programs; and campus life. It also utilizes the gallery space within the Atrium in a new and engaging way.

This prototype will be more fully developed and permanently installed at a later date. Our goal now is to gain a sense of how well an exhibit of this type works in this space and how visitors respond to it.

And here’s where we need you: The next time you stop by Alumni Hall, please take a few minutes of your time to engage with the Portrait Gallery and let us know what you think. You can either fill out a brief questionnaire that will be available in Alumni Hall or you can share your thoughts with us online here:

We thank you in advance for your time and for your feedback — and we look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Megan Scott
Associate Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

Paul Steenis
Vice President for Enrollment & Dean of Admission

2014 Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference, Nov. 7-9

The Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference combines nationally recognized plenary speakers — social and scientific innovators who have practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges (rebroadcast at Knox on a large theatre screen) — with presentations by local experts on sustainability, traditional agriculture, modern agriculture, community activism, and more. All events held in The Ford Center for the Fine Arts.

Complete Schedule

Keynote Address:
Saturday, November 8, 7:30 p.m.
“The Future of Buildings: The standard of the past and the hope for the future”
Jim Hallock ’69, Founder and CEO of Earth Block International

Come Watch Soccer History!

On Friday, Nov. 7, the Knox Prairie Fire men’s soccer team will host the Midwest Conference (MWC) men’s soccer tournament for the first time in our history. Our team just finished a historic regular season, going 14-3 overall and 9-1 in the Midwest Conference and securing our first regular season conference championship since 1988. Congratulations to Head Coach Matt Edwards, Assistant Coach Clint Moore ’09, and the entire Knox Men’s Soccer Team for this great accomplishment.

The MWC Tournament will be this Friday and Saturday, November 7 and 8. The Prairie Fire will play #4 seed Illinois College at 11 a.m. on Friday, with the second semi-final game, featuring #2 seed Lake Forest vs. #3 seed Carroll, starting at 1:30 pm. The winner of those two games will play on Saturday at noon. The MWC Tournament Champion will earn a bid for the NCAA Tournament, which will begin sometime the next week.

Being at home is a big advantage for our team, especially if we have a large crowd cheering them on! Come support this team that has worked so hard to bring us a championship season. If you do come, be loud, be positive, and be ready to watch history happen!


Knox Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

From John Schlaf, Director of Campus Safety:

Knox College remains committed to the personal safety and security concerns of all members of the Knox Community. A significant part of that commitment has included the creation of the combined Annual Security and Fire Safety Report (ASR) for review by all members of the Knox Community. To assist with those reviews, the ASR has been placed on the Knox College Department of Campus Safety website at

As required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), Knox College must provide information to all community members on how to obtain a copy of the Knox College’s ASR. The report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Knox College; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the Knox campus.

The report also includes fire safety policies and statistics, emergency notification procedures, and protocols for missing persons. A hard copy of the report may be obtained at the Campus Safety Office, 368 S. Prairie Street, during normal business hours by requesting a copy of the report in person. A copy of the report may also be downloaded at If you have any questions/concerns please contact John H. Schlaf, Director of Campus Safety, at 309-341-7255 or via e-mail at

KolorWorx Presents “Dystopia,” May 17

KolorWorx will present their annual spring show: Dystopia. The show will feature music by Imagine Dragons, Lorde, and Florence plus KoloWorx Dystopia the Machine. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., in Memorial Gym, with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Featuring performances by:
Knox Improv Club
Steppin Up

In collaboration with The Burrow – Theme House, donations of clothes and other necessities for Safe Harbor will be collected. Book donations will be sent to Detroit as a part of Accio! Books. Donations are not required to attend, but they are all going to a great cause and are very appreciated!