GALESBURG, ILLINOIS (May 23, 2023) — Knox College has announced non-profit leader Brooke M Wiseman as the speaker for the institution's 2023 Commencement on Sunday, June 4, 2023.
During her eight-year tenure as chief executive officer, Brooke Wiseman led Blessings in a Backpack to become the only national organization solely dedicated to closing the weekend hunger gap for food-insecure students. The program serves children nationwide, with almost 1,100 national program locations and six chapters.
Wiseman's dedication to Blessings in a Backpack moved the organization from being a small, locally-focused charity to feeding nearly 90,000 children every weekend. Wiseman also helped secure key partnerships including the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation, has helped grow the non-profit's volunteer base from 2,700 to more than 15,500 volunteers, and was instrumental in the non-profit receiving the highest-possible rating from two non-profit evaluators.
Wiseman greatly accelerated fundraising for the organization. She helped Blessings in a Backpack secure donors and funds that tripled under her leadership, resulting in more than $12 million raised through sound fiscal management and a comprehensive fundraising strategy with a diversified donor base. Wiseman also tripled the staff and developed a strong team of leaders who will continue feeding hungry children on the weekends for decades to come.
Before joining the Blessings in a Backpack team, Wiseman held several executive-level positions for the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago and Girl Scouts of the United States of America. She was named One of 100 Women to Watch by Today's Chicago Women, and she received the International Women's Forum's 2016 Women Who Make a Difference Award. She has also received the Human Relations Award from the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. She is a past president of the Union League Club of Chicago.
Wiseman holds a Master's degree in Communications from Michigan State University and a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Psychology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
"Brooke Wiseman's work to grow and expand the Blessings in a Backpack program into a national leader among nonprofit organizations exemplifies the type of work we are preparing our students for here at Knox," said President C Andrew McGadney. "During her time as CEO, Knox students initiated the creation of a Blessings in a Backpack program that has grown into a model for collaboration between the Knox and Galesburg communities. Each year hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and members of the community come together to pack meals, raise funds, and help to fill a critical need for the children in our community. I am thrilled Brooke will join us for our 2023 Commencement and that we will be able to honor her extraordinary work."
Knox College has also announced the 2023 Honorary Degree recipients, who will be honored during Commencement.
Joseph B Glossberg is an accomplished wealth advisor and investment counselor with CI Gofen and Glossberg Private Wealth of Chicago, which oversees more than $6B in assets.
Glossberg received a BS in Economics and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1965, he joined his father's firm, Gofen and Glossberg. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Investment Counselor designations. Glossberg has contributed extensively to the Chicago community through his civic work as president of the board of the Jazz Institute of Chicago. He has also served as a trustee and life trustee of the Merit School of Music and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Glossberg is Vice Chair of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra board and a corporate board member of Changing Worlds, a cross-cultural program for Chicago Public School children.
Glossberg was elected to the Knox Board of Trustees in 1994 and during his time on the Board, he served as Chief Investment Officer of the investment committee that significantly reduced the College's endowment-spending rate and built better investments. He has also supported two of Knox's most important missions: A diverse curriculum and access to quality education. In 2001, Glossberg established the Joseph B Glossberg Visiting Israeli Scholar Fund, now the Joseph and Madeleine Glossberg Jewish Studies Fund — an endowed fund that supports visiting scholars from Israel and Jewish studies initiatives on- and off-campus. In 2004, he established a scholarship fund to provide financial support to Knox students from the City of Chicago.
In 2015, Glossberg was awarded the "Trustees' Medal for Extraordinary Achievement," which may only be awarded with the unanimous consent of the Knox College Board of Trustees to those rare individuals who have made a singular contribution to advancing the mission of Knox College, and who embody the Knox ideal of living with purpose while contributing to the well-being of others.
Michelle Kuo is a scholar advocate who focuses on social movements in racial and economic justice, incarceration, and detention, restorative justice, and prison abolition. She is also the author of Reading with Patrick, a memoir of friendship, a coming-of-age story for both a young teacher and a teenage student, and an expansive meditation on education, cross-racial solidarity, and justice in the rural South.
Reading with Patrick was a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice. Kuo's work has also been published in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Public Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Point, and other publications.
Kuo currently lives in Taiwan, where she is a visiting professor at National Taiwan University in the law program. She was part of a group that founded a non-profit organization, Dialogue and Transformation, which works to create transformative conversations among formerly-incarcerated people across the world. She also worked as an immigrants' rights lawyer at Centro Legal de la Raza, located in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California. Supported by a Skadden Fellowship, her clients included day laborers, restaurant workers, and domestic workers.
Kuo graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies and Gender Studies from Harvard College. She would later attend Harvard Law School, where she worked as a student attorney at the Criminal Justice Institute, a domestic violence and family mediation clinic, and the Education Law Clinic/Trauma Policy Learning Initiative. Kuo received the National Clinical Association's award for her advocacy of children with special needs. As an associate professor in the History, Law, and Society program at the American University of Paris, she taught courses focused on diversity, social justice, and non-fiction writing.