Mossey Library Director Dan Knoch died sud­denly Wednesday. He worked at Hillsdale College for 43 years. External Affairs

Hillsdale College Library Director Dan Knoch died unex­pectedly on June 25, according to an email from the Provost’s Office.

Knoch worked at Hillsdale College for 43 years. After grad­u­ating from Western Michigan Uni­versity, he came to work at the Mossey Library in 1976 and even­tually took over as its director. June 26 was scheduled to be his last day on the job, and Tech­nical Ser­vices Librarian Maurine McCourry was ready to take over as library director the fol­lowing day.

Knoch’s col­leagues said the library was a great work­place envi­ronment largely thanks to him. Public Service Librarian Brenna Wade worked with Knoch for 14 years, first as a student employee, then later as a staff member. She said he worked hard to make sure the library had a con­genial atmos­phere. 

And, Wade said, he was always sup­portive of staff and stu­dents. She recalled that when she first told him she was pregnant with her son, he was sup­portive and excited for her because family was important to him. A large part of his choice to retire, Knoch told The Col­legian, was due to his desire to spend more time with his grand­children.

Knoch was very involved with the city com­munity and with his church, according to Wade. But when it came to family, that was a large part of his life.

“You could tell that family was really important to him,” Wade said. “I think that was just Dan. He loved kids. He adored his grandkids.”

Knoch and Public Ser­vices Librarian Linda Moore, who both started work at Hillsdale on the same day in 1976, would often talk about their fam­ilies. Moore said in an email that she often started her workday by vis­iting his office to chat about family and “the news of the day.”

“He enjoyed watching the growth of both his family and his college family which began with the library staff,” Moore said.

Mark Maier, assistant to the provost and lec­turer in English, used to work with Knoch in the college library. Knoch, Maier said, was a mentor figure to him.

“He was a great man; he was the soul of kindness,” Maier said. “He was a very steady, solid guy, even in high-pressure sit­u­a­tions. In the library, it sounds silly to think there are high-tension, high-pressure things, but there are, like any job. He was always steady and even and didn’t lose his cool. He was a calming presence.”

Wade said Knoch’s approach to man­aging the library staff was “to hire good people and to let them do their jobs.”

McCourry said in an email that she pursued further edu­cation in library science and applied for the library director position with Knoch’s encour­agement.

“He made me who I am as a librarian, no question,” she said. “He was the best ‘boss’ I’ve ever had — always caring, com­pas­sionate, and wise, but always fun, too.”

Maier said Knoch weathered some of the largest shifts in library work during his time at Hillsdale. He handled every tech­no­logical advancement and change with “calmness and steadiness,” and he was willing to try changes that at first might have been fright­ening for library employees.

Knoch’s care for others extended beyond the library. He was an active member of the college com­munity, attending “vir­tually every Hillsdale function,” Maier said, from sporting events and plays to con­certs and lec­tures.

“He always made time to support col­leagues and stu­dents,” Maier said.

Wade and Maier both said Knoch enjoyed finding good excuses to bring the library staff together for desserts and cama­raderie. Usually, it was an occasion to cel­e­brate someone’s birthday, Wade said, but he always had reasons for getting people together.

Infor­mation about a memorial service will be posted when it is available.