After nearly four years on the job, the president of Knoxville College will resign from the top spot on campus this December.
Dr. Horace Judson came to Knoxville College in January 2010 with the tough task of restoring accreditation and to a struggling school with a proud history. Judson came out of retirement to take the position after serving previous presidential stints at Grambling State University and Plattsburgh State University in New York.
"Dr. Judson told us he was making a three-year commitment when he came on board and he has done more than that," said Frank Shanklin, Jr., a member of the school's board of trustees and a 1995 graduate of Knoxville College. "He has done a very good job re-establishing relationships, getting alumni involved, and working on our application for accreditation."
The school will now turn to a dean at the college, Dr. Evelyn Hallman, to take over as president in January. Judson will remain on campus as president until the end of December to assist Hallman with the transition.
"Dr. Judson came out of retirement to take this job, but I think he wants to retire and be able to spend more time with his family. They live down in Florida and his wife is a graduate of Knoxville College, so they have a lot of devotion to the school," said Shanklin.
Knoxville College saw a steady decline and fell on particularly tough times after it lost accreditation in 1997. Enrollment plummeted, debt ballooned, and many of the large buildings once full of students are now condemned. Only the buildings at the front of the campus still possess the glimmer of a once glorious school that played a leading part in the civil rights movement in East Tennessee.
The summer of 2013 marked exactly 50 years since dozens of restaurants in downtown Knoxville agreed to desegregate. The agreement came after years of concerted efforts by students at Knoxville College who organized peaceful demonstrations at white lunch counters. The students quietly went from store to store for "sit-ins" at several restaurants. They found resistance from some owners who simply removed the stools to give them nowhere to sit, but the demonstrations were never violent. The students utilized a highly-organized and intellectual approach that eventually changed Knoxville for the better forever.