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On May 6, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., C. Andrew McGadney was officially installed as the 20th president of Knox College. Hundreds of alumni, trustees, delegates from other higher education institutions, family and friends, and members of the community gathered at The Orpheum Theater in Galesburg to mark the historic moment for the College. The celebration featured remarks from distinguished guests, recognition of faculty excellence, and the awarding of honorary degrees to three talented recipients who have moved our world forward in lasting, positive ways. A recording of the ceremony is also available to view.
During his inaugural address, McGadney asked the Knox community to consider three simple ways to move Knox forward and make a great institution even better: Acknowledge who we are, double down on our strengths, and dream big.
“We are not here to witness barren fields frozen with snow, we are here to dream big, bold, aspirational goals. We are here to dream about an abundance of opportunities for students, staff, and the community,” McGadney said, referencing Langston Hughes’ Dreams poem.
McGadney also paid tribute to his family, including his wife, Camille; three children, Kyle, Maxwell, and Naomi; parents, Naomi Powe McGadney, Clifford McGadney, and Merolyn Stewart McGadney; and his friends, colleagues, and mentors throughout his successful career in higher education.
David A. Greene, president of Colby College, who worked with President McGadney for a nearly a decade, provided remarks during the ceremony, saying McGadney “recognizes opportunities where others only see constraints.”
Tony Etz ’83, chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees observed that “Andy understands the mission of this college, and the value of this college—he knows we need to honor our past while investing in our future.”
Nancy Eberhardt, Szold distinguished professor of anthropology, provided opening remarks, and greetings were shared by Peter Schwartzman, mayor of Galesburg and professor of environmental studies; Jonathan G. Powers, assistant professor of economics and faculty marshal; Rebecca Yowler, assistant librarian for research and instruction and staff council representative; and Jamil Davis ’23, who spoke on behalf of the Knox Student Senate. Davis thanked McGadney for “listening to our concerns and speaking to us about the things that we hold dear to our heart.”
The Knox College Choir, led by Laura Lane, professor of music and director of choral and vocal studies, performed "Hold Fast to Dreams," which is based upon the Dreams poem that President McGadney referenced in his remarks.
Honorary degrees were presented to Sarah Jane Ahmed '12, David A. Greene, and Haki Madhubuti. Knox awarded Doctor of Humane Letters degrees to Ahmed and Greene, and a Doctor of Literature to Madhubuti. In remarks following the awarding of his degree, Madhubuti announced that he and his wife Carol D. Lee will donate hundreds of books to the Knox College Seymour Library, published by their Third World Press, in honor of McGadney’s presidency and Fred Hord, professor emeritus of Africana Studies.
Kevin Hastings, Rothwell Stephens Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, presented the Presidential Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence for 2020 to Richard Stout, professor of economics, and for 2021 to Elizabeth Carlin Metz, the Smith V. Brand Distinguished Chair in Theatre.
During closing remarks, Konrad Hamilton, Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History, stated,“We have someone who is up to the task. He will require help from all of us if he is to be successful. His success is our success.”
Pre-Inauguration events included academic symposia featuring the three honorary degree recipients, alumni, and faculty. Sara Jane Ahmed '12, founder of the Financial Futures Center, joined John Spittell, Wagner Distinguished Chair in Business and Knox executive-in-residence, for a discussion about her education and 10-year career following her graduation from Knox. Owen Muelder '63 presented on the abolitionist movement, and the intersections with Knox College and Galesburg. Leanne Trapedo Sims, Daniel J. Logan Professor of Peace and Justice, spoke about her ethnographic research and work with programs such as the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, and restorative justice work today. Haki Madhubuti spoke with faculty members Fred Hord, professor emeritus of Africana studies, and Magali Roy-Fequeire, associate professor and chair of gender and women’s studies and chair of Africana studies, about the impact black writers and women have had on him.
In recognition of the Presidential Search Committee:
Bamise Afolabi '21
Saxon Alvarez '23
Barbara Baird '73
Nyerere Billups Sr. '99
Mary Crawford '89
Tony Etz '83
Ellie Hartog '66
John Lawler '88
Patrick St. Aubyn Lyn '84
Laurence J. Msall '84
Susan Plomin '86
Julie K. Rademaker '83
Laura M. Rosene '90
Charles F. Smith '84
Adam G. Vitale
Peggy J. Ware
Published on May 07, 2022