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Rootabaga Jazz Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend with performances featuring the Matt Wilson Quartet, Orquesta Alto Maiz, the Knox College Jazz Ensemble, Knox Alumni Big Band, and the Knox Faculty and Friends Combo. "It's one of those events that connects the College to the community that's really unique and special," said Nikki Malley '98, organizer of the event and Knox instructor of music. "But I think beyond that, there aren't a lot of cities of any size -- and certainly not midwestern small towns -- that can boast 30 years of a jazz festival." Watch a video of Knox alumni at the event and view photos from the weekend.

From the Editors

Welcome, Seniors!

Welcome, Class of 2010, to the Knox College alumni community. We hope that you enjoy your first issue of the Gizmogram and that you look forward to receiving future updates from Knox. And to make sure you keep receiving the Gizmogram, as well as other Knox communications like the annual Flunk Day e-mail, and to stay in touch with your Knox classmates, be sure to join the Knox Online Community (all you need is your Knox ID number to register)! You can even connect the online community to Facebook -- simply click on the Facebook Connect logo when you register! Questions? Contact us at

And if you haven't yet participated in Senior Challenge 2010, do so today. To give or for more info, visit the Senior Challenge Web page.

Pam Schuller '09 at Flunk Day last yearAre You Ready for Flunk Day?

We still have a few 2010 Flunk Day t-shirts available for $10 per shirt (limit 2 per person). Order your shirt online or you can call Alumni Relations at 309-341-7238. We only have a limited quantity, so order yours today! 

And don’t forget to share your memories of Flunk Day, whenever it is, on the Knox Facebook Page.

Share Your Research

The theme of the fall Knox Magazine is student research. We would like to include information about research alumni did at Knox that had an impact on their careers. Share your experiences with us.

Campus News

Knox President Transition Plans Set

Roger '63 and Anne Zweifel Taylor '63Earlier this month, Roger Taylor ’63 announced his plans to step down as president of Knox College in 2011. The Board of Trustees has been busy working on initial transition plans. Trustee Richard Riddell '72 has agreed to head the search committee. He will be on campus later this month to talk with all Knox constituents about their sense of the qualities needed in the 19th President of the College. In addition, a search committee is being organized that will include faculty, students, staff, trustees, and a representative from the City of Galesburg. In late April, the trustees will gather at a retreat in Chicago to discuss the future of the College and the necessary qualifications needed in the 19th President.

New York TimesNew York Times Reports on Knox College Commencement Speakers

In a feature story in its April 4 edition, The New York Times reports that Knox College "has put together an impressive string of [commencement] orators over the last five years." Read the article.

Michael BurlingameScholar Unearths New Past About Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame recently spoke at Knox about his most recent publication, a two-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln: A Life. The book was the 2010 winner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Prize. The full version of his book can be found on the Lincoln Studies Center Web site. Read more about his presentation at Knox.

Students volunteer at blood driveKnox College Selected for Community Service Award

For the second consecutive year, Knox College has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for commitment to community service. Read more about the award.

Pre-Civil War Raid Has Knox Connection

Jeremiah AndersonWhile doing research, Galesburg historian Tom Wilson came across documents referring to abolitionist John Brown and the pre-Civil War raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, that Brown spearheaded 150 years ago. An unexpected reference to Knox College caught Wilson's eye, so he dug further, learning that Brown's top adviser graduated from Knox Academy, which was Knox College's preparatory school. Brown credits Knox College for influencing his anti-slavery beliefs. Read more about the raid and the effect of WWII on the Knox campus.

Student News

Sophomore Chosen Finalist in Photo Competition

Photo by John Williams '12Knox College student John Williams ’12 has been named a finalist in the 30th Annual College Photography Contest. Only the top 8% of more than 13,000 entries were selected as finalists in the competition, sponsored by the magazine Photographer's Forum. "This means a lot for my photographic career," said Williams, from Hartland, Wisconsin. "It's a great resume booster and helps me get my name out into the photographic community." Read more about his work and view more photos.

Knox Finalists in Nick Adams Competition Named

Four stories have been selected as Knox finalists for the 2010 Nick Adams Competition sponsored by the 14 member colleges of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM): "The Voice of Kasper Rose" by Sasha Jawed '10; "Twenty-Ten" by Sam Martone '11; "White" by Adam Soto '10; and "Pues, Nada" by Montana Standish '10. Over the past 37 years of the Nick Adams Competition, Knox has won more first place awards than any other ACM college and twice as many ACM Finalist designations as its nearest competitor.

Knox College Choir Tours Barcelona Over Spring Break

Knox College ChoirThe Knox College Choir performed six concerts on a 10-day tour of Spain during Knox's spring break, March 16-21. The choir of nearly 60 members is directed by Laura Lane, professor of music and director of choral activities at Knox College. Watch a video of their experience.

Alumni News

Knox Alumna Makes Movie Debut in Scorsese Film

Bree Elrod Novak '00Bree Elrod Novak '00 was portraying a drug-addled woman in a Boston theatrical company's production of Angels in America when casting directors for a Martin Scorsese film told her she'd make a good mental patient. She remembers thinking, "Thank you very much. I'm sure my mom would be very proud to hear you say that." But she understood what they meant. The encounter led to her first movie role -- in Shutter Island, the recent Scorsese-directed thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Sir Ben Kingsley. Read more about Novak’s experience.

Bill BarnhartKnox Alumnus Writes Biography of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

Bill Barnhart '68 says his new book, John Paul Stevens: An Independent Life, is notable for its refusal to use any "off-the-record" comments. The book, by Barnhart and co-author Gene Schlickman, is the first complete biography of United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who recently announced his retirement. Read more about Barnhart and the biography and view a list of launch events with Barnhart in the Chicago area.

Jack Larson '44 Remembered

Jack Larson and music studentsIf a community is fortunate, one person in a generation comes along who gives tirelessly to help those in need. Jack Larson '44 was such a man. He passed away last Tuesday after battling cancer with the same energy he put into everything he did. Read more about his contributions to the Galesburg community in the Register-Mail.

At Knox, Larson was honored with the Knox College Service Award in 2006, served as president of the Knox-Lombard 50 Year Club from 2002-2006 and was featured in the Knox Magazine feature “A Commitment to Community.” Read his obituary and sign the guestbook

Alumni Notes

The Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester has established the James N. Doyle Professorship in Entrepreneurship. Doyle, a member of the Knox Class of 1944, served as executive professor of business administration at the University for 15 years. The professorship is being made possible through a gift from James N. Doyle Jr. '70, executive director of ProVenture Ltd., to honor his father’s dedicated commitment to entrepreneurship education at the Simon School.

Greta Kallio Nagel ’66 is the founding director of the Museum of Teaching and Learning in Fullerton, California.

Gary Pollack ‘79 has accepted the position of dean of Washington State Univeristy's College of Pharmacy. Read more about Pollack.

After a difficult time finding work, Meg Zepp Fisher ‘84 hopes to become her own boss creating tallitots (Jewish prayer shawls). She was recently featured on CNN. Watch the video.

Brian Williams ‘86, who works at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis -- the largest children’s museum in the world -- will be the first to admit that his career has taken more than a few twists and turns to get him where he is today. Read more about his career path.

Michael Cornthwaite ’95, who owns the Downtown Cocktail Room in Las Vegas, is looking to lure at least 20 boutiques, art galleries, and various creatively fertile shops to a shuttered medical building in the city. Read more about his efforts in the Las Vegas Sun.

An article by Mark Halx '01 titled “Re-Conceptualizing College and University Teaching through the Lens of Adult Education: Regarding Undergraduates as Adults” will be published in the journal Teaching in Higher Education

Stephanie Roosa ’01 fell in love with the play Crimes of the Heart as a Knox student when she performed a scene in one of her classes. That’s why she jumped at the chance to be in the production when it was performed locally. Read more about her experience.

“Please Wait,” the Masters of Fine Arts Thesis Installation by Gwynneth VanLaven ‘04, was on exhibit last month at George Mason University.

Sylvie Davidson ‘06 is performing in the Seattle Children's Theatre's current production, "Getting Near to Baby." Read more about the production.

Starting in May, Andrew Briggs ’08 will work at the Sheboygan County Wisconsin District Attorney's office.

The day after Elizabeth McPhail’s Knox graduation last June, she and her sister embarked on a boating trip that took them through the unfamiliar waters of the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean. In 84 days, the McPhail women completed the Great Loop, a 5,805-mile adventure around the eastern half of the United States. A story of their journey was published in the November/December 2009 issue of Boating magazine, and another story of their voyage is coming out in Cottage Living’s April issue. Read more about their adventure’s in the Register-Mail.

Faculty News

Bruce Polay Named Illinois Conductor of the Year

Bruce PolayBruce Polay, artistic director/conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony and professor and chair of the music department at Knox, has been named 2010 Illinois Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The award recognizes innovation in programming, soloist selection, quality of concert performances, personal involvement in the community, and relationships with the orchestra's musicians and board of directors. Polay is the first conductor in the history of the award to win it three times. Read more about the award.

Biochemist Receives Grant from National Science Foundation

Any MehlKnox College has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant of more than $26,000 for research equipment in chemistry and biochemistry. The grant to Andrew Mehl, professor of chemistry, supports the purchase of a "stopped flow" apparatus that works with the College's Olis spectrophotometer to monitor extremely fast chemical reactions and biological processes. The results from research conducted with this new apparatus may contribute to other research being done to determine treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease. Read more about the grant.

Wilbur PillsburyWilbur Pillsbury, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Passes

Professor Emeritus of Economics and Business Administration Wilbur Pillsbury died April 1. He taught at Knox from 1949 until 1990 and also served as Dean of Men and Dean of Students. Read more about Professor Pillsbury and donate to the Wilbur F. Pillsbury Scholarship Fund. Alumni are also sharing their memories of Professor Pillsbury on the Knox Facebook page.

Faculty Notes

A poem by Monica Berlin '95, associate professor of English, “What a year looks like: drenched ...” has been published in the spring 2010 issue of Third Coast.

David Bunde, assistant professor of computer science, and Peter Walker '11, recently presented their paper "Faster high-quality processor allocation" at the Linux Cluster Institute's Conference on High-Performance Clustered Computing. They considered strategies for assigning processors to supercomputer jobs. Their strategies give solutions of quality comparable to traditional algorithms but run in much less time.

A translation of the 13th century prose romance “The History of the Holy Grail” by Carol Chase, professor emerita of modern languages, has recently been reissued in volume I of the series Routledge Revivals. Her translation has also been reprinted in paperback by Boydell & Brewer.

Andrew Civettini, assistant professor of political science, attended the 2010 International Workshop on Statistical Genetics and Methodology of Twin and Family Studies in Boulder, Colorado. Civettini was one of 20 political scientists chosen to attend the week-long methodology course through a National Science Foundation-sponsored grant.

In March, Catherine Denial, assistant professor of history, delivered a lecture as the guest speaker during Carl Sandburg College's Women's History Month celebration. The talk, titled "To Calm the Sterner Passions of Man: Women, Politics, and the History of Marriage in the United States," explored the close relationship between marital law and national identity from the founding of the country through today.

Just months after hitting store shelves, Philosophy Professor Lance Factor’s book Chapel in the Sky: Knox College’s Old Main and Its Masonic Architect has already gone into its second printing. The book was recently featured in the Peoria Journal Star.

Jason Helfer and Stephen Schroth, educational studies, recently had three entries published in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies.

Tim Kasser, professor of psychology, recently gave a talk via virtual technology on "Human Identity and Environmental Challenges" as part of the Solutions Seminar Series at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont; this talk was immediately followed by a virtual discussion with a dozen or so undergraduates taking an Honors Seminar on environmental issues. Kasser also gave two talks in Texas -- the first, co-sponsored by the College of Communication and the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin; the second was the keynote lecture at the Activism and Spirituality conference sponsored by St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin.

Carolyn Kellert, adjunct instructor in music, was recently chosen as the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce's Teacher of the Year.

Lynette LombardThe work of Lynette Lombard, associate professor of art, Megan Williamson ‘82, and former visiting professors Donald Southard and Jeremy Long will be part of a traveling exhibition titled “East Meets Midwest: New Visions of Figurative Painting.” The show features the work of 20 contemporary painters from two regional groups. The Exhibit opens at the Beverly Art Center in Chicago on April 14 and runs through May 8 with an opening reception on April 24. The exhibit goes on to the Hoffman-Lachance Contemporary gallery in St. Louis, Missouri, between July 9 and August 15; the Westbeth Gallery in New York between September 11 and October 3; and ends at the Andrews Gallery at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg between January 26 and February 17, 2011.

Chuck Schulz ‘72, professor of physics, and collaborators from the University of Notre Dame had an article published in the Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines. Schulz and collaborators from Notre Dame, Michigan, Soochow, and Carnegie Mellon Universities were also recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Jennifer Templeton, associate professor of biology, was recently quoted in an article in Science Now magazine titled "Antisocial Tortoises Learn From Each Other." Read the article.

In This Issue

Knox Events

May 6, 2010
Walker Art Center
May 7, 2010
Lavender Crest Winery
May 15, 2010
Honoring Pete Drummond '70
May 16, 2010
Easton Mansion, Peoria
June 18, 2010
Soangetaha Country Club
July 3, 2010
Pepsi Center
July 17, 2010
Ewing Manor, Bloomington
October 22 to 24, 2010
Knox College Campus

Gizmogram Archive

Knox Links

Knox Profiles

Derek Hayes '10

I studied the international shipping industry in Norway. My name is Derek Hayes '10 and

Meet more Knox students.

Carol Craig '89

I think that you can balance anything as long as you understand your priorities. My name is Carol Craig '89, founder of Craig Technologies, and I AM KNOX.

Meet more Knox alumni.

George Steckley

Each year, we join a new class of Knox students in exploring a variety of texts from the past. My name is George Steckley, Robert M. & Katherine Arnold Seeley Distinguished Professor of History, and I AM KNOX.

Meet more Knox faculty.



Save the Date: Homecoming 2010, October 22-24


2009 President's Report


Honor Roll of Donors

Contact Us

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Megan Scott '96 & Cheri Siebken

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