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Bill Knight will present the 2010 John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. (WIU VPC photo)
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Knight: Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture

August 31, 2010

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Bill Knight, an award-winning journalist, professor and deputy director of the journalism program at Western Illinois University, will present the Eighth Annual John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 in the University Union Grand Ballroom at WIU-Macomb and at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8 in Room 102-AB at WIU-Quad Cities.

Knight's topic is: "I Read the News Today – Oh, Boy: Journalism, Empathy and the Liberal Arts."

"The Liberal Arts Lecture focuses on educational challenges that face WIU and our country, as seen through the lens of personal experience," said Hallwas, who presented the inaugural lecture in September 2003. "It reminds us, at the outset of every academic year, that real education is not merely acquired skills or useful information but an open-ended process of inner growth, which is indispensable in our time of rapid change, cultural complexity, social conflict and spiritual anxiety."

Knight, who has been teaching at Western Illinois since 1991, remains an active columnist, radio commentator and author. He writes twice-weekly columns for newspapers in Pekin, Peoria, Monmouth, Galesburg, Kewanee and Macomb. He is the author of the 2003 "Video Almanac" and "Fair Comment: Essays on the Air," and he is a featured weekly commentator on Western's Tri States Public Radio. 

This June, Knight was named one of a "Golden Dozen" by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE) at its annual conference for his May 2009 opinion piece on moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to Illinois. The op-ed, "Illinois Can Handle Detainees," commented on moving nearly 250 Guantanamo Bay terror suspects to Illinois. The article was published more than five months before the government began looking at the Thomson Correctional Center in Carroll County.

"We have a history of safely handling enemies sworn to destroy our nation," Knight wrote, recalling Fulton County's Camp Ellis, which during World War II housed nearly 5,000 Nazi prisoners of war.

His writing also has won awards from the Illinois Associated Press (Best Commentary), the Illinois Press Association (Business Reporting), the International Labor Communications Association (Best Column) and the Suburban Newspapers Association of America (Best Sports Writing).

A graduate of Carthage (IL) High School (1967), WIU (1971) and the University of Illinois-Springfield (1982), Knight's newest books are "Horse Shoe Bottoms" (2008), a 1930s novel by west-central Illinois journalist and activist Tom Tippett, for which Knight wrote the biographical introduction and edited; and "Rick Johnson Reader: Tin Cans, Squeems and Thud Pies" (2007), a collection of rock criticism, essays on popular culture and zany screeds by Johnson, the late Creem magazine writer who had attended WIU.
 Knight also is the editor of Western's College of Arts and Science's magazine "Focus," which is published twice yearly since Spring 2005.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Susan Martinelli-Fernandez said: "We are very much indebted to Dr. John Hallwas, our first Liberal Arts Lecture speaker, Western's well-known scholar of regional history and the most widely published author in Western's history. For more than 30 years, Dr. Hallwas has brought historical and cultural insights to the people of Illinois through a breadth of publications, lectures and workshops focused on literature, history, community life, environmental thought and creative nonfiction. In an 'On Community' article published in the McDonough County Voice on Aug. 21, Dr. Hallwas discussed the connections between self-knowledge, commitment and vocational choice, emphasizing the Latin roots of vocation, meaning 'to call'. We thank John for answering his call as a champion of liberal arts education."

Past lecturers in the series have included Dr. John Hallwas (2003), Dr. Charles Helm (2004), Dr. Karen Mann (2005), Dr. Tracy Knight (2006), President Al Goldfarb (2007), Dr. Rick Hardy (2008), and Dr. Iraj Kalantari (2009). The John Hallwas Lecture, which is open free to the public, is designated as a First Year Experience (FYE) event for Western Illinois University students.

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