McKendree College is Now McKendree University
Lebanon, Ill. –- July 1 marked a new beginning for McKendree as it officially became McKendree University.
In February, McKendree President James M. Dennis announced plans for McKendree to change its name to McKendree University starting with the 2007-08 academic year. "Our board of trustees directed us to change our name to reflect more accurately the broad educational opportunities McKendree offers," said Dennis.
The McKendree University Alumni Association Board of Directors issued a statement in support of the name change, “On behalf of the 15,000 alumni, the Alumni Association Board of Directors is proud to support the recent action of the Board of Trustees to adopt the name of McKendree University . The change better reflects the expansion of programs and the mission.”
McKendree, the oldest college in the nation with continuous ties to the United Methodist Church , was founded in 1828 by pioneer Methodists. McKendree first opened as Lebanon Seminary; 72 students were enrolled and classes were held in two rented sheds.
In 1839, the Rev. Peter Akers and the Rev. Professor William M. Dailey received the first McKendree degrees. Akers was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of divinity and Dailey earned a master of arts. In 1905, McKendree discontinued its post-baccalaureate degree programs, but continued granting liberal arts degrees. Prior to that, McKendree awarded arts masters, masters of arts and masters of sciences. McKendree also conferred the doctor of laws, doctor of divinity degrees, and Ph.D. in a variety of subjects.
A century later, McKendree returned to its heritage and again began offering graduate degrees, starting with the January 2004 launch of its master’s degree in education. In just three years, graduate enrollment at McKendree has grown to almost 1,000 students and accounts for 25 percent of McKendree's total enrollment.
At its commencement exercises for the Class of 2007 held on May 12, McKendree conferred 193 master’s degrees.
Today, in addition to 39 undergraduate academic majors, McKendree offers graduate programs in education, professional counseling, business administration and nursing. The university also offers E-Learning, with on-line business administration and master of science in nursing programs.
Based upon the Harvard University model, McKendree University is comprised of a School of Business, a School of Nursing and Health Professions, a School of Education, and the McKendree College of Arts and Sciences.
"Changing our name to McKendree University is not a revolutionary change. It is an evolution, and in an important sense a return to our heritage," said President Dennis when he announced the name change. "With the growth of program offerings, new facilities and enrollment, we have evolved into a university, and now our name will reflect that."
McKendree is ranked among the top 14 percent of "Comprehensive Colleges—Bachelor’s" in the nation by U.S.News & World Report’s " ’s Best Colleges 2007." McKendree is also the only "Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s" university in the St. Louis region to earn U.S.News & World Report‘s "Great Schools, Great Prices" ranking. Undergraduate and graduate experiences distinguished by great teaching, a vibrant community and successful outcomes have earned McKendree the title " College of Distinction ." The university’s main campus is in Lebanon, Ill., just 25 miles from St. Louis . McKendree also has campuses in Louisville and Radcliff, Ky., and offers off-campus programs at Scott Air Force Base and other sites in Illinois and Kentucky.