Knox President Teresa Amott embraces Trustee Chair Janet Koran as Mark Gearan looks on at left
At roughly 11:20 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, Teresa L. Amott was officially installed as the 19th president of Knox College. The installation of Amott, the first woman to lead the 175-year-old institution, brought delegates to Knox from 54 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Watch the Installation on Livestream
In her installation address, Amott looked to the future.
"As we think into the future for Knox, we will need to train our vision to see out to the furthest horizon, something our pioneering founders surely did as they imagined a town where there was prairie, a college for those without means, and a nation without slavery," she said.
She focused on three "topics on the horizon" for Knox: the new culture of learning in a digital world, diversity and inclusion in a global era, and building a long-term culture of sustainability.
Amott also announced the formation of KnoxCorps, a new partnership with the Galesburg Community Foundation that will place Knox graduates and undergraduates in service positions at Galesburg community agencies.
"The KnoxCorps will model to our entire student body new ways of civic engagement in local communities, even as they leverage digital technology and global insights," she said. More details will be announced later.
She spoke admiringly of today's students, saying: "I believe that their comfort with digital innovation, their tolerance, and their love of diversity make this generation the first in history to have the capacity to be truly global citizens, able to reach beyond parochial interests to appreciate the stakes of our lives together on the planet."
Remarks also were made by Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, former director of the Peace Corps, and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff. Also speaking at the ceremony were Janet M. Koran '71, chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees; Lawrence Breitborde, dean of the College and vice president for academic affairs; James Thrall, Knight Distinguished Assistant Professor for the Study of Religion and Culture; and Lori Sundberg '95, president of Carl Sandburg College.
Gearan referred to Amott as "a true leader" and said she is missed by the Hobart and William Smith community.
"How much we envy Knox College for having Dr. Amott at the helm, and how we grudgingly admire your exceedingly good judgment in naming her your 19th president," he said.
"You have chosen a leader who is passionate about the liberal arts, dedicated to academic excellence, focused unyieldingly on student success, committed to academic freedom, and mindful of the importance and value of building community," he added. "I know she will promote your values of inclusion and service. I know she will move Knox to the next level of excellence."
Koran noted that the founders of Knox College "opposed slavery in all forms and believed deeply in the potential of every human being to learn, to grow, and to contribute to the greater good of the community."
"Proving this egalitarian spirit, Knox College has been open to women and to people of color from its earliest days," Koran said, adding that by installing Amott as the first woman to be Knox College president, the College is taking "yet another step in line with its egalitarian spirit."
As part of the installation ceremony, representatives of Knox College students, faculty, alumni, and staff, as well as the greater community, read aloud some of the aspirations and hopes they have for Knox's future. Here is a sampling:
- From Christopher Poore '14, representing Knox student voices: "that Knox will take a leadership and progressive position in environmental activism and social change as we work together to preserve the world and its societies for future generations."
- From Professor Charles Schulz '72, representing current and former Knox faculty: "that we continue attracting students who come to Knox as interesting, hard-working, and sincere people who then graduate as people who are even more interesting, intellectually alive, dedicated to developing their communities as well as their careers and personal lives, and ready to fulfill their role as model citizens actively engaged with the world."
- From Sandra Shumaker '95, director of the Gerald and Carol Vovis Center for Research & Advanced Study, representing Knox staff: "that Knox remains true to its mission -- a community of individuals from diverse backgrounds, challenging each other to explore, understand, and improve ourselves, our society, and our world."
- From Lori Sundberg '95, president of Carl Sandburg College: "that Knox will continue to provide students with a fundamental grounding in the liberal arts, to equip them to deal with the vagaries of an ever-changing professional environment."
Sundberg then presented Amott with a bound volume of the aspirations, saying: "Teresa, we entrust these hopes for the future of Knox and our community to your care. With them, we offer our heartfelt welcome and support. May we flourish together for years to come."