May 13, 2011
In his remarks to graduates of Carl Sandburg College on May 12, Knox College President Roger Taylor displays the new book by author Cyn Kitchen, a Sandburg graduate who went on to earn her bachelor's degree at Knox, where she now teaches writing.
Carl Sandburg -- both the author and the college -- have great stories, said Knox College President Roger Taylor in his commencement address to the Class of 2011 of Carl Sandburg College on Thursday, May 12.
Taylor related one of the stories from Sandburg's autobiography, Always the Young Strangers, about Lottie Goldquist, Sandburg's grade school teacher, "who told Sandburg and her other students that if you have knowledge and ambition, you can go far, but that character and principles are just as important as knowledge and ambition."
"Character and principles guide how you use knowledge and ambition, in a life of caring and respect for others," Taylor said.
Taylor also related other Sandburg stories -- stories of graduates of Carl Sandburg College -- such as Cyn Kitchen, now an author and Knox College faculty member in creative writing; Jim Purlee, now a successful agribusiness executive and Knox College trustee; and Lori Sundberg, who began her studies at CSC in cosmetology, later completed a bachelor's degree at Knox in economics and a doctorate in business at St. Ambrose University, and last year was named president of Carl Sandburg College.
"I'll guarantee you that Lori Sundberg and Jim Purleee and Cynthia Kitchen and I -- that none of us imagined how our lives would turn out when we were in your place," Taylor told more than 260 CSC graduates and their families. "Because of our educations, we all have led lives of opportunity and privilege that we never imagined."
Taylor praised Sandburg faculty for fulfilling the community college's "mission that is complex and broad... from opening doors to a bright future to each of its students, to being an engine of regional economic development."
Sundberg presented Taylor with an honorary associate's degree from Carl Sandburg College (photo, right), citing his distinguished career as a trial lawyer with Kirkland & Ellis and his ten-year tenure as president of Knox. Taylor is retiring in June and will be succeeded by Teresa Amott, currently provost and dean of the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 48 states and 51 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.
"...Sometimes those of us from this part of the country look down at our shoes when we are asked where we went to college. I know that when you are asked, you will not look down at your shoes. You will shout out: "Carl Sandburg College!"