Lon Knight began his teaching and research career in 1971 at Furman University after receiving his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. He served as the Chemistry Department Chair for 33 years, beginning in 1981. He received Furman's Meritorious Teaching Award in 2006. He also served as Faculty President from 1991-93 and played a prominent role in planning the new $62.5 million science facility completed in 2008, now known as the Charles H. Townes Science Center.
Dr. Knight was one of the first faculty nationwide at an undergraduate institution to be awarded a regular National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant award and has received nine such highly competitive grants over his career. In 1989, he received the national American Chemical Society Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution and the South Carolina Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in the same year. His leadership role in trapping reactive molecules near absolute zero is exemplified by his selection as Vice Chair and Chair in 1991 and 1995, respectively, of the international Gordon Research Conferences on this topic. He has published more than 100 research papers in the top national and international journals with all of the work being conducted jointly with Furman undergraduate science students.
Dr. Knight’s favorite non-science activities include skiing, table tennis, and racquetball, which provide opportunities for him to become more closely acquainted with Furman students, who are the most rewarding dimension of his career.