Professor Spotlight: Dr. George McKnight

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Dr. George McKnight, known as George by members of the Salem community, has spent most of his career here at Salem College teaching Chemistry. George started out as a math major, but when he realized that math was too abstract for him, he moved his focus towards chemistry. During his first semester in college, he struggled in his calculus class, while exceeding in his chemistry class. As he continued his studies in chemistry, his career in in the field became more concrete.

During his college life, George lived off-campus and was mostly involved in academics and choir. He chose to stay well involved with high school friends who lived nearby. After college, George was offered a job by a friend to go to Ecuador to teach for two years, where he became fluent in Spanish. When he returned to the U.S.A. he taught high school, until he realized that this was not the level of education he wanted to focus on. Wanting to teach at a higher level, George went to the University of Illinois to obtain a PhD in chemistry. After completing his degree, he went to teach at Universidad Simon Bolivar in Venezuela. His return to the United States brought him here to Salem College.

When coming to an all women’s institution, George did not think that their would be a variance in the teaching style, but he was surprised to learn that this was not the case. With the assistance of his colleagues, he was able to better adjust to these differences. George stays here at Salem because of he loves his students and the people he works with. He ensures his chemistry students that their are a vast variety of job options in their future reaching from industry work to academia. He advises his students to make sure they enjoy working in a lab environment because a large majority of their career will in a similar setting.

Thank you George for all of your great work here at Salem!

By Monique Ahmad

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