Brent Knight’s teenage dream was to become a race car driver. Instead, at 29, he has become president of Triton College (student body: 23,000) in River Grove, Ill., one of the largest two-year colleges in the Midwest. Since taking over last spring, Knight has raised tuition, scrapped a fixed pay scale for administrators in favor of a merit system and launched a $26 million building program to expand the 100-acre campus. “I don’t think you could pack any more into five months,” Knight says with pride. He recalls that once he got over his youthful passion for race cars his goal was to become a college president, and he prepared himself with a doctorate in college administration. “Now my goal is to keep the job,” he says. His wife of 10 years, Donna, remembers, “From the day we were married, we discussed what we wanted for each other. We’ve always been goal-oriented—almost to the point of ridiculousness.” They have two sons, 7 and 5. Though his days usually begin with a four-inch stack of mail and “endless streams of visitors and phone calls,” he escapes the administrative grind by tinkering with old cars. He currently is working on a ’55 T-Bird, a 1948 Lincoln and two 1941 GMC buses.
Deborah (“Debbe”) Lipman, 17, was looking around two years ago for a biology project at the Bronx High School of Science. She called Montefiore Hospital and asked if she could observe their eye pathology laboratory. “I wear contact lenses, and I think eyes are very interesting,” says Debbe. “I observed procedures like eye dissection for several months, passed out a few times and then I asked for a project.” Since that time she has spent 10 to 20 hours a week (as a volunteer) studying the reaction of blood vessels in the retina of rats’ eyes after they are injected with monosodium glutamate (MSG), the commonly used taste enhancer. According to Debbe’s research, MSG appears to “delay development of retinal blood vessels and cause permanent damage.” Her findings are expected to help in the treatment of diseases which attack blood vessels in the human eye and brain. Debbe has been working under the direction of Dr. Margaret B. Bellhorn, an assistant professor in the department of ophthalmology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Next summer the two women will submit their findings to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Debbe will enter college a year from now, probably majoring in biology. After that? “Medicine,” she says, “if I’m fortunate.”