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Letters

Read the President's Message, Guest Editors' Note, and Letters to the Editor

President's Message
The Higher Education Data-Sharing Consortium recently released a study of individuals who received Ph.D.s in the U.S. from 1975 through 2004, measured by institutions awarding their undergraduate degrees. Of 1,469 undergraduate institutions studied, Knox College was in the top three percent, weighted by enrollment. Among the schools Knox finished ahead of were Bowdoin, Dartmouth, and Duke University.

Over the full period of the study, Knox alumni who pursued Ph.D.s in chemistry were in the top one percent of the 1,469 schools surveyed. Alumni who pursued doctorates in biology, computer science, foreign languages, mathematics, physics, and political science were all within the top five percent. While the study shows that Knox graduates earn Ph.D.s across a broad scope of academic fields, the statistics confirm Knox's special strength in the sciences.

Not only does Knox have a long history of producing successful graduates in the sciences -- whether they pursue higher academic or medical degrees, work in business and industry, or become elementary or high school teachers -- Knox also has a long history of providing research and career opportunities for science students, regardless of race, sex, or means. Knox opens doors for students interested in science.

The following pages show just a few of the ways Knox continues to create new and exciting opportunities for science students. You will read about the continuing tradition of innovation by Knox faculty, illustrated by a new major in neuroscience and a summer science camp for junior high school girls. Recognition of the quality of science education at Knox by third parties -- the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship Program, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the George Washington University Medical School -- is also explored.

Professor Linda Dybas '64 provides a faculty retrospective on science and Knox, while Professor Emeritus Wayne Green's 20-year tradition of Thursday morning coffee in the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center is featured.

Also featured in this issue is the generosity of a distinguished Knox graduate -- the late Dr. Frank J. Jirka, Jr. '44 -- which will help the College continue to fulfill its historic mission of providing access to students regardless of financial means. Dr. Jirka's $500,000 bequest established the Jirka Fund for Medical Studies at Knox.

As this issue of Knox Magazine goes to press, Knox science faculty, in collaboration with an outside consultant, are studying what renovations and modifications to Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center will be necessary to assure the future excellence of Knox science. With the support of alumni and friends, the sciences at Knox College will continue to flourish.

 

Roger L. Taylor '63

Letter from the Editor
The first of the two classes that I had in the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center (SMC) was Calculus I. The class was first hour of the first term of my first year at Knox. I should have realized that Calculus at 8:00 a.m. three days a week probably wasn't the smartest class for me to take during my first 10 weeks of college. It's not that I was bad at math, I just hated it. After that class, I swore to never set foot in SMC for a class again.

My oath lasted until the winter term of my senior year, when I needed to complete the science requirement for graduation. I decided to take Human Genetics. This was the science class for me -- no labs and the potential to discuss controversial material. And it was fourth hour, right after lunch. Perfect. As much as I hated returning to SMC, I truly enjoyed the class and felt that my relationship with the sciences at Knox was on the mend.

What I failed to realize during the three years that I banished myself from SMC was that there were amazing things happening on the west side of campus -- student/professor research collaborations, implementation of world-class grants, summer science camps for minority students, and so on. Not that there weren't amazing things happening in other parts of campus, but I had no idea of the scope and breadth of the many programs and research opportunities available to Knox science students.

It wasn't until I returned to Knox in my current capacity, where I work on the second floor of SMC and see science faculty and students every day, that I had the opportunity to learn more about what happens under the roof of this city-block sized building. I now think of this issue of Knox Magazine as my attempt to mend fences -- to highlight the transformation of the sciences at Knox over the last 30 years and a few of the programs in which Knox science students have the opportunity to participate.

If you, like me, spent most of your time on the east side of campus, I encourage you to take an hour of your time to read the stories on the following pages. I think you'll be impressed with the many unique opportunities available to science students, as well as the quality of Knox's science program and, more important, its faculty and students.

As always, enjoy,

Megan Scott '96

Letters to the Editor

Correcting the Record, Round 2
With regard to editor's response to the letter "Correcting the Record"  in the Fall 2006 issue of Knox Magazine: For the record, many of the players honored as part of the 1974-1975 team (including Dave Woodward, Dan Calandro, Bill Colby, and Ray Burke) played on a team with a better record, which was not mentioned in the correction. The 1976-77 men's basketball team, coached by Harley Knosher, was 17-6 and had a 9-1 conference record. The season included a winning streak of 13 games. After 21 games, they were ranked 13th in the nation for Division III. At the end of the year, the 1976-77 team ranked 10th in the nation in offense, set 11 Knox individual records, and eight Knox team records. -- Kurt Pearson '80

Editor's Note: Thanks to Bill Graning '60 and Kurt Pearson '80, whose memories and fact-checking have proven invaluable to Knox's athletic department, we can now report that the 1974-975 basketball team actually holds the fifth best basketball record in Knox College history. The top five teams and records are as follows: 1958-59, 20-3 record; 1976-77, 17-6 record; 1959-60, 16-6 record; 1957-58, 17-7 record; and 1974-75, 16-7 record. We regret the confusion regarding the basketball teams records.

Keeping the Record Straight
In regards to the Fall 2006 issue of the Knox Magazine, it was stated that Jaran Rutledge '08 was the first Knox wrestler to win a spot as an alternate to wrestle in the NCAA Division III tournament. To keep the record straight, I bring to your attention that in the 1955-56 season, Jim James '56 and Dick Gappen '56 qualified and wrestled in the NCAA 1955-56 tournament. The next year, Bill Reiners '57 wrestled in the tournament. In those years, there was only one division.

After the NCAA split into three divisions, Knox qualified six wrestlers to wrestle in the NCAA Division III tournament: Jim Melville '67, Bob Zucker '76, Tom McMillan '81, Harold Row '60, and Kent Richards '60. In fact, Jim Melville wrestled three times in the NCAA Wrestling Division III tournaments during his four years at Knox. I'm sure the above-mentioned men were surprised to read that it wasn't until 2005-06 that any Knox wrestler ever qualified for a NCAA Wrestling Tournament. Please set the record straight. -- Al Partin,
Knox wrestling coach, 1954-84

Editor's Note: Thanks to the fact-checking of Knox's new sports information director, Brian Thiessen, we were able to confirm that Coach Partin is correct in the fact that Jaran Rutledge '08 was not the first Knox student to compete in an NCAA tournament. While we do have records confirming that Jim James '56, Dick Gappen '56, Jim Melville '67, and Tom McMillan '81 all qualified for the tournament, we have no other official records at this time.