In 1954, 32-year-old Knight was chosen to succeed Dr. Nathan M. Pusey as the President of Lawrence College. At the time, Knight was the youngest college president in the nation.
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 For the next nine years, Knight would leave his Midas touch all over Lawrence College’s 48-acre campus, eventually attracting the attention of Duke University’s nationwide search for a new president. During Knight’s office, Lawrence saw a 100% increase in the book value of the physical plant and a 150% increase in the value of the endowment. Faculty salaries were doubled and the curricular structure was revolutionized to create a “three-term, three-course plan.” Knight impacted Lawrence College in a hugely positive way during his stay there, but would go on to experience more controversial success at Duke University.