The Charles Knight Family

At our first graduation in 2005, we created the Oliver Langenberg Award. This award honors a St. Louisan whose contributions have made City Academy and our broader community better. Oliver Langenberg was City Academy’s first donor in 1998, a year before we opened! Think about that. He gave money to a school with no students or teachers. Mr. Langenberg believed in the vision for a school of excellence for all families. He had faith that we would get it done. I will always be grateful.

Today, I am honored to have Mrs. Joanne Knight here, along with her daughter Anne Davidson, and to present this year’s Langenberg Award to the Charles Knight Family.  Mrs. Knight’s husband, Chuck, passed away in September. For 27 years, Mr. Knight was the Chairman and CEO of Emerson. He transformed one of St. Louis’ most significant corporations into a leading global technology provider.  Mr. Knight was named Chief Executive of the Year and was elected to the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame, and with all of that, Mr. Knight made it a priority to give back to his community.

We are all fortunate that the Knights adopted St. Louis as their hometown. Together they have made philanthropy a family mission, significantly supporting many great St. Louis institutions including these: the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club, the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center, the Siteman Cancer Center – creating the Joanne Knight Breast Health Center for cancer research, the Washington University schools of business and medicine, and by helping create the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

The list goes on and on, including, of course, City Academy, where the Knight Family has continually supported scholarship and recently made an incredibly generous contribution for our exciting new building.

President Don Danforth with Joanne Knight and Anne Davidson

Reflections about the Charles Knight Family

Former City Academy Board Chair Bob Virgil said that “Chuck Knight was driven to be the best in anything he did or was associated with.” Sounds a little bit like our school pledge!  Let’s say the first line for the Knights: “I can be my best, by doing my best, in everything I do!” I think Mr. Knight would agree!

A former City Academy parent summed it up well, saying that the Knights “were not just interested in throwing money at a problem, but were truly concerned about changing the lives of the young people they were helping.” The Knight’s generosity has transformed the St. Louis community and enriched the lives of many.  I am honored to present this year’s Langenberg Award to the Charles Knight Family.

 by Don Danforth | President & Co-Founder

Read about previous award recipients

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