Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

English

Peter Knox

Class of 2006
Major/Minor: English major with minors in drama and creative writing

My liberal arts education helped me learn how to self start/motivate myself, set obtainable goals, organize/lead a team, manage ongoing followup, maintain professional communication, and champion a cause I believe in to win.

How has your liberal arts education influenced you? How do you apply your liberal arts education in your current career?

Books were always a big part of my life and being able to get my start in publications (Elm, Collegian, Magazine, Literary House Press) at WAC led me to my current career in publishing. Having always been passionate about reading, I now do ‘marketing’ as a way to spread that passion to encourage others to find, buy, and read books today.

I may have always had that desire to tell others about books I love but WAC brought it out of me, trained me to speak on stage and at the front of the room, and to have confidence that comes with college level education and support. Workshops and classes and publications honed my writing to a professional level where I can feel good about hitting send/post on my words to share then with the world.

Only at such a small school would I be able to do what I did at a higher level: captain the rugby team, write a weekly newspaper column, publish a monthly magazine, perform on the drama stage, lead my fraternity communications, and intern at the small press. Instead of being forced to focus on one activity, I could do as much as I could handle across all of the college’s many offerings and that’s prepared me more than anything for the world where your job description is never limited to just one task.

Your college experience is what you make of it and I was fortunate to have the opportunities to do so at Washington College. Whatever follows college is also what you make of it too—you have to get out there, ask for help, and take everything you can get as you find your place in the real world.

Who was your favorite faculty member?

I could tell you about hiking William Wordsworth’s mountainside trail with Dr. Gillin in northern England and attending his daughter’s wedding a few weeks later (a rare introduction to a one-of-a-kind advisor), but instead I’ll mention Adam Goodheart.

A friend who knew him and knew me knew we’d be a great fit together and urged me to take his class, which was full. I reached out, as I was in the middle of devouring Hunter S. Thompson’s catalog and knew he was on the syllabus, and said I’d gladly sit on the floor to take his class. Ever the gentleman, he did me one better and got me a seat.

This would lead to my favorite class (Travel Writing, where we also read David Foster Wallace!) with a new favorite professor. When HST ended his life during that spring semester, Goodheart urged me to apply for the Starr Center Fellowship which I used that summer to attend the Good Doctor’s very unique funeral, an experience that I wrote about for my first published article in a national magazine.

This paved the way for picking a thesis and thesis advisor my senior year, when who better but Goodheart to guide me through a 90 page dissertation on HST’s American Dream. I was reading, writing, and even presenting on my favorite author under the helpful guiding hand of Goodheart, an English major’s ideal college experience.

When it came time to graduate, Goodheart again clued me into the idea of the Columbia Publishing Course. After 6 weeks in Manhattan, I landed the publishing job I’m still working at today almost 9 years later.

What is your favorite Washington College memory?

There’s a madness to midnight in the publications office in the Reid basement when the digital files must be finalized and uploaded to the magazine printer’s server, when you’re pulling together the month’s issue in one night up against deadline and everyone’s working off printed versions scattered around the one computer making changes where you feel as though you’re doing work but it doesn’t feel like work and two days later when you’re still a little tired you come across a stack of what was only ideas in your head 48 hours prior but are now ink on paper distributed campus-wide and think I like this—thank goodness for college all-nighters when you’re firing on all cylinders and it’s working.

Either that, or May Day. May Day seems to have only ever been possible at a place like Chestertown.

The friends I have today and forever were worth more than the diploma on my wall.

Campus Involvement
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Order of Omega, Kappa Alpha Order
  • Men’s Rugby Club
  • The Elm Newspaper
  • The Collegian Magazine
  • The Literary House Press
  • C.V. Starr Center
  • Theater
  • WC Magazine