Dr. Teresa Amott, president of Knox College, has announced that she will retire in June 2021. "At the February Board of Trustees meeting, I informed the Board of my plans to retire after 10 years of service to this extraordinary institution," said Amott in an announcement to the campus community. "Early in our time here, my husband Ray and I came to love Galesburg and to see it as our home, but it is time for us—as we enter our seventies—to return east to our home in the Pennsylvania forests and to our family and friends there."
Since joining the Knox community in 2011, Amott has focused her efforts on the creation and implementation of a strategic plan that called for advancing the College’s distinctive approach to a liberal arts education for the 21st century.
"Teresa has been a transformational president," said Chuck Smith '84, chair of the Board of Trustees. "Perhaps what is most visible is the transformation of the physical campus—the beauty of the renovated Alumni Hall, the acclaimed Whitcomb Art Center, and the recently opened, re-imagined core of the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center."
"But Teresa’s lasting impact on the campus runs deeper," he continued. "As the first woman to lead our College in its history, Teresa has led the faculty, staff, and students in bringing the College’s curriculum firmly into the current moment, and in creating an incredibly diverse, inclusive community that allows each of our students to carve an individual path."
Plans are underway to form a presidential search committee with representation from faculty, staff, and students, but Amott emphasizes that there is still work to be done during her remaining 15 months on campus. Two of those items include the remaining phases of the re-imagined Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center and the construction of a year-round center for learning at Green Oaks Biological Field Station.
"Many of the challenges we face as a global community will involve science and technology. To meet those challenges, our students need to be educated in contemporary facilities," said Amott. "Additionally, in today's very competitive admission market, it is essential that our science and technology facilities reflect the ambitions of the individuals who want to study here."
Amott holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College and a B.A. in economics from Smith College, and has spent her entire career in higher education. She began her career at a liberal arts college—Wellesley College—and experienced faculty life at larger institutions, including the University of Massachusetts, before returning to the liberal arts setting, accepting faculty and administrative positions at Bucknell University and Gettysburg College before serving as provost and dean of the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges prior to her arrival at Knox.
She currently serves as a member of the NCAA Division III Presidents Council and the Board of Directors of Campus Compact, a national organization of campuses dedicated to civic engagement.
"Teresa is a unique combination of characteristics," said Smith. "She combines deep analytic skills and an understanding of data with an even deeper heart and commitment to help Knox College achieve its mission and live our core values. Every constituent of the College has been touched by her leadership. We will miss her."
In her letter to campus, Amott said that she has been inspired by the generosity and dedication of the faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who contribute their time, talent, and treasure to the College. "You have all given me the most remarkable gift anyone could have: the opportunity to play a small role in a mission that stretches back to 1837 and forward into the future for generations to come."