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Busy Start for Knox's New President

Courtesy Knox College
Dr. Andy McGadney became Knox College's 20th president on July 1

Dr. Andy McGadney said he was prepared to "hit the ground running" when he took over as Knox College's 20th president on July 1.

"The transition has been fantastic," McGadney said during an interview with TSPR.

The college announced the hiring of McGadney in mid-February. McGadney said he spent the following months talking to current and former Knox trustees as well as faculty members. He also met numerous times via Zoom with his predecessor, Dr. Teresa Amott, who stepped down at the end of June after ten years as the college’s president.

“She did a fantastic job of leading Knox College – as have other presidents – to put the college in a really strong financial foundation,” McGadney said. “Obviously we have challenges that are very common with other small liberal arts colleges and universities but I feel comfortable and confident that we can build upon the foundation that Teresa left me with.”

He said one of those challenges is to increase enrollment. He said the college needs to ensure it’s “driving the demand for a Knox education,” articulating the power of a liberal arts education, and providing a quality education.         

Before McGadney’s presidency began, Knox announced it would require this fall’s students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He said the school is now in the process of developing an alternative campus plan that would include testing; details could be announced in early August. “All ideas are on the table,” he said, adding the plan will be reviewed by experts.

McGadney said he has also been meeting with more members of the Knox community during his early days in office.

“I think it’s really important to develop relationships early on before someone comes in and starts making changes or throwing around ideas,” he said.

McGadney said his mother taught first grade in Hartford, Connecticut, which fed his interest in education.

“I learned a lot about the power of education and how it can change a young person’s life. I’m definitely committed to higher education for that reason, understanding the impact that it can make.”

The president also described himself as “a big foodie.” He said he likes to fire up the grill or smoker and engage in conversation with others.

McGadney came to Knox from Colby College in Maine, where he was Vice President and Dean of Student Advancement.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.