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2006 Knox Service Award


Carol Brown

Director, Alumni Programs

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999


Fax: 309-341-7770


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The Knox Service Award, established in 1987, is given to any member of the Knox community to recognize outstanding volunteer service benefiting Knox College. Awards are presented during Homecoming Convocation. Annual nominations are due by January 31.

2006 Service Award Winners

Jack Larson '44Jack E. Larson '44, Advancement Volunteer
Jack learned long ago the importance of giving back to his community. A child of the Depression era, his mother, Nelle, fed hobos who came to their back porch in need of food. Jack has carried his mother's giving nature forward with a lifelong devotion to community service.

A Galesburg resident and longtime local WAIK radio personality, listeners have heard Jack say that "music can last a lifetime." His love of music translates to dedicated support of local music education programs.

  • For the past few years, Jack has organized benefit concerts for the music programs at Galesburg District 205 and Costa Catholic schools. Today more than 40 eligible children are playing instruments purchased with proceeds from the concerts.
  • Jack has served as master of ceremonies for numerous local events, including the popular "Celebrate Mom at the Pops" show "Music with Memories."
  • He is often the narrator for Knox-Galesburg Symphony big band programs and has co-produced holiday shows that benefit the Orpheum Theatre.
  • Jack is a member of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Board of Directors and the Nova Singers Board.
  • He served as host for the 2005 and 2006 Knox College Variety Shows held during Homecoming. At each show, Jack and local pianist Daniel Leahy performed a song and dance routine as the opening act, incorporating a special message to Knox alumni.
  • One of Jack's favorite causes is the FISH food pantry where he gives nearly 200 volunteer hours per year. Earlier this year, Leadership Greater Galesburg honored Jack with a Distinguished Leader Award.

Because of his popular leadership, Jack served two terms as the president of the Knox-Lombard Fifty Year Club. Megan Clayton, the Club's Coordinator, appreciated the energy and vitality Jack brought to the Club. His assistance in planning Club programs and writing inspirational president's messages for the Bulletin helped the Fifty Year Club advance its goals.

Steve Luetger '75Steven P. Luetger '75, Advancement Volunteer
Volunteers make a difference by contributing their time, talent, and financial resources to the causes they hold dear. Since 2003, Steve has accepted every volunteer responsibility asked of him by the College.

  • He joined the newly-formed Business Advisory Council in 2003 and has attended all four of the group's campus meetings.
  • As part of the Council, Steve lends his professional expertise to faculty and students of the business and management and financial mathematics programs.
  • In 2004, he was one of three chairs of his 30th Reunion committee who called upon classmates to attend Reunion and support the giving campaign. The following year, he agreed to chair the Knox Fund Steering Committee, a position he continues to hold, and actively calls donors.
  • Steve has shown his support for the College's Fitness & Athletics Initiatives by hosting a Knox Bowl renovation event in Naperville for football, golf, and basketball alumni. Events of this type allow alumni to reconnect with Harley Knosher and become informed of the Knox Bowl renovations. Steve is actively calling alumni to solicit funds for the Bowl project as well.
  • Steve co-chaired the Trustee's Tribute to the President's Circle Dinner in April 2006. The dinner is an annual event designed to recognize leadership and encourage giving to the College.
  • The 2006 Senior Challenge Committee rose to the challenge and beat the all time record dollar and participation totals with a final total of $20,000 pledged and 96 percent participation. As the Knox Fund Steering Committee Chair, Steve matched the challenge with an additional $10,000.

Steve proudly displays his Knox connection on his Mesirow Financial website, including not only his Knox degree, but also lists his Knox volunteer involvements ahead of his involvements with the Chicago Options Society, of which he is past president, and the Naperville Art League, on which he has served as past treasurer and board member. He is an active supporter of the Old Siwash/Prairie Fire Athletic Club.

Leland Leland Wilson, Air Cadet, Advancement Volunteer
During the 1940s, Knox was accepted as a training center for the 302nd College Training Detachment of the Army Air Corps. Leland Wilson was one of 2,000 Aviation Cadets, or Air Cadets as they are fondly referred to, sent to Knox for three to five months of training in 1943-44. The class of June 1944 connected with one another and with Knox and has kept in touch long after the war.

  • June 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of D-Day and the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last Cadet class from Knox. Lee worked tirelessly with Gail Youngren L'27 and Megan Clayton, Coordinator of Fifty Year Club activities, to execute a reunion of the Air Cadets to coincide with these two important anniversaries.
  • Lee placed notices in the Military Journals of the American Legion, VFW, and Air Force and contacted many of his classmates. Approximately 40 Air Cadets attended the reunion and were honored by processing before the graduating class.
  • Lee also prepared a booklet with short bios of the Air Cadets he was able to contact - a valuable remembrance for returning Cadets.
  • In 1999, Lee again worked with the Fifty Year Club to coordinate a reunion of the Air Cadets in conjunction with the 55th Reunion of the Class of 1944. Although the number of Cadets was dwindling by that time, Jack Larson and other members of the class greeted them warmly and included the Cadets in all reunion activities.
  • In 2004, the Fifty Year Club, with Lee's assistance, once again contacted the remaining Air Cadets and invited them to return to Knox. The eight Cadets who were able to make the trip reported having a wonderful time touring the campus and visiting their favorite Galesburg sites.
  • In 2005, after two years of futile correspondence with the VA, Air Force and the National Archives, Lee was able to obtain the microfilm record of the 302nd Training Detachment at Knox. He provided a print of the salient pages to the College for their archives.

Lee left Knox to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering at Tulsa University and pursued a successful career, during which he located and drilled the discovery well at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, the largest oil field in North America. Although, in his words, he is not a bona fide alumnus, his connection to Knox has helped hundreds of Air Cadets reconnect with each other and the College.

Previous Knox Service Award Recipients

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Printed on Thursday, April 19, 2018