Soko Cheng '19 has been awarded a competitive Gilman International Scholarship, which she will use this sprin...
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2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
President, Kirkwood Community College
Majors in Economics and History
Describe your Knox experience.
My Knox education was one of the most important and life-changing experiences of my life. It was a time for me to study and learn about many different disciplines and perspectives. It was also a time that challenged me to consider my own deeply held beliefs. "Freedom to flourish" was the phrase used to describe the Knox experience when I was a student there, and I truly felt that nothing could be closer to the truth or more accurate. Knox is a place where everyone is afforded the opportunity and freedom to flourish in their own way. When I'm asked to explain the Knox experience, I always feel that I never quite do it justice. It is a place where students are challenged academically and intellectually more than they think possible, and yet at the same time it is a place where the faculty supports the students more than they realize they need. It is a place where the ability to challenge and argue differing views can be done safely and yet to their fullest extent. I still feel that sense of freedom and comfort when I go back to campus.
How has that experience affected your life?
It enabled me to dream bigger dreams for myself and to have the confidence to pursue those dreams. On the intellectual level, it enabled me to think critically, problem solve, and write well. The ability to write well has followed me throughout my time since leaving Knox, and, while I didn't recognize it at the time, it was perhaps one of the greatest gifts of my Knox education.
What do you believe is your most notable achievement?
I would say the privilege of serving as a college president. It is such as honor to be able to be a part of higher education today. The power of higher education cannot be overstated in terms of the change it makes in individuals.