September 13, 2013
by Laura Pochodylo '14
Knox College celebrated the beginning of a new academic year at Opening Convocation with a featured address by Laura Behling, the new dean of the College and vice president of academic affairs.
Behling's remarks on Thursday, September 12 focused on the concept of tomorrow, and how it relates to the promise of each new academic year.
"Consider the word ‘tomorrow,'" Behling said. "Tomorrow is not about procrastination, and if we consider tomorrow simply the day after today, we'll never get there."
She reflected on her time as a professor of literature at Gustavus Adolphus College to share insights on the nature of looking toward the future.
"May you understand tomorrow has come your way," Behling said to students, faculty, and staff.
In addition to the address, the Knox College Choir performed under the direction of Music Professor Laura Lane, and a variety of awards were announced. (Photo above: The Knox College Choir performs at Opening Convocation. Photo at right: Dean Laura Behling delivers the Convocation address.)
The co-winners of this year's Faculty Scholarship Prize, seniors Carolyn Stephen and Christopher Poore (both pictured below), shared a sense of surprise at receiving the honor. The Faculty Scholarship Prize is the highest faculty award given to Knox students.
Stephen, an environmental studies major from St. Louis, Missouri, said it felt "strange" to win the prestigious award.
"It is exciting to think someone thought of me," she added.
Poore, an English literature major from Colorado Springs, Colorado, found it "humbling to share the award with Carolyn."
"Knowing there are so many extraordinary people doing so many extraordinary things on this campus, it was a very humbling honor to be given the award," he said.
Another student award, the Elbridge Pierce Prize, was given to Knox senior Yini Liu for the greatest increase in academic performance during the sophomore and junior years. An economics major, she is currently studying abroad.
Faculty and staff awards also were announced at Opening Convocation.
The winners of the Janet C. Hunter Prizes for staff were Roxanne Ronk, benefits coordinator in the Knox Office of Human Resources, and Marvin Cooper, a custodian in Knox's Building Services Department. (Pictured at left: Roxanne Ronk and Marvin Cooper.)
"(Knox) is the best place to work in the world. Great people, and people are caring," Ronk said. "You see all over where people care about each other. I think that's the best part of Knox."
Cooper shared the same appreciation of a community atmosphere. "It's a joy. I'm blessed by the people I work with -- the faculty, the staff, and the students," Cooper said.
"Love the students. They're some of the best in the world," he added.
The Philip Green Wright/Lombard College Prizes for distinguished teaching were given to Daniel Beers, assistant professor of political science, and Karen Kampwirth, professor of political science and chair of Latin American studies. (Pictured at left: Daniel Beers and Karen Kampwirth) Beers received the award for non-tenured faculty, and Kampwirth received the award for tenured faculty.
"It certainly was a shock to win the award, and it is a real honor to be chosen as it must have been extremely difficult to choose a winner," Kampwirth said. "All of my colleagues work extremely hard on their teaching, and there are a lot of great teachers at Knox College."
Beers also recognized his peers, saying that winning the award "really was an honor. At a place like this where teaching is so important and I'm surrounded by so many terrific teachers, it really means a lot."
Both Kampwirth and Beers also both mentioned their students in regards to the honor and the experience of teaching at Knox.
"I never expected to have the kind of relationships I have with students here. I get to know them as people," Beers said. "I feel like I can actually have a positive impact on their lives, not just in class. That's pretty great."
"I am very lucky to get to teach such great students," Kampwirth said.