Perhaps one of the most underappreciated ancillary benefits associated with Roger's presidency has been the service rendered by his closest confidant and wife, Anne, in her capacity as pro bono counsel. While Anne always tends to downplay her role -- "I'm only giving advice" -- her contributions to the College have been extraordinary.
The value of her legal counsel is impossible to quantify; however, I can quantify the budget savings that have been realized since she volunteered her services in 2001. From that time to the present, Knox's annual budget for legal services has been $60,000. Since she came on board, the College has spent less than $27,000 per year. During the last decade, therefore, the College realized more than $300,000 of budget savings on outside legal expenses! It would be much more difficult to place a value on the countless hours of work that Anne has done for the College in providing legal counsel on campus -- but that number would dwarf the budget savings.
Anne's counsel has been broad. She helped shape the development of many College policies and procedures, developed the first ever employee handbook, provided expertise and mentoring in developing and reviewing contracts, and was an indispensable resource for managers across campus on a host of issues that could represent potential risks to the College.
As a member of the College's Safety Committee and Outside Events Committee, Anne would typically play the role of risk manager, articulating the potential risks associated with a particular activity or event. On one occasion, she summarized her role to me as follows: "I find all the reasons to say 'no,' and you find all the reasons to say 'yes,' and when we work together, we do the right thing!"
Anne is straightforward, incredibly strong, fair, and generous. She also has that admirable characteristic that is all too often in short supply -- common sense! She has made the College more aware of and less vulnerable to potential risks. As a result we are stronger. Her motivation has been pure -- to help us all do what is in the best interest of the College she loves.
Thomas Axtell joined the Knox community as vice president for finance in 1999 and has worked more closely with Anne than anyone on campus, except, perhaps, her husband.