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Watering Our Roots

By Jacqueline Kolle Haring

Portrait of Knox Professor Phil HaringWhen my husband, Philip Haring, passed away in 2008, I received many cards and letters from his students and friends. People from all over the world, many of whom I did not even know, wrote to me sharing their memories of Phil or telling me how much he affected their lives.

One of the letters from a Knox alumnus reports that he'd stayed up all one night thinking through a theoretical issue assigned by Professor Haring. Another stated that thoughts he had expressed in a book he had written, which is now being published, started during one of his early Knox classes taught by Professor Haring. There were many others like this.

Phil taught as he lived. He volunteered to be in the United States Navy and served as an anti-aircraft officer on the battleship California during the attack at Pearl Harbor. He returned home to earn his doctorate at the University of Chicago before accepting an invitation to join the faculty at Knox College. While teaching during the Vietnam War, there was much for him to discuss and ponder with his students. Phil taught at Knox for 26 years before retiring in 1981. He never stopped wrestling with questions of political philosophy with which he challenged his students every day.

Considering all this and inspired by his former students, it seemed to me that an appropriate way to remember Phil was to create a Knox scholarship in his name. The Philip Smyth Haring Endowed Scholarship provides support for students who, like Phil, understand the importance of critical thinking while learning. It is a heartfelt way to connect Phil and his time as a professor at Knox to today's Knox students.