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Founders Day


College Engagement, Office of Advancement

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401


888-566-9265 (Toll Free)


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Purple and yellow umbrellas on the Gizmo Patio.

Knox College President, C. Andrew McGadney

A Note from President McGadney

On February 15, 1837, Knox College was chartered by the Illinois legislature, as a private, independent college.

Founder George Washington Gale set out more than 185 years ago, to found both a college and a town, supporting and sustaining each other. Today, Knox College continues to be a community of individuals from diverse backgrounds challenging each other to explore, understand, and improve ourselves, our society, and our world. The commitment to put learning to use to accomplish both personal and social goals dates back to the founding of the College. There is so much to be proud of, as we celebrate another birthday.

Thank you for the ways you support Knox—our students, faculty, each other, and the broader community. Together we will continue the important work of expanding our historic mission and the tradition of active liberal arts learning.

Happy Founders Day—and Knox Proud Day!

Andy McGadney

C. Andrew McGadney

Thank you to our #KnoxProud Alumni, Parents, and Friends!


It's official! With a Proclamation from the City of Galesburg signed by Peter Schwartzman, Mayor of Galesburg and professor of environmental studies at Knox College, February 15 is delcared Founders Day and #KnoxProud Day!

Community Celebration

11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oak Room, Seymour Union
Join in some #KnoxProud Day fun! Grab a selfie with Blaze or George Washington Gale, gaze in wonder at the Wooden Cake while snacking on some actual cake, win fun Knox swag, test your Knox know-how with some trivia questions, make your own Knox-themed button, and more. Seniors, check out the Senior Challenge table when you stop in.

The Old Main bell will ring at noon in recognition of Founders Day and #KnoxProud Day

Noon, Hard Knox Cafe
Special menu offerings will be available during the lunch hour.

All Day, Knox Trivia
Test your knowledge on Knox facts for a chance to win Knox swag!

Knox Nosh

A variety of local restaurants and eateries are offering special Knox-themed refreshments. Stop in at your favorite(s) and/or check out a new spot! Check back for more options as we get closer to the day.

156 East; Carriage House Bakery; Cedar Creek East; Dame Fine Coffee; Hidden Hills Vineyard & Winery; Innkeeper's Coffee; Jimmy's Pizza; Opie's; Orange Cup (both locations); Reserve Artisan Ale (Vault); Smokin' Willies; Stir Coffee Company

Abolition for All Time Humanities Lab

Knox recently created the Abolition for All Time Humanities Lab, funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Projects will aim to help us understand historical and contemporary social justice issues, focusing on “abolition” as both a legacy of the College and a lens to understand its future. Read more about Abolition for All Time Humanities Lab.

Events in Seymour Library

4:00 p.m., Workshop about Digital Mapping
Abolition Lab, first floor of Seymour Library

All Day, Knox/Galesburg Timeline Highlighting significant moments in Knox and Galesburg History
Seymour Library, Second Floor

History of the Wooden Cake

The Founders Day wooden cake was designed by former business office manager James Cuthbertson for the 1952 Founder's Day celebration. The celebration was created to celebrate Knox’s 115th birthday and the whole Knox campus community was invited. The events that day included a skit in Beecher Chapel (which is no longer standing) and a party in Seymour Hall with a dance to follow. In 1954, Knox carpenter Ray Pratt and Professor of Chemistry Ira Neifert designed and made an Old Main Bell Tower on the cake out of a tin can for the 117th celebration. Each year, the cake is updated with the anniversary year.

Founders Day Cake


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Printed on Thursday, September 28, 2023