Alumni Achievement Awards

Friday, February 21, 2014

Knox celebrated the 177th anniversary of its founding with the presentation of Alumni Achievement Awards at the 2014 Founders Day Convocation.

B.J. Hollars '07, Young Alumni Award, Achievements in Creative Writing
B.J. Hollars '07

"Knox gave me a voice, an education, and a community. Knox told me I could when I thought I could not."

B.J. Hollars '07
on meeting Bill Clinton

A graduate of Knox's nationally acclaimed Program in Creative Writing, B.J. quickly has achieved remarkable success within the literary community. Since 2009, he has written or edited six books, and his seventh book, Dispatches from Drowning, is due out this year. In addition, his essays, stories, reviews, and other writings have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines, including Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, and Creative Nonfiction. While at Knox, B.J. was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, wrote for The Knox Student newspaper, helped found the literary magazine Cellar Door, and was selected as Senior Class Speaker at the 2007 Commencement exercises. After earning a degree in English literature and educational studies from Knox, he went on to earn his M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. He currently serves as a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Lara Moritz '90, Achievements in Journalism
Lara Moritz '90

"Everything that I’ve experienced and every success that I’ve achieved comes back to my time at Knox."

Lara Moritz '90
on her journalism career

An award-winning investigative journalist, Lara anchors the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts at KMBC 9 News in Kansas City, Missouri. During her career, she has covered a wide range of stories and interviewed a variety of people, including players in an underwater hockey league, President Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama. “I developed a curiosity about people, places, and things at Knox,” she says. After graduating from Knox with a degree in English writing, she earned a Master’s of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas. Lara has received two Edward R. Murrow awards and two Emmys for her work, including an investigative piece on animal abuse and a one-on-one interview with an admitted serial killer. In 2012, she was chosen for the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who reinforces self-worth and self-confidence in women. The award comes with a $10,000 scholarship, which Lara donated to Knox.

Owen Muelder '63, Achievements in History
Owen Muelder '63

"(As a student,) I had the opportunity to meet remarkable visitors to the Knox campus: senators and Supreme Court justices and journalists and poets and novelists, scientists, historians, and artists."

Owen Muelder '63
remembers his father

Owen has served as director of the Galesburg Colony Underground Railroad Freedom Station at Knox since July 2004, taking over those duties shortly after retiring from a 36-year career as an administrator at Knox. Owen, a scholar on the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery movement, has delivered more than 200 lectures across the country. He has served as a consultant to the PBS television series American Experience, lectured on C-SPAN, and been interviewed on National Public Radio. He has written articles about 19th-century Illinois history for scholarly journals, and he is the author of two books. Owen graduated from Knox with a degree in history and received a master's degree from Miami University, Ohio.

Lee '62 and Alexandra Benham '61, Achievements in Mathematics
Lee '62 and Alexandra Benham '61

"The student days Lee and I had at Knox remain an important and beautiful part of our lives." -- Alexandra Benham '61

Lee Benham '62
gives students advice

Alexandra and Lee met in an algebra seminar at Knox, and they both graduated with degrees in mathematics. They pursued graduate studies at Stanford University, where Lee received a Ph.D. in economics and Alexandra earned a master’s degree in mathematics. Lee, who has been a faculty member at the University of Chicago and Washington University, and Alexandra are widely published on the regulation of the professions, the economics of information, health economics, labor, and governance. In 2000, the couple helped found the Ronald Coase Institute. The institute assists young social science scholars around the world as they study important economic problems in their countries in order to broaden people’s opportunities to improve their own lives. So far, the institute has trained 470 participants from 68 countries. Alexandra serves as Secretary of the Ronald Coase Institute, and Lee is on the Board of Directors.