Deceased October 23, 2022

View alumni profile (log in required)

In Memory

Dr. W. Nicholas Knight passed away on October 23, 2022, after a short illness. Recently Nick resided at Broadreach Liberty Commons in Chatham, Massachusetts. Nick is loved by his four children and their spouses: Nate and Kristen Knight, Jessica Knight and Steve Connors, Portia and Moses Calouro, all of Orleans, Massachusetts; and Polly and John Lynn of Edwardsville, Illinois. Nick, his sense of fun, and his pride in their activities will be missed by his grandchildren: Alex, Elizabeth, Nicholas, Kathy, Gabriel, Ethan, Lauren and Beatrice. Nick was preceded in death by his first wife, Susan Harrison, and second wife, Diane Lowline Hawley Sanborn. He will be missed by his partner, Lynn Reisenleiter. He was cherished by Diane’s children Dirk and Jeanne Sanborn of Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Blake and Donna Sanborn of Bourbon, Missouri; Dana Sanborn and Tom French of Rolla, Missouri; and by Diane’s grandchildren Brittany, Brandon, Lauren and Kaylen.

Nick was a popular professor of English, first at Indiana University Bloomington, then Wesleyan University in Connecticut and, lastly, Missouri University of Science and Technology, previously University Missouri Rolla. He earned his B.A. in English from Amherst College, M.A. from University of California at Berkeley and Ph.D. from Indiana University. He knew his students well, encouraging them in their endeavors and writing. Three of the known signatures of William Shakespeare were discovered or authenticated by Nick. Professor Knight rendered college more accessible by teaching community college courses at night, sponsoring the Black Student Union, taking senior citizens on field trips to St. Louis, teaching Shakespeare in prison and mentoring English majors whose parents thought they should major in engineering. Nick Knight’s representative works include his book Shakespeare’s Hidden Life and his off-Broadway play The Death of J.K.  He was active in Arts Rolla, Rotary Club and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Born in 1939 to Elinor Pickering Cochrane of Melrose, Massachusetts, and Nicholas William Knight of Carnegie, Pennsylvania, Nick was 83 years old when he passed. A private memorial service celebrating his life was held in Orleans, Massachusetts, in early November. A public service will be held in February at Christ Episcopal Church in Rolla, Missouri.

Polly Lynn