The History of The John K. Knowles Foreign Study Fellowship

"In 1898, my mother's father and two brothers purchased a small company in Lyndonville, Vermont. Its products were salves ranging for treatment of dry skins on animals to applications for hoofs, saddles, boots, etc. Overtime, these salves were used for stopping squeaking springs on beds, seals around windows in cars and homes to prevent them from becoming frozen shut, for covering skin of northwest fishermen and long distance swimmers, etc.

The ointments were purchased by veterinarians and farmers for treatment of animals. One product is called BAG BALM and, as the name suggests, was applied to the utters of cattle during the winter when skin cracking was a major issue and loss of money. It was immediately picked up the human stock for sore and dry skin and became the primary source of skin healing ever since. (Home nurses in Brunswick County, North Carolina apply it to bed sores and burn sites with wonderful results. A couple of them told me that they will not use anything else.) My dividends from the family owned business covered my golf during the year, perhaps $1,000.00. Just prior to the BIG moment, the company became an S corporation meaning that more money was distributed to stock holders for tax reasons. THE BIG MOMENT. A top-ranked, well known dermatologist stated on Oprah, while holding up a container of the product, that the product was the best skin conditioner for dry skin he had ever found.

Well, we just sat back and suddenly were overcome with a startling amount of money. Since I never had earned a dime of the money, I decided to set up the Foundation coinciding with my retirement and am humbled that it has aided students. I just delight to think that our students have flown to other countries on the slippery balm and Oprah's unbelievable power. Long Live Bag Balm."

John K. Knowles, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Modern Languages