McKendree University Honors Outstanding Students, Faculty and Staff

Honors Convocation Held During Academic Excellence Celebration

(LEBANON, Ill., April 28, 2016) — McKendree University recognized academic achievers across all disciplines, and three faculty members and a staff member received awards, at an Honors Convocation held April 28 at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. The event was part of the university’s annual Academic Excellence Celebration.

Dr. Dawn Hankins, professor of athletic training and chair of the School of Health Professions, gave the opening address, “The Journey to Achieving Academic Excellence.”

Students were recognized for maintaining high grade point averages while participating in clubs and organizations, athletics, music, service projects and other activities, said Dr. Christine Bahr, provost.

Christin Austin, a senior from Wayne City, Ill., received the Technos International Prize for academic achievement and commitment to international understanding. The political science major was inducted into several honor societies, participated in debate, student government, and the Technos International Week trip to Japan. A medical mission trip to Haiti inspired her senior thesis on the World Health Organization’s efforts there. She plans to study health law in graduate school at Saint Louis University.

“Christin is an emerging global citizen and clearly worthy for her commitment to international understanding,” said the provost.

Dr. Michele (Mickey) Schutzenhofer, chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics and an associate professor of biology, received the 2016 Exemplary Teacher Award, given by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. Chosen by full-time faculty members, selection criteria include excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value centered education, and service to students, the institution and the community. The 2003 McKendree graduate has taught at her alma mater full time since 2007.

“She is widely regarded as an outstanding teacher who truly cares about student learning, and she is a leader among her peers,” the provost noted. Schutzenhofer has served on numerous committees, including the Strategic Planning Committee and the General Education Review Committee.

Associate Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching were presented to part-time faculty members Melanie Jenkins and Rob Sainz. Jenkins teaches Introduction to Psychology and Psychology of Gender to undergraduate students. She has taught an estimated 1,500 McKendree students since 2004, receiving highly rated course evaluations, the provost said.

“Melanie genuinely cares about teaching, students and McKendree. She truly represents the best among our many outstanding part-time faculty. She is caring and engaging, and she creates a classroom of respect, learning and joy.”

Sainz has taught a variety of education classes at McKendree University for 10 years. He was previously an assistant principal and principal in elementary and middle schools for 25 years in the Francis Howell, Parkway and Fox C-6 schools in the St. Louis area. “We are delighted that he is now sharing his extensive professional expertise with our graduate students,” Bahr said.

Scott Billhartz, director of donor and prospect management, received the President’s Award for Professional Excellence. The McKendree alumnus has been employed by his alma mater for 15 years. “His commitment to McKendree is unsurpassed, and his institutional memory is remarkable,” said Dr. James Dennis, university president. “He provides leadership to young professionals and shares his wealth of knowledge about the university, its alumni and friends.”

School and division chairs introduced the following McKendree students for exceptional achievement within their respective areas:


College of Arts and Sciences

Division of Computing,
Dr. Jim Feher, chairperson

Benjamin Bauer, Collinsville, Ill., computational science

Ron Mudra, Troy, Ill., computer science

Division of Humanities, Dr. Kevin Zanelotti, chairperson

Redell Hendricks, Glen Carbon, Ill., English

Lauren Apetz, Glenwood, Fla., speech communication

Division of Science & Mathematics, Dr. Michele Schutzenhofer, chairperson

Kenneth O’Dell, Jr., Carlyle, Ill., chemistry

Jeremiah James, Coulterville, Ill., mathematics

Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Neil Quisenberry, chairperson

Cameron Harsey, Waterloo, Ill., history

Christin Austin, Wayne City, Ill., international relations

Mariah Logan, St. Louis, Mo, psychology

Lauren Mantei, Springfield, Ill., psychology-occupational therapy

Katie Roesch, Roodhouse, Ill., sociology

Scott Air Force Base Campus

Curtis Toler, Lebanon, Ill., psychology

Division of Visual and Performing Arts, Dr. Nancy Ypma, chairperson

Megan Schmid, Columbia, Ill., music education

Terrence Abernathy, St. Louis, Mo., music–performance

Julia Surdyke, Festus, Mo., theatre

School of Business,
Dr. John Watters, chairperson

Lauren Putbrese, Xenia, Ill., The School of Business Outstanding Student of the Year, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual

Maleah Grothaus, Shipman, Ill., accounting

Kailee Rule, Aviston, Ill., business administration

Riley Smith, Kenosha, Wis., business administration

Jan Peters, Suedergellersen, Germany, economics and finance

Morgan Maberry, Bethalto, Ill., human resource management

Alexis Sauerwein, Belleville, Ill., marketing

Samuel Lidisky, Swansea, Ill., sport management

Scott Air Force Base Campus

Lisa Campbell, Belleville, Ill., accounting

Raymond Seeber, St. Jacob, Ill., business administration

Rebeca Gabel, Lebanon, Ill., human resource management

Kellie Beard, Belleville, Ill., management

Amanda Hoover, Collinsville, Ill., marketing

External Programs

Craig Huegen, Bartelso, Ill., business administration

Abby Kuhlig, Olney, Ill., business administration

Cathy Johnson, Salem, Ill., human resource management

Brigitte Kollman, Salem, Ill., management

Megan Jackson, Mount Vernon, Ill., marketing

Master of Business Administration

Krystiana Clarke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, business administration

Daniel Johnson, O’Fallon, Ill., business administration

School of Education,
Dr. Allison Fahsl, chairperson

Erin Genteman, Moro, Ill., elementary education

Master of Arts in Education

Denise Jones, DeSoto, Ill., educational administration and leadership

Ramonda Miller, Collinsville, Ill., educational studies - reading

Cassandra Gillespie, Fairview Heights, Ill., special education

Judith Wolters, Steeleville, Ill., teacher leadership

Kristen Noll, Edwardsville, Ill., teaching – elementary

Valeria Cueto, Springfield, Ill., teaching – secondary

School of Nursing and Health Professions

Division of Health Professions,
Dr. Dawn Hankins, chairperson

Taylor Simmons, Princeville, Ill., athletic training

Renee Wilcox, Freeburg, Ill., health and wellness

Master of Arts

Mary Clare Engel, O’Fallon, Mo., clinical mental health counseling

Division of Nursing, Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, chairperson

Kathryn Berndsen, Breese, Ill., nursing

Susan Wagner, Belleville, Ill., nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Cheryl Wright, Trenton, Ill., nursing education

Christy Geary, Louisville, Ky., nursing management/administration

Honors Program,
Dr. Brian K. Frederking, director

Lauren Apetz, Glenwood, Fla.; Ambrocya Burge, Belleville, Ill.; Merrilee Gibbs Davolt, Wayne City., Ill; Allison Harres, Belleville, Ill.; Jeremiah James, Coulterville, Ill.; Tyler Jewell, Granite City, Ill.; Samuel Lidisky, Swansea, Ill.; Mariah Logan, St. Louis, Mo.; Rodney McBride, Belleville, Ill.; Brandon Mihalich, Bethalto, Ill.; Kenneth O’Dell, Jr., Carlyle, Ill.; Dakota Reed, West Frankfort, Ill.; Samantha Renth, New Baden, Ill.; Stefanie Strack, DeSoto, Ill.; Hannah Wessel, Waterloo, Ill.

Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges,
Dr. Joni Bastian, vice president for student affairs and dean of students

Cheyenne Autry, Breese, Ill.; Krystiana Clarke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Elizabeth Dykstra, McLeansboro, Ill.; Samantha Fagerburg, Morton, Ill.; Whitney Funk, Litchfield, Ill.; Merrilee Gibbs Davolt, Wayne City, Ill.; Alison Jones, O’Fallon, Ill.; Zach Loehr, Glen Carbon, Ill.; Brooke Moore, Mount Vernon, Ill.; Kenneth O’Dell, Jr., Carlyle, Ill.; Alyssa Reiniger, Maryville, Ill.; Bradley Schniers, Breese, Ill.; Vincent Spradling, Columbia, Ill.

Active Collegians Engaged in Service (ACES) Award

Taylor Cope, Bloomington, Ill.; Taylor Simmons, Princeville, Ill.; Rhoda Warner, Springfield, Ill.

Newman Civic Fellow Award

Shaquille Armstrong, East St. Louis, Ill.

Lincoln Laureate Award

Kenneth O’Dell, Jr., Carlyle, Ill.

Technos International Prize

Christin Austin, Wayne City, Ill.