Knox alumna Mrinalini Chakraborty '12, national field coordinator for the Women’s March, was recently intervi...
Editor, Knox Magazine
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Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
National Issues Head Home
The high price of a college education. Student loans. Sexual assault and harassment. Title IX. Inequality on college campuses. Student protests. Controversial Commencement speakers. MOOCS. SPOCS. And the flipped classroom.
To say that higher education has been the focus of national attention lately is a bit of an understatement. From cover stories on national magazines to editorials in local newspapers to Presidential task forces, issues facing colleges and universities across the nation are receiving more scrutiny than ever before. These issues are bolstered by student activism across campuses nationwide, and Knox is no exception.
In many ways, Knox is a microcosm of these national issues. Over the past year, Knox has seen student demonstrations highlighting inequality on campus and in the curriculum. The College received its own national attention with its inclusion on the list of 75 schools under investigation by the Department of Education for potential Title IX issues. And our faculty are continually working to utilize 21st-century tools to enhance teaching and learning for today’s technologically savvy students.
In the following pages, you’ll read about how a few of these national issues are playing out on the Knox campus, and we hope that this edition of the magazine will, in a sense, provide you with a greater understanding of what Knox and its students face everyday. For while evolving technology, inequality, and sexual misconduct are not new issues, they are more important to the experiences our students have during their four years on our campus than ever before. If a Knox education truly prepares students to be engaged and productive citizens of the 21st-century, then the College must face head-on the challenging issues that emerge as the demographics of our nation change and the educational landscape shifts. To do so won’t always be easy—-as you’ll see in this magazine—but it will always be necessary.
---Megan Scott '96
Out of sight behind brick walls erected more than a century ago, something remarkable has been happening on the Knox campus. After three years' extensive work on architectural design, $12 million in fundraising, and a year's extensive construction, Alumni Hall will be re-dedicated at Homecoming as a 21st-century facility to house the student journey from prospective applicant all the way to lifelong membership in the Knox community.
The building itself has had quite a journey over the past century and a quarter. President Benjamin Harrison laid the cornerstone on October 8, 1890, and the building rose to its majestic height overlooking the town and the campus as a result of the work of hundreds of craftsmen and laborers-imagine, a building that size constructed without power tools! For the next 88 years, the steps on the north side welcomed visitors from the town of Galesburg and those on the south side served as the main student entrance. While Alumni Hall was originally built to house Knox's 19th-century literary societies, Adelphi and Gnothauti, it proved to be a versatile workhorse of a building. Just about every aspect of the student experience has taken its turn inside this majestic building: from theatre productions in the grand central auditorium to classes across the curriculum on the upper floors. The Office of Advancement called Alumni Hall its home for a time. And at various times the Gizmo snack bar, an indoor running track, and the ROTC rifle range were housed on the first floor! Sadly, in 1978, the building was largely shuttered and generations of students, faculty, and staff learned to ignore its ghostly presence, walking past it on their way across campus from the Library, Old Main, or Seymour Union. On my campus visit in January 2011, not one person mentioned Alumni Hall to me, and there was no hint from its impassive exterior that it had once been such a lively place.
That all changed over the past three years as the greater Knox community came together to revive Alumni Hall. I am most grateful to the Board of Trustees, which in 2011 commissioned the Gateway Task Force to envision a new Alumni Hall under the leadership of Trustee and Galesburg resident Mark Kleine. One of Chicago's oldest architectural practices, Holabird and Root, brought tremendous expertise in contemporary educational facilities and respect for the building's history to the project, which was enormously complex and technically demanding. Knox's dedicated and energetic staff in the Office of Advancement raised the funds to complete the building, equip it with modern furnishings and technology, and build a lovely terrace in the quadrangle on the south side. To date, more than 700 alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff, and Galesburg community donors have contributed, with members of the Knox College Board of Trustees accounting for more than 60 percent of the total gifts raised. Our Peoria-based general contractor, P.J. Hoerr, recognized this project as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all who worked on it and approached the building with reverence for the anonymous workers who came before them. Knox's own facilities staff have played a role in the project as well. And the Office of Communications created a lasting digital record of Alumni Hall's history, tracing its remarkable story from 1880 to the present in drawings, photographs, and words. To have a sense of the building's many lives and the technical complexity of the renovation, I encourage you to take a look at the blog posts that have followed the building's transformation at blog.knox.edu/alumnihall.
Please join me this Homecoming as Knox re-dedicates Alumni Hall, 124 years-nearly to the day-after its cornerstone was set into
place. It will be a milestone for Knox, an opportunity to pay homage to our history and to set foot into our future. I can't wait for the
day to arrive!
---Teresa L. Amott
Letters to the Editor
Read your article in the most recent Knox Magazine on the Broadview (BV) Restaurant; I got teary-eyed. OK, OK, I know; I remember the old BV, a place that I got to know very well and where I did a lot of my best thinking. It was the bar in the old Broadview Hotel, which was on Galesburg’s main square, and, even when I went to Knox, it had long seen its better days. I was a Phi Gam at Knox, nicknamed Fiji, and I remember the desk clerk at the BV hotel (yes, they actually rented rooms) always mentioned to us as we would go by that he was stationed in the Fiji Islands in the capital, Suva, during World War II. Ah, the nostalgia of by-gone days! What memories! And then there was Bowlers and Everett’s on South Cherry … stories for another time. -- Colin Harding ’63
The Value of Liberal Arts
The Value of the Liberal Arts So, the next time I’m at a function or a party and someone says, “Ya know, I’m just not sure about the value of a liberal arts education…,” I’m going to pull out my trusty Knox Magazine and show ’em the “18 under 37” piece from your spring 2014 edition. Great job once again! Wow to who and what these and so many other Knox alums have become. Continued cheers to you for the valued way you cover our past and our present. -- Topper Steinman ’70
Right Tree, Wrong Name
The large tree in the century-old photo on page 6 of the spring 2014 issue is not Knox’s iconic ginkgo. As an arborist, I can tell from its bark, foliage, and limb structure (“habit”) that the tree in the photo is an adult American elm. Even a layman should be able to recognize the significant difference in shape of the two trees. If the ginkgo were in fact alive when this photo was taken, it would have been quite young and small. Incidentally, ginkgo trees have a fascinating history. They are members of a prehistoric species that coexisted with the dinosaurs. -- Barrett Williams ’78
Editor’s Note: Mr. Williams, you are correct. The tree featured in the photo is not the famous Gingko. That said, you can see the Gingko leaves on the far left-side of the photo. Here is another image that features the young gingko to the south of the Standish’s home. We accidentally ran the wrong image. Our apologies for the confusion!
In the spring 2014 Knox Magazine, we made two errors in reference to our alumnae: Alexis “Lexie” Kamerman’s first name was listed as Alexandra in the Editor’s Note, and Karan Grover let us know that we misspelled her name within the notes for the Class of 2004. Knox Magazine regrets these errors.
Times President Obama visited
Once after winning the Democratic nomination to the US Senate, next as a commencement speaker in 2005 and lastly, in July 2013 to address the economy.
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