May 25, 2010
The Knox College board of Trustees has elected two new trustees, Lt. Gen. David P. Fridovich and biotechnology executive Gerald F. Vovis. Both are alumni of the college.
"Both of these alumni have been active volunteers for Knox," explains Knox President Roger Taylor. "They come back to campus regularly, speak to classes, and help students understand the world beyond Knox. Their commitment to their alma mater is an example for all alumni. I look forward to working with them as trustees and stewards of our college," Taylor adds.
Lt. Gen. David P. Fridovich '74
Gen. Fridovich is a 1974 Knox College graduate and career Green Beret Officer with the United States Army.
Earlier this month, Gen. Fridovich was confirmed by the United States Senate for reappointment as lieutenant general and assignment as deputy commander of the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Currently he is director of the Center for Special Operations, the unit within the Special Operations Command that directs counterterrorism programs.
Gen. Fridovich earned his bachelor's degree at Knox in international relations. He has a master's degree from Tulane University and also has studied at the U.S. Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and at the British Forces Royal College of Defense Studies in London, England.
Winner of a 2007 Knox College Alumni Achievement Award, Gen. Fridovich has served as commander at every level in the Army - platoon, company, battalion, Special Forces Group, Special Operations Task Force, and Theater Special Operations Command. He has commanded counterterrorism forces throughout the world, including assignments in Korea, Haiti, Hawaii, Bosnia, The Philippines, and the United States. He commanded Special Forces units in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2000 and was instrumental in leading counterterrorist forces in The Philippines. In addition to his command positions, Gen. Fridovich has served in a variety of operational staff positions, including assistant professor of military sciences at Norwich University.
Gerald F. Vovis '65
A 1965 Knox graduate, Vovis served as an Alumni Trustee of the college from 2001 to 2005. He has nearly twenty years of executive management experience in the biotechnology industry. From 2005-2009, he was associated with Advanced BioHealing, Inc., a regenerative medicine company. Prior to that, Vovis held senior management posts with Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmacogenomics company, and with Genome Therapeutics Corporation, a genomics company. Before entering the biotech industry, Vovis held a faculty position at Rockefeller University in New York City.
At Knox, Vovis majored in chemistry, earned College Honors in biology, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated magna cum laude. He completed a doctorate at Case Western Reserve University. He was one of the founders of the Geer Research Fund at Knox, created in 2000 to honor the retirement of biology professor Bill Geer. An acclaimed geneticist who taught at Knox from 1963 to 2000, Geer supervised the research for which Vovis received College Honors in 1965.
Vovis has extensive experience managing biotechnology companies, including raising private and public funds. During his time with Advanced BioHealing, he was responsible for restarting the manufacturing process and bringing Dermagraft® back onto the market again. Today, nearly 200,000 applications of Dermagraft, developed for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, have been administered in over 1,000 wound care centers and outpatient clinics nationwide.
At Genaissance, Vovis helped guide the firm through its key development stages to achieve a leadership position in pharmacogenomics. At Genome Therapeutics, then called Collaborative Research, he led the team that cloned the gene responsible for bovine chymosin, which is now the source of the purified enzyme product used to manufacture cheese -- a replacement for the previously used crude extract from a calf stomach. Vovis also developed and managed genomic processes that sequenced over 8,000 genes in 91 human genomes to discover genetic variation. He oversaw the development of a highly efficient genotyping facility that helped the United States Department of Agriculture determine that the first cow in the U.S. detected with mad cow disease had been imported from Canada.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.