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Knox College
Galesburg, Illinois
Posted Date
Feb 15, 2023

Knox College

Galesburg, IL





Knox College, academically the most distinguished national liberal arts college in Illinois and a paradigmatic College That Changes Lives, seeks a new Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission. The new Vice President and Dean will lead a dynamic program to increase enrollment and to support and renew a team that benefits from campus-wide participation in recruitment efforts throughout the admissions cycle. With Knox’s long-tenured Vice President now shifting to a major gifts officer role after 37 years of admissions and financial aid leadership and service, the College looks to appoint a goal-oriented and results-driven enrollment management leader or aspiring leader as his successor.




Reporting directly to Knox’s recently inaugurated President, Andy McGadney, the new Vice President will supervise a staff of 26, including 22 admissions and four financial aid officers, and will work closely with an enthusiastic Senior Staff that is a mix of ambitious new hires and dedicated College leaders who constitute a dynamic and high functioning team. The new Vice President will find Knox a supportive platform for creative thinking and innovation, while leading efforts to realize two top institutional strategic priorities: (1) increasing the demand for a Knox education, and (2) building a nationally recognized, distinctive, and respected Knox identity.




Knox is an independent, four-year, residential baccalaureate institution of approximately 1,200 students (from 45 states and—pre-COVID—49 countries). The College currently offers 60 courses of study with a student-faculty ratio of 11-1. As the Prairie Fire, Knox fields 18 varsity sports in the Division III Midwest Conference, with notable recent success in women’s and men’s soccer. The College’s enduring hallmarks, dating from its founding in 1837 by abolitionists, are academic rigor; student access without regard to gender, race or financial circumstances; a social justice ethos and a supportive, richly elaborated student culture that inspires high affinity and loyal, active alumni devotion. The word alumni use most often in describing their Knox experience is “transformational.”




The College’s location, midway between Chicago and St. Louis, affords both urban proximity and a small-town setting conducive to a close-knit campus and local community engagement. Its academic attractions include strengths in business, computer science, creative writing, history and the sciences. Experiential education and immersion terms across disciplines, including business, theatre, and the College’s interdisciplinary and immersive Green Oaks term, are well established. The College has a strong commitment to internationalism, including its piloting of a Peace Corps Preparatory Program that is now a model for other American institutions. Knox is a broad-minded campus notable for its passionate student activism, but also for its inclusivity, kindness and warmth. Accolades from The New York Times and Washington Monthly cite Knox’s effectiveness in launching engaged graduates, encouraging public service and promoting social mobility. Knox has the most diverse enrollment among Associated Colleges of the Midwest institutions: some 40% are domestic students of color and almost 30% identify as LGBTQ. A member of the American Talent Initiative, Knox is among the most successful colleges in retaining and graduating students who are first-generation. The College ranks in the top four percent of liberal-arts-college producers of PhDs. The 2023 edition of The Princeton Review guidebook The Best 388 Colleges describes Knox as an “independent-minded, uncannily smart” college that fosters a “lifelong love of learning and a sense of competence, confidence, and proportion,” and enables students to “live with purpose.” The Princeton Review also states that at Knox, students and faculty work closely together, and teaching is distinguished by “inviting and expecting students to pursue fundamental questions in order to reach their own reflective but independent judgments.” 




During the past decade, the College has pursued greater curricular differentiation in the admissions marketplace—including the addition of a Bachelor of Science degree, new majors in business, data science, and journalism, and the creation of five new minors linking arts-and-sciences study to career paths. Recent years also saw the renovation of historic Alumni Hall as a new gateway to the campus, the construction of the Whitcomb Art Center (for art and art history) and the re-imagined core of the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center. With the redevelopment of Galesburg’s Seminary Street as an independent shopping district, the campus is now more deeply integrated into the life of the City of Galesburg (population 30,197), the seat of Knox County, a railroad hub three hours from Chicago, and “home to the largest number of historic houses in Illinois.”




The new Vice President will build on recent enrollment initiatives such as the Prairie Promise, which meets the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted Illinois resident. The emerging framework for Knox’s strategic plan calls for enhancing the College’s American Talent Initiative commitments; further leveraging the role of athletics in recruiting and retention; raising financial aid endowments; building and promoting Knox’s support for learning differences; promoting immersive experiences as a signature feature of a Knox education; promoting Knox’s diverse and inclusive campus culture; renewing admissions and financial aid expertise to regain Knox’s pre-COVID enrollment; developing an outcomes-based value proposition for the College; and boldly featuring the distinctiveness of the Knox and Galesburg communities as assets providing unique educational opportunities students. In support of these ambitions, the Knox Board of Trustees has recently committed to a program of strategic institutional investments, with investment in increasing enrollment as the centerpiece.




Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree, preferably in an arts-and-sciences discipline, is required. Candidates should demonstrate a record of professional advancement within the admissions and financial aid operation of a selective national liberal arts college or university that has succeeded in strengthening its enrollment profile by growing applications and increasing yield and retention. Successful experience at more than one institution would be advantageous. The ideal candidate will be a passionate and articulate champion of the liberal arts curriculum and the educational benefits of an intimately scaled residential college community with a diverse enrollment and progressive ethos. Technical sophistication, familiarity with enrollment analytics, and expertise in financial aid leveraging strategies are essential. Knox expects the new Vice President to be an authoritative spokesperson for undergraduate admission and financial aid issues, who can further substantiate the College’s relationships in the media, among secondary schools and across the college admissions counseling field.




Review of candidate materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment. A complete application will include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae or résumé and contact information for five professional references who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this appointment. Named referees will not be contacted without the candidate’s prior consent. Chuck O’Boyle of C. V. O’Boyle, Jr. LLC is leading the search. Expressions of interest, applications, nominations and inquiries should be directed to Mr. O’Boyle at


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