Joanne Knight

Joanne Knight has focused much of her energy supporting three community organizations and institutions: the St. Louis chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) and Washington University. Knight received an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2010.


Knight’s devotion to the Alzheimer’s Association grew from her experience with the disease, which afflicted her late mother in the 1980s. For nearly two decades, Knight has been active in the St. Louis chapter as a volunteer, advisory board member and director, including serving a term as president.

She has been a member of CID’s board of directors for 26 years, including serving as board vice president, chairman of the Scholarship Committee and a member of the Nominating and Executive committees and supporting fundraising.

The CID created the Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center in recognition of her contributions and efforts.

Contributing to the advancement of Washington University

Knight and her husband, Charles F. Knight, former chief executive officer of Emerson for 27 years and now chairman emeritus, also have established a strong philanthropic legacy at Washington University through the Joanne Knight Breast Health Center and Breast Cancer Program at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the School of Medicine; the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery at the School of Medicine; and the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Directorship in Executive Education at the Olin Business School.

Joanne Knight is a charter member of Siteman’s Community Advisory Board, and she has served on WUSTL’s School of Art National Council.

Her many contributions to the community were recognized when she was named a Woman of Achievement by the Suburban Journals and KMOX Radio in 1987 and the Variety Club Woman of the Year in 1997.