Knox College Remembers Lexie Kamerman
January 20, 2014
The Knox College community remembers both the dedication and the enthusiasm of Lexie Kamerman '08, who was among 21 people killed in an attack on a restaurant Friday, Jan. 17 in Kabul, Afghanistan. "Lexie Kamerman was one of our best," said Knox College President Teresa Amott, who spoke about Kamerman, her activities at Knox and subsequent work at American University in Afghanistan at a campus open house on Monday, Jan. 20.
Lexie's family has asked that gifts in her memory be used for scholarship assistance, and will be placed in the Lexie L. Kamerman Scholarship. Learn more about the scholarship.
"The Knox community is greatly saddened by the heartbreaking news of Lexie Kamerman's death in Afghanistan," Amott said in a release to news media. "Our hearts are with Lexie's family and all who knew and loved her. She was active and engaged as a student, with majors in Anthropology and Sociology and Environmental Studies, and served as a leader on the College's water polo team and in the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Lexie was a global citizen who went to Afghanistan to build the student development program at the American University in Afghanistan. In such a short life, she embodied the best values of a Knox education and sought a better world."
President Amott also noted Kamerman's commitment to positive change in her remarks to the annual Martin Luther King Day Convocation on Monday.
"In 2013, Lexie took a position at the American University of Afghanistan. This is a university built on the same principles of access and equality as Knox. Lexie was there to train women as RAs, as resident assistants, to help educate women to be Afghan leaders of the future," Amott said.
"Before she left for that assignment, she wrote one of her faculty members at Knox to say: 'Until a class I took on global health, I never realized how connected education is to the stability and health of a nation. It's work that needs to be done and a way to serve my country and their country.'
"Lexie embodied the highest values of this College. And on this day, let us hold her in our hearts as we commemorate Dr. King and all those who have been inspired by the dream of justice for all," Amott said.
Professor, Coach Remember a Fearless Advocate, Fierce Competitor
"Lexie Kamerman was a deep thinker and a fearless advocate for a better world, said Peter Schwartzman, associate professor and chair of environmental studies. "She combined a contagious spirit for personal discovery with a pragmatic drive for collective improvement. She lived with the world, and she didn't let any hindrance or obstacle get in the way of fulfilling her dreams. She will be missed but her flame lives on inside all that knew and worked with her."
Among the faculty who worked most closely with Kamerman outside the classroom was Jonathan Powers, associate professor of economics and advisor to the water polo team in which Kamerman participated.
"I imagine many of her professors would be surprised at the path she took. I was fortunate to see another side of her," Powers said. "In the pool she was a passionate and fierce competitor. She made her teammates better and she earned the respect and friendship of her competitors. She was an incredibly talented, and in her first year she carried us to the Collegiate Water Polo Associations Women's National Club championships. She was my first All-American. It's always a challenge for talented, experienced players to play club water polo with people who have never played the game before coming to Knox. Over the years, Lexie embraced this and grew to be a leader and a teacher.
"She flourished after Knox in part because of her experience here. I really began to see her growth and development after she spent the fall of her junior year in Tanzania. Knox is proud of being a 'College that Changes Lives.' What makes me so incredibly proud is when our students go on to change the lives of others. I was fortunate to see Lexie grow and develop, to realize her purpose. I will always remember Lexie Kamerman. She made me a better coach and a better person. It was such a joy to see her develop, to find her way, to make a difference in the lives of young women in Afghanistan."
United States Senator Richard Durbin placed a formal statement in the Congressional Record honoring Lexie Kamerman, which reads, in part: "Countless friends and family have described Lexie as generous, fearless, and passionate about helping to create a better world. It's no surprise that the 27-year-old found herself in Kabul, working as a student development specialist with American University of Afghanistan. American University of Afghanistan has been committed for years to extend high-quality, affordable education for Afghans, especially girls, who may not have had access to it otherwise..."
Family Establishes Lexie L. Kamerman Scholarship
Kamerman's mother, Alison Pohn, recalls leaving Galesburg in September 2004 feeling confident her daughter was exactly where she needed to be. Kamerman's time at Knox strengthened her determination and helped to clarify her place in the global community. For Kamerman, education was a game changer and she intended to help others change the game.
Lexie's family has asked that gifts in her memory be used for scholarship assistance. Gifts will be placed in the Lexie L. Kamerman Scholarship.. Learn more about the scholarship.
More information on Lexie's life and legacy can be found in the following articles:
Chicago Tribune: 'Fearless' Chicago woman dies in Afghanistan attack
Chicago Tribune: Teacher, coach, teammate remember Lexie Kamerman
Chicago Sun Times: Chicago native killed in Taliban terrorist attack was always ‘trying to help people out'