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A Commitment to Community

The eight people profiled -- all members of the Knox community -- embody the spirit of the Knox mission to improve ourselves, our society and our world. Regardless of age or background, whether they helped create a literacy program or volunteered for their church, these individuals have two things in common: Knox College and community service.

Since its founding by religious missionaries and social reformers in 1837, Knox has educated individuals who have donated their time, energy and money to bettering the world around them. Yet the idea of service has evolved with the College itself. It is doubtful that College founder Reverend George Washington Gale would have considered his efforts to open a college to students regardless of their financial means, or his work to end slavery, to be "community service." But the spirit of civic responsibility he exhibited can be traced from here through generations of Knox students, alumni, faculty and staff.

After the Civil War, many Knox alumni became educational missionaries in the South. In the 1960s, a similar motivation led many into the Peace Corps. The first college chapter of the United Way in the country was founded at Knox in 1989. In 2001, the Knox College chapter of Habitat for Humanity received a $15,000 grant from Habitat for Humanity International to sponsor its own house. Nine student service organizations are currently active on campus.

In recent years, community service has even become a tangible part of Knox's educational program. Incoming students who demonstrate a dedication to social action are eligible to receive a Social Concerns Scholarship. Current students perform volunteer work at homeless shelters, adult daycare facilities and after-school tutoring programs as part of their regular studies. Future students will be able to use the Center for Community Service (scheduled to open during the 2005-2006 academic year) to facilitate service projects within the surrounding community.

While these profiles do not represent the whole of community service associated with Knox, they do reflect the spirit of service that is an integral part of the College's past, present and future.

Merle Minks '39
Jack Larson '44
Darlene Daer Larson '58
Patrick Lyn '84 & Judi-Ann Shaw-Rice '85
Richard Stout, Professor of Economics
Krista Nieraeth '04
Elisabeth Brewer '06