Just as an endowed chair is the greatest honor Knox can bestow on a professor, one of the greatest gifts the College can receive from a donor is funding such a chair.
When alumni give the gift of an endowed chair, it shows the impact a Knox education has on people's lives and adds national recognition and prestige to the department.
In just over a year's time, the College received funding for two endowed chairs from Douglas L. Bayer '66 and Richard Henke '56, both of them investing in the rich liberal arts curriculum that launched their successful careers so that generations of Knox students can continue to benefit from world-class faculty.
Bayer's physics degree from Knox -- and the influence of professors Herb Priestly and Wayne Green -- laid the foundation for graduate study in nuclear physics and a career in software development for Microsoft. In 2008, Bayer, a trustee of the College, and his wife, Maria, boosted Knox's ever-expanding environmental studies program with a $1-million endowed faculty chair in earth sciences, a new position that will bolster the curriculum and, Bayer says, help address environmental issues while influencing the lives of Knox students.
At Homecoming 2007, Henke and his wife, Sophia, announced a $1-million commitment to fund a Distinguished Professorship. Henke is a retired pathologist and College trustee who majored in chemistry at Knox before going to medical school at Stanford University. Giving back to Knox, he says, affirms the importance of a liberal arts education, as well as the impact faculty can have in shaping students lives.