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April 1, 2003 - John L. Knott, Jr., a third-generation builder/developer recognized as an expert in urban revitalization, will speak at Aquinas College as this year's lecturer for the annual Wege Foundation Speaker Series. Knott's speech, "Healing the Garden," is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Aquinas Wege Student Center Ballroom. The lecture is free and the public is welcome.

Knott, CEO of Noisette Company in Charleston, South Carolina, comes from a family heritage of 83 years of involvement in major urban rehabilitation and historic preservation projects. He also serves as CEO/Managing Director of Dewees Island, a 1,200-acre sustainable island development north of Charleston that Knott initiated several years ago. The site is a residential community that was developed with stringent environmental criteria in mind.

Knott is also leading the Noisette Project, believed to be the largest sustainable urban renewal initiative in the United States. Located on 3,000 acres in North Charleston, the project is expected to cost nearly $1 billion and take 20 years to complete. It aims to help residents upgrade their homes and increase North Charleston's number of homeowners. It's sustainable urban renewal without displacing neighborhood residents. Noisette's environmentally conscious redevelopment project also plans to revitalize commercial districts, schools and create parks and green space. Knott is quoted as saying the Noisette Project is "development designed to rekindle, respect and revitalize the community." One of the of the unique elements of the Noisette project is the private/public partnership between the City of North Charleston and Noisette Company.

Knott, a noted expert in the field of historic preservation projects, specializes in ecologically sound, sustainable and energy efficient design. His global leadership experience includes: Chairman of the White House Exchange with Soviet Union - City Re-Development/Historic Preservation; National Chairman and Life Director - Association of Home Builders; member of NAHB President's Council; faculty member for "Main Street" program for National Trust and faculty member for "Urban Ventures" and "Art of Rehab" Schools for National Housing Partnership.

In Charleston, Knott is a founding director of the Charleston-based Sustainability Institute. He was the co-founder and former chairman of "The Harmony Project," a non-profit foundation promoting the development of sustainable communities such as "Green Village U.S.A." and "New Market Green Village." He is also Environmental Initiative Director for Habitat for Humanity and on the advisory board of "Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing," Global Green U.S.A. Knott is the co-author of Sandborn Principles.

Knott joins a prestigious list of Wege Foundation speakers that include: Former Interim President of the University of Michigan B. Joseph White; Author, Environmental Activist and Chief Prosecuting Attorney for Riverkeeper Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; President Emeritus of Williams College Harry C. Payne, Ph.D.; Dean of the School of Architecture, University of Virginia William McDonough; Renowned Economist at the University of Maryland and Author of "Steady-State Economics" Herman E. Daly, Ph.D.; and President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame, The Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C.

Consistently ranked one of the top liberal arts colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report, Aquinas College offers an approach to learning and living that teaches students unlamented ways of seeing the world. Founded in 1886 by the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, the College's Dominican tradition of working, service and lifelong learning remains alive today in a diverse student body. Students from more than 20 states and 12 foreign countries are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. Within six months of graduation, nearly all graduates are in full-time jobs, enrolled in professional schools of law, medicine, or dentistry, or in a master or doctoral program. For more information, visit our Web site at