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Knox College Honorary Degrees, 1849-1899


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Commencement speakers are indicated, where known, in italics; Knox alumni in bold.


  • James Alonzo Adams ('67), Clergyman and editor "Advance," Conglomerated Mag., Chicago; trustee, Knox College
  • Isaac A. Cornelison, Clergyman, Washington, Illinois
  • John Finley, Knox graduate and president of the college; later, a Knox trustee and editor of The New York Times
  • W. Hamilton Spence, Clergyman, Galesburg; later at Uniontown, Pennsylvania


  • John Lauderdale Kennedy ('83), Lawyer and banker, Omaha, Nebraska. Member of Congress from the 2nd District of Nebraska


  • William C. Gray, Editor "The Interior," a religious paper, Chicago
  • William E. Holyoke ('46), Clergyman, Farmington; trustee, Knox College. Made the first Knox Commencement Address, Class of 1846
  • Sheldon Jackson, Pioneer Presbyterian missionary in Alaska; founder of churches and schools; U.S. General Agent Education of Alaskan Natives; introduced reindeer to Alaska. Moderator of the 1897 Presbyterian General Assembly
  • William White Leete, Clergyman, Rockford. Later at New Haven, Connecticut as field secretary, Congregational Church Extension Board
  • Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian Arctic explorer
  • Edwin G. Smith ('46), Clergyman and Superintendent, American Bible Society for Indiana and Illinois


  • Horace Mervin Carr ('56), Clergyman, Cambridge, Illinois
  • George Churchill ('51), Mathematician and Civil Engineer.; Principal of the Knox Academy for 40 years
  • Newton C. Daugherty, Educator, Peoria
  • James H. Eckels, Comptroller, U.S. Finance Department, Washington, D.C. Later President of the Commercial National Bank, Chicago
  • Caleb Frank Gates, President of Euphrates College, Harput, Turkey; later President of Roberts College, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Peter Stenger Grosscup, Jurist, Chicago. U.S. District Court, No. Illinois
  • John Lindsey Withrow, Clergyman, Chicago. Moderator of the 1896 Presbyterian General Assembly


Harriet Hurd McClure

  • Alfred Craig, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court
  • W.S. Davis, Clergyman, Aledo
  • Casper Wistar hiatt, Clergyman, Peoria
  • Harriet Hurd McClure (pictured), Knox graduate and editor of McClure News Syndicate
  • William Stevenson Marquis, Clergyman, Rock Island, and President of the Chicago Historical Society
  • Edward G. Mason, Clergyman, Chicago


  • Henry Allen Bushnell, Clergyman, Galesburg
  • Marshall Curtiss Hazard ('61), Lawyer and editor of the Conglomerated Periodicals. Chicago

1893 (Lombard College)

  • John Houston Finley, Knox graduate, president of Knox 1892-1899, later editor of The New York Times


  • Eugene Field, Knox alumnus and author and columnist for the Chicago Daily News


  • Albin Putzker, M.A. Professor, German Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, California
  • Frank Goodrich Woodworth, Clergyman and President at Tougallo University, Tougallo, Mississippi


  • Edwin Augustus Adams, Clergyman, Bohemian Mission Conglomerate Chicago


  • Joseph Joachim Lampe ('64), Clergyman, New York. Later Professor, Hebrew and Old Testament History, Presbyterian Thological Seminary, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Matthew B. Lowrie, Clergyman. Former Trustee, Knox. Later President, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Omaha, Nebraska


  • Edward Chittenden Ray, Clergyman and Secretary, Board of Aid to Presbyterian Colleges and Academies, Chicago


  • Edward Harvey Curtis ('63), Clergyman, Lincoln, Nebraska; Trustee, Knox, 1875-1874
  • Stephen Van Culen White ('54), Lawyer and stock broker, New York. Representative member, 50th Congress; Trustee, Knox


  • George W. Lilley ('74), Mathematician; President of South Dakota Agricultural College. Later, President of Washington St. Pullman, Washington and Professor of Math, Oregon University, Eugene, Oregon


  • Luther Halsey Gulick, Clergyman, Hanover, N.H.
  • Frank Mathews, Superintendent of Schools, Pekin


  • Philip Atkinson ('53), Manufacturer, electrical supplies, Chicago; lecturer and author


  • John Williston Cook, Professor and later president, Northern Illinois, St. Teachers College, DeKalb
  • Robert Gibson McNiece, Clergyman. Dean, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Simon John McPherson, Clergyman. Headmaster, Lawrenceville (N.J.) School
  • Joseph Ward, Professor and President, Yankton College, Yankton, South Dakota


  • Samuel Willard (also spelled "Wilford"), Educator


  • Horatio Miller Case ('71), Clergyman, Winterset, Iowa
  • Henry Eaton Hitchcock ('46), Professor, Mathematics, Knox College 30 years. Later at Lincoln University, Lincoln, Illinois and Acting Chancellor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska


  • Joseph A. Sewall, (First Ph.D. Awarded), President, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • John Van Ness Standish, President, Lombard University, 41 years. Builder of Standish Park. Established Standish Fund for the Knox Library


  • Charles Wesley Leffingwell ('66), Clergyman, editor; founder and rector of St. Mary's School, Knoxville; also founder of St. Alban's School, Knoxville
  • John Knox McLean, Clergyman, California. Later president of the Pacific Theological Seminary, California
  • William S. Robertson ('52), Physician on staff, Medical School, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa


  • Harlan Page Case ('71), Clergyman, California
  • Lucius Harwood Foote ('46), Lawyer and judge, Sacramento, California. Later U.S. diplomat in Chile and Korea
  • Hiram Irving Nancy ('74), Physician, Los Angeles, California


  • James Henry Warren, helped found predecessor of the University of California-Berkeley
  • Arthur T. Pierson, Clergyman and Author, Detroit, Michigan


  • Josiah J. Blaidsdell, Clergyman. Professor, Beloit College, Wisconsin


  • Alexander McKay, Clergyman, Elmira


  • George Duffield, Knox trustee and composer of church hymns
  • George Thatcher, Clergyman, President of the University of Iowa
  • Fredrick Howard Wines, Clergyman, Springfield. Secretary, Illinois Board of Public Charities. Later an assistant director of the U.S. Bureau of Census


  • James Mason Hopin, Clergyman, New Haven, Connecticut, Professor of Art, Yale University
  • Edwin L. Hurd ('53), Clergyman, President of Blackburn College, Carlinville; Knox Trustee
  • Joseph Edwin Roy ('48), Field Superintendant, American Home Mission Society, Chicago. Later Knox Trustee


  • Alonzo J. Sawyer ('48), Mathematician; Professor, University of Chicago


  • E.H. Cooper, Physician, Henderson
  • W.A. Jones, Clergyman, Knoxville


  • William Campbell, Clergyman, Chicago


  • Samuel M.Etter, Educator, Cambridge, Illinois


Abraham Lincoln

  • Abraham Lincoln (pictured), President of the United States
  • William M.Haigh (Hague), Clergyman, Galesburg; Trustee, Knox
  • Carlos Haven, M.A. Educator, Joliet


  • Charles Burlington Waite, Lawyer, Chicago. Later Justice, Utah Supreme Court


  • A. Curtis, Physician, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Alburt Hurd, Professor of Natural Science, Knox College


  • E.S. Cooper, Physician, Hendersonville

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Printed on Tuesday, August 9, 2022