Knox Raises $11 Million for Alumni Hall Renovation

Historic Building to See New Life as Gateway to Campus and Beyond

May 13, 2013

Alumni Hall at Knox College

Eighteen months after introducing a new vision for Alumni Hall, Knox College has raised $11 million in the fundraising drive to renovate this historic campus building.

"Thanks to the generosity of Knox alumni and friends, as well as the leadership of Trustee Mark Kleine and his Gateway Task Force, gifts and pledges now stand at $11 million," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "Even more important, $9.5 million -- or 94% -- of the $10.1 million needed for building renovations will be in cash by the end of June, which places the College in an excellent position to begin the project."

Now that the $11 million has been raised, Amott notes, the College's Board of Trustees will vote at its June meeting to set a timetable for the renovation. Two architectural firms -- Holabird & Root of Chicago and Metzger-Johnson of Galesburg -- are engaged in the renovation process.

"Like so many buildings on historic college campuses, Alumni Hall has had many lives throughout its 124-year history. It's now poised to begin a new life as a gateway to the Knox campus and beyond, and I know that the entire campus and community is as excited as I am for its new life to begin," added President Amott.

The view north from the third floor of a renovated Alumni Hall.The renovation of Alumni Hall will transform this historic building out of the past and into the vibrant future of 21st-century Knox College. The building will house several of Knox's signature educational programs, including the Gerald and Carol Klail Vovis Center for Research and Advanced Study, the Bastian Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development, the Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies, and the Mark and Jeannette Kleine Center for Community Service, as well as the Offices of Admission and Alumni Relations.

In addition, visitors to Alumni Hall will learn about the heritage of the College and the City of Galesburg through research and programming at the Lincoln Studies Center and museum-quality displays housed within the Whitcomb Heritage Center. Featuring the original large vaulted ceiling, the transformed building will serve as both a gateway to a Knox education and to life after Knox. Standing on the edge of the historic Knox campus, the building also serves as a gateway to the Galesburg community.

"The intellectual and creative energy that we see on campus every day will now be visible to every person who enters the building, including prospective students, community visitors, and returning alumni," said President Amott.

Fundraising for the new vision of Alumni Hall began in October 2011 with the announcement of $2 million in gifts for the project. The announcement that the College had reached $5 million in gifts and pledges followed four months later during the Knox's 175th anniversary celebrations in February 2012. The last public announcement of fundraising progress was made in October 2012, when the College had reached the $8 million mark.

"Two challenges -- one issued by two anonymous trustees and the other by Richard '57 and Joan Whitney Whitcomb '56 -- kept our fundraising momentum building over the last few months and encouraged donors to turn their gifts into cash more quickly, ensuring that the project could move forward," said Beverly Holmes, vice president for Advancement. "We're grateful for the alumni, friends and members of the Knox campus community who supported the vision for a new Alumni Hall. Our success is a direct result of their support."

The most recent exterior work on the building began in fall 2011 and was completed in May 2012 with the reconstruction of the massive curved front drive and rebuilding of four of the five large stone stairways on the exterior of the 124-year-old building. The multi-faceted slate roof was restored in the 1990s, followed by the exterior brickwork and windows in the mid-2000s. The next phase of the project renovates the interior of the 30,000-square-foot building. Once the interior renovation is complete, the center staircase on the north side of Alumni Hall will be reconstructed.

With the renovation of Alumni Hall on the horizon, fundraising for the project will continue. Monies to provide furnishings and technology for the building's interior still need to be raised, and the College will continue to solicit donors over the summer to complete the project.

"I have always had confidence that the alumni of this institution -- 16,000 strong -- would come together to restore the building that bears their name," said President Amott. "I'm also grateful for the many friends of the College, including individuals and businesses in Galesburg, who have contributed to the project."

Construction of Alumni Hall was launched in 1889 with funding from the Knox College Alumni Association and two student literary societies, which occupied spacious wings on either side of a central auditorium. It was designed by famed architect E.E. Meyers, who also designed the Knox County Courthouse and several state capitols. The cornerstone was laid in 1890 by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison.