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Convocation 2022


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Opening Convocation Challenges Students to Get Involved and Set Goals

Convocation 2022

President C. Andrew McGadney welcomed the Class of 2026 and other new and returning students to Knox College at the Opening Convocation on September 12, 2022. The blustery day signaled not only the first day of classes, but also the advent of fall.

Nicholas Gidmark, associate professor of biology, provided the Convocation Address, inviting students to visit “libraries,” which he said weren’t just buildings, but incubators of knowledge.

Libraries, Gidmark added, can be an athletic team; the Blessings in a Backpack program, which provides food to local school students; the Engineering Club; fraternities and sororities; the Student Senate; and the various clubs for students, including the Super Smash Bros. Club.

“Go out and find a library,” Gidmark advised the students. “These are places where you can make human connections, collaborate, and be taken way out of your comfort zone.”

Missing from physical libraries, said Gidmark, is the “help others section.” This is “deeply woven into the fabric of this community,” and Gidmark encouraged students to build the section out by lifting each other up.

Abigail King ’24, health and wellness chair of the Student Senate, and Karla Perez ’25, outreach chair of the Student Senate, greeted students and encouraged them to get involved.

Daniel R. Marlin, the interim director of spiritual life, gave closing remarks. He urged students to set goals, but not to let their pursuit of many goals overwhelm them. “Little goals can add up to big accomplishments.” Marlin shared how he struggled to finish his graduate degree, remembering the advice his wife gave him when he felt overwhelmed by his list of things to do. “She told me to ‘Just do the next thing on my list.’” He added that by persevering and getting help from supportive people, students will be able to succeed.

The Cherry Street Combo, led by Andy Crawford ’00, performed during the processional and recessional, and the Knox College Choir, under the direction of Laura Lane, professor of music, opened the ceremony with a haunting Finnish song, “Kaivo.” The choir led the audience in “The Knox Hymn” at the conclusion of the program.

Provost and Dean of the College Michael Schneider welcomed new and newly promoted faculty and awarded the Philip Green Wright/Lombard College prizes to faculty. Deirdre Dougherty, assistant professor of educational studies, received the junior faculty prize, and Sherwood Kiraly, assistant professor of English and theatre and writer-in-residence, and Stuart Allison, Watson Bartlett Professor of Biology and Conservation, and director of the Green Oaks Biological Field Station, were joint recipients of the senior faculty prize. Mary Crawford, associate dean of the college and Philip Sidney Post Professor of Chemistry, welcomed the newest inductees to Phi Beta Kappa: Addison James Anderson 24,Kaitlyn McKenzie Cashdollar 24, Kayla Marina Hope 24, Minh Thy Nguyen Le 24, and Jia Yi Self 24.

The Faculty Scholarship Prize went to Autumn Estes Crow ’23, majoring in educational studies and biology. The prize is the highest honor that the Knox faculty accord to a student, and it goes to a senior who has exhibited exceptional academic ability while participating significantly in extracurricular activities.

Elbridge Pierce Prize goes to a senior who has made the greatest increase in academic performance during their sophomore and junior years. An Trieu ’23, majoring in computer science, is this year’s recipient.

The Janet C. Hunter Prizes, which recognize outstanding accomplishments and service to the College by members of the staff, went to Kevir Donnelly, a custodian, and Brad Bergren, director of grounds.

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Printed on Saturday, February 24, 2024