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Our History


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2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Old Main seen through the leaves of a tree.

Abraham Lincoln inscription on Old MainFive things nearly everyone here can tell you about our history

1. We were founded in 1837. Our founders opposed slavery in all forms—physical, spiritual, intellectual—and believed deeply in the potential of every human being to learn, grow, and contribute to the greater good of the community. This was a radical idea at the time. Our roots matter. They also described their intentions for the College in their Circular and Plan, which still resides in our Special Collections and Archives.

2. Our first president stood up in opposition to discrimination against women. Our nineteenth president, Teresa Amott, developed an innovative community partnership with Galesburg (KnoxCorps). We live out our ideals.

3. Our alumni make good things happen. From long ago: Samuel McClure, Class of 1882, joined other Knox alumni to found McClure's, a magazine that championed the work of muckrakers-progressive, activist journalists. From right now: Matt Berg '00 was named one of Time's 100 most influential people for his work to improve health care through the Millennium Villages Project.

4. The fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate was held on campus in 1858. Lincoln used the occasion to denounce slavery on moral terms for the first time. This was not a coincidence.

5. Our Honor Code was developed by students . One of those students, Ismat Kittani '51, came to Knox from Iraq; he went on to become president of the United Nations General Assembly. Students shaping the character of their community; students coming here from around the world; students going on to attain leadership roles on a global stage-again, not a coincidence. Just Knox. Consider the principles upon which the College was founded, and it's no wonder Knox is a place of great debate and action.

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Printed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024