Skip to main content
Hero Image Loading


Office of Communications

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



News Archive
Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Knox College Announces 2024 Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Maria Hinojosa, Retired Knox Athletic Director Harlan "Harley" Knosher, and Renowned Ecologist Shahid Naeem to be awarded honorary degrees

Knox College has announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa will receive an honorary degree and speak at its 2024 Commencement exercises to be held in June.

Hinojosa is the founder of Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC, with the mission to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. Over the course of her career, she has informed the public about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad as the anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning show Latino USA, co-host of Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast In the Thick, and, most recently, her Pulitzer Prize-winning podcast Suave.

This year’s Commencement will be Hinojosa’s second engagement with Knox College. She visited the college in 2014, delivering the Stellyes Distinguished Lecture in Global Affairs. 

“It is an honor to welcome groundbreaking journalist Maria Hinojosa back to Knox College, a place with its own proud history in groundbreaking American journalism,” said President C. Andrew McGadney. “Her work highlights the diversity of our American experience, particularly the stories often under-reported or overlooked by traditional media. I have no doubt that her ability to seek truth and context about important issues at home and abroad will inspire the Class of 2024 and our entire community.”

Hilary Lehmann

Hinojosa’s career as a journalist includes reporting for NPR, PBS, CBS, WNBC, and MSNBC. She has won four Emmys, The John Chancellor Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Overseas Press Club Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of four books: Crews, Raising Raul, Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America, and The Young Reader's version of her memoir Once I Was You. Hinojosa is the Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at her alma mater, Barnard College. Her current work is focused on deep accountability investigative journalism.

Knox College also announced that long-time Knox College coach and athletic director Harlan "Harley" Knosher and renowned ecologist Shahid Naeem will also receive 2024 Honorary Degrees. 

Harlan "Harley" Knosher

Hilary Lehmann

Over the course of his 40-year tenure at Knox, Harlan “Harley” Knosher served as a coach, athletic director, faculty member, and, most importantly, mentor to generations of students and alumni. Knosher arrived at Knox in 1960 as the head basketball coach and proceeded to serve as head baseball and golf coach, as well as assistant football coach. He was named athletic director in 1968, a position he held until his retirement in 2000. In addition to his work at Knox, Knosher wrote the book Basic Basketball Strategy, published by Doubleday in 1972, and was named chairman of the Men’s Basketball Committee for Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1985. He also has served on the NCAA national committee and as chairman of the NCAA Midwest Region advisory committee on Division III basketball. 

Knosher received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and his master’s degree from Northwestern University. In honor of his service to Knox, as well as his tireless energy, heart, and enthusiasm for Knox athletics, Knosher was inducted into the Knox-Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989 and the College’s football stadium was dedicated as the Knosher Bowl in 2008. 

Shahid Naeem

Hilary Lehmann

Shahid Naeem is professor of ecology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology and director of science at the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, was a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College of London, the University of Copenhagen, and University of Michigan. In addition to his tenure at Columbia University, Naeem has served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington. 

Recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Buell and Mercer Awards and the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty award at Columbia University, Naeem is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Aldo Leopold Leadership fellow. He currently serves as president of the Ecological Society of America (2022-2025 term). His teaching, research, and publications focus on the importance of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide humanity.

The 2024 Knox College Commencement will be held on Sunday, June 9, at 10:00 a.m. on the South Lawn of Old Main on the Knox College campus. It is free and open to the public. More information can be found at

Share this story

Knox College

Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024