Board of Trustees

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The Board of Trustees is the highest governing body of Knox College.


The Board of Trustees is a self-perpetuating body (that is, they choose their own members). Except for Life Trustees and Honorary Trustees, there are a maximum of 42 trustees.

No more than 37 of these may be General Trustees, who are elected for staggered four-year terms by a majority of the Board each Spring. These trustees are often re-elected, and General Trustees commonly serve for several decades. Individuals are ineligible to serve as General Trustees past the Spring meeting of the calendar year where they turn 74 years old. While the precise reasons for selecting particular trustees are not completely clear, in general they have distinguished themselves for their financial beneficence to the College.

There are also a maximum of four Alumni Trustees, including one who graduated less than four years previous (Alumni Trustee is a designation for those chosen solely because they are alumni; most other members of the Board are also alumni). Alumni Trustees are recommended through the Alumni Association, nominated by the Committee on Trustees, and appointed by the Board. Alumni Trustees may, after at least a two-year delay from the end of their term, be re-elected as General Trustees; several General Trustees are former Alumni Trustees.

The forty-second enumerated seat of the Board is filled by the immediate past Chair of the Alumni Council. The past Chair serves on the Board’s Advancement Committee.

Aside from these 42 positions, there are other types of trustees. The most important of these are the Life Trustees. Life Trustees are former General or Honorary Trustees who are 74 years old or older and have been nominated and appointed as Life Trustees. Any General Trustee who has served two full terms as a General or Alumni Trustee may be nominated and elected, but the trustee must have served three terms in order to request a nomination himself. Life Trustees have full voting rights, but are not subject to the same attendance requirements as General and Alumni Trustees.

Honorary Trustees are appointed for their distinguished service to the College or to education in general. They do not have voting rights.


The Board is controlled by the ten-member Executive Committee, which consists of the Chair, the Vice Chairs (committee chairs), the Secretary of the Board, the President of the College, and three elected at-large trustees. The Executive Committee can act for the entire Board in its absence on all matters excepting those pertaining to the appointment of trustees or College officers, amendments to the College charter and articles of incorporation, major sales of College property or decisions on new construction, adoption of an annual spending rate, and the conferral of degrees. Any actions the Executive Committee does take must be ratified by the Board at the next Board meeting.

The Chair of the Board is responsible for presiding over meetings and appearing at lots of random functions. The Chair can also call special meetings, with seven days’ notice. The Chair has full voting rights.

The Secretary of the Board is responsible for promulgating the call for meetings, for composing the agenda, for acting as parliamentarian during meetings, and for taking or supervising the taking of minutes. The Secretary is also the keeper and affixer of the College corporate seal. The Secretary also keeps custody of the Board’s documents, including historical documentation, and strict restrictions are given, requiring written permission of the Board or the Executive Committee for such documents to leave the Secretary’s custody.

Each of the four Vice Chairs of the Board is also the chair of a standing Board committee. The highest-ranking Vice Chair is the Vice-Chair for Advancement, who chairs the Committee on Advancement. This Vice Chair acts in the place of the Chair of the Board when the Chair is unable to perform his or her duties. The Committee on Advancement oversees the College’s fundraising efforts, which the By-Laws tellingly define as including not merely actual fundraising but also admission and financial aid issues. This committee covers the administrative portfolio of the Offices of Advancement and Admission and Financial Aid.

The Education Committee, chaired by the Vice Chair for Education (the second-ranking Vice Chair), deals with issues relating to, athletics, and student affairs. This committee covers the administrative portfolio of the Offices of Academic Affairs and Student Development.

The Finance Committee, chaired by the Vice Chair for Finance (the third-ranking Vice Chair), deals with issues relating to the College budget and investments as well as the campus buildings and grounds. This committee covers the administrative portfolio of the Office of Business, Finance, and Administrative Services. The Finance Committee has four standing subcommittees: the Audit Subcommittee, which deals with the selection and oversight of an outside auditor for the College; the Budget Subcommittee, which deals with the College budget and financial situation; the Facilities Subcommittee, which deals with College acquisition and divestiture of real estate, buildings, and property (including intellectual property); and the Investment Subcommittee, which deals with determining investment strategies for the endowment.

The Committee on Trustees, chaired by the Vice Chair for Trustees (the fourth-ranking Vice Chair), is an internal committee dealing with the nomination, appointment, and training of trustees. There is also a separate ad hoc Nominating Committee to nominate trustees to the Executive Committee.


The Board meets three times per year, or once per term: Homecoming weekend (mid-October), Founder’s Day weekend (mid-February), and Senior Week (early June). While all meetings are usually held at Knox, the By-Laws permit the President of the College to decide to hold the winter meeting somewhere else entirely (which would effectively sever the student and faculty connection to the Board for that meeting).

Meetings of the Board of Trustees are closed; non-trustees, without an invitation from the Chair of the Board or the President of the College, are not permitted to attend. As a result, the faculty and student observers to the Board are not codified as required, but are simply allowed to attend at the convenience of the highest levels of the administration (solidifying representation on the Board, and even knowledge of its proceedings, as a privilege and not a right for community members). In addition, the Chair may unilaterally decide to go into closed session and expel all non-trustees (as Chair Jan Koran ironically chose to do when the Board considered, and ultimately rejected, a petition requesting greater transparency and formal student input opportunities on the Board, submitted as part of the student response to the Sworn Officer Initiative controversy).


The Board of Trustees is the steward of the College as a corporation. This body has the sole authority to edit the College By-Laws (the supreme governing document of the College). They elect the Officers of the College, the highest ranking members of the administration. The By-Laws specifically mention the President of the College, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and the Treasurer (which is currently combined with a vice-presidency to form the position of Vice-President for Business, Finance, and Administrative Services and College Treasurer) as officers, but according to the By-Laws the Trustees also elect the other vice-presidents (Advancement, Enrollment, and Student Development). The By-Laws provides for the Board to be able to appoint several positions that do not currently exist, including those of executive vice-presidents and of the College Secretary (whose duties revert to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees). The Board must also confirm the President’s appointment of a Controller.

They are also entrusted with some of the most important policy decisions, whether through the powers reserved to them in the By-Laws or by state or federal laws (see, for instance, the Board’s role in the Sworn Officer Initiative). The Board makes the final decision on faculty appointments and the awarding of tenure. The Board, through the By-Laws, defines the constitution of the faculty and delegates to it authority on a number of matters, which the faculty in turn regulates through the Faculty Regulations. The Board sets tuition rates, generally on the advice of the College Treasurer (who has consulted with the faculty and Student Senate first). The Board votes on the sale of College property exceeding $100,000 in fair market value. The Board is also the body that confers degrees on students (on the advice of the faculty).


The Board of Trustees is, above all, an organization of the College’s biggest financial benefactors, and as such they not unexpectedly approach College issues from financial perspectives. This conflates their position as wealthy and mature alumni with their position as the leadership of the college. In that sense, the highest levels of authority at the College (the Board of Trustees and the President of the College) are essentially plutocratic and socioeconomically homogenous, which is at variance both with the stated aims of the College with regard to its recruitment of students and to the composition of the student body.

Being a trustee, moreover, appears to confer a sense of ownership over the College, and indeed, as the limited-liability corporate partners in the College, that is from an external perspective correct. Certainly, from the perspective of the trustees, all but one of whose college experiences ended decades prior, the sense of ownership and control exists. Consider for instance the words of Janet Grieg Post, former trustee and the namesake of Post Hall, concerning the restoration of Old Main: "Knox College belongs to all of us—especially to us who are officers, trustees, and alumni—and without the consciousness and strength of your cooperation, counsel, and sacrifice both of time and gifts, the task cannot be completed."

On the other hand, from the perspective of students and to a lesser extent faculty and staff who are largely absorbed with College affairs on a daily basis, the Board of Trustees may appear to be in poor touch with the day-to-day affairs of the College – moreover, they may appear not to be interested in being in touch at all, these experiences not being relevant to their position in the ownership class of the college. The concerns of students about transparency in the Board during the Sworn Officer Initiative, for instance, were dismissed as unnecessary, even though no formal avenue of communication exists for students to talk to trustees (aside from connections with the Office of Advancement or privileged positions in Student Senate as an Executive Board member or as an Observer to the Board of Trustees, all of which connote the eventual conferral of the privilege trustees enjoy and which therefore discourage the use of communication avenues for unwelcome critical reflection on Board or College policies in favor of joining the club).

Current board members[edit]

Trustees are listed with their current (or most recent, in the case of Life Trustees) professional affiliations. This list is current as of October 2007.

Chair Janet Koran '71 General Counsel, Retired, YMCA of the USA, Chicago, Illinois

Vice Chair for Advancement James Potter '63 Partner and Attorney, Londrigan Potter & Randle, P.C., Springfield, Illinois

Vice Chair for Education Laurel Andrew '86 Director and Treasurer, The Andrew Family Foundation, Orland Park, Illinois

Vice Chair for Finance Ralph Walter '69 Senior Managing Director, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., Los Angeles, California

Vice Chair for Trustees Dushan Petrovich '74 Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, William Wrigley, Jr. Company, Chicago, Illinois

Secretary Charles Smith '84 Attorney/Partner, Skadden Arps, Chicago, Illinois

At-Large Members of Executive Committee Thomas Reilly '68 Managing Director, Head of European Business, Retired, Putnam Investment Management, Dover, Massachusetts

Richard Riddell '72 Special Assistant to the President, Semans Professor of the Practice of Theater Studies, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Special Counselor to the President John Podesta '71 President and CEO, Center for American Progress, Washington, DC

Barbara Adams '80 Attorney/Partner, Holland & Knight, LLP, Chicago, Illinois

Thomas Anderson '66 President, HemaSource, Indianapolis, Indiana

S.C. (Sid) Banwart Vice President, Human Services Division, Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Illinois

Harold Bibb '62 Associate Dean of Graduate School and Professor of Zoology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island

Susan Blew '75 Technology Executive, Berkeley, California

Susan Deans '70 Freelance Columnist, Editor & Vice President, Retired, The Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado

Deborah DeGraff '80 Professor of Economics, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Sandra Frum '70 Trustee, Northbrook Village Board, Northbrook, Illinois

Stephen Gamble '64 President and Chair, Gamble Aviation Management, New Canaan, Connecticut

Joseph Glossberg Senior Managing Director, Gofen & Glossberg, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

Richard Henke '56 Physician, Retired, Pathology Consultant, Rolling Hills, California

Gary Jacobson '77 Principal, General Bio Technology, LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana

Robert Jamieson '62 News Correspondent, ABC Network News, New York, New York

Frank Kerous, D.D.S. '61 Periodontist, Retired, Antioch, Illinois

James Kilts '70 Vice Chairman, Atlas Associates, LLC, Rye, New York

Robert Lindsay, Jr. '73 President, Lindsay Automotive Group, Galesburg

Steven Luetger '75 Senior Managing Director, Mesirow Financial, Chicago, Illinois

Joe Masterson '65 Chair, Chief Executive Officer, The Masterson Company, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

George Matkov, Jr. '64 Attorney and Senior Partner, Ford & Harrison LLP, Chicago, Illinois

Jane Strode Miller '81 President, Miller Management Group Inc., Boulder, Colorado

Eugene Procknow '76 Regional Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting, LLP, Washington, DC

Mrudula (Chickoo) Rao '02 Manager, Corporate College Programs, Wells Fargo, San Francisco, California

Diane Rosenberg '63 Chair of the Board, Olson Rug Company, Chicago, Illinois

David Schulz '74 Attorney and Partner, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP, New York, New York

Fay Stevenson-Smith, M.D. '64 Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Wilton, Connecticut

Vernon Stisser, Jr. '62 Chair, Rand Intercontinental, Inc., Galesburg, Illinois

Roger Taylor '63 President of Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

Brett Tilly '95 6 Sigma Black Belt, North American Division, Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Illinois

Susan Haerr Zucker '78 General Counsel/Vice President, City Real Estate Incorporated, Chicago, Illinois

Life Trustees

Dorothy Johnson Burkhardt '39 Professor of Modern Languages, Retired, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Robert Castendyck '44 State of Illinois Circuit Judge, Retired, Sterling, Illinois

Jarvis Cecil '48 Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Retired, Consolidation Coal Co., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Raymond Charles '41 Managing Director, Retired, Lehman Brothers, Basking Ridge, New Jersey

John Fellowes '37 Chair, Fellowes Manufacturing Co., Itasca, Illinois

Donald Fites Chair and CEO, Retired, Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Illinois

Theodore Fleming '55 Owner and Chair, Fleming Publishing Co. L.L.C., Peoria, Illinois

Patrick Graham '62 Vice President, Retired, The Gillette Company, Santa Monica, California

Donald Harris '54 President, Retired, Mead Johnson Nutritional Group, Evansville, Indiana

Mary Mullins Hinz '58 President, F. Thomas Heller, Inc., Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Dan Martin '61 Senior Managing Director, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia

Merle Minks '39 General Counsel, Retired, Gulf Oil Corporation, Aliso Viejo, California

William Mitchell Vice Chair, Retired, Centel Corporation, Wheaton, Illinois

Walter Sampson President and Owner, Retired, Sampson Implement Company, Galesburg, Illinois

Robert Sparks '56 President, Retired, United Federal Savings Bank, Galesburg, Illinois

Caroline Hamblin Tucker '53 Teacher, Retired, PRIME, Mechanicsville, Virginia

Morton Weir '55 Chancellor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

Honorary Trustees

Frank Cottrell '64 Senior Vice President, Retired, Deere and Company, Moline, Illinois

Mary Kent Knight '60 Data Processing Technician, Retired, Northern Trust Company, Lake Forect, Illinois[1]