Growing Up Knox
By Peter Bailey '74
Each year, Knox welcomes legacy students -- students who follow a family member to Knox -- to campus. Some are second-generation, some are fifth-generation or more. Others profiled here are sons and daughters of faculty and staff who have literally "grown up Knox." From longest legacy to the most well-connected current faculty or staff member, below are a few highlights from Knox's legacy history.
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Knox's longest legacy of record is a 156-year-long set of links that began in 1837, with founder and trustee Sylvanus Ferris, whose daughter married trustee Benjamin Franklin Arnold. Members of the Arnold family came to Knox throughout the 20th century, including David R. Arnold '37, his son, Steven Arnold '66, Steven's wife Rana McMurray Arnold '66, their son, Timothy Arnold '93, and his wife, Julie Howell Arnold '92.
"There was a member of the family at Knox every year from 1837 on," says Steven Arnold, a professor of statistics at Pennsylvania State University. Being so closely connected has consequences, Arnold discovered. "When I was there, all my teachers would pass along what I'd done to my father, who was also a trustee."
A hand-written document from Steven's father (shown at left), David R. Arnold, lists more than 30 members of the Ferris and Arnold families connected to Knox, including Steven's mother, Helen Rudd Arnold, who taught French for three decades. And the family's impact on campus has continued to the present, with the Seeley Professorship, endowed by a bequest from Robert Arnold Seeley '51 and his wife, Nancy.
Kids on Campus
From the 1950s, when the "Quads" were built, through the 1970s, a series of faculty and staff families occupied apartments on campus. After living with students 24-7, many are still at Knox, and several of their kids came to Knox.
Tim and Cathy Kucik Heimann, both '70, lived first in the "Cottage" in the Old Quad, then the apartment in Furrow Hall in the New Quad. "We did it for three years, and we were the only ones who did it with four kids," Cathy recalls. "Before we moved to campus, Tim was warned that he would see things about students that he wouldn't want to know."
But looking back, she says, "I thought it was a great experience. Kerry and Cammi '95 were older and understood more. But Kevin '02 and Chris '04 were born while we lived on campus, and they had a wonderful time with the students. Kevin especially -- he grew up just knowing that everybody loved him."
Tim says that the diversity of campus life profoundly influenced their children. "We ate all of our meals in the cafeteria. We ate with students of color, international students. Foreign accents don't faze our kids," he says.
Already part of the Knox-connected Muelder family, Owen and Laurie (Susan Hall), both '63, recall the network of faculty-staff families with kids. "The Heimanns, Koosers, and the Andersens," Owen lists those who lived on or frequented the Knox campus. "Frank and MaryJo McAndrew, Tom '66 and Sue Fuerst Anderson '71, Jack and Patty Fitsch, Ted and Betsy Hippely, the Ridenours and the Sunderlands, and the Factors lived across West Street. We played Frisbee behind Old Main every night in the summer," he says.
Roy and Corine Andersen were often at the center of the campus network. Corine organized the group of parents to take turns watching as many as a dozen kids on campus. "We shared time slots," she says. "The students were also very good -- they helped our kids learn how to ride bikes."
"Knox was in my blood," says the Andersens' son, Eric '97, who lived with his parents on campus from birth to age seven. "The campus was my backyard."
Newest-Oldest Faculty-Staff Legacy
Spanning the 20th century and extending into the 21st is the McClelland legacy. Thomas McClelland succeeded John Finley as president of Knox, serving from 1900 to 1917, and McClelland's financial skills are credited with fulfilling the academic aspirations that Finley had initiated. During and for decades after the McClelland presidency -- from 1912 to 1961 -- McClelland's son, Kellogg McClelland 1905, handled financial affairs for Knox. One day in 2003, Kellogg McClelland's great grand-daughter, Brigid '07, got a phone call from Knox.
"I applied to Knox because no one in my family had done so for a couple of generations, but I was all set to attend a Catholic college in Philadelphia," McClelland says. "However, something in the back of my mind said to give Knox a chance. One Sunday afternoon, President Taylor '63 called my house to talk to me personally about how much it would mean for another McClelland to make a mark on Knox. The personal outreach and academics made me decide to change my mind and commit to Knox instead."
Now a teacher in Chicago, McClelland made her marks in political science and Spanish, lettered in softball and volleyball, and studied in Knox's Program in Barcelona.
Most Connected Current Faculty-Staff Legacy
Because parents and children, as well as siblings, share half their genes, biologists assign those relationships a numerical value of .5, while the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is given a numerical value of .25, and so on. Using that system, with an arbitrary 1 assigned for a spouse, the "most connected" current legacy on campus -- with a total score of 4.5 -- and we swear that we didn't rig this in advance -- is President Roger Taylor '63, with wife Anne Zweifel Taylor '63; siblings Susan Burkhead Foreman '74, who passed away in 1996; Marla Burkhead Stockov '80; Cecelia Burkhead Ward '75; Jeffrey Burkhead '80; and Gregory Burkhead '77, who passed away in 2008; and nephews Michael and Matthew Stockov, both '08.
In this most arbitrary of "rankings," Taylor, the first in his family to attend Knox, finished just ahead of Owen Muelder '63 and Tim Heimann '70.
Nearest-Farthest: An International Legacy
The newest Wetherbee legacy, Ben '12, has followed six generations to Knox. While his father, Jim '74 and grandparents, Helen '48 and Charles '49 -- a long-time Knox alumni director and trustee -- were rooted in Galesburg, Ben grew up more than 9,000 miles away, in Australia, where Jim headed the art department at St. Vincent's College in New South Wales for many years.
Like his father, a basketball adept, Ben says that he looked at several larger colleges, "but I'd have to spend two or three years on the bench . . . or I could come to Knox and play right away. I knew that playing at Knox would be exciting, that it would be fun," he says.
Author of "Growing Up Knox," Peter Bailley '74, is proud to have two legacies, son Jeffrey '04 and daughter Erica '08.