Fred Kniss is an EMU alum (BA ‘79) and has served as provost of EMU since July 1, 2009. Prior to that, he was Professor and Chair of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago, where he also founded and directed the McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion and served for one year as Interim Dean of the Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1992. His research has examined new immigrant religion, religious change and conflict, faith-based international relief and development organizations, and the so-called “culture wars.” He is co-author of Sacred Assemblies and Civic Engagement: How Religion Matters for America’s Newest Immigrants. He has also published a variety of articles and chapters on religious and cultural change, and is the author of Disquiet in the Land, a study of cultural conflict among U.S. Mennonites in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has served as president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and as chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sociology of Religion. He has held editorial positions for the American Journal of Sociology, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Sociology of Religion. He is married to Rosalyn Myers Kniss, Division Administrator of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He and Rosalyn are parents of two sons, both of whom are graduates of EMU.
Laura has been at EMU since 2010, previously working as director of sales and marketing for a start-up retirement community in Staunton, Va. Laura earned her bachelor’s degree in English from James Madison University in 2004, and has worked in office management and executive assistant roles in addition to marketing. She grew up in the Harrisonburg area, and currently resides in Dayton with her husband Rob, and daughters Paige and Charlotte. Laura enjoys volunteering with her church, at her daughters’ ballet company, and serving as a councilwoman on Dayton Town Council.