Honorary Degree Presentation to Elizabeth Eckford
Knox College confers an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to civil rights icon Elizabeth Eckford, a member of the Little Rock Nine.
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July 11, 2018
The Knox College Board of Trustees welcomed six new members and a new Board chair, effective July 1.
Charles Smith '84, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2003, was elected Board chair. He is a partner at Skadden Arps LLP in Chicago, Illinois. Smith succeeds Richard Riddell '72, senior vice president and university secretary at Duke University, who was elected trustee emeritus.
"I have been fortunate during my time at Knox to work for skilled and experienced Board chairs, including Jan Koran '71, Duke Petrovich '74, Richard Riddell '72, and, now, Chuck Smith '84," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "Their expert and generous leadership is invaluable to the College and vital to its mission and ongoing success."
Smith received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He leads Skadden's litigation practice in Chicago and represents a broad array of U.S. and international companies, as well as their top executives, in complex regulatory investigations, enforcement matters, and litigation. Smith has served on the College's Alumni Council and Knox Fund Steering Committee and frequently hosts alumni meetings and events.
Six new trustees will also join the Board. Robert Long '75, Susan Plomin '86, Tino Schuler '87, Donald Harmon '88, and Keith Lee '94 were elected general trustees. Celinda Davis '15 was named alumni trustee.
Robert Long '75 received his B.A. from Knox in political science and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979.
Long worked at a Chicago law firm for more than 24 years before joining Littler Mendelson in 2003, where he is founder and co-chair of their Restructuring Practice Group. He works with corporate clients and private equity firms to guide them in structuring corporate transactions to minimize risk and maximize the value and success of those transactions from a labor, employment, and employee benefits perspective.
Susan Plomin '86 earned a bachelor's degree from Knox in mathematics and economics and business administration. At Knox she was a member of Pi Beta Phi, ran track, participated in intramurals, and worked in admissions.
After graduating from Knox, Plomin served as a board member for the Chicago Knox Club. Plomin has served as a member of various non-profit organizations, including Conner Prairie Alliance and Oakland County Lighthouse, as well as on the board of directors as treasurer for Christ Child Society of Detroit. Plomin and her husband, Joseph Plomin '84, helped fund the widely utilized Plomin Terrace outside of Alumni Hall, as well as the resurfacing of Turner Track.
Schuler is the founder of Schuler Educational Consulting. His organization guides young people and their families on the college selection journey and provides them with a host of financial, database, and management services. Previously, he served as a medical device marketing executive at Medtronic for 20 years. For Knox, Schuler previously served as an alumni trustee before becoming a general trustee and has been a member of the Business Advisory Council and the K Club.
Harmon is the Illinois State Senator from the 39th Legislative District. He is in his fifth Senate term and was appointed president pro tempore in 2011, offering him a key role in shaping policy and moving legislation through the Illinois Senate. Harmon has previously served as an alumni trustee and often works with philanthropists in Chicago who support educational efforts.
Lee is CEO and co-founder of Feenix Venture Partners, a venture capital firm based in New York City that provides debt, equity and hybrid capital to early stage growth companies. Lee worked at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and UBS Investment Bank as a structurer and trader in structured credit before joining H/2 Capital Partners, a multi-billion dollar commercial real estate debt platform as a partner and head of capital markets. Lee and his wife, Erin Sung-Hee Park '95, are supporters of the Bastian Family Career Center.
Celinda Davis '15 graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Knox with a bachelor's degree in history. At Knox, Davis was active in Student Senate, Terpsichore Dance Collective, Blessings in a Backpack, and Knox Ambassadors.
Davis is currently a graduate student in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership Program. Before pursuing her master's degree, Davis taught at Montessori Habitat School. During her time at Knox, Davis was a Dean's List student who earned numerous awards, including the Lincoln Laureate, Faculty Scholarship Prize, the Outstanding Senior Award, and a Ford Fellowship.