Alumni Spotlight: Gene Knudsen (’71)

Dr. Gene Knudsen came to Morningside College focused on baseball. But Morningside opened new doors for the 1971 graduate that have taken him all over the world.

At Morningside, he became very involved with theatre, concert choir, and student government. Additionally, he enjoyed being involved in Delta Sigma Phi, a fraternity helping and encouraging its members to become better students, leaders, citizens, and professionals.

“I am a firm believer that when one door closes –baseball, in my case – other opportunities abound. An Introduction to Theatre class gave me the idea to try out for the musical ‘Kiss Me Kate,’ where I was cast and was privileged to walk in tights onto the stage at Klinger-Neal singing and dancing with a whole new set of non-baseball friends.

“One entire spring break, Dr. James Wood and his concert choir gave me the opportunity to travel west by bus, stopping about every 500 miles to give a concert and staying overnight with people I didn’t know until we reached Los Angeles. A plane ride to Hawaii gave us more destinations, more concerts and more interesting free accommodations before returning to Sioux City and our classes.”

Knudsen graduated from Morningside with a double major in English and history. He went on to earn a master’s degree and then his doctorate in education administration and curriculum from the University of Southern California. He is now retired after a 37-year career in education with Department of Defense.

“Working for the Department of Defense as a teacher and administrator took me around the world to see places and do things I only dreamed of in high school and college,” he said.

Knudsen appreciates how travel took him out of his comfort zone, allowing him to meet people from different cultures and with different perspectives than his own. He now spends much of his time taking photos of the world around him. “Documenting the journey of life and preserving memories for myself and others is fulfilling and a great stress reliever,” he said.

Looking back, his favorite thing about Morningside was the people he met and the life-long friends he made.

“Chief among those friends was Debra Anderson, who arrived as a freshman during my junior year and became my wife and best friend in 1972 during her senior year,” he said. “Eye-opening and life-changing professors included the generous and compassionate Dr. Sharon Ocker, always grammatically correct Beatrice Tift, and forever mind-altering Dr. Carrol McLaughlin.”

Knudsen’s advice to young alumni? “Make giving back a habit,” Knudsen said. “Morningside will provide you with many tools and skills you’ll use the rest of your life. Giving your time and talent to ‘our college dear’ will help others, and you’ll be helping yourself at the same time.”

 

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:42 AM Comments (1)


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