Mayor, City of Galesburg
Major in Economics
By Cheri Siebken
John Pritchard came to Knox to study economics in 1974, juggling classes with a full-time
position at Galesburg's daily newspaper, The Register-Mail. "While most of my moves were tracked in the city, when I was at Knox, I could have been 500 miles away," says Pritchard of his Knox experience. "It was a way to step out of Galesburg, so to speak, without leaving."
At age 20, a year from completing his degree, Pritchard left Knox to become publisher of The Register-Mail, a position he held for 13 years. When the paper was sold in 1989, he considered moving from the area to continue his career in publishing. Instead, he chose Galesburg.
"Our family was here, and we had four young children. Galesburg is a good place to raise kids," says Pritchard. "In the balance, we decided staying here was in the best interest of our family." Pritchard shifted from publishing to broadcasting, purchasing radio stations in Burlington, Iowa, then Galesburg. Today he owns 10 stations between the two communities. He's proud of the contributions his stations have made, as both a way to support businesses and inform listeners.
With his children now grown, Pritchard is taking his experience in the community to serve it in another way- as mayor, a position he has held since 2013. "As mayor of a small city like Galesburg, you can make things happen," said Pritchard. "You can leave things better off when you're done than when you started. I don't think that's necessarily possible in state or legislative offices."
Pritchard sees the relationship between Knox and Galesburg as a strong one, with Knox being a "real, positive contributor" to the town, not only as one of the top employers, but with the lectures, arts events, and other programming the College brings to the community, as well as the skills both faculty, staff, and students bring to the many nonprofit organizations and committees they serve on.
Right now, Knox community members serve on committees and task forces that are setting the future course of the community, like the Heart and Soul community engagement project. Also underway are the Clinton Health Initiative and a target industry study. "These initiatives are defining where Galesburg will go in the future," says Pritchard. "I want the people of Galesburg to determine our direction. My hope is that Knox will thrive and the city will thrive as we move forward."
Back to Hello.knox.edu