Contributed by Dr. Hank Knight

Cailla Prisco

Student Life Editor

After winning the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr. Hank Knight, Director of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, talked about how he discovered his passion for religious studies and why he owes a part of his career to his mentors.

Having completed his undergraduate degree in English at the Uni versity of Alabama, a career in teaching, and even genocide studies, were not on his radar.

“It was something that I just fell into accidently, I wasn’t planning for it and I didn’t even know it was something I could make a career out of,” Knight said.

“One day I picked up a book authored by Elie Wiesel and then another, and then another, and at one point I realized I have read everything the man has ever published,” said Knight.

A mentorship between Knight and Wiesel that stemmed from mutual interests and studies turned into an likely friendship. Knight said that having him as a mentor, and a friend was a pivotal factor in his career.

“It was a relationship between two scholars that went from a mentorship to a friendship and every time we were in the same city we would try and meet because we both genuinely enjoyed each others company,” Knight said. “We would have dinner and sit in the car and listen to music we both like for hours because it was a real special bond,” added the professor.

Knight’s career progressed as Wiesel opened him up to a world of religious studies and showed him more texts and more information to keep his hunger of knowledge going.

A former student of Professor Knight’s, Darren Morse, said that Knight is constantly reading more books and finding new information and new class topics.

“His classes are always interesting, when I was one of his students he always had a different topic for the class so you were constantly learning new things and it was never repetitive,” Morse said. “Being a holocaust and genocide studies major is so much more than one class or one topic and he does a really great job at that,” added Morse.

Knight’s said he owes a lot of his academic accomplishments to his mentors, including college football coach Bear Bryant. Knight played college football at the University of Alabama under his leadership.

Knight said, “Bear Bryant was a great leader for me, he was the type of coach and mentor that supported you and taught you more than just the game of football, he was teaching life lessons, and making us be a team.”

Professor Hank Knight joined the KSC community in 2007 and is now the Acting Director of the Cohen Center.

Cailla Prisco can be contacted

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Cailla Prisco can be contacted


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