#99-05-15
For Release: May 20, 1999
Contact: communication@knox.edu

Knox College to Graduate 244 Seniors

Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, will award more than 240 bachelor of arts degrees, three honorary doctor of humane letters degrees and three Alumni Achievement Awards during commencement ceremonies Saturday, June 5, 1999.

Honorary degrees will be awarded to James B. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist; Georgie Anne Geyer, syndicated columnist and foreign correspondent; and Michael Alter, founder of the Chicago branch of the youth leadership program, City Year.

The commencement address will be given by Stewart, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his work as editor of The Wall Street Journal during the October 1987 stock market crash. Stewart also has written several books, including the best-sellers Den of Thieves and Blood Sport.

Ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 5, on the south lawn of Knox's historic Old Main. The outdoor ceremony is free and open to the public. In case of rain, commencement will be held in the Memorial Gymnasium where seating is limited to those with tickets.

Bree Elrod, a junior from Topeka, Kansas, was named College Marshal, an honor given to a distinguished member of the junior class, selected to lead the procession of graduating seniors. A new feature of the ceremony this year will be remarks by a member of the graduating class of 1999, still to be chosen.

The Knox College class of 1999 comprises 244 students from 32 states and 13 countries, twenty-five of whom have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the national academic honor society. Two graduating seniors --Rachel Mueller and Kim Rogers --have received 1999 Fulbright Fellowships. The prestigious awards are given to outstanding U.S. college graduates for study and research overseas. In addition, Ted Przyzycki, who graduated from Knox last year, also received a 1999 Fulbright Fellowship this year. Mueller will study and teach in Korea, Rogers in Zimbabwe, Przyzycki in Germany.

Also at the commencement ceremony, Knox will present Alumni Achievement Awards to Peter Cozzens, a 1979 graduate, diplomat and historian; Rick Nishimura, class of 1975, head of cardiovascular education at the Mayo Clinic; and John Feemster, a 1959 graduate and noted thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon. Cozzens, United States Deputy Consul General in Panama, also has written several acclaimed historical books about the Civil War. Nishimura has won numerous teaching and clinical practice awards. Feemster has served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, where he received a Certificate of Merit from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and developed two innovative devices that preserve organs for transplant.

Founded in 1837, Knox is an independent, four-year, liberal arts college, located in Galesburg, Illinois, with 1,100 students from 42 states and 33 nations. Knox's "Old Main," a National Historic Landmark, is the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

1999 Honorary Degree Recipients

James B. Stewart James Stewart, a graduate of DePauw University and Harvard Law School, is a former attorney and editor of The Wall Street Journal. His awards include the George Polk Award for Journalism from Long Island University in 1987, The Gerald Loeb Award from the University of California, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his The Wall Street Journal coverage of the October 1987 stock market crash and Wall Street insider trading.

Stewart, who also was editor of the Harvard Law Review, was page one editor of The Wall Street Journal. He also served as executive editor of American Lawyer and currently writes for New Yorker magazine.

Stewart is the author of four acclaimed books. The Partners: Inside America's Most Powerful Law Firms (1983), and The Prosecutors: Inside the Offices of the Government's Most Powerful Lawyers (1987) explored key figures in the American legal system. Den of Thieves (1991) investigated insider trading and other illegal activities that took place in the investment world during the 1980's. One of his most recent works, Blood Sport, examined the Whitewater scandal and Clinton administration.

Georgie Anne Geyer, a graduate of Northwestern University, is a distinguished journalist and author. One of the earliest female foreign correspondents in the 1960's, Geyer traveled the mountains of Central America to cover Latin American guerrilla movements. She also has reported from the Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe and has interviewed numerous world leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; President Sadat of Egypt; King Hussein of Jordan; President Qaddafi of Libya; Prime Minister Peres of Israel; PLO Chief Yasser Arafat; Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi of India; and President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines.

Geyer has written a widely acclaimed biography of Fidel Castro, as well as several books that explore political and economic upheavals around the world-- The New Latins: Fateful Change in South and Central America, The New 100 Years War, which is about the Middle East;The Young Russians and Waiting for Winter to End, both about the former Soviet Union; and Americans No More, about the decline of nationalism in the U.S. and worldwide. Buying the Night Flight: The Autobiography of a Woman Foreign Correspondent, chronicles her own experiences as a journalist.

Geyer writes an internationally-syndicated column and is a frequent panelist on PBS's Washington Week in Review.

Michael Alter, who received his undergraduate degree at Harvard and law degree at the University of Chicago law school, is an attorney, real estate developer, and philanthropist. He was primarily responsible for introducing the youth leadership program, City Year, to Chicago. The program unites young people from various backgrounds within the metropolitan area for community service in inner-city neighborhoods.

City Year began in Boston in 1988, started by Alter's college roommates, Alan Khazei and Michael Brown. Initially supported with private donations, City Year received federal funds in 1998, enabling the youth leadership program to branch out into five additional cities, including Chicago.

Alter has clerked for a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and worked as a litigator for Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago. At present he divides his time between City Year and his job as president of his family's business, The Alter Group, a commercial real estate development firm headquartered in Wilmette, Illinois.

1999 Alumni Achievement Awards

Peter Cozzens, a native of Wheaton, Illinois, currently living in Panama, completed his bachelor's degree Summa Cum Laude in International Relations at Knox in 1979. After graduation he served for four years with U.S. Army military intelligence, rising to the rank of Captain, then entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1984. Cozzens has held postings in Mexico and Peru and has also served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Cozzens is currently Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Panama. In 1997, he was awarded the Superior Honor Award, the State Department's second highest recognition.

Cozzens also has written a series of highly acclaimed books about the Civil War, including "No Better Place to Die," a History Book Club Best Seller; "The Darkest Days of the War"; "The Military Memoirs of General John Pope" and "This Terrible Sound" and "The Shipwreck of Their Hopes," both of which were picked by Civil War Magazine as among "The Best 100 Books about the Civil War."

Rick Nishimura of Rochester, Minnesota, was born in Chicago, and received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Knox College in 1975, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He earned his M.D. from Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1978, completed an internship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in 1978, and his residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in 1983. In 1983, he also completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo.

Nishimura has been a faculty member at the Mayo Medical School since 1983, where he has been named Teacher of the Year seven times and Outstanding Cardiovascular Diseases Teacher ten times. He is now head of cardiovascular education at Mayo Clinic as well as head of educational programs for the National American College of Cardiology. In 1996, Nishimura was awarded the Plummer Award for Distinguished Clinician, given for outstanding clinical practice in internal medicine. He has written more than 160 scientific articles and book chapters.

John Feemster, born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and now living in Rochester Hills, Michigan, earned his bachelor's degree from Knox College in 1959, and his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 1963. He completed an internship and residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and additional residencies at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine. In 1968-69, Feemster gained national prominence for two inventions--the Hyberbaric-Pulsatile Perfusion Organ Preservation Machine and the Portable Heart Lung Machine with Membrane Oxygenator--both of which help to preserve organs until they can be transplanted. He has written more than 30 articles for medical journals.

Feemster served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972, in the Army Reserve until 1986, and subsequently in the Michigan Army National Guard. During the Desert Storm conflict in 1990-91 he was Chief of Surgery and Special Services in the 207th Evac Hospital, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. His military honors include a Bronze Star Medal from the U.S. Army and a Certificate of Merit from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was named a Michigan Distinguished Citizen in 1984 by the Michigan House of Representatives and won the 1993 Doctor Recognition Award from Mercy Hospital in Detroit. Feemster has served as president of the Detroit Medical Society and currently has a private practice in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in Detroit.

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