2006 Young Alumni Achievement Award
Caitlin Muelder '96 grew up on the Knox campus, but she says she always took
it for granted until she started making plans for her own college education.
"I was born in Galesburg, and the day I left the hospital, my parents took me home to the Knox campus, where they were head residents. Knox was where my grandpa (Hermann Muelder '27), my dad (Owen Muelder '63), and all the important adults in my life either went to school or worked. It wasn't until I 'visited the Knox campus' as a prospective student that I realized what amazing opportunities laid ahead of me and what a perfect fit it would be."
Muelder knew she wanted to act. While at Knox, she majored in theatre and tried "to be in as many theatre productions as I could." During her junior year, she won a coveted position in the apprentice company at the renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival.
After graduation, Muelder gained admission to one of the nation's top ten graduate professional actor-training programs, the University of San Diego's Old Globe Program, capturing a space in a class of nine from a field of five thousand auditionees. Her master's thesis, Solitaire, a one-woman show about Amelia Earhart, was selected by the University of San Diego as one of four "showcase" productions that the university's graduate students presented at the Edinburgh Festival. She has also performed Solitaire in New York, Los Angeles, and on the Knox campus.
Since earning her master of fine arts, Muelder has acted in numerous plays across the country, including the role of Belinda Treherne in Engaged at New York's Lucille Lortel Theatre; Inherit the Wind at the Ford's Theatre; Miranda in The Tempest at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Laura in the Glass Menagerie at Charlotte Repertory Theatre; Alice in Closer at the Cincinnati Playhouse; and Anna van Gogh in Nicholas Wright's Vincent in Brixton at the Old Globe Theatre.
In addition to her work in theatre, she has had guest roles on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and CBS's The Education of Max Bickford and has appeared in two movies, Going In and If You Can Say It in Words.
Muelder received the Knox College Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 for her achievements in acting. "It is very surreal to receive the award in the Muelder Room with my grandfather looking down from his portrait and joining the other members of my family -- Walter Muelder '27, Hermann Muelder '27, and Marcia Muelder Eaton '60 -- who have also received this award."
With a career that has taken her from coast to coast, Muelder remains grounded by her Knox upbringing. "When I went to Knox as a student, it was not unlike going to Brigadoon. Right there beside me my whole life was a gateway into this entirely new world. Knox was the launching pad for my intellectual curiosity and for my career in theatre, and it gave me some of my dearest friends. Knox was -- and always will be -- my home."