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We'll Miss You, Roger!

We'll miss you, Roger!
President Roger Taylor '63 has served his alma mater as a volunteer, member of the Board of Trustees, and employee for more than 20 years, the last decade as president, meeting hundreds of Knox alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends along the way. Knox Magazine asked the Knox community what it will miss most about its 18th president.
"I have had only fleeting encounters but was much impressed by Roger. His qualities that got my attention were: approachability, a good lawyer's ability to cut to the chase, love of music, lack of pretension." -- Susan D. Poston '59

Roger Taylor '63 with students in the Hard Knox Cafe."Honestly, one of the things that I will miss about him is one of the things that I felt to be rather awkward as a student -- his occasional lunches with students in the caf. Seeing that sort of desire to be connected with the students is, I feel, uniquely Roger." -- Devon VaughanMiller '07

"I will miss Roger's (and Anne's) undying and abiding love for their alma mater. Their devotion and enthusiasm have awakened the entire Knox Family and inspired all of us to dig a little deeper in order to make Knox one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation. We cannot thank them enough . . . except by endeavoring to continue the good work they have begun." -- Mary Kent Knight '60

"He is a good listener." -- Frank Scherer '55

"Anne." -- David O. Ferris '08

"There are too many great things about Roger and Anne to put them all down on paper. Roger Taylor has always exemplified the Knox College graduate to me. He is as much a staple to Knox College as Old Main; it is hard to think of Knox College without thinking of Roger. How many college presidents are out walking the campus grounds talking with the students? He is definitely one in a million, and one that will be hard to replace. I am sad to see him go and sad that so many students will miss the chance to get to know him. I wish Roger and Anne nothing but the best in the future and hope to see them walking the campus again at future Homecomings." -- Trisha 'Greiner' Smyth '04

"I will miss Roger saying, ‘When someone asks you where you went to college are you going to look down at your shoes and say "Oh some small school you've probably never heard of?" No, you should say "Knox College!"' On a recent trip to Cairo, Egypt where six Knox grads, all enjoying a tremendous post-Knox life, were reunited, we recounted this anecdote about Roger." -- Zoe Berman '07

"After I landed my first career-level job, my new boss and I were having a conversation about ‘educational pedigree.' It became clear he was trying to get a rise out of me since others in the company came from Harvard and Cornell. The excellent quality of the instruction at Knox gave me the fortitude to compete toe to toe with these associates who wore the prestige of their alma maters like a cloak. Let's just say, I quickly found out, a cloak alone does not a magician make! Alas, it was not the instruction, nor the life-long friendships I formed while at Knox, but the encouraging words of Roger Taylor that gave me the courage to look my boss straight in the eyes and exclaim, ‘What?! You've never heard of Knox College?!' I made a vow to myself that day concerning anybody with whom I would do business. That vow was that if they didn't know of Knox College before they met me, they would surely know its name and have a high opinion of its academic caliber after they met me! Roger Taylor gave me the confidence to be really proud of Knox! I hope the college will continue to make that sense of pride a priority amongst graduates and alumni. It would be one of Mr. Taylor's richest legacies." -- Theo Giraldin '07

"Watching droves of perspective students meet an ‘old alum' who they later found to be ‘the president.' The looks on their faces was always priceless." -- Marc Dreyfuss '10

"I'll miss a college president who was an energetic, curious leader." -- Bill Barnhart '68

"What I will miss most about Roger is his open mind. No matter how wild the idea, he considered it. Perhaps it is because he doesn't come from an ‘academic' background, but Roger is always more interested in solving problems than ‘in the way we've always done it around here.' His exuberant self-confidence and his even more exuberant confidence in Knox changed me from a person who hung his head and said I went to a small liberal arts college to a person willing -- even eager -- to extol the virtues of Knox at any given moment. I think that's called leadership." -- Jim Nordin '67

"With Roger as president, I always knew that Knox had a leader who knew from his experiences as a Knox student what it would take to lead us to make the decisions to make Knox stronger and better into the future. As a graduate in the class of '64, I knew Roger well and felt that his impact would continue to keep Knox the excellent college that I experienced and loved so well." -- Mike Pope '64

"I have a couple things I think I will miss the most. One is his humor; he cracks me up when he rings the office and in rapid fire asks, ‘Everything under control?' The other thing is the way he has connected on a personal level with so many of our visiting prospective students. He has himself situated in an office so that he's very accessible; he sees our visitors coming when they're on tour, and he makes a point of introducing himself (not as President Taylor but as an ‘old alum'). Typically he then follows up with me to make sure he has their names, interests, and hometowns correct. He has been a very hands-on president, and I think that he really came along at the right moment and, luckily for us, stayed way longer than originally planned. I'll be sad for us to see him go, but happy for he and Anne to live more and hopefully work much less." -- Beth Jonsberg, Campus Visit Coordinator

"What I will miss about Roger is his unfailing optimism. People talk a lot about Roger's leadership, but I will always remember him leading the Board and then the College during perhaps its toughest period. If he had any doubts, he never let them show. Through hard work, his optimism became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, the work was essential, but without the optimism the work would not have gotten done. And I will miss Anne. She is such a smart, gracious woman, and gave so much to Knox." -- Chuck Smith '84

Are you going to look down at your shoes?"Oh, I will definitely miss the choice question: ‘Will I look down at my shoes, or say KNOX COLLEGE!?' But, also, all the little things that make up my limited knowledge of Roger Taylor. His sharp-eyed delivery when speaking -- as if he physically sees a vision of the future playing out that he wants us to see; the dinners at Ingersoll House with his welcome speech from the stair landing, and an acknowledgement parade of the people who prepared our food; his welcomes to campus activities that were hearty and he looked me in the eye; his sense of humor -- I remember one football game where he dressed up like he was riding a rooster; his musical skills. Most of these won't go away when Roger steps down, because they are about the man and not the presidency. The bonds that he helped foster for Knox will live on. There are those of us who will remember that Knox made a turn-around and became much stronger under his tenure. So, the biggest part of missing Roger is that he will probably not be there every time we visit Knox. The other big part of Roger stepping down is that I will not see so much of Anne, and that I will miss." -- Maria Bayer, Friend of the College

"I will miss his infectious enthusiasm for Knox that has permeated throughout the entire student body and the college staff and has also awakened a renewed philanthropic spirit among Knox alumni of all ages." -- Tony Liberta '55

"I will miss Roger's (and Anne's) zeal for everything that is Knox. They and it are contagious." -- Topper Steinman '70

"His admonition not to say the standard: ‘I went to a small college in Illinois you probably haven't heard of.'" -- Ron Streibich '58

"I, as well as many other FYC members, will miss Roger and Anne's presence and congeniality at the annual FYC meetings around the country." -- Jerry Peck '57

"His level of integrity will be hard for anyone to match. It is invaluable to never have to second guess with him if favoritism, selfishness, or dishonesty were factors in any decision, action, or exchange. I'm sure our new president will also possess integrity -- but Roger's extremely high level of integrity and honesty is a rare thing. His sense of humor. His sharp intelligence -- he does not miss things and he is thorough. He defers to expertise in areas that are not as familiar to him -- but he pays attention and if things don't add up or are not logical, he is not going to let it slide. His warmth -- he genuinely cares about both individual people and the community, and he values everyone's contributions. His work ethic -- this guy works awfully hard and lots of hours!" -- Sharon Clayton, Associate Librarian

"His actual experience as a Knox student, alumni leader and donor to the College that give him a tremendous ‘feel' for the College and its traditions, strengths and challenges. His upbeat, hopeful persona and communications. His leadership and hard work to increase and diversify the College's enrollment, increase donations to the college, and strengthen its national and regional visibility. His time and energy devoted to alumni relations and his rapport with this constituency of the College." -- Jim Crowfoot '61, Honorary Degree '95

"I graduated from Knox in 1964, was a sorority sister of Elizabeth ‘Bunny' Zweifel Taylor's, and have been so proud of the job they have both done for Knox. I think Roger has brought the college a LONG way since he took over. He has met his goals and then some and put Knox back on the map. I also think it is impressive that he is the first (I believe) Knox College president to not come from an academic background. I wish both he and Bunny a grand second retirement." -- Pam Norton Nelson '64

"Upon his appointment, I sent Roger my letter of congratulations and pledge of support. He didn't have to, but he immediately responded with a handwritten note of appreciation. We met later at a Knox function in western Michigan. My late wife Jo Anne (who passed away this past September), then in her early stages of dementia, was with me. Roger's lovely wife gravitated to her, making Jo Anne's stay most enjoyable. I will always be grateful for their dedication to Knox." -- Clark Shanahan '49

"It is very easy for me to say that Roger Taylor had a total dedication to get the best of his Alma Mater with his contribution as president of Knox College. He touched all subjects and was interested in anything to improve Knox as one of the best colleges in the country. Knox has a lot to thank him for, and everyone will remember Roger as a great president. His wife, Anne, works very closely with him and got the respect of everybody in the Knox community. We will miss both Roger and Anne." -- Jorge Prats, Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages

"I appreciated that Roger would greet and welcome prospective students and their families when they were touring the campus. We did not experience that at any of the other colleges we visited. We also appreciated that he has an ‘open door policy.' This is our child's first year at Knox, but we certainly felt welcomed from the start, including by Roger. We wish him all the best." -- Jeanne Balzuweit, Parent

"Roger and Anne Taylor have merged the Knox and Galesburg community into a strong, close relationship, which serves in a positive way both the College and the city. Their generosity in giving their time and monetary support is an example that is not fully known but appreciated greatly by the benefactors of their generosity." -- Frank Gustine '60

"My daughter graduated from Knox in 2005, and I was present for the event. There had been thunderstorms the previous days, and at ceremony time there were ominous clouds in the sky, causing all to wonder when we were going to be deluged. Roger stepped up to the mike, and in his pragmatic way said, ‘Since college teaches you how to think, not what to think, we will go straight to the diplomas first and have the speeches afterward.' The event went on with no further rain." -- JeAnnette Edwards, M.T. (ASCP) and Parent

"Roger and Bunny took the time during Homecoming 2007 to make an impromptu appearance at the official 30-year Reunion of the founding of the GHETTO in Seymour III. And they lived to tell the tale." -- Doug Hill '77

"I will miss hearing the story of how he and Anne met at every student gathering. He has a true love for Knox that bubbles from deep inside. I will miss his enthusiasm and willingness to be a little silly in support of his college. -- Elizabeth Presley Bazan '05

"Roger was the only president of Knox College to come to Galena and have lunch with Marge and me. Not once, but twice. It was great to visit with him and get his take on where and how Knox College was going in the future. A future that he was mostly responsible for happening." -- John D. Cooke '52

"Roger kept life fun and upbeat at Knox in simple ways -- helping us to remember to laugh at ourselves with light hearts once in a while and not to take everything too seriously. For Roger, business is business and there is serious work to be done . . . but there is a time and a place for that, and I think he has reminded us that it is just as important to enjoy each other, laugh with each other, and to not always take ourselves so seriously." -- Sandra Shumaker '95, Director of the Center for Research & Advanced Studies

"There are of course many things that I and everyone at Knox will miss about Roger including his very obvious deep love for Knox and his open door policy -- it seemed like he was always available to answer questions, have a chat. But what I will miss most about Roger is that he was able to receive (and also give) criticism without holding a grudge. He is always prepared for a frank exchange of ideas and such exchanges are absolutely essential for a place like Knox, founded on veritas. We should all be so open to such discussions." -- Stuart Allison, Professor of Biology

"Both of my kids are Knox grads. One chose the school when her 7th grade Latin teacher told her about it while she looked at the Knox calendar on her wall. As a parent, my memories are limited, but I have two. I was intensely impressed that Roger helped move the freshman in. Then at their graduations, I thought it was so wonderful that he reminded the graduates to hold their heads high and be proud to be a Knox graduate." -- Melissa Moore, Parent

"We will miss most of all his PASSION for the Knox mission and his ability to convey it to all." -- Gordon Stagg '61

"Once, I was the first to arrive for a psychology class. I was sitting in the classroom, reviewing notes, when suddenly the lights went off. I must have made some sound of surprise because Roger suddenly reappeared at the door. He apologized and explained that he wanted to turn the lights off to conserve energy. Then he introduced himself to me and shook my hand before heading off down the hall. When I first arrived on campus and was moving into my first-ever college dorm room, Roger was one of the people who helped unpack my parent's minivan." -- Maren Reisch '09

"On my first trip back to Knox after 40 years, one of the first things I saw was Roger walking around the campus greeting students by name. Roger invited me and my husband to join him for lunch -- in the student cafeteria where he often went for lunch so he could mingle with the students. When I was at Knox, we rarely saw the president of the college let alone ever had lunch with him. It was one of the things I admired about Roger's tenure as president. He made a point of being accessible and approachable to all on campus." -- Camilla (Cam) Neri '65

"I will miss Roger's house call(s) in Dallas. He came here early in his tenure and was received at a reception in a lovely house in the Turtle Creek area. It was personally warming to have the Knox president come this far to speak to alumni and friends. In addition, he started on time!! (What college president does that?!) Of course, I figured he'd start about an hour late, so I came in 45 minutes after his arrival. So, of course, I'll miss that embarrassment. Our mutual K&E friend, L. Mark Wine, and I wish him well in his future endeavors." -- Steve Phillips '71

"Our daughter, Rose Van Grinsven, graduated in June 2010. My memories of Roger and Anne are numerous regarding their friendliness and hospitality. Our first encounter with them was at the close of Rose's first campus visit in fall 2004. We were walking to our car and we crossed paths on the sidewalk; they asked if we were visiting. Then they proceeded to ask Rose about her plans for college. I think that was one of the many reasons Rose always felt that she belonged at Knox. Then of course I recall him leading parents and students in the Knox chant, the first-year parents' reception held at their home, seeing them out and about at campus events, and his famous line of graduating from Knox in nineteen hundred and sixty-three." -- Donna Marie Van Grinsven, Parent

"His ever-present smile, avid support and enthusiasm for Knox College -- and overt devotion to Anne. We wish him/them well after their service to Knox College." -- Cora Lee & Gil Douglas, Parents

"I will miss the open door and the ready greeting. I will miss the combination of candor and enthusiasm. I will miss him as an articulate advocate for Knox and for liberal arts education." -- Penny Gold, Professor of History, Co-Chair of Religious Studies

"I will miss Roger and Anne visiting the cafeteria where they would drop in on a bunch of students,or students and their parents during family weekend. They would always politely ask, ‘May we join you?' This simple question and the action of sitting down with students for lunch or dinner in the caf always made me proud to be a student at Knox." -- Eric Swanson '08

"From the first time I met Roger, I knew my granddaughter was headed to the right place. The feeling of your child's journey is always a bit scary. No longer will this person (who you see as that five-year-old coming home after the first day of kindergarten) be there to share their day. Instead you depend on others, total strangers to complete her day. My second time of meeting Roger was just as good, if not better. It was when we went to visit Knox. We had double assurance in her decision -- we met his wife. What wonderful people, our fears were eased without a doubt. I would like to take this time to thank you for making our life a little richer. I do know now what it means when someone says, ‘I am KNOX.' Emalie is now in her second year, and I have often heard from her, ‘I am KNOX.' Thanks again and good luck in your future journeys, may they be blessed." -- Marsha Jacobs, Grandparent

"I was a senior at Knox in 2002 when Roger took office. The best thing he did was make everyone learn the fight song. Who knew we he had a fight song?!" -- Allison O'Brien '02

"What I will miss most about Roger is his insistence on remembering to be proud of Knox College and 'not to look at our shoes' when someone asks where we graduated! Roger, effectively, instilled a self-confidence that was missing with those carefully chosen words. It was a description that resonated with people and it literally changed the way people considered Knox College. Consequently, Roger will be greatly missed but never forgotten. He has left a mark on the soul of Knox College." -- Lori Sundberg '95

"We'll miss Roger's enthusiasm and upbeat outlook for the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Knox." -- Bobbie '54 & Jim Poor '54

"As we were checking out colleges with our son, Knox was first on his list. On that initial visit to Knox, as we were walking through the hall, this friendly man came out of his office and greeted the three of us. Later we found out that it was Roger Taylor, the president of Knox! That made quite an impression on us." -- Christine Horn, Parent

"I served as news editor for The Knox Student for a semester and wrote as a journalist for the paper for two years. At one point, I was assigned to write a story concerning students who had been disciplined for underage drinking during Flunk Day due to a story published in The Register Mail. My story would have covered the disciplinary action taken by the College, but it generated so much controversy that it never made it to print. The editor of the paper eventually wrote and ran a much more scaled down version. President Taylor took a keen interest in the story I sought to publish and from that moment on he would always refer to me as ‘Mr. King!' Even the day I graduated from Knox in '06 he addressed me as ‘Mr. King'! You will be missed, President Taylor!" -- Phillip Wright King '06

"His effect on the College will be judged by his fundraising and fiscal responsibility, the retention and recruitment of faculty, and his fantastic esprit de corps. Personally, I will miss a president who always had time to say hello and to personally answer e-mails -- regardless of the importance or frivolous nature of their content." -- William H. Baker '58

"I will miss having a president that I know, with certainty, loves Knox as much as I do. And, by the way, for the same reason, I will miss Bunny. It is very rare to have a president who not only knows the place well, but cares deeply about it, understands its students, and has the world experience to govern well. I know. I have worked in academia for most of my career." -- Sandy Allison Cooper '64

"Roger has always been accessible by students and his wonderful interaction is a positive for everyone." -- Pat Tursky, Retiree Office of Advancement

"Roger loves Knox College. He was involved as a trustee even before he became president. Now, you can see his love for the College even more through the students, faculty, and staff. When a visitor comes to Knox, he's right out his door to welcome them -- it doesn't matter if they're a prospective student, an alum, or just a friend visiting. His commitment to the College even goes further. Growing up in Galesburg, it has been wonderful to see Knox College and the community become closer. His involvement and caring about the community is the reason. I applaud him!" -- Janet Albert, Retired Associate Director of Advancement

"Roger's charismatic smile and unassuming ways will be greatly missed. Seeing him made me smile and inspired me to keep motivated many-a-time on campus, amidst papers and exams and such. His love for our college was contagious -- the next college president has BIG shoes to fill." -- Sarah Kurian '10

"I will miss Roger's enthusiasm and unabashed love for his alma mater. I will miss his ‘Got a minute?' conversations. I will miss Roger and Anne. They are ‘good people.'" -- RoxAnne Ronk, Benefit Coordinator

"Of course I will miss his enthusiasm for and optimism about Knox. But I will also miss his warm personality and interpersonal skills that contributed so richly to his ability to reach out and relate to and ultimately involve the greater Knox community. In all of my years of being a part of the Knox community, starting as a student in 1959, I have never witnessed a greater sense of ‘We Are Knox!'" -- John Sauter '63, Member of Knox Faculty 1966-72

"Roger Taylor was and still is the most accessible college president I have EVER met and had the opportunity to work with in any way. This fact takes into consideration my personal experiences as a college student at different colleges and universities, my professional experiences as a college professor/lecturer, and my other professional experiences as a social worker and social work administrator. Roger is an exceptional representative of college administrators. Roger is an exceptional human being always ready to go the extra mile for students and people in general. He will be missed -- that is a gross understatement!" -- Carol St. Amant, Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology

"As a staff person, I will miss the Roger Taylor & Fulton County Boys performance at the beginning of the academic year all-campus lunch. Each time this occurred, I walked away realizing how fortunate I am to work at a place that is okay with adding fun to your work day. As an alumna, I will miss Roger's passionate leadership. His love for Knox is obvious and contagious. I have always been proud of my Knox education, but Roger's enthusiasm and focus on institutional self-confidence is a constant reminder to share the Knox story at every opportunity." -- Carol Brown '99, Director of Alumni Programs

"I will miss the enthusiasm in which he tackled anything that came his way, but most of all I think I will miss his watchful eye over the ‘Business Office Ladies!' It has been a true pleasure to work with him. He will be greatly missed!" -- Melody Diehl, Loans Coordinator

"Roger Taylor likes to identify himself with two other Knox College alumni, also Illinois farm boys, who became presidents of their alma mater: John Huston Finley and Albert Britt. He possesses what those others also had in full measure: gratitude to the the institution over which they presided for opening them up to the world and unfeigned and infectious enthusiasm for it. That enthusiasm, expressed so many ways by Roger in convocations and ceremonial gatherings, in individual contacts with students, faculty and staff, and in spontaneous meetings with prospective students and their parents, will be long remembered and celebrated. And it has been contagious; it's sure to be perpetuated by all those of us who have felt and appreciated its impact." -- Rod Davis, Co-Director of the Lincoln Studies Center

"What I will miss most about Roger is the enthusiasm which he spread for all that Knox is. This energy was infectious, has generated more excitement and support, and has led to increased positive publicity for Knox. All of us in the Knox community need to find a way to keep this level of enthusiasm going, leading to increased support and enhancement of educational options and activities." -- Marc Wollman '70

"The Board, faculty, alumni and all students, now and in the future, owe Roger a great deal of gratitude for his work and accomplishments for Knox. Though I first met Roger long after graduation, he impressed us (both Knox graduates) as a person who will succeed. We have held Roger in high esteem ever since that meeting." -- Wayne Plaza '67

"From the moment we met President Taylor at a meeting for incoming freshmen parents to when our son graduated in 2009, we will remember the enormous level of his PASSION for Knox College. Thereafter, whenever we met President Taylor we could see, feel and hear his PASSION for Knox College. His PASSION was constantly expressed with both his words and actions and he clearly demonstrates his PASSION for Knox College every day, everywhere and with everyone he meets. That is what we will greatly miss most about Knox President Roger Taylor." -- The Forssberg Family, including Grant Forssberg '10

"My daughter visited Knox to see if she wanted to attend Knox. While she was on the Knox campus, she lost her cell phone. Guess who found it? Roger! He saw to it that the Ice # was called, and Knox was actually able to track her down and get it to her before she left the campus." -- Michael Zagotta, Parent

"Even in the 60s, we knew Roger was great. That's why we elected him president of our Alpha Delta Epsilon fraternity. Of course, further proof of his greatness was him being smart enough to ask Anne to be his partner for life (and lucky enough to have her say yes). Knox was indeed fortunate to have this pair lead our alma mater for the past decade. Thanks so much you two! Can we talk you into another 10 years?" -- Roger Griffith '63

"I will miss his incredible enthusiasm for Knox College." -- Pete Boynton '65

"Roger was approachable to all. I will most fondly remember being able to contact him when I knew a high school student I was involved with was visiting Knox and his willingness to go out of his way to personally meet with that student during the visit." -- John Heyer '68

"I have been a faculty member at Knox for 42 years. There have been six presidents in that time. Roger has been the best of the six. He has been more open and effective in communicating with the faculty, staff and students. He has greatly improved our relationship with the Galesburg community. Please remember when Roger volunteered, so did Anne. He is one effective speaker. She provides thoughtful background support. They are a hard working, productive and entertaining team." -- Ross Vander Muelen, Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages

"My favorite image of President Taylor is him wearing his K letterman's jacket. He always wore it so proudly! My favorite recollection of Anne is her dedication to helping the College in any way that she could. On one occasion, this included a ‘road trip' that she and I made (during my time as the athletics director) to the 15th hole at Soangetaha Country Club golf course as part of a review we were doing on an issue involving our golf team. It was a yucky, cool, muddy, rainy day -- but she didn't flinch. As I said, she was dedicated to helping the College. In reality, I guess you could say that about both of them and no one, at least not a soul that I know, would suggest otherwise. The Knox community has truly been fortunate to have both Anne and Roger dedicate the past 10 years of their lives to the College." -- Dan Calandro '77

"At the freshman picnic at Lake Storey, Roger and I were eager to take part in the ‘pick the shoe' of the girl you would have dinner with. Having a slight height advantage over Roger, I followed his instructions. I watched for the shortest girl to put her shoe in the pile. When the signal was given, the males ran to the pile and selected a shoe. I showed Roger which shoe to pick. Bunny and Roger have been having dinner together ever since that day." -- Bruce Spencer '63

Learn more about the Taylor Presidential Scholarship.