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Knox Continues Annual Tradition With Alumni Awards

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 304

John Straus (Tyler Maffitt photo)

John Straus (Tyler Maffitt photo)

Five former students of Knox College were recognized last night for achievements in their chosen careers.

The Seymour Library on the Knox campus played host to honorees, college officials, and students for the Knox College Founders Day Alumni Achievement Awards.

The awards started in 1938 and the recipients are chosen with the aid of a selection committee. Alexandra Benham received a degree from Knox in 1961. She offered a tribute to the mathematics professors she studied under during her time at Knox.

“It has been my pleasure and privilege to know Knox College since I was 14 years old,” Benham said.  “A long and wonderful relationship, remarkable education, remarkable traditions.”

Achievements in disciplines such as economics, journalism and history were honored this year.

Owen Muelder was chosen as this year’s history award recipient. He says the reflections he made during his address are different after having spent a lifetime at the school.

“The fact of the matter is, my social values, my political attitudes, my aesthetic appreciations, and for that matter nearly everything that has shaped my point of view is grounded in what was once called the ‘Knox Idea,’” Muelder said.

A young alumni achievement award was presented this year for creative writing.  B.J. Hollars is now a professor at a school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He told a story of his connection with one of his professors at Knox.

“This is the power of a faculty who cares deeply for their students,” Hollars said.  “A faculty who knew me down to the piece of fruit I carried in a side pocked of my backpack.”

Lara Moritz is an investigative journalist out of a Kansas City television station. She says every success she has achieved comes back to her time at Knox.

“I still have the core group of friends that I had here at Knox, that I had the first day during Pumphandle,” Moritz said.  “I have those same friends today, and they’re still the people that I call in my worse of my times, and in my best of times.”

Lee Benham graduated from Knox in 1962 and has since become a professor of economics. During his speech, he told the story of failing an anthropology test at Knox.

“Thank you, Knox, for the exposure to…12th Century renaissance,” Benham said.  “I’m not making great claims, but I’m no longer at zero.”

Alumni Council Vice Chair John Strauss says it’s important to recognize the achievements of the Knox College alumni.

“Today, I think we saw a wonderful cross-section of what Knox alumni do,” Strauss said.  “As long as we are here in this room full of icons of the past and icons of the present, I’m sure we’ll have many more days like today.”

Those chosen for the awards were selected by a committee.