$1-million Commitment to Endowed Chair

Richard and Sophie Henke pledge support for faculty position

October 31, 2007

GALESBURG -- Knox College has received a $1-million commitment to support an endowed chair.

Richard and Sophie Henke of California signed documents on October 19, 2007, to create the Richard P. and Sophia D. Henke Distinguished Professorship. Richard Henke is a retired physician and trustee of the College.

"Rik and Sophie Henke have demonstrated their tremendous dedication and love for Knox College, and their dedication to the priority of an outstanding faculty," said Jan Koran, Chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees, at the signing ceremony held during Knox's Homecoming 2007 festivities.

"We believe in Knox's mission," Henke said at the ceremony. "Sophie and I feel that endowing this chair is our way of saying thank you to Knox."

Henke described the endowment gift as "an appreciation for my Knox education which influenced and enriched my whole life," and an affirmation of "the importance of a liberal arts education and the influence of teachers on students' lives through stimulating a life-long interest in expanding their knowledge."

Henke received his bachelor's degree in chemistry at Knox in 1956 and his M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1960. A pathologist retired from active practice, Henke joined the Knox College Board of Trustees in 1998.

The impact of the Henke endowment is wider than a single endowed faculty chair, stated Brad Middleton, a senior and president of the Knox College Student Senate, who also spoke at the ceremony.

"Those who will benefit most are the generations of Knox students who come here and learn from the world-class faculty that this endowment will help to maintain," Middleton said.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 44 nations. Knox is one of the 40 schools selected for "Colleges That Change Lives," by former New York Times education editor Loren Pope.

Sophie and Richard Henke, Roger Taylor
Above, Sophie and Richard Henke with Knox College President Roger Taylor; below, Chair of the Board of Trustees Jan Koran, right, speaks at the endowment signing ceremony.
Brad Middleton, Sophie and Richard Henke, Roger Taylor, Jan Koran
Below, Student Senate President Brad Middleton speaks at the signing ceremony.
Brad Middleton
Henke Endowed Professorship signing ceremony