September 03, 2011
Knox College greeted 400 new students and their families to campus on Saturday, the 2011 "Move-In Day" for first-year and transfer students. Residence halls opened, Orientation activities got under way, and Knox President Teresa Amott officially welcomed the newest members of the Knox community.
"At Knox, you will be known. We will know you," she said to the 175th class of students entering the college.
Amott, who became Knox's 19th president in July, told the students: "Your class will always be a little special to me, as you and I are starting our Knox journeys together."
The Eleanor Abbott Ford Center for the Fine Arts was a beehive of activity earlier in the day as students picked up their residence hall keys and other information that will help them settle into campus life. Here's what some of them had to say:
Decked out in a purple T-shirt and purple sneakers, Deveon Rose of Chicago, Illinois, wanted his attire to show his loyalty to Knox College, whose colors are purple and gold.
"I can't wait to see everything and meet some cool people," he said. "It's going to be fun."
He said he decided to attend Knox because he was looking for a school that offered small classes, personal attention, and "more of a community."
Rose hopes to participate in the Men's Ensemble, a vocal music group, and the Odyssey Mentoring Program because he enjoys tutoring others. "I want to explore a little bit," he said.
Talia Lubin of Gig Harbor, Washington, decided to enroll at Knox after an especially memorable Admitted Students Day last spring.
When considering which college to attend, "I knew I really wanted college to be as amazing an experience as it could be," she said. "There was something about when I got to Galesburg and stepped on the Knox campus -- a down-to-earth-ness. Everyone I talked to was so genuine."
Among the people she spoke with was Peter Schwartzman, Knox associate professor of environmental studies, and he invited Talia and her mother, Kim, to dinner with his family.
"The engagement was so significant that it just couldn't be interrupted," Kim Lubin said. "When we left, Talia's decision had been made."
Sophia Gimenez of Denver, Colorado, already has told thousands of people -- many of them strangers -- about her decision to attend Knox. She was one of six high school seniors selected to write about their college searches in the New York Times blog, "The Choice."
She was attracted by what she calls "the spirit of Knox."
"It has an air of independence and confidence in its intellectualism," she said.
"I feel like everything has actually become reality," she added after arriving on Move-In Day. "I think what I'm looking forward to the most is getting to know my hallmates, signing up for classes, and getting to know my professors," she added.
Gimenez and her roommate, a student from Malaysia, have been messaging each other through Facebook in recent weeks.
"We've been learning a lot about each other," she said. "We have a lot in common. We like some of the same books, like Lord of the Rings."
"This is a completely new phase, different culture, different everything," said Khadija Boussen of Lamarsa, Tunisia. "I'm a little nervous, but really excited."
Boussen, who plans to major in economics, chose Knox mainly for its academics and because its location is close to some of her family members. "I'm not homesick right now, but I probably will be," she said.
Orientation has been especially helpful to her. "The international counselor told me where to go and who to see," she said. "I found everything I needed fast."
Eli Nelson of Maryville, Illinois, awoke at 4 a.m. Saturday to make sure he'd be on the Knox campus early on Move-In Day.
He described his feelings as "a mixed bag." "I'm excited to be at college. I'm nervous about what's in the future."
As a native of a small town, he said he chose to attend Knox because of its personal touch. "The atmosphere seemed really friendly, and Galesburg is a nice small town. There's not a lot of hustle and bustle."
His mother, Joanne Ochoa Nelson, is a 1987 Knox graduate.
Kaitlin Hutchcroft grew up in Knoxville, Illinois, just a few miles from the Knox College campus, and she is looking forward to learning to live "more or less on my own" at college.
"I'm just ready to get moved in," she said. "I'm excited for everything, and I'm excited to meet new people. It all seems really fun."
For the past few months, she and her new Knox roommate have been texting one another to sort out who should bring certain items. But at least one of Hutchcroft's possessions will be unique.
"Over the summer, my grandma and I made a T-shirt quilt together," she said. "I brought it because it reminds me of her."
"Knox students really help in adjusting, and it feels like home already," said Ojo Gbenga from Kogi, Nigeria.
He feels ready to begin the next four years of his life. "It's really good getting our packets and keys," said Gbenga, who heard about Knox from a presentation by the U.S. Consulate in Nigeria.
He plans to major in chemistry and neuroscience while pursuing community service activities. "I think it is great that there are all these opportunities (at Knox) to really help the community," he said.
Yan Su, from Beijing, China, appreciates the friendliness she has found at Knox.
"I just came here (for the first time) to the U.S., so it is very unfamiliar," she said.
One big difference is the location. "Where I live it is very noisy -- cars, buildings, people -- but here it's just cornfields. It's very quiet and peaceful."
She heard about Knox from her counselors in high school. While she had "a lot of reasons" to come to Knox -- such as the small class sizes and better communication with professors -- a key reason fits well with Knox's celebration this year of the 175th anniversary of its founding.
"This school has a long history, and I like its history," she said. "This is a place that can really change our lives."
Ryan Lambert, a transfer student from Rockford, Illinois, said he is "looking forward to the year. I think it's going to be good."
Lambert, who heard about Knox from his wrestling coach, hopes to major in education and mathematics, and he also hopes to join the Knox wrestling squad.