|Roger Taylor, President of Knox College, has announced his plan to retire by June 2011. This will be Taylor's second retirement. Before becoming Knox College's 18th president in 2002, Taylor had been a retired partner of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, where he remains Of Counsel.
Taylor was elected Knox's president in February 2002, after having served as interim president for six months. He was formally installed as President of the College on October 11, 2002.
"Roger Taylor will be sorely missed by all who love Knox, and especially by me," says Jan Koran, chair of the Knox College Board of Trustees. "His humor, insight and clearheaded leadership are an inspiration. He has been, and continues to be, a major reason why so many of us volunteer our time to work hard for Knox," Koran adds.
Before being asked to serve as interim president, Taylor had been chairman of the Knox College Board of Trustees.
At his installation, Taylor set three goals for his tenure as Knox's president: Nurturing Academic Excellence, Strengthening Institutional Self-Confidence, and Charting a Course Toward Financial Impregnability. Taylor took personally the challenge to help the college attract high achieving students, strengthen alumni relationships, and enhance the academic reputation of Knox among other national liberal arts colleges.
"It has been a privilege to serve my alma mater," Taylor says.
Taylor's vivacious personality and energetic style have helped Knox accomplish those goals. "The thing about Roger is that he has built a single Knox team out of diverse groups and has gotten them all marching in the same direction –- toward being proud of our College and, more importantly, telling people we were proud," Koran says. "The good news is that he and his wife Anne will continue to be a part of Knox in their current positions for another academic year. During that time, the board will work hard with Roger to make sure that Knox is on an even better footing for the 21st century in 2011 when he steps down than it is today."
Taylor has guided the college through the restructuring of Knox's educational program, the growth of student enrollment from nearly 1,000 to today's enrollment of 1,400, and the increase in alumni giving to the college from below 30% to 36% this fiscal year.
Also during his tenure as Knox's president, Taylor has overseen several capital improvements to Knox's campus. In 2006, Knox completed the first phase of a multi-year Fitness & Athletics Initiative to improve Knox's athletics facilities -- the E. & L. Andrew Fitness Center. Over the past four years, Knox has renovated nearly all the athletics facilities, including the most recent completion of the Knosher Bowl football complex and Memorial Gym, including the Tim Heimann Court basketball court.
Along with the Fitness & Athletics Initiatives, Taylor also has overseen the renovation of Hamblin Hall, a student residence; the purchase and renovation of Borzello Hall, an academic and administrative building; and the renovation of a variety of campus facilities to enhance sustainability.
Koran says, "His devotion to the College is infectious, and it is great to have a College President who not only does his day job very well, but can also sing the fight song better than anyone else!"
Taylor's higher education affiliations include the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges & Universities (FIICU), Board and Executive Committee; Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), Board of Directors; Galesburg Regional Economic Development Agency (GREDA), Executive Committee; Lincoln Academy of Illinois, Academic Trustee; Illinois Humanities Council, Board of Directors; and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
(Roger Taylor. Photo and Statement Issued by Knox College)