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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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April 15, 2024

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Inauguration of Knox College’s 20th President honored by community support


Andy McGadney was inaugurated in early May after taking responsibility as Knox President at the beginning of this academic year.

Andy McGadney has three big goals for the future of Knox College: “Acknowledge who we are, double down on our strengths, and dream big.”

As of May 6, 2022, McGadney is officially the President of Knox College, but as Professor of Anthropology Nancy Eberhardt said in her opening speech, “his work as our 20th president is already well underway.”

The Galesburg Orpheum Theatre held a full house as many in the Knox Community joined together to celebrate the occasion. The formal inauguration was recorded and is available on the Knox College Inauguration website

McGadney started his term at the beginning of this year, and as was clear in many of the speeches, he made a strong positive impact. 

Those speaking at the ceremony consisted of Nancy Eberhardt, Szold Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology; Tony Etz ’83, chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees; Peter Schwartzman, mayor of Galesburg and Knox professor of environmental studies; Jonathan Powers, assistant professor of economics; Rebecca Yowler, assistant librarian for research and instruction; Konrad Hamilton, Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History and chair of American studies; and Junior Jamil Davis, campus life chair of The Knox Student Senate. 

“I appreciate that you lead with a smile,” Davis said. 

The Knox Chamber Brass Ensemble, directed by Chuck MacKinnon, Sudbury Resident Artist in Jazz and Popular Musics, performed during the processional and recessional.  

The Knox College Choir, directed by Laura Lane, professor of music performed a special selection, “Hold Fast to Dreams” composed by Joel Thompson with lyrics by Langston Hughes. 

The Introduction Of the President by David A. Greene, President of Colby College and longtime friend of McGadney, was particularly impactful. 

“He has a great respect for culture and tradition, but always keeps his eye focused on the road ahead,” Greene said about McGadney. 

McGadney himself gave an impassioned speech about his hopes for the future of Knox College. He acknowledged the board, the presidential search committee, as well as his family and friends. 

“We are here together to dream big, bold, aspirational goals,” McGadney said. 

During the ceremony, honorary degrees were presented to Knox alumni Sara Jane Ahmed ‘12, a financial and environmental strategist leading a worldwide initiative to build clean energy economies for people in regions most affected by climate change; David A. Greene, twentieth president of Colby College in Waterville, Maine; and Haki R. Madhubuti, a best-selling author, poet, publisher, editor, and educator, who is widely regarded as one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement. 

“These three honorary degree recipients are relentless innovators who, through their determination, creativity, versatility, and leadership, have moved their respective fields, and the world, forward,” said McGadney. 

Kevin J. Hastings, Rothwell Stevens Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, received the Presidential Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence.

The ceremony closed with The Knox Hymn, “Hail to Alma Mater,” led by the Knox College Choir but sung by everyone in attendance. 

For more information about President C. Andrew McGadney, please read his biography. More information about the honorary degree recipients at the Inauguration can be found here.

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