September 15, 2009
"Quarrel not at all," said Knox College President Roger Taylor, passing along to the campus advice originally given during the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln to a Union army captain who disagreed with his superiors. "That was a precept of Lincoln's life that can guide us at Knox today.
"I say that because Knox is a community of individuals committed to ideas, sometimes passionately committed to their ideas. It is to be expected that our ideas will sometimes differ. "
Taylor said that Lincoln's advice provides a good starting point for the academic year: "Lincoln wrote to the young captain, 'Quarrel not at all... No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for contention'... At Knox we can expect that exchanges of ideas will be passionate, even heated. But let us engage in those exchanges with mutual respect."
Knox honored students, faculty, and staff at the Convocation, with the presentation of several campus awards. The audience in Harbach Theatre also acknowledged a recent $2 million gift from a Knox graduate to endow a faculty chair in the study of religion and culture.
Opening Convocation Snapshots and Awards:
"As I sat in Old Main this morning, I found myself thinking about a long time ago, when I first sat where you are today. How excited I was to be at Knox.... I was also scared. I didn't know if I belonged here.
But I have no fears for you today or your success at this college. You are among the best and the brightest from around the country and around the world. And yesterday afternoon, the enthusiasm that you demonstrated at Pumphandle -- the ribbon of students, faculty, staff and trustees [across campus] -- it is a sight I will not forget." -- Jan Koran '71, Chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees
The Faculty Scholarship Prize was presented by President Taylor to Sarah Kurian (right). The highest honor accorded a Knox student by the faculty, the prize is awarded annually to a senior who has exhibited exceptional academic ability while participating significantly in extracurricular activities. A senior biochemistry major from Elburn, Illinois, Kurian also has served as president of the Knox College Choir.
The Philip Green Wright/Lombard College Prizes for Distinguished Teaching were presented by Lawrence B. Breitborde, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college (right), to Jeremy-Day O'Connell, assistant professor of music, and Stephen Fineberg, professor of classics. The prizes are named in memory of a legendary professor at Lombard College, which operated in Galesburg from 1855 to 1930.
The Elbridge Pierce Prize for Scholastic Improvement was presented by Stephen Bailey, associate dean of the college (right), to Soe Myint, a senior physics major from Myanmar. Named after the Knox trustee whose gift endowed the prize fund, it is given to the student who has made the greatest scholastic improvement between their first and senior years. Myint is currently studying in an off-campus program at Washington University.
The Janet C. Hunter Prize for Salaried Staff was presented by President Taylor to head athletic trainer Scott Sunderland (right). Sunderland is "a consummate professional who cares about students and colleagues... And some students have had him sitting with them at the hospital."
The Janet C. Hunter Prize for Hourly Staff was presented by President Taylor to maintenance staff member Pat Pendergast. "He is truly a team player who is always willing to come in and handle any problem no matter the time of night or day," Taylor said.
The Hunter Prizes are named in honor of Janet C. Hunter, a longtime director of financial aid, dean of enrollment and vice President for enrollment and institutitional planning.
The Convocation acknowledged an anonymous gift of $2 million from a Knox graduate to endow a distinguished chair for the study of religion and culture. "Tuition alone does not pay for a Knox education," Taylor said. "We chart a course toward financial impregnability by recognizing that we depend upon contributions from alumni and other donors... and by encouraging students, from the first day of class in the fall, to understand that they will have an obligation to give back after they are graduated."