Happy 175th Birthday, Knox College

Celebration for 2012 Founders Day, Purple and Gold Day

February 15, 2012


Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day

by Rana Tahir '13

Knox College celebrated its 175th anniversary on Wednesday with festive purple-and-gold cupcakes, balloons, and a sparkling grape juice toast by President Teresa Amott that honored the college's past, present, and future.Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day

Knox observes Founders Day every February 15. The college was officially established on February 15, 1837, when the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to what then was Knox Manual Labor College. The Rev. George Washington Gale and other social reformers had moved from upstate New York to found the college and a town on the prairies of western Illinois. (Photo at right: Knox College President Teresa Amott makes a toast as she stands beside a cardboard cutout of George Washington Gale.)

The 2012 Founders Day also was designated as Purple and Gold Day. Knox students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends were encouraged to wear those colors to show their Knox pride, and many of them posted photographs on the Knox College Facebook page.

For example, Burl F. George '43 posted a photo of himself wearing an athletic sweater from his time at Knox College. "A 90-year-old alumnus, wearing a 70-year-old athletic sweater, celebrating a 175-year college birthday, in addition to a 68-year wedding anniversary on February 12th," he wrote.

Knox 175th anniversary Founders DayChristopher Green '02 wrote this on the Knox Facebook wall: "Happy 175th birthday to my alma mater, Knox College; you don't look a day over the 161 you were when we met. Thanks for changing my life and others."

Wednesday's 175th anniversary festivities also included a screening of the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, adapted from the groundbreaking science-fiction novel The Body Snatchers, written by Knox alumnus Jack Finney '34; and several Knox Pub Nights, held in various cities across the country, including San Francisco, California; Denver, Colorado; New York City, New York; and Galesburg, Illinois.

Knox College is celebrating its 175th year all month with various events, such as:

  • The launch of the KnoxReads blog, an online book club featuring posts from Knox faculty members. The first book chosen is Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World by journalist Robin Wright. Wright will speak on the Knox campus at 7:30 p.m. February 28 in Kresge Recital Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, and her lecture will be broadcast live via Livestream.
  • The annual Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony at 5 p.m. Friday, February 17, in Kresge Recital Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts. The 2012 award recipients are Mary Lu Aft '60, Lynn Wright '63, Peter Leibig '73, James Solomon '74, and Norman Golar '02.
  • A joint worship service at 4 p.m. Sunday, February 19, in Kresge Recital Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts. The service observes the joint founding of Knox College and the city of Galesburg, and it is coordinated by Galesburg's founding churches, the First Presbyterian and Central Congregational churches.

More information about Knox College's 175th anniversary and historic photos are available on a special website at 175.knox.edu.

(Photos below: Scenes from the 175th anniversary toast and celebration in the Roger Taylor Lounge in Seymour Union and from the Knox Pub Night in Galesburg, Illinois.)

Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day
Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day
Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day
Knox 175th anniversary Founders Day