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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

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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Meeting new staff members


Knox welcomes several new staff members

Lisa Harris

Harris was hired to be the new director of the Vovis Center on October 5th of last fall. After previously serving in supervising and advisory positions at institutions in the Chicago area, Harris arrived at Galesburg to begin working at Knox.

“I’m excited about being at Knox and working in a department that has a really cohesive mission,” Harris said.

A combination of personal reasons along with career goals is what pushed Harris to make the move from Chicago to Galesburg. She came across the job posting in June, at a time where COVID cases were not showing any signs of stopping. Harris and her husband were unsure whether or not they would want to stay in Chicago the rest of their lives, and they also happen to have family that live in Galesburg. With these factors in mind, the family decided to make the move.

One of the many things that Harris has enjoyed about the position is the fact that it has combined her previous experience in  advising and management while also being able to work directly with the student body.

“I’m really impressed and really enjoy working with students. It’s sort of a breath of fresh air,” Harris said.

Increasing awareness of Vovis Center programs as well as creating more programs and workshops are among the things that Harris hopes to accomplish with her new position. In addition, she will also be the new pre-health advisor, which is the first time the two positions have been put together.

As both the director of the Vovis Center and advisor to the Pre-Health Club, Harris hopes to make opportunities more accessible to the student body, and utilize more ways of communication with students, such as using Handshake rather than just sending out emails. 

Harris urges students to seek out opportunities and to not hesitate in asking for guidance.

“I’m here for students, that’s the point of my job,” she said.

Jesse Hughes

Jesse Hughes is the most recent hire at Knox, who arrived on January 11th of this year. Hughes will be the new associate director for the McNair Scholars Program where he will be teaching junior and senior seminar courses, prep them for the GRE, help them identify and apply to graduate school programs and much more.

Hughes discovered that he wanted to help more people find access to educational opportunities when he was in grad school at the University of Dayton as part of his own research. In his research application, he requested to start programs in the underserved parts of Dayton that would seek to help students find opportunities to pursue research themselves.

“[I] learned that it was something I was very passionate about,” Hughes said.

After deciding that this was the line of work that he would want to pursue, Hughes came across Knox and came to admire a lot about it. This included the history of abolitionists in Galesburg, and more recently reading about the experiences of students who had graduated from Knox. 

“I assumed that from reading on that history, that I would be working among people who share those values and that passion for trying to kind of be of service to those who are in need,” Hughes said. 

Currently, Hughes is hoping to get to know more of the student body and the campus, as well as the plain logistics of how the program works. With his position, he hopes to understand the needs of the students with their goals and to collaborate with others on campus to seek out more opportunities that can be available to students.

Lisa Van Riper

Finally, Van Riper has come to Knox as the new Executive Director of Communications after being hired in October of last year. After holding several previous positions in communications, most recently as the Vice President of Communications at the Common App, Van Riper has arrived at Knox. 

This August, Van Riper made the decision to leave the Common App after realizing that she had wanted to return to working with students at a college campus.

“Making a change like this during a pandemic was risky, but I am so glad I did it,” Van Riper said over email.

Van Riper has already been working with the rest of the communications team and is looking forward to upcoming projects. Some of this includes working with admissions to attract students to Knox, working with the Office of Advancement and joining other departments for matters relating to Knox Together.

“We are forever seeking great stories about the student experience at Knox, so ensuring that we are in the know about what students are doing during their college career at Knox is a top priority,” Van Riper said.

Van Riper is also happy to return to the Midwest after living in northern Virginia for the last couple of years and looks forward to bringing her wife and daughter to Galesburg. Like everyone else, she looks forward to the pandemic being over so that normal communication with others can resume.

Overall, she looks forward to working with the team and bringing a new perspective to things.

“I look forward to building positive and productive relationships with members of the Knox community and working with the Communications team to continue to creatively and effectively tell the world what a very special and unique place Knox College is,” Van Riper said.

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