Knox College's 172nd Commencement Ceremony

I’m an anthropologist and anthropologists have long studied how different

communities organize transitions from one stage of life to another

We often underscore the role of ritual in making these life changes. For the next few hours we’re all engaged in one such ritual, one that in this relatively short period of time, is informed simultaneously by the past, “What did you learn?” The present, “How do you learn?” And the future, “What now?” In a short poem several decades ago, E.B. De Vito wrote about learning She wrote, “Knowledge comes in a way unsought as in the Chinese tale of the youth, who came for daily lessons and what there was to learn of jade. And each day, for a single hour, while he and the master talked together always of unrelated matters, jade pieces were slipped into his hand until one day when a month had passed, the young man paused then with a frown said suddenly, that is not jade.” Lots of jade has been put in your hands over the past few years by the faculty, those who’ve been your teachers, your mentors, your guides They’ve put jade in your hand so you’ll learn whether it’s jade or not. Whether the hypothesis has proven false or it’s not. Whether the painting is

aesthetically pleasing or it’s not Whether the language of the poem grabs your imagination or it doesn’t. Whether the analysis of behavior is persuasive or it’s not. At the same time lots of jade has been put in your hands over these past years by your fellow students and by the staff who have supported a residential experience for you, through which you’ve learned both the benefits and challenges of creating one community In all this, you’ve learned when it’s truly jade and when it’s not. Or at least enough of that, or you wouldn’t be sitting here now about to receive your degrees as college educated persons. But here’s the thing. The value of the education you’ve received isn’t measured simply by the past, by the exams you’ve passed, the papers you’ve written, the creative works you’ve produced. Nor is it measured simply by the present, this deservedly satisfying and proud moment when your accomplishments are recognized. The lasting value of what you’ve received will only be measured by the future, a future that will continue to require you to learn but one that comes without a syllabus. Philosophers, essayists, spiritual leaders, and teachers have made a similar point and from all of these I choose the words of John Lennon who sang, “Life is what happens when you’re looking the other way.” Or, as the ending of DeVito’s poem reminds us, “Learning slips in and comes to stay while you are faced the other way.” So at this moment of celebration, let’s all recognize that jade will continue to be placed in your hands, and in ours, and have faith in your ability and in ours to continue to learn. Thank you Please be seated Thank You Larry for that wonderful opening. On behalf of Knox College, I welcome all of you to the 172nd commencement I’m Richard Riddell, I’m chair of the Board of Trustees of Knox and my fellow trustees are here on the platform behind me, as well as the faculty. Knox was founded almost two centuries ago in 1837 On this day when we honor those who have completed their studies and will graduate into the world, there’s a tradition that former Board Chair started that I am happy to continue, which is to invite all of you to join me and go back in time a bit–a hundred years and think about the commencement that was held here in 1917. Now grad– soon-to-be graduates, imagine the time when the principal form of communication was not Instagram or YouTube video, but public speaking. People gathered together on occasions such as this to hear leaders speak about the main topics of the day. That’s how they learned about them Here’s what they heard 100 years ago at commencement of Knox College. Two months before that commencement, they had learned that the Russian Tsar had abdicated, and as the first speaker noted, the prestige and authority of 300 years of royal power was blown away as if chaff, and the Russian people found themselves Democracy, the speaker said, was finding route in countries around the world and the will of the people was celebrated in the midst of the Great War, World War I, where 17 of the 77 graduates back in 1917 had already left to go into the service. A second speaker focused on a topic closer to Galesburg, Illinois. As the Industrial Revolution was sweeping the country, the country found itself in a food shortage. The audience was called upon by this speaker to remember that agriculture was America’s first great industry, and he encouraged the graduates of the college to not all move to the growing cities, but to some, stay behind on the land and grow crops to

feed the nation. Of those 77 graduates, all but three came from cities and towns in the state of Illinois. Quite different from today. Finally, the third speaker reflected on patriotism. The Liberty Bell was traveling around the country to give people outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a chance to see a great symbol of the United States. The speaker warned that patriotism wasn’t just as he put it, “An occasional fit of emotion.” It was an individual’s assumption of responsibility It was the resolve to discipline and sacrifice. To exert conscious efforts to better the country. He exhorted the crowd, “My duty is to America.” As we listen to these words we hear echoes of a hundred years ago in our lives today and we’re reminded of the value and I’m sure your faculty taught it to you, soon-to-be graduates, of the value of studying history. Of learning how others faced opportunity and adversity, and most of all on this special day, we connect with those who gathered here a hundred years ago and those at many other Knox commencements since 1837, and they set to celebrate the accomplishments of young people. Today the graduates of 2017 will leave this beautiful and historic campus to do their part, to make not only America, but the world a better place That’s what Knox graduates do. Welcome The song we’re about to sing was commissioned by the Knox College Choir and written especially for us. We feel the song is perfect for us, for Knox, and for the senior class because of the poem If you’d like to follow the words, they’re printed on the last page of your program Welcome to the 172nd commencement proceedings of Knox College. My name is

Teresa Amott, it is my privilege and my great honor to serve this remarkable institution as Knox’s 19th president. For 172 years families and friends of the graduates have made the journey to Galesburg to witness that moment at which their graduate walked across the stage to receive a degree from Knox College. And this moment has been made possible by the entire Knox community, our distinguished faculty, our dedicated staff, our board of trustees behind me And among these many special people who have cared for you during these years, let us especially recognize the campus safety, facilities, and dining service workers who have made this campus for you, a home away from home Graduates you are joined–it’s coming you got another chance–you are joined in celebration today by faculty, by staff, by trustees, by families and friends, please stand and express your gratitude for all they have done for you today We are joined today by a very special guest, Rosemary Cratons Wise, who celebrates with us the 75th anniversary of her graduation from Knox in 1942 Rosemary’s mother, grandmother, brother husband, sons, daughter, and granddaughter have all attended Knox and she is an active and loyal alumna. She remembers the mood on the campus that fateful day in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and she is here with us today Rosemary, receive our congratulations on this milestone It is now my privilege to confer the honorary degrees upon the recipients selected by the Board of Trustees for this 172nd commencement. Knox College awarded its first honorary doctorate to someone you may have heard of, Abraham Lincoln, in 1860. And in a letter to Mr. Lincoln, Knox trustee

Orville Browning assured him, Knox is destined to become one of the most useful colleges of the land and in after time, it will be no discredit to you that you received your degree at her hands Mr. Browning’s prediction came true Knox did indeed become one of the most useful colleges in the land and it has continued its tradition of awarding degrees to individuals of great distinction. And by selecting these individuals have demonstrated merit for recognition with honorary doctorates, the Board of Trustees invites them into an enduring relationship with Knox College These degrees carry the weight of the history, tradition, and core values of this College. They are conferred with care and with deep respect for those whose lives and deeds we are privileged to honor. One small change in the program, Professor Oldfield will present the first candidate for an honorary degree President Amott, I’m honored to present Ambassador Levin, distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, for the degree of Doctor of Laws Ambassador they are called Levin with the 65th US ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands She served from 2009 to 2011 as Chief of Mission of an embassy that included 15 federal agencies, four locations, and more than 250 employees. In addition to embassy management her areas of focus and impact included a green agenda, engagement with diverse audiences, public diplomacy through cultural exchanges Born shortly after her parents emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States she was the first US ambassador in this post to have Dutch parents. Upon her resignation in 2011, Ambassador Levin wrote, “To be American ambassador anywhere is an honor. To be ambassador to the country of my parents birth is a unique privilege.” Prior to her appointment as ambassador she was a senior consultant at rest pública group, a public relations and government affairs consultancy in Chicago where she advised nonprofit and governmental clients. From 1997 to 2005 she served as Vice President of External Affairs at Chicago’s Field Museum representing the museum in its relationships with federal state and city governments and community affairs. A graduate of Northwestern University and Loyola University School of Law, Ambassador Levin began her career as a legal adviser at the Illinois State Board of Education. She then joined the law firm Seyfarth Shaw representing primarily school boards, private and public colleges, and social service agencies. She published many articles and was a frequent speaker on topics related to school and employment law and crisis management. In her current role at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, Ambassador Levin works on political, international, and environmental issues. She is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School teaching a course on federalism and state social policy, and also serves as a trustee of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg foundation. Ambassador Levin is an active member of her community and supporter of education in the arts, serving on a variety of regional and national boards. She is a member of the board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the National Archives Foundation, and the Roosevelt Institute, and serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Window to the World Communications Inc. Previously, she served on the boards of DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, and the Merritt School of Music She was honored with the Illinois Arts Alliances Citizens Advocate Award in 2013 and was the 2016 recipient of the Loyola Law School’s Damen Award for distinguished community service

President Amott, in recognition of her distinguished career, service to her country, and dedication to her community I present ambassador Faye Hartog Levin for the degree of Doctor of Laws By the authority of the General Assembly, of the state Illinois, vested in the Board of Trustees of Knox College and by them delegated to me, I hereby confer upon you the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa with all the privileges, honors, and dignities which here and elsewhere pertain to that degree Professor Schwartzman will present the second candidate for an honorary degree President Amott, I am honored to present Wes Jackson, President Emeritus of the Land Institute for the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Wes Jackson’s career has taken him full circle. Born and raised on a farm near Topeka, Kansas his early life was dedicated to the land, farming it to sustain his family’s livelihood. After a successful career in academia took him out of Kansas and ultimately to California, Jackson returned to his home state to co-found the Land Institute. Once again he dedicated his life to the land, researching and working to sustain our earth by revolutionizing agriculture as we know it. Jackson’s friend and fellow environmentalist Wendell Berry has said of him, quote, “I know of nobody who has thought more carefully or responsibly about the problems of Agriculture and their possible solutions,” end quote Jackson received a bachelor’s degree in biology at Kansas Wesleyan University. At the University of Kansas he received a master’s degree in botany, followed by a doctorate in genetics at North Carolina State University. He then pursued an academic career ultimately teaching at California State University Sacramento, where he helped to establish the country’s first Environmental Studies department. A tenured professor, he resigned in 1976 to co-found the Land Institute, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to create an agriculture that mimics natural ecosystems like prairies, in order to produce ample yields by breeding perennial grains to be grown in mixtures, as well as to minimize the negative impacts of grain agriculture. A tangible result of this 50 to 100 year agenda is kernza, the first perennial grain in agriculture’s ten thousand year history and the most recent domesticated grain in 42 hundred years. Early versions of kernza are now grown at pre-commercial scale on dozens of farms worldwide and appear in commercial food products Jackson has written extensively about this work in numerous articles and books including, “Becoming Native to This Place,” “Nature As Measure: The Selected Essays of Wes Jackson,” “Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture,” and “New Routes For Agriculture.” He was in 1990, Pew Scholar in conservation and the environment and in 1992 a MacArthur Fellow. And he has received the Right Livelihood Award, the so-called alternative Nobel Prize presented annually in Sweden. The University of Kansas Distinguished Services Award and the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award Rolling Stone has called him “One of a hundred agents of change.” Life magazine named him as one of 18 individuals they predict will be among the hundred most important Americans in the 20th century, and in 2005, Smithsonian included Jackson as one of 35 who made a difference. Yet perhaps his career and accomplishments can be summed up most effectively in his own words, quote, “If

you think–excuse me–If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough,” end quote. President Amott, in recognition of his visionary work in environmental studies and his contributions to sustainable agricultural movement, I present Wes Jackson for the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters By the authority delegated to me, I hereby confer upon you the degree Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa with all the privileges, honors, and dignities which here and elsewhere pertain to that degree And one other small change, Professor Kiraly will present the third candidate for an honorary degree President Amott, I am honored to present Eva Longoria, award-winning actress, producer, director, entrepreneur, and philanthropist for the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. Eva Longoria may be best known for her award-winning role as Gabrielle Solis on the hit television show Desperate Housewives, but if you explore her career you’ll discover an impressive list of personal and professional accomplishments She’s as comfortable behind the camera as in front of it, she’s a savvy businesswoman and entrepreneur, as well as a best-selling author, and she is a respected philanthropist and activist, supporting the Latino community and children with special needs. She also received her master’s degree in Chicano Studies and Political Science in 2013 from California State University Northridge, writing her thesis on, “Success Stems From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.” In her own words, she quote, “Wanted a better, more authentic understanding of what my community has gone through so I can help create change,” unquote Ms. Longoria who was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas landed her first major acting role in the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless, which earned her an American Latino Media Arts Award. Two years later she became a household name with her star role on Desperate Housewives. During the show’s eight-year run, Ms. Longoria received numerous awards for her performance, including the Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe. She has guest starred on the Golden Globe award-winning comedy Brooklyn 99 and the hit drama Empire, and has directed episodes of acclaimed series Jane the Virgin and the Emmy award-winning Blackish. She also stars in the feature films Lowriders, in All-Star Weekend, as well as the BBC miniseries Decline and Fall. Ms. Longoria has produced the documentary Harvest, which focuses on the plight of the estimated 500,000 child farmworkers whose tireless efforts help feed America, and executive produced the documentary Food Chains, a film that also exposes the current and historic exploitation of farmworkers. A pillar of the Latino community, she established the Eva Longoria Foundation to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship, support programs, and career training. In 2006 Ms. Longoria co-founded a nonprofit organization Eva’s Heroes, dedicated to enriching the lives of adolescents and young adults with developmental challenges. She also serves as a spokesperson for Padres Contra El Cáncer, an organization supporting Latino families who have children with cancer. In recognition of her philanthropy and activism Ms. Longoria has received numerous awards including the Dorothy Height Racial Justice Award by the YWCA USA. She was named Philanthropist of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter and honored by Variety with a Lifetime Achievement Award for their Power of Women issue President Amott, in recognition of her accomplishments as an award-winning entertainer and her commitment to social justice and service, I present Eva Longoria for the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts By the authority delegated to me, I hereby confer upon you the degree Doctor

of Fine Arts honoris causa with all the privileges, honors, and dignities which here and elsewhere pertain to that degree This thing chokes you! It’s like–thank you so much Good morning Knox College, how are you? I am so, so honored to be here, thank you President Amott, trustees, faculty, staff alumni, parents, friends, family but most of all, the graduates of 2017, congratulations I would also like to say congratulations to all of your loved ones who have stood by you on this journey. I’m sure all of y’all are very happy they’re graduating because they’re going to get a job, right? So big round of applause for your family, your friends, everybody who supported you. I am very humbled to share this special day with you, mostly because I’m included with my fellow honorees Dr. Jackson and Ambassador Hartog Levin. I aspire to be a tenth of what you both are so congratulations to you. I have to admit I’m overwhelmed right now. I always read scripts, so it’s hard for me to just come up with words all on my own–I’m used to somebody else writing them for me. But uhm, it’s overwhelming to think of all the distinguished people who have received honorary degrees from Knox: Presidents, Senators, Cabinet Secretaries, Ambassadors, Titans of Business going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln, so needless to say, there’s a lot of pressure to be here to speak to all of you Knox has such an incredible legacy of moral leadership…moral leadership. A place that was far ahead of its time in opening the doors to women, to people of color, and I know you all will draw on that legacy throughout your lives. You are tomorrow’s doctors and lawyers and scientists and entrepreneurs. Some of you may disappoint your families and become an actor, but as your commencement speaker, it is tradition that I do pass on some words of wisdom as it should be tradition that you pretend to listen and not be on Snapchat. So, as Sherwood mentioned, it wasn’t so long ago that I was in a cap and gown myself. Four years ago I received my master’s degree from Cal State Northridge and uh, just a little context, I come from a family of educators. Everybody in my family is a teacher, so I was the last person in my family to get a master’s degree My mom calls me the underachiever but I do know there are a lot of first-generation people here today graduating I applaud you, as I’m sure your families do too. It’s very hard to be the first For me it was easy to be the last. I was the last born, I was the last one to get my master, I was the last one to get a job, I was the last to do everything, because my sister’s, my family paved the way. But you first-generation kids–young adults, you guys are paving the way for the rest of your family members, so you should be very, very proud of that Returning to school, I was working on Desperate Housewives, was crazy. I was doing homework on the set of Desperate Housewives, I was working on my thesis in my trailer, I was reading textbooks during takes, and I was very nervous to go back to school. It had been a very long time since I had set foot in a classroom. I kept thinking to myself what if I wasn’t smart enough, what if I was too old, what if the students would think I’m just some dumb celebrity, uhm, because there are some dumb celebrities. So I had to prove I wasn’t one of them, but I had a curiosity that could only be quenched by learning. I went back to school because I wanted to better understand

where I came from. As you may have guessed, I am from another country called Texas I was born in Corpus Christi and I grew up proudly as a Mexican-American and I returned to school for a master’s degree in Chicano Studies or what people like to call Mexican-American history because I was seeking a fuller understanding of who I was, a genuine search for identity I grew up like many of you, as a hyphen, straddling two worlds. I’m a ninth generation American. My ancestors arrived way before the Mayflower. I’m as American as apple pie and I’m proud of my Mexican heritage. I love hamburgers and enchiladas. I listen to mariachi music and Justin Timberlake. Growing up in South Texas, I grew up very close to the border and I remember the US Mexican border was a very different place then You could cross back and forth no problem, you didn’t need a passport. My family would go to Mexico for the day, for lunch, for medicine, for margarita. And at the time, it was just a short walk across a bridge and all you needed was a few coins, and to say those magic words, American citizen I remember the border agent, every time would ask, “Nationality?” And my father would say, “American citizen.” Actually thought it was a password. I thought, like, tomorrow it might change to peanut butter and jelly, and I remember seeing a long line of people slowly inching along and my family just zooming in to the country and I asked my father, “Why don’t they just say the magic words? Maybe they don’t know the password.” And he said, “Well because they were born on the other side” and I remember thinking “Other side of what?” And he said, “La Linea the–the line” and I said, “Well how did we get to be born on this side of the line?” And he said, “Luck.” We were lucky and he was right, because it was a twist of fate that gave me the privilege of being an American, or as Howard Buffett likes to call it, “We won the ovarian lottery.” I was born here out of anywhere in this world I could have been born somewhere where women are stripped of their rights, where there’s no freedom of press, or freedom of speech. I could have been born where it’s forbidden to pursue your education or hopes and dreams. So to me America is the greatest country in the world because it’s an idea, an idea that all of us have the opportunity to pursue any vision we set for our lives. That’s the idea that still draws talent from all over the world, to our shores and that allows all of you to dream big. In America our ambitions aren’t limited by what we look like or where we come from But of course we have a lot of work to do in achieving the ideal of the American dream and what that means, because as hard as you work to get here the test and the late nights and the grades and the classes, an education like yours is still a privilege, a very rare privilege that not everyone gets to experience. When you receive your degrees today you will be among the few in the world with such an education, and as my mother never cease to remind my sisters and I, to whom much is given, much is expected And this leads me to the word philanthropy. People always ask me how did you get involved in philanthropy, what got you started, how did you think of this idea for your foundation, why are you politically active? And it was actually something my family instilled in me very early on. You see, some of you may know, but I have a older sister with special needs. She was born prematurely so her brain didn’t finish developing. Her name is Lisa, she’s the the light of our family and it was because of her we were introduced to the word volunteer very early in our lives We volunteered for everything I thought volunteer was a job, I thought you got paid for it and I thought they just weren’t giving me my money. But my mother made us volunteer for causes like the Special Olympics and the Boys and Girls Club. If Lisa was a part of any community program, my mother would sign all of us up as volunteers to that program in order for us to watch over her. So you learn a lot about caring for others when you have a sister like Lisa, and there are certain things that cannot be taught in a classroom or by professors. I remember one time when my sister went to high school and she was mainstreamed into “normal” classes with “normal” students, and she encountered some people who were not so nice to her, people who didn’t understand that she was different but not less. And she came

home one day with her letterman jacket missing, someone had stolen it off of her And I remember I was ten maybe, and I was so mad and I thought who could steal a special-needs jacket off somebody, off a student and I said, “Lisa, who would take your jacket?” And she replied, “Someone who must have been cold.” And that day, I learned about compassion, about putting myself in someone else’s shoes. Lisa didn’t get angry, she didn’t get mad. She chose to see the best in someone even if their intentions were bad. So I hope that you will choose to see the best in others too. I know it’s easy to say and it’s very hard to actually practice in life, but the technology that we have at our fingertips has done so much to connect us, but it can also bring out some of the worst impulses. It can numb us and it can numb you. It can stop us from understanding what it’s like to be on the other side of that phone screen or the other side of that computer screen. So we might be quick to judge the beggar outside of Starbucks, begging for money, begging for food, but how often do we really place ourselves in his shoes? How often do we ask ourselves, what is his story, what happened to him, how did he end up here, how could things have gone differently in his life? So I hope that along the way of your chosen paths you will continue to find ways to show kindness and serve others, because places like Knox have done so much to expand access to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, but we know that as a country we have a lot more work to do So it’s going to be your jobs, each and every one of you, to help the next generation learn from your path and experiences. It’s going to be your job to create a society of more equal opportunity for others. Something else I’ve always done in my life is reject the boxes that others may try to put you in. Don’t let anyone else define you Define you–if you belong to more than one world and you want to be a hyphen, be a hyphen, embrace a hyphen, plant a flag on the hyphen, stand on the hyphen! Say to people I’m not 50% this or 50% that. I’m 100% this all the time and I’m 100% this all the time You can be complex, it’s okay. This country is big enough and diverse enough for all of our dreams and this country needs diversity Diversity is our country’s greatest advantage. Not just diversity of skin color or ethnicity, I mean a diversity of thought and a diversity of life experiences, and on a campus as diverse as Knox you live in close proximity with people from different walks of life. As you get older it can all be too easy to koi stir with those who think like you, who speak like you, who make the same amount of money…don’t live in a bubble Keep building relationships with those who have a different point of view, who come from a different place, who speak a different language, who grew up differently. We have a lot of challenges facing our country today, and our planet, and they all seem a lot worse when we talk past each other or when we demonize each other. But I have hope because of you, because of the graduates of today here at Knox College. Part of it, is that your generation has the potential to make connections like no other partly due to technology, but a lot of it has to do with all of you having an open and free mind, a mind that is not only tolerant of others but that is interested in others and their contributions. Your generation is not hung up on differences, you’re celebrating them. Your generation isn’t interested in tearing things down, you want to build things up and leave a mark, and I’m pretty confident you’re going to do that, because wherever you go in life you’ll bring the Knox spirit with you. I hope–I know you’re going to do great things and that you’re going to set the world on fire, maybe even a prairie fire. I think we’re all–I didn’t even know what that meant honestly, but my friend who went to Knox told me to put it in there. But I think we’re all put on this earth for a reason greater than you can ever imagine Even as you sit here in your seats and you think you have plans for yourself, well I’m here to tell you that life may have some other things in store for you So be ready for anything and everything and I’m gonna leave you today with the words of Maya Angelou my favorite poet It’s words that I live by. She said, “People will forget what you said and they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” So thank you for making me feel special today Knox College and congratulations

to the class of 2017 Thank you for making us feel special too Next, Professor Diana Beck will present the Faculty Achievement Award The Faculty Achievement Award is given annually to a faculty member nominated by his or her peers and selected by the faculty personnel committee. The award is for distinguished achievement and research, teaching, and/or service to the college. A tradition that is part of reading the citation is that the presenter tries to withhold the identity of the recipient for as long as possible, giving clues but keeping the audience in suspense. Closer?–Okay, okay. Did you hear that–did you hear me what I said before? You did, okay. Okay so, you may raise your hand when you think you have the correct name of the recipient. The faculty–this faculty members voice has been heard ringing out in the classroom and in the community chorus for many years. A friend to all, from sunrise to sundown, he has rotated through many positions of service in the community and the college There were a lot of clues there, I see no hands, okay. A department chair for 25 years and mentor to grateful colleagues, this person has taught nearly every course in the department This person has served on many committees and indeed few faculty members have ever served on more committees simultaneously than this colleague. But this colleague would say that what appears simultaneous is merely a function of your frame of reference Still no hands, okay. Perhaps some would be surprised to learn that the largest internal, molecular magnetic field ever observed, was first measured at Knox College by this scientist. This colleague’s extraordinarily research productivity is a model in inspiration for us all. It is usual for this colleague to have four or five publications a year. In one year this scientist turned out nine, and this in addition to numerous grants and presentations. Furthermore, this scientist’s knowledge of advising matters and college regulations is legendary. If there ever is a question about what to do or how to do it concerning college rules and regulations, this person is everyone’s go-to guy. Perhaps this is related to his service as the College registrar for the past five years. Yes, I am delighted to present this year’s Faculty Achievement Award to Professor of Physics, my friend and great good colleague, Dr. Charles E. Schulz Each year, the graduating class selects one of its members to represent them on this important day by delivering the senior class speech. As is typical of a Knox education, the selection process is rigorous and challenging. Candidates prepare a presentation which is recorded and then shared with the entire senior class. And as is also typical of Knox, a Democratic selection process ensues. The speaker receiving the largest number of votes is chosen. This year’s speaker is Steffi Antony from Mount Pleasant, Illinois. A trio student on the pre-health track, she majored in anthropology and sociology and minored in business and management. Steffi has been very active at Knox having served as senior class president, a resident assistant, teaching assistant and Red Room tutor. She’s also a member of Tri Delta where she served as Vice President

of Chapter Development and was the Vice President and Treasurer of AAINA, the South Asian student organization. As a student employee, Steffi worked on campus as a computer lab assistant, admissions tella ambassador, and in the Office of Advancement. Steffi plans to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Illinois College of Nursing. It’s my pleasure to introduce this year’s senior class speaker Steffi Antony Thank you for that introduction and, uhm, I’m a little nervous, so bear with me Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. And in these two sentences, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama encapsulates my Knox experience. Change began the moment we received the letter saying that we had been accepted into Knox College. Fast forward four years. Having survived 12 terms of Knox plagues, the polar vortex, the new My Knox page, countless countless fire alarms, endless nights of crying into our books, and trying to explain the trimester system to the outside world, here we are in our caps and gowns, we made it. Within these years, each of our unique Knox experiences reveal to us that we must always strive for that change. For some of us this change meant packing up our bags and moving a few hours away from home and for others it meant moving across the country. And to all my brave International peers sitting here, this change meant moving halfway across the world from the place that you call home From 14 different countries we came here together in our very own Galesburg, Illinois. For many of us first-generation students this change created a heightened sense of independence, because we had no one back home to help us maneuver through this new chapter of life. Change began when Knox brought us every corner of this world. Then began those extensive sweet meetings, running through tunnels of screaming people at Play Fair, endless icebreakers with our orientation groups, and the weird tradition of shaking every single person’s hand at pumphandle. After orientation week we dispersed throughout campus, we worked Infinite Campus jobs to be somewhat financially independent, we took on leadership positions, we’ve made the Seymour Library our home, and the Gizmo our second home. Or was it the Gizmo our home and library or second home? Either way, we found home. For some of us this change arrived through the discipline and hard work that we achieved through those 5 a.m. lifts for our sports teams, and for others it was through spending every waking minute at the library trying to work through organic chemistry problems This discipline arrived in the form of numerous hours spent at dance squad or Terp, and for some of us this discipline meant writing hundreds of pages for our creative writing portfolio. We accepted and absorbed as consistent change and for all of the SMC rats accepted that our weirdly shaped building made us more directionally aware, and that no other building would ever faze us ever again To all of us who took classes in GDH and Old Main, we know that every single day was like day. We changed when we raised our hands and made sure we were heard even though we knew that someone else was ready with a rebuttal. However, it was also when we realized that listening is just as crucial. Change happened when we packed our bags and went off to the women’s March in DC to stand up for what we believe in. Or the time we stood up here for the diversity initiative our freshman year and listened to the struggles of those with disadvantaged social identities. Some of us found this change, growth, and acceptances in the various organizations that we joined Personally I found this growth, change, and acceptance within my sisters of Delta Delta Delta. Maybe it was during our study abroad experiences or while we were cooking with our cultural organizations for I Fair, or maybe it was during our times playing video games in Post lobby. We all found our personal adventures during our time here at Knox Sometimes our adventures came from the strange friendship that we share with the squirrels on this campus. Maybe the biggest adventure of all was Flunk Day, which is not a real thing, but it’s always tomorrow. Now I want to take a moment to thank all of those who have helped us experience this change. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give my (?) a shout out for consistently

loving and supporting me every step of the way and for also transferring money into my bank account every two seconds. Here’s a shout-out to all the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, professors, mentors, and every single person that comes into your mind when you think about your Knox journey. We wouldn’t be here without their love and support. Despite our unique experiences at Knox, we found discipline, the value of hard work, and growth in this change that Knox brought to all of us. And today as we scatter into the real world, I hope we continue to find that growth and change Change that doesn’t stop until every voice is heard. Change that doesn’t end in speech, but in action. Change begins with acceptance and that is what Knox taught us. Knox taught us that this acceptance begins when the disadvantaged are heard, when the oppressed are lifted, and when we just stop to understand the struggles of those who are least like us Change doesn’t arrive on its own. Change is what we bring. Congratulations class of 2017, change does not stop here Now comes the moment. Dean Behling will now present the candidates for the degree Bachelor of Arts President Amott, I have the honor to present to you the members of the class of 2017 who have completed the requirements for The Bachelor of–the degree of Bachelor of Arts and who have been recommended to you by the faculty Will the candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts please rise and remain standing? Graduates of the college, you have successfully completed the course of study prescribed by the faculty and by the authority of the General Assembly of the state of Illinois, vested in the Board of Trustees in Knox College and by them delegated to me, I hereby confer upon you the degree Bachelor of Arts with all the privileges, honors, and dignities which here and elsewhere pertain to that degree. Graduates As the graduates present themselves for their diplomas, I will cite those who are graduating with honors and we do ask that the audience refrain from applause until all of the graduates have received their diplomas Torrance Bryson Abell III, Amani Rajaie Abu-Hashim, Cum Laude, Maame Ebe Ackah, Mamaa Enyimah Ackah, Miranda K. Adams, Yaneza Aguiñaga, Jefferson Jonathan Aguirre, Amine Ammar-Aouchiche, Maria Athanasia Anastos, Steffi Teresa Antony,

Adedoja Adeola Aofolajuwonlo, Yuta Aoshima, Selina Marie Aviles, Mya Myint Mo Aye, Cum Laude, Torri Alicia Baker, Ren Elizabeth Christ Barkey, Cum Laude, Marilyn Angelina Barnes, Cum Laude, Kenneth Jon-Edward Bartelt, Summa Cum Laude, Abigail Asenath Barton, Laura Jane Basten, Bashar Khaled Battrawi, Derek Jeffrey Beaupre, Carlene Marie Bechen, Charles Lee Beckam III, Madison Elizabeth Belka, Cum Laude, Alexander McKenzie Bell, Alejandro Beltran, honors in chemistry, Rebecca Catherine Benner, Clarice Amy Bernett, Holly Ann Bieber, Magna Cum Laude, Lauren Lee Bird, Theresa Ann Birzer, Cum Laude, Mary Catherine Blair, Elizabeth Susan Bockrath, Raeann Grace Boero, Donna Frances Boguslavsky, Magna Cum Laude, Taliah Avery Bond Martin, Maximilian John Bonder, Anastasia Zooey Brewer, Quinn Caitlyn Broda, Summa Cum Laude, Martha Mackenzie Rose Brown, Madeline Jordan Bruce, Allison May Sebastian Buiser, Marcia Arnez Butler, Catherine Elizabeth Calderon, Erin Michelle Carder, Magna Cum Laude, Kirsten Elizabeth Carlson, Abenicio Santiago Casias, Cum Laude,

Shannon Jo Caveny, Nancy Celaya, Fabiola Cervantes, Adrian Chavez, Marlene Chavez, Rachel Cheng, Moriah Helene Chermak, Annalyn Chia, Joseph David Chirbas, Tiffany Alyssa Christensen, Jessica Marie Chrzan, Elizabeth Ann Clay, Cheryl Agowah Cobbold, Liliana Charney Coelho, Cum Laude, Evelyn Irene Coffin, Magna Cum Laude, Bryan Joseph Coleman, Magna Cum Laude, Clare Brandt Colt, Stephanie Cordero Gonzalez, Emily Rose Corwin-Renner, Magna Cum Laude, honors in psychology and neuroscience, Ziyue Cui, Nabila M. Dadar, John Stephen Damits II, Summa Cum Laude, Margaret Kathleen Darrah, Cum Laude, Kaly Elizabeth Davidson, Roberto Angel Davila, Brenna Colette Davis, Cum Laude, Marcellis Davis, Brandon Charles Dempsey, Celina Dawn Dietzel, Cum Laude, Noah Anthony Dina, Jinglun Ding, Cum Laude, Peiwen Ding, Cum Laude, Kyle James Dinse, Kelsey Lynn Doerflinger, John Patric Donahue, Daniel Finn Donnelly, Kinsey JoAnn Douglas, Cum Laude, Emma Elizabeth Downing, Cum Laude, Kunga Palbar Drongchewa, Jakub Antoni Dulak, Caroline Anna Dzik, Alyana Arabella Eastman,

Leala Elysia Eastman, Uduak-Obong Iniabasi Ekanem, Cum Laude, honors in biochemistry, Kenneth Mackenzie Evans, Jinglin Feng, Adam Corey Ferkin, Summa Cum Laude, Trevor Michael Follis, Patrick Ford, Caroline Mallory Foulk, Magna Cum Laude, Ryan Lee Foxall, Danielle Betty Fraser, Danielle Andrée Freeman, Erin Suzanna Frey, Summa Cum Laude, Jessica Katherine Fritts, William Ross Fuller, Anastasia Yasmeen Gamble, Sarah Brianna April Gaynor, Sam Geiger, Nejla Ghane, Cum Laude, Danielle Aria Gilmour, Elyssa Nicole Glenn, Sbeydi Gonzalez, Devyani Gore, Shakisha LaShondra Grays, Thomas Michael Grizzle, Summa Cum Laude, Jose Angel Guevara, Kyle Anthony Hall, Miranda June Unger Hallmark, Kyle Austin Hammock, Donald Bernard Harris Jr., Nicole Jolie Heckman, Magna Cum Laude, Benjamin Steven Heichman, Kyle Jeffrey Heller, Athy Lidia Hernández, Helen Qing Hershey, Cortney Charles Hill, Saige Lynn Hillier, Alexander Jason Hirano, Lauren Elizabeth Hogan, Cum Laude,

Courtney Christine Hopps, Mary Grace Houlihan, Chelsey Christine Howard, Jordan D. Hurst, Melissa Debra Jaffe, Magna Cum Laude, Emily Samantha Johnson, Alec William Jordan, Joy Davis Kannookaden, Almira Karajic, Courtney Jensine Kayiza, Olivia Simone Keneipp, David Khalimendik, Emma Palmer Kirk, Magna Cum Laude, Matthew Steven Koester, Monika Natalia Kopeć, Mia Tyne Kosmicki, Summa Cum Laude, honors in psychology, Brittany Karla Kozlowski, Hansini Krishna, DaMarcus Romelo Lacy, Rachel Marie Landman, Summa Cum Laude, Jessica Alyse Langsted, Magna Cum Laude, Terence Lau, Haoi Nam Le, Ngan Le, Laura Christine Lee, YeEun Lee, Andre Davis Leewright, Edward James Lehar, Robyn Victoria Lehner, James Boragina Lenihan, Tenzin Cindy Lhamo, Michiko Meizhizi Li, Tevin Liao, Lady Laura Lira, Emma Dominique Lister, Sebastian Alejandro Llavaneras, Misael Lopez, Sarah Elizabeth Lottman, Dakota Sylvan Luna Stipp, Summa Cum Laude, honors in computer science, music, and performance technology, and the Inman Fox awardee, given to the senior student whose scholarly achievement in pursuit of a truly liberal education are exceptional among peers

Michelle Lyn Luna, Jacob Mitchell Ly, Mackenzie F. Lynch, Summa Cum Laude, Morgan Jean Madderom, Nashra Mahmood, honors in gender and women’s studies, Emily Elizabeth Malec, Summa Cum Laude, and co-winner of the John C. Weigel Prize, which recognizes the highest scholastic achievement Morganne Leigh Malesker, Elizabeth Hannah Malone, Magna Cum Laude, David Wesley Mann, Alma Teresa Marin, Andrew Michael Marr, Magna Cum Laude, Trevor James Marshall, Michael Ray Martin, Victoria Beth Martin, Cum Laude, Karina Martinez, Zuleyma Alejandra Martinez Rodriguez, Kristen Alice Marvin, Cum Laude, Daniel Philip Mateling, Bonne Mae Matheson, Yaoska Lithuania Mayorga, Cum Laude, Hannah Elizabeth McCullough, Sarah Mae McCurley, Elyse Marie McGloin, Cum Laude, Kalie Ann McGuire, Leah Michelle McWhorter, Magna Cum Laude, Eric David Meling, Klara Mendrisova, Kristina Marie Mengis, Ricky Finley Metcalf, Monica Bernabe Miguel, Cum Laude, Daniel Paul Miller, Greggory Scott Miller, Marisa Susanne Miller, Ayla Mir, Matthew Robert Moe, Rosemary Oziohu Momoh, Jazmin Morales, Caitlyn Jane Morgan, Naomi Morishita, Sarah Elizabeth Mortensen, Theresa Marie Murphy, William Henry Nash, Frederick Jay Nawrot,

Shashank Neelagiri, Abigail Grace Neuhauser, Magna Cum Laude, Connor Jeffrey Niemiec, Stephanie Nicole Nikitenko, Sarah Emily Noel, Samantha Nordstedt Gonzales, Ogoamaka Chukwuchebeanyi Nwana, Theresa Lee O’Keefe, Jesse Chigoze Okwu, Dennis Charles Ortman Jr., Kaylie Marie Padgett, Cum Laude, Christian Alejandro Padilla, Cassandra Rodriguez Panganiban, Cum Laude, Vlad Gabriel Papancea, Magna Cum Laude, Madeline Jane Pape, Sarah Katharine Pawlicki, Summa Cum Laude, honors in history and co-winner of the John C. Weigel award, which recognizes the highest scholastic achievement Celina Mae Pedit, Shealynn Marie Pierce, Magna Cum Laude, Madison Lillian Pierro, Esai Guadalupe Ponce, Bruno Joseph Povejsil, Shontoria Dashon Pratt, Mitch Ryan Prentice, Allison Florence Pritzl, Patrick Prom, Jeremy Tyler Rainey-Brown, Magna Cum Laude, Thalia A. Reinoso, Andrew Jacob Richter, Haley Elizabeth Richter, David Rincon-Cruz, Jennifer Caitlin Ripka, Magna Cum Laude, Ashaunti Capri Roby, Adan Rodriguez, Anthony Donovan Rogde-Hinderliter, Janyl Tranette Romero, Emily Tubbs Rosen, Summa Cum Laude, honors in biology, Callie Jane Rouse, Magna Cum Laude,

honors in international relations, Ashley Nicole Schmidt, Jeremy Peter Schmidt, Magna Cum Laude, honors in psychology, Mack Schulze, Susanna Augusta Sepulveda, Crystal Arlene Singletary, Cum Laude, Benjamin Matthew Smolinski, Cassidy Fey Snyder, Michael David Alexander Sockol, Radiandra Putri Soemardi, Cum Laude, honors in chemistry, Kalyani Rajendra Sonarikar, Cum Laude, Nadia Kneale Spock, Cum Laude, Dylan Steven Stahl, Magna Cum Laude, honors in neuroscience, Margaret Mae Stanger, Magna Cum Laude, Alexis Jean Steffen, Cum Laude, Erin Grace Steinbach, Cum Laude, Casey Diana Stewart, Johannah Claire Stokes, Cum Laude, Michelle Marie Stomberski, Magna Cum Laude, Padraig Fionn Chingwe Sullivan, McLeod Jones Sumner, Robert James Suntken, Matthew Thomas Surprenant, Maebh O’Grady Sutton, Drake Austin Sykes, Jacqueline Diane Symonds, Julian Sy Tan, Cum Laude, Lingxiang Tang, Olivia Kehaulani Thiel, Emma Maxine Thornton-Kolbe, Summa Cum Laude, Riya Tiwari, Stefan Carlo Torralba, Magna Cum Laude, Clara Getsemani Torres, Sean Russell Treacy, Emily Rose Trevor, Jakeiyah Triplett, Jalen Le’on Tucker, Hajah Kumari Turpin, Joshua William Tvrdy, Summa Cum Laude, Mirella Valdivia, Kilee Ann Vega, Chloe Isabella Vollenweider, Carl Edward Voss, Max Byron Wallace,

Anya Wang, Summa Cum Laude, Xiong Wang, Zhaofeng Wang, Cum Laude, Deandre Marshall Weathersby, Alex Nolan Weidenhamer, Coral Grace Weinstock, Ryan Patrick Weitendorf, Cum Laude, Kameron Chauncey Wells, Cum Laude, David Alexander White, Cum Laude, Allison Lauren Whitehill, Summa Cum Laude, Katarina Teresa Whittenburg, Magna Cum Laude, Monica Jaehee Wichmann, Micah Orrin Wilger, Magna Cum Laude, Emma Ann Wille, Cum Laude, Summer Chuyang Xu, Cum Laude, Jonathan Michael Yeoh, Magna Cum Laude, Tristan Jung Min Yi, Cum Laude, Sojung Yoo, Ailong Yu, Elisabeth Anne Zarnoti, Danielle Marie Zepeda, and Alex Lawson Zhou, Magna Cum Laude Class of 2017, congratulations to you, your families, your friends. It has been an intense four years. You have encountered disappointment, anger, maybe even despair. You have worked to exhaustion in the classroom, on the playing fields and courts, in the library, in the lab. But you have also succeeded beyond your wildest dreams and I know because I know so many of you, that you have fallen in love with people, with places, with ideas, and with causes. You have spoken out with passion in defense of core values of justice, dignity, of equity, and sustainability. And as your senior class speaker has noted, you have changed each other, you have changed the college, know that. You have changed the college. And so, you will now go out to change the world As a great Galesburg poet Carl Sandburg observed nearly 80 years ago, almost exactly where I’m standing, we have hope and faith in you. Speaking outside Old

Main, Sandberg said, and I quote, “What young people want and dream across the next hundred years will shape history more than any other motivation to be named.” I’m going to say it one more time “What young people want and dream across the next hundred years will shape history more than any other motivation to be named.” We have hope and faith in you. You have developed a disciplined habits of an inquiring mind and a compassionate heart. As you commence the next phase of your journey, I know you will shape history. You will take up the many challenges that now present themselves of global citizenship, to heal a troubled planet, to push back the frontiers of scientific knowledge, to bring home the millions displaced or imprisoned or disadvantaged by climate change, by violent, by persecution by group hatreds When you arrived at Knox, I told you that you would learn the most from the people the least like you. And I know now, that as you leave this place, you will carry that with you, that you will listen to the voices of others not like you, and you will protect their rights as vigorously as I do your own–as you do your own. So I ask you class of 2017 to honor the sacrifice of your families, the dedication of our founders, our faculty, our staff. Follow the example of this year’s honorary degree recipients. Like Eva Longoria, embrace the hyphen. Use your power on behalf of others. Like Wes Jackson, repair the earth and save the planet. Like Ambassador Hartog Levin, open your heart to the rest of the world and serve others as a global citizen. Class of 2017, the care of this historic College now passes to your hands as you join our alumni. Come back and visit whenever you can, your alma mater will be here to welcome you home. Maybe 75 years later than today. Congratulations to you all! My friends, old and young, from around the country and around the world, we are here

today because of what connects us all: hope. This is a time for hope Graduates, your newly minted diplomas were awarded this morning against a seemingly unprecedented background, a virulent national and global divisiveness Lately, it feels we’re being encouraged to believe that that which pulls us apart is stronger than that which binds us together. That we’ve all but lost our chance for a truly global society. But here you sit, stand, buoyed by the wisdom spoken today, enchanted by opportunity, sustained by hope. And history is on your side. We’ve done it time and time again 159 years ago Abraham Lincoln stood at a podium not far from this one and spoke an eternal truth in the face of similar disunion. A house divided cannot stand. We abolished slavery, we granted suffrage, we rejected segregation, we struck a new deal, we built a great society It was never easy. The hardest part really, was to convince ourselves of the possibilities and hang on. So in that way, hope is both a challenge and a gift It doesn’t mean denying a difficult reality, it means facing it and addressing it. Hope locates itself in the frightening truth that we don’t know what will happen and in the spaciousness of that uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcome, you alone or in concert with a few hundred others. Hope is informed, astute, and open-minded. Hope looks forward but draws its energies from the past, from knowing histories, including our victories, and their complexities and imperfections. It navigates a path forward between the false and limiting certainties of optimism and pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that accompanies both. Optimism assumes all will go well without our effort Pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable Both let us stay home and do nothing Hope is instead a sense that the future is unpredictable and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but we know we may be able to write it ourselves. Hope is a gift you never have to surrender. And so today I ask that we spend less time dwelling on what makes us different and more on what makes us so much the same. What binds us together in our humanity, the thing that connects us all, hope and the exhilarating knowledge that every now and then possibilities explode. This is one of those times. How could it not be? I asked to that the needs of our world inspire us, that injustice troubles us, that we be impatient with despair, that friendship

comforts us, and that hope sustains us Congratulations class of 2017!