Taylors Awarded Honorary Degrees at Knox Homecoming

October 22, 2013

Anne '63 and Roger Taylor '63 honorary degrees

In recognition of their distinguished legal careers and unwavering service to Knox College, President Emeritus Roger '63 and retired pro bono counsel Anne Zweifel Taylor '63 were awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees during the 2013 Homecoming celebration. Sharing in the event were the Taylors' classmates -- the Class of 1963 -- who were on campus to celebrate their 50th Reunion.

The conferring of the degrees was "a very special surprise event that the Board of Trustees has been working on in complete secrecy for two years," President Teresa Amott said at the Homecoming Convocation ceremony on Saturday, October 19. Knox has a long tradition of awarding honorary degrees to "individuals of great distinction," dating to 1860, when the first honorary doctorate was given to Abraham Lincoln, she added.

"These degrees carry the weight of the history, tradition, and values of this College," President Amott said. "They are conferred with care and with deep respect -- and if I could say also: love -- for those whose lives and deeds we are privileged to honor." (Photo at top: Anne Taylor '63 watches as Roger Taylor '63 is draped with a hood in recognition of his Doctor of Laws degree. Also pictured are, from left, life trustee Diane Smatlak Rosenberg '63, trustee Janet Koran '71, Dean of the College Emeritus Lawrence Breitborde, and Chancie Ferris Booth Professor of Political Science Lane Sunderland.)

Anne Zweifel and Roger Taylor arrived on the Knox campus in 1959 as first-generation college students. She came from New Jersey and he came from Fulton County, Illinois. They met as first-year students.

At Knox, both studied English literature and were involved in multiple activities. Anne was president of Delta Delta Delta sorority, and Roger was president of Alpha Delta Epsilon fraternity.

The Taylors graduated from Northwestern University School of Law and pursued legal careers, spending many years in Chicago. They returned to Knox when Roger was named interim president of Knox and later appointed as its 18th president. Anne served as Knox's pro bono counsel. They retired in 2010.

They are members of the Scripps Society, Knox's highest honor recognizing the generosity of donors.

"Throughout her years of service to Knox College, Anne was appreciated for her straightforward, fair, and generous counsel in all matters and for her selfless and warm dedication to Knox faculty, staff, students, alumni, and guests, as well as the greater Galesburg community," life trustee Diane Smatlak Rosenberg '63 said as she presented Anne Taylor for the honorary degree.

"Roger's 10 years as president served Knox well by offering visionary and consistent leadership when it was most needed," trustee Janet Koran '71 said as she presented Roger Taylor for the honorary degree. In addition, she said, "He took the time to know personally as many students as possible, eating with them in the cafeteria and boasting about their accomplishments on every possible occasion."

Other awards announced at the 2013 Homecoming Convocation included:Homecoming Convocation 2013

  • The Ralph Walter Prize to the Class of 1963 for highest percentage of alumni donating to the College.
  • The Homecoming Attendance Award to the Class of 1963 for having the largest number (78) of registered class members at Homecoming.
  • Knox Service Awards to Richard Kowalski P '14, Anthony Liberta '55, and Steve Walton '74.
  • The Steven Floyd '70 Fellowship Award to Marcus McGee '14, a senior from Chicago who is researching drug war violence in Mexico.

(Photo at right: Knox alumni toss gold and purple beach balls as members of the Class of 1963, marking their 50th reunion, arrive for Homecoming Convocation while Ricky Dale and the Dreamers play the Beach Boys song "Surfin' USA.")