January 30, 2012
Above,the 2011 Founders Day Convocation and Alumni Achievement Award Ceremony
With nearly 20 prior winners of Knox College Alumni Achievement Awards returning to campus for this year's special 175th anniversary Founders Day Convocation, the College honors four alumni at the convocation on February 17 for their achievements in space technology, community service, field biology and higher education.
The convocation is free and open to the public at 5 p.m., Friday, February 17, in Kresge Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts. For those who will be unable to attend the ceremony, it can be viewed live via Livestream.
It is one of a series of events in February 2012 in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Knox College and Galesburg in 1837. The College was chartered on February 15, 1837.
Receiving 2012 awards are Lynn Wright of North Potomac, Maryland, who designed control systems for NASA lunar missions and the Space Shuttle; Mary Lu Hudson Aft of Cincinnati, Ohio, a successful volunteer event organizer and fund raiser; James Solomon of St. Louis, Missouri, curator of the herbarium at the Missouri Botanical Garden; and Norman Golar, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, assistant professor of English and chair of the English department at Stillman College.
Also receiving an award this year is Peter Leibig, of Denver, Colorado, president and CEO of Clinica Family Health Services. Leibig was selected for the award in 2011 but was unable to attend last year's ceremony.
In celebration of Knox's 175th anniversary this year, the 2012 Founders Day Convocation also will recognize prior recipients of Alumni Achievement Awards. Currently, 19 prior winners are schedule to return for the ceremony.
In addition to participating in the convocation, many of the alumni are meeting with students and faculty for class lectures and individual conferences.
Biographies of 2012 Alumni Achievement Award Winners
Lynn S. Wright '63
Lynn Wright graduated from Knox in 1963 with a degree in mathematics. After graduating from Knox, Lynn began a 30-year career at IBM, including 17 years with IBM's Federal Systems Division at Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. Working as a programmer, flight controller, and manager, Lynn supported all 17 Apollo missions, as well as the first seven Space Shuttle missions. He developed the Earth Orbit Trajectory Supervisor which provided control of spacecraft events and activities for Apollo 5 and the Cislunar Trajectory Determination Processor used on Apollo 8, the first mission to orbit the moon. He later led development of the Air Forces' Global Positioning System and in 1994, he was named vice president of engineering and technology for Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems Company, retiring in 2001. Wright is currently working with his hometown of Shelby, Ohio, to develop a technology incubator, and he promotes science education and careers in technology in schools in Ohio and Maryland.
Mary Lu Hudson Aft '60
Mary Lu Hudson Aft graduated from Knox College in 1960 with a degree in mathematics. For more than 30 years, Aft worked with the American National Red Cross as a volunteer trainer and training designer. Since 1987, she has been involved with the Cincinnati Friends of the Public Library, helping organize a book sale that has raised more than $1 million each year for the library system and provided used books and recordings to schools, hospitals, and prisons. She is a founding member of the Community Advisory Council for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. In 1999 she was named "Woman of the Year" by The Cincinnati Enquirer. In addition, she has represented United Way International in Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Indonesia, among other countries.
James Solomon '74
James Solomon graduated from Knox in 1974 with a degree in biology and completed a Ph.D. in biology at Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the staff of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1981, conducting botanical inventories at selected sites throughout Bolivia. Since 1989 he as served as the curator of the Missouri Botanical Garden's Herbarium. With more than 6 million specimens, it is the second largest botanical collection in the United States and one of the five largest in the world. Solomon has traveled throughout America and Asia, including Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Republic of Georgia, and Tajikistan. He has published numerous major papers on plant taxonomy and systematics, and is internationally known for his work encouraging basic botanical field research in the United States and especially in developing countries.
Norman Golar '02
(Young Alumni Achievement Award)
Recipient of the 2012 Young Alumni Achievement Award, Norman Golar graduated from Knox in 2002 with a degree in creative writing. A Ronald E. McNair Scholar, he worked with Knox faculty on two McNair-sponsored research projects analyzing the poetry of contemporary African-American writers. In his junior year he was named College Marshal, and in his senior year he was honored as a 2001 Student Laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Golar earned a doctorate in composition, rhetoric, and English studies at the University of Alabama. In 2010, he accepted the position of assistant professor of English and chair of the English department at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, and he was chosen as a Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholar, a national program that provides support and encouragement for minority students in Ph.D. programs and academic careers.
Peter Leibig '73
Peter Leibig, who graduated from Knox with a degree in English literature in 1973, is president and CEO of a Clinica Family Health Services, a system of federally funded Community Health Centers serving underserved residents of the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. Leibig was unable to attend the 2011 ceremony and will receive his award this year.
|Name||Profession and Area of Award Recognition
|Richard N. Aft '60
||Leadership in non-profit organizations, including president of United Way of Cincinnati and chair of United Way of America's National Professional Council. (Awarded 2002)
|David R. Axelrod '67
||Documentary producer, including PBS programs Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude and Galileo's Battle for the Heavens, and American Experience: The History of Rock & Roll. (Awarded 2006)
|Barbara Baird '73
||Horace White Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. (Awarded 1994)
|William E. Barnhart '68
||Journalist and author, including financial columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of biography of Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. (Awarded 2006)
|Eugene Binder '56
||Founder of College Assistance Migrant Program; consultant for student work-study program at Target; former Assistant to the President of Texas Tech University. (Awarded 2007)
|Bill E. Buck '64
||Professor of clinical orthopaedics, pathologist and tissue bank surgeon at the University of Miami's Leonard Miller School of Medicine. (Awarded 1991)
|David Fridovich '74
||Lt. General (ret.) U.S. Army; 37 years of service, retired as deputy commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, the senior Green Beret in the Army. (Awarded 2007)
|Christine Herbes-Sommers '70
||Producer and partner, Vital Pictures, a media production company that concentrates on social justice issues. (Awarded 1984)
|Robert J. Jamieson '65
||Broadcast journalist for NBC and ABC, winner of five National News Emmys and Alfred I. duPont and George Foster Peabody Awards. (Awarded 1981)
|Maurice N. Klein '60
||Professor Emeritus of History at University of Rhode Island, author of 15 books on American industrial, railroad and business history. (Awarded 2001)
|Steven D. McClure '79
||President of the Opportunity Alliance; former director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. (Awarded 2005)
|Semenya McCord '71
||Jazz vocalist, music educator, and composer; named Outstanding Jazz Vocalist by Boston Music Awards, inducted to Boston's "Steppin' Out" Jazz Hall of Fame. (Awarded 2006)
|Thomas H. Miner '50
||Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Mid-American Committee of International Business & Government Corporation. (Awarded 1974)
|Hal N. Opperman '60
||Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Washington, author of definitive work on French artist Jean-Baptiste Oudry. (Awarded 1988)
|John Podesta '71
||Law Professor, Georgetown School of Law, Washington, D.C. Former White House Chief of Staff. (Awarded 1996)
|Richard Riddell '72||Vice President, University Secretary and Special Assistant to the President of Duke University. Tony Award-winning lighting designer. (Awarded 1986)
|Verlyn R. '51 & Martha Jacobsen
|Founded Educational Assistance Limited, former vice-president of Oil-Dry, worked for years on a volunteer project to return "dog tags" to Vietnam War veterans and their families. (Awarded 1986)
|Robert F. Seibert '63
||Robert W. Murphy Professor of Political Science at Knox College, co-author with Knox colleagues of Politics and Change in the Middle East, a best-selling college textbook in Middle East. (Awarded 1994)
|James M. Trapp '56
||Attorney, McDermott, Will & Emery (of counsel); expert on estate planning, leadership posts with American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Chicago Estate Planning Council, and Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. (Awarded 1995)
|Carol Pouche Van De Walle '73
||Elementary school teacher, Christa McAuliffe Fellowship recipient, International Science Teacher of the Year award from the Council for Elementary Science, presidential award for Excellence in Science Teaching. (Awarded 1992)
|Listing of all Knox College Alumni Achievement Award Winners, 1938-Present|