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The Taylor Years

By Jan Koran '71, Chair of the Board of Trustees

The Installation of Roger L. Taylor '63 as president of Knox College, October 2002.In the nearly 10 years Roger has served as president, the changes and improvements to Knox College have been amazing. When the average college presidency is just four to five years, Roger's decade as president has served Knox well. It offered consistent leadership when it was most needed.

Let me highlight just a few of the accomplishments that Knox has enjoyed under Roger's leadership -- the highest enrollments in more than 40 years; the curriculum revision, Renewed Knox, reenergized the College's curriculum for the 21st century; nearly continual improvements in fundraising, including an ever-growing Knox Fund and more estate and planned gifts than ever before; the percentage of giving by alumni now rivals elite liberal arts colleges; a renovated bell tower and new roof for Old Main; a balanced budget for the last 10 years and an endowment spending rate that's now below six percent; new and renovated athletic facilities, classrooms, and dormitories; improved goodwill between Knox and the greater Galesburg community. The list goes on.

As lasting and important as all of these accomplishments have been, however, the most important accomplishments of the Taylor years may not be noticeable to most. A senior management team has been assembled who work closely with one another and truly are driven to make Knox recognized as the financially stable, academically excellent, and preeminent liberal arts college we all know it to be. Building team spirit has not stopped at the senior levels of the administration. Everyone from the College's grounds crew, food service staff, coaches, and faculty have felt the touch of Roger's praise.

There is also Anne Taylor '63. Who can say how much she has brought to the College as Roger's spouse and pro bono counsel? I cannot, beyond saying that Anne's contributions have been immeasurable. And, unbeknownst to many, Roger and Anne are members of the Scripps Society, recognizing lifetime-giving of $1 million or more to Knox.

At Roger's installation in October 2002 (pictured above), he set three goals for the College -- to nurture academic excellence, to strengthen institutional self-confidence, and to chart a course toward financial impregnability. I don't think anyone can deny that he's done a fine job helping Knox meet those goals. Because of the foundation that Roger has built, Knox's next president joins our community at a time of unprecedented opportunities for the College. For that, we say thank you.

Learn more about the Taylor Presidential Scholarship.

Next: Roger & Anne as Students.