To name one’s role model may say more about a person than almost anything else. But it has to be surprising to learn whom it is that Joseph Knott ’74 considers his. Knott was an accounting major as a student, and now he works as a partner with an accounting firm with a global reach. But his role model, he says, is Peg Dolan, R.S.H.M..
“Sister Peg is the very definition of a Christian. She always has positive things to say or do every step of the way, and her example hasn’t wavered in the 34 years that I’ve known her,” Knott says.
In recognition of Sister Peg’s impact on him, Knott recently made a generous donation to the Dolan Campus Ministry Center. He hopes that the legacy of her example will continue to have an influence on current and future students.
Knott’s LMU experience has remained close to his heart throughout his career. He currently is the director of tax quality and risk management for Ernst & Young, where he helps tax professionals deal with regulatory and professional standards matters in their work with clients.
“My responsibilities allow me to work with a wide range of individuals as they apply the high standards of our firm and profession. The judgment required is based on my education in the Jesuit and Marymount tradition,” Knott says. “The university provided me with the foundation for my career and the tools to be successful. Sister Peg provided the living example.”
Knott also values LMU’s emphasis on ethics. Life is full of ethical challenges, he says, which can put pressure on an individual’s ability to resolve those challenges positively. “Having an ethical foundation allows people to pause and consider the implications of their decisions,” Knott says.
As a student, Knott took advantage of the many opportunities to develop himself during his undergraduate education. He was a member of the rugby team and Crimson Circle, a service group. Also, he served as a resident advisor in Whelan Hall, where he first met Sister Peg.
“LMU challenged me to expand my horizons and gave me a different view of the world,” Knott said. “LMU is a great anchor in Southern California that provides a unique environment to lay the foundation for the rest of your life.”
Knott’s relationship with LMU, including the College of Business Administration, remains fruitful today. He regularly attends university events with his wife, Karen, including Parents Council meetings and alumni rugby games. Also, Knott served on the Business Advisory Board for the past two years.
“The College of Business Administration has made some great strides and world-class changes over the past few years, such as hiring Dennis Draper, the new dean, and gaining increased attention through the nationally recognized executive M.B.A. program,” Knott says. “As an accounting graduate, I have a vested interest in the college’s future.”
Knott’s enthusiasm for LMU has been passed on to his children. His son, Kenneth, is currently a freshman and his daughter, Taylor, plans to attend fall ’08.
“My goal is that they maximize their LMU experience through diverse experiences and taking advantage of every moment,” Knott says.