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Alumni Achievement Awards

Christopher Earley '80, Bree Elrod Novak '00, Carol Bovard Craig '89, and Charles Kartman '70Meet the recipients of the 2009 Alumni Achievement Awards -- Charles Kartman '70, P. Christopher Earley '80, and Carol Bovard Craig '89, and Bree Elrod Novak '00. Novak received the 2009 Young Alumni Achievement Award.


Charles Kartman '70

Charles Kartman '70 has had a long and distinguished career with the U. S. Department of State and with the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Kartman joined the Department of State in 1975, after completing a graduate program at Georgetown University. In his 26 years with the department, he served in many roles, including U.S. special envoy for the Korean peace talks, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Kartman also received its highest honors-he is a multiple winner of the department's Superior Honor Award, the James Clement Dunn Award for outstanding service, the Secretary's Distinguished Honor Award, and the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award. After retiring from the Department of State in 2001, he served until 2005 as the executive director of KEDO, an international organization established in 1995 to manage a $4.6 billion energy project in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Since retiring from KEDO, Kartman has been an adjunct senior research associate at Columbia University and is project director for the KEDO Oral History Project.

Knox Magazine Q&A with Kartman:

Knox Magazine: Please describe your Knox experience.
Charles Kartman: I entered Knox thinking that I might go on to law school, but in my rare moments of class work, I discovered I didn't really care for what passed for pre-law and got the biggest charge out of literature classes from Howie Wilson, art history from Harland Goudie, aCharles Kartman '70nd of course all my history courses from the entire history department. I spent most of my time with the fellows at my dorm, Griffith House, where I lived for four years, and, having no athletic gifts of my own, was an ardent fan of Knox sports. In the country at large, the sixties were a time of racial tensions and anti-war activism, and it would be misleading to say that these waves did not also touch Knox's shores. The campus had the usual cliques -- jocks and Greeks, artsy "hippies", a very small African-American group, etc., but the overall atmosphere was quite tolerant and embracing.

I can't say that I left any particular footprints at Knox, unlike some others who made their mark there, but I was attached enough to it to stay for a couple of more years working for the Admissions Office.

I was most impressed by the Knox faculty and the small class size, and I liked everyone in the student body that I ever met. Of course, even at a small school you don't get to know everyone, but I was quite friendly with students in the classes ahead and behind my own, and was (in my own mind) on familiar terms with a number of members of the faculty, including Harley Knosher. I can't imagine a finer group of mentors.

KM: How has that experience affected your life?
CK: There can be many reasons to attend a school like Knox: academic excellence; a nurturing environment; a collegiate athletic experience; the sense of community possible only on a small campus. And of course they are not mutually exclusive. Most young people need the time at college to figure out where they are headed, and that was certainly true in my case, albeit not until I was a senior.

I found Knox to be a sheltering oasis, where I could mature at my own, embarrassingly slow pace. When I left, I was quite surprised to find that I had somehow acquired the academic skills to succeed at a good graduate school (Georgetown) and go on to a career as a diplomat. That career regrettably kept me away from Knox and the friends I had made there, but I have recommended to those I have counseled over the years to look to small liberal arts colleges like Knox for the education that can build a skill set diverse enough to succeed in anything.

KM: What do you believe is your most notable achievement?
CK: I have raised two wonderful daughters and am now raising a third. Less permanently, North Korea did not acquire any additional fissile material on my watch, and for my efforts in that area I received some fancy awards from the State Department. My negotiations with North Korea did put in place a moratorium on testing long-range missiles, and won for us access into a suspect underground site, among other things. During my 30-year career I met five American and four South Korean Presidents, Emperor Hirohito, Kim Jong Il, and Prime Ministers, Cabinet members and parliamentarians beyond counting.

KM: What will you do to celebrate your Alumni Achievement Award?
CK: I intend to show off the campus to my wife and youngest child (two years old), and will look forward to the chance for a reunion with the Heimanns.

KM: What words of advice would you offer to current Knox students?
CK: I question my qualifications to offer advice, and might most usefully advise students to beware old alumni offering any. But if you insist: take advantage of all that Knox has to offer -- its facilities, faculty, and student body; lend your services to the community, whether Knox, Galesburg, or beyond; and cut back on the beer.


Christopher EarleyP. Christopher Earley '80
P. Christopher Earley '80, currently dean of the University of Connecticut School of Business, has worked in education-as both a faculty member and administrator-for more than 20 years. Prior to his role at Connecticut, he served as dean of the Business School at the National University of Singapore and was chair and professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School. Earley has also held academic chairs at Nanyang Business School and Indiana University and has taught executives and consulted for companies around the world, including Nestle, Cisco Systems, Samsung, General Motors, Unilever, British Aerospace, Mercury Asset Management, and Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals. Earley's academic focus is on the cross-cultural and international aspects of organizations, including the dynamics of multinational teams, negotiation and conflict, and motivation across cultures. He is the author of 10 books and numerous articles.

Knox Magazine Q&A with Earley

Knox Magazine: Please describe your Knox experience.
Christopher Earley: I was very fortunate to attend Knox because it provided me with a secure and supportive environment, in addition to a fine education. In my case, I began my freshman year at the age of 16, and the support and intimacy of the Knox environment was particularly important. The friendships and bonds that I formed were also very important, and I still keep in touch with some of my closest friends from Knox. Additionally, Knox provided me with an opportunity to pursue a number of non-traditional educational opportunities, such as the InterFuture Scholars program, during which I spent a year abroad working on independent research in England, Europe, and Ghana. In my senior year, I undertook honors studies in psychology, and my work eventually led to my decision to attend University of Illinois for my Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology.

KM: How has that experience affected your life?
CE: My choice to pursue a career as a faculty member and professor was derived from this experience but, more important, my passion for international and cross-cultural work is largely tied to my experience abroad while at Knox. Over my adult life, I've spent nearly half of it in various expatriate roles, and I've lived in more than a dozen countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. This cultural focus arose from my experiences and opportunities gained at Knox.

KM: What do you believe is your most notable achievement?
CE: My most notable achievement has been to educate several thousand students during the past 22 years as an academic. Closely related has been the opportunity to meet with people from many, many different cultures and backgrounds. This diversity has been a constant source of inspiration to me over the years.

KM: What will you do to celebrate your Alumni Achievement Award?
CE: I'm very flattered by this recognition, and I will celebrate in a very personal way with my wife and our "fur kids"-we have five rescue dogs (all sorts and types). This honor will give me a chance to reflect on the great fortune I've had in my life and how thankful I am for it.

KM: What words of advice would you offer to current Knox students?

CE: Travel and experience the diversity that exists beyond our borders; don't hesitate to harass your Knox professors-they are outstanding educators, and they are highly committed to education in a way that you don't often see. Believe me on this point, given that I've served on the faculties of seven universities and I've taught at another dozen or so over the years.


Carol Bovard Craig '89Carol Bovard Craig '89
Carol Bovard Craig is founder, president, and CEO of Craig Technologies, which has grown from one employee to a national engineering and technical services company with more than 170 employees in less than 10 years. Enrolled in Knox's 3-2 Engineering Program, Craig graduated from Knox with a B.A. in computer science and a B.S. in computer science engineering from the University of Illinois. She also holds a master's of science in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has completed Ph.D. coursework in electrical and computer engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. Her career has taken her from the Department of Defense, where she developed software for aircraft cockpit systems, to the U.S. Navy, where she was the first woman aviator in her P-3 Orion squadron, to Craig Technologies. Craig was named the 2008 Outstanding Woman Engineer of the Year by the Space Coast Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and was the recipient of the 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, granted by the SWE national awards committee.

Knox Magazine Q&A with Craig:

Knox Magazine: Please describe your Knox experience.
Carol Craig: I only lived two miles away, so it was a good deal for me. I had all the benefits of going to college and earning a degree, but I had parents nearby so I could do my laundry! Because it was a very liberal school, it was eye-opening for me and not like the more conservative Galesburg friends that I grew up with. The small size provided great opportunities for me to excel -- I was able to break records running track. And, my best friend I made at Knox is still my best friend today.

KM: How has that experience affected your life?
CC: The liberal arts education gave me a more open-minded attitude and understanding of others. I was able to pursue technical training while earning an expansive arts education. It was a well-rounded course of study, which has made me a more aware person and a better leader.

KM: What do you believe is your most notable achievement?
CC: How well my son, Danny, is doing since being diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) at birth. He aced his spelling/vocabulary test today in the second grade, which is a very big deal since we were told when he was born to expect mild to severe mental retardation. I absolutely believe that he has done so well because I aggressively moved beyond the typical outlook for children born with PWS. Watching him and my daughter, Gillian, grow and become caring and considerate children is my pride and joy.

KM: What will you do to celebrate your Alumni Achievement Award?
CC: Go home and see my family and friends in Galesburg. We might even go to Cherry Street Brewing Company (if that is still what it is called).

KM: What words of advice would you offer to current Knox students?

CC: You can do anything you can put your mind to! There are no such things as boundaries so don't automatically accept what you've been told. Seek out your own path and use your passion to create something. Enjoy your time at Knox and remember that this special place is your legacy. Make an impact! 


Bree Elrod Novak '00
Bree Elrod Novak '00
In the eight years since leaving Knox, Bree Elrod Novak '00 has appeared in more than 20 plays in New York and around the country, garnering critical acclaim and an MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program along the way. She has been directed by noted actor Alan Rickman in an Off-Broadway one-woman play; had roles in several productions with New York City's 52nd Street Project; and received a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for her work in The Two Noble Kinsmen at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. Most recently, she completed work on the Martin Scorsese movie Shutter Island.

Knox Magazine Q&A with Novak:

Knox Magazine: Please describe your Knox experience.
Bree Elrod Novak: I love Knox College. I felt right at home there even from the moment I visited as a prospective student. I treasured Knox's rich history and enjoyed being able to take a variety of classes and participate in several different clubs. I set up a tent in my dorm room; I helped found a young women's group in Galesburg; I danced like a rock star at '80s parties; I ate ridiculous amounts of pound cake from the Hard Knox Café and shoved Gizmo bagels into my mouth on my way to class; I sat in on friends' radio shows; I played long and hard in the Center for Fine Arts during Rep Term; I spent countless nights studying late into the night in Seymour Library; and I met so many interesting people with whom I had -- and continue to have -- memorable and engaging conversations. I really had a great college experience at Knox, and it's not every college where you can major in political science and have an Honors project in theatre. That's why Knox is such a special place. You have the freedom to carve your own path, and I took full advantage of that.

KM: How did that experience affect your life?
BEN: My time at Knox continues to enrich my life. I love sharing stories from my Knox days. Words and advice from professors like Liz Carlin Metz, Ivan Davidson, Robert "Doc Bob" Whitlatch, Lane Southerland, and Lori Schroeder continue to challenge and inspire me. My Knox funded internship with New York's 52nd Street Project continues to remind me to be a more generous and compassionate artist. The way Knox continues to live with me is that, well, it literally LIVES with me. I met my husband, Todd Novak, in Seymour Library, so I have a daily reminder of my Knox experience!

KM: What do you believe is your most notable achievement?
BEN: My most notable career related achievement so far was working on and performing in a one-woman show in New York City directed by Alan Rickman. It was an incredible experience. Being alone on stage for an hour-and-a-half was a remarkable challenge. I was proud to be a part of that production and savored every minute of it.

KM: What will you do to celebrate your Young Alumni Achievement Award?
BEN: Maybe I'll pop over to The Landmark for a Black Forest Crepe to celebrate. But, really, what I should do to celebrate this award is donate $50 bucks to some kind of scholarship at Knox. (Is there a political theatre major now?)

KM: What words of advice do you offer to current students?
BEN: Stay up late. You'll be happy you did when you're fighting off sleep at 9 P.M. a few years later. Study lots. Seymour Library is beautiful, spend some time in there. Don't ignore your gut. When you're hungry or making a big decision, listen to your instincts. Stay in the moment. Worrying about the past and/or the future too much can lead to a silly amount of time wasted. Say Yes. Messy or beautiful, just say yes.