Presidential Inauguration


Oct. 19 marked the inauguration of the 13th president of Washington & Jefferson College, John Charles Knapp, Ph.D. The event occurred in the Olin Fine Arts Center. A parade march down Wheeling Street began the day’s festivities. The student government carried flags of eighteen countries symbolizing the different international communities represented on campus, as well as state flags. Faculty and staff also walked in the procession.

The W&J choir, camerata singers, band and wind ensemble played music throughout the ceremony. The ceremony began with speakers from all sectors of the community greeting President Knapp and expounding on his integrity and qualifications for his new position. Speakers at the event represented the city of Washington, W&J alumni, the student body and the Board of Trustees. Among others, Trustee Richard Clark spoke of his eagerness to work alongside Knapp, his wife Kelly Knapp and the Board of Trustees. The Mayor of the city of Washington, Scott Putnam, spoke in regards of the role the college plays in the city. Student Government Association president, Kenny Clark ‘18 vouched that Knapp will work alongside the current faculty and staff and exemplify the college’s motto, Juncta Juvant. Vice President and Dean of Student Life, Dean Eva Chatterjee-Sutton implied that Knapp’s presence in the W&J community would prompt continuous integration between students and faculty.

Finally, President Knapp took the stage. First, he shared his beliefs of the impact of education in sustaining the Republic of America. He stated that he envisions W&J producing students of integrity and responsible citizens that can contribute to the nation’s democratic platform. On behalf of the liberal arts philosophy that W&J bestows, Knapp said, “We are giving our graduates more than just a ticket to their trade.” He emphasized the role that alumni are able to play in the public after learning a wide range of topics throughout their undergraduate education. In addition, Knapp said, “W&J will have to adapt and innovate to stay at the forefront,” in regards to the modernizations each class and generation brings to the college. The body of Knapp’s speech included his three commitments to W&J, no matter what plans are made to develop the college in the future. First, the W&J alumni association must remain an organization of integrity and character. Secondly, W&J will be held accountable for being committed to excellence in every category. Third, the W&J academic program will remain a liberal arts and sciences model. This curriculum includes the development of skills beyond the classroom.

The 13th Inauguration ended with a reception in the Rossin Campus Center’s Allen Ballroom.