Ern Knox ‘75 came to Adelphi first as a commuter student from Roosevelt, and later as a resident student, to study psychology. He found a strong community in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the first Black fraternity on Long Island, as a member of its second pledge class. SharRon McCoy-Knox, an aspiring nurse, commuted from Freeport. SharRon was actively involved in student life and had a role in establishing the first Black sorority at Adelphi, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
In addition to their involvement in student organizations, including the Black Student Union (BSU), their student jobs were also a large part of their lives as students. They both worked on campus to pay for their housing; SharRon at the science library, and Ern at the UC pool room and movie nights. In their free time, they both played cards in The Rathskeller, which is where they first met each other. It was on one of these after-class evenings that Ern gave SharRon a lift home, beginning a relationship and later a marriage that has been going strong for almost 48 years. Today, they have two daughters, a granddaughter, and are expecting their first grandson.
Ern and SharRon recognize the mark that Adelphi has left on their lives. From Ern bonding with his Alpha Phi Alpha brothers to SharRon spearheading movements to advocate for her peers, they each hold memorable experiences from their time at Adelphi. Above all, they credit Adelphi for who they are and the careers they have had. SharRon shared that although she did not complete her undergraduate degree at Adelphi, “Adelphi gave me my foundation for nursing, which I’ll always appreciate. At Adelphi I learned, made lifelong friendships, and became the person I am today.”
Acknowledging the hardships students of color face in their academic journeys and witnessing firsthand the importance of financial assistance for these students, Ern and SharRon have been loyally supporting scholarships at Adelphi since 2000. Ern believes “It is important to give back so current students at Adelphi have an opportunity to continue their education.”