Alumni Awards 2017

McKendree University celebrated the accomplishments and contributions of following alumni on September 30, 2017 during Homecoming Weekend at the 2017 Alumni Awards Dinner.

Loyal Service Award

Mrs. Susan L. Harbaugh ‘04

Harbaugh majored in business administration-accounting as a non-traditional transfer student, taking many of her classes at McKendree’s Center at Scott Air Force Base. Some of her career highlights include working in accounting for more than 35 years. She began her career as a cost accounting clerk at Snyder General Corporation. Later she moved into cost analysis, playing a key role in monthly forecasting and annual budgetary processes. In 1992, she became the accounting coordinator for Human Support Services in Waterloo. Named chief financial advisor in 2000, she continues in that role today.

Harbaugh is very engaged in her community, having served on the Red Bud Economic Development Commission, the Red Bud Civic Center Committee, the Master Naturalist Advisory Committee, and as treasurer for the Red Bus School District. She is currently an alderwoman for Ward IV of the City of Red Bud, part of the Kaskaskia Valley Audubon Society, Clifftop Finance Committee, Weekend Gardener Committee, and on the Board of Directors for the St. Clement Community Foundation. She is an Illinois Notary Public, a Certified Illinois Master Naturalist with the University of Illinois Extension, and a National Weather Service storm spotter.

In her continued service to McKendree University, she is a member of the William McKendree Society and the Old Main Society.

She enjoys digital scrapbooking and hosting parties with her husband of nearly 30 years, Will. They also enjoy traveling, having visited 53 of the 59 national parks.

Rising Star Award

Mr. Kyle Eversgerd ‘07

Kyle graduated in 2007 with a degree in organizational communication (marketing and sales).  While at McKendree, Kyle was actively involved in the Campus Activities Board.  He was a member of the Bearcat football team, and named team captain in 2007. He also played a role in the 2007 McKendree Theatre “One Act” Festival.

Eversgerd enters his ninth year with the Rams organization and third as director of external football affairs. He oversees the team’s youth and high school football programs and is responsible for the Rams’ Legends Community program, which serves all alumni.   Eversgerd’s career has allowed him the opportunity to travel abroad as part of the NFL International Series and serve on several NFL committees.

Previously, he held the position of fan development manager from 2013-2014. In this role, he developed and implemented the Rams Training Academy - a 20,000 square-foot indoor training and development facility. In addition, the National Football Foundation recognized his work with youth football when he received the 2014 Eddie Cochems’ Award for his outstanding contribution to amateur football.

Kyle and his wife Kelsey (Usselmann) enjoy traveling and spending time with family.

Mr. Josh Nimmo ‘07

Josh graduated in 2007 with a degree in athletic training and a minor in sport psychology.  While at McKendree, Josh was engaged in student life.  He was a member of the Bearcat football team, and participated in intramural sports.

After graduating, Josh went on to work with Monroe Physical Therapy and The Training Room, as an athletic trainer and exercise specialist. Later he became athletic trainer for Freeburg High School and continued working at The Training Room managing fitness operations. In 2012, Josh decided to open his own gym, CrossFit Metro East in Belleville, IL.  He will celebrate 5 years as owner in October 2017.

In addition to running his business, Josh is heavily involved in the Metro East Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  FCA has allowed him to spread the word of Jesus through sports, something about which he is very passionate. Through his outreach, he has had the opportunity to travel as far as the Ukraine sharing his positive messages.  Josh hopes to get more involved and provide support to his alma mater in the future.

When Josh is not working out or helping to motivate others, he enjoys spending time with his wife Gina and his two amazing children Jack and Quinn.

Academy of Excellence Inductees

Mrs. Lori A (Rehmet) Moore ‘98

Lori graduated from McKendree with a degree in business administration. As a student, she was involved as a contributor to the campus newsletter. She continued her studies, earning several masters degrees.  She has earned a MA media communications (2013), a MA management and leadership (2009), and a MBA (2000) all from Webster University. In addition, she earned a MA organizational leadership (2011) from Campbellsville University. Because that was not enough, she has completed her coursework toward a doctorate of education from Spalding University.

Lori is active in her community.  She served as city commissioner for Blue Ridge Manor (01-02), Board of Directors at Garden Fields Community Association (2012-2016), and participated on mission trips to Kenya (2008) and Cuba (2009). She is an avid traveler and takes pride in having visited all 50 states in the USA, but also 65 other countries. When Lori is not traveling, she is teaching.  She has served as an adjunct instructor at many institutions, including working at McKendree University’s Kentucky Center.

Lori has earned several honors and awards for her writing.  In 2009, she won the Bronze Award from Readers’ Favorite for “From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years”. In 2010, she was inducted into the Jeffersontown High School Alumni Hall of Fame. That same year she won the Gold Award from Readers’ Favorite for “Missing Andy”. In 2011, she received an Honorable Mention Award from Readers Favorite for “Grady the Grady Cat Gets Adopted”.

Lori currently resides in Louisville, KY with her husband Michael.

Reverend Dr. Donald Wagner ‘84

Don graduated in 1984 with degrees in history and secondary education. During his time as a student, he was a Bothwell Scholarship Recipient (1983 and 1984). After graduating from McKendree, he completed his master of divinity degree at Eden Theological Seminary (1988). That same year he was ordained in the United Church of Christ. He continued his education and earned the doctorate of ministry degree from Eden Theological Seminary (2001).

Don has been a long time humanitarian in his community.  He served Grace United Church of Christ in Culver, IN for five years before returning to Lebanon. He became pastor and teacher at St. Paul United Church of Christ in 1993 and continues in this role today. In addition to his responsibilities at the church, he served on the Board of Midwest Institute for Rural Ministries (1991-1998), Board for the Rural Pastors Institute (2000-Present), and is the Charter Chairperson of Family 4 Ministry; a vehicle to provide individual and family counseling for those in need. In 2012, he led the charge to meet the demands of his congregation by hiring the first Parish Nurse and continues to support this initiative today.  Recognized for his support to Lebanon High School, he received the Community Support Award (1997). Currently he serves on the McKendree University Research Institutional Review Board.

Don and his wife Nancy (Norton)’85 married in 1976.  They enjoy spending time with their family. They have three children Matthew ’02, Raymond, and Christian (current McKendree student). They also have five grandchildren Mary, Ava, Norah, Holden, and Liza

Sports Hall of Fame Inductees

Sam Hipple '62, Student Athlete, Men's Basketball

Sam was recruited by James (Barney) Oldfield to play basketball at McKendree in the late 1950s. By the time, he completed his four seasons in a Bearcat uniform, Sam was not only a well-decorated student-athlete, but also a member of the campus community involved in numerous clubs and organizations at the highest level at McKendree.

On the court, Sam was a four-year varsity letterman for the McKendree men’s basketball program. He served as a starter for the Bearcats in three of those seasons. McKendree enjoyed a successful run in the Prairie College Conference as the team won the league title in each of Sam’s four seasons on the roster. His stellar play on the court did not go unnoticed, as Sam was an honorable mention All-Conference selection following his sophomore campaign before collecting first-team All-Conference accolades as a junior and senior. Additionally, Sam grabbed second-team All-NAIA District 20 mention as a senior, the same year he was honored with the Bearcats’ Most Valuable Player Award.

Andrew Sanchez '11
, Student Athlete, Men's Wrestling

Andrew was one of the most dominant wrestlers in the NAIA during his four-year career at McKendree. Andrew helped elevate the Bearcats’ wrestling program to new heights at the national level.

In each of his four seasons at McKendree, Andrew posted at least 34 victories on the mat. In his first full season of 2007-08, he registered 34 wins on his way to a runner-up finish at 197 pounds in the 2008 NAIA Wrestling National Championship. Andrew built on that initial success by collecting 35 wins, which included a national championship at 197 pounds at the 2009 NAIA meet.

After taking fifth place at the 2010 championship meet to wrap up a 36-7 campaign, Andrew closed out his McKendree career with a flourish. He rolled to a 38-1 overall record during the 2010-11 season, capping the run with a 2-1 victory in the 197-pound finals at the 2011 NAIA Wrestling National Championship. The victory made Andrew one of just two Bearcats to capture two wrestling national titles, as well as one of two McKendree grapplers to earn NAIA All-America honors four times in a career.

Following his senior season, Andrew was named the 2011 National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)/NAIA National Wrestler of the Year and is the only Bearcat to ever collect the honor.

Following his McKendree career, Andrew began to take on a new challenge in the mixed martial arts arena. In 2016, he battled his way through a field of 16 light heavyweight competitors to win Season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter.

Oku Satcher '02
, Student Athlete, Football

Oku arrived at McKendree in 1999, just a few years following the revival of the Bearcats’ football program. Over the next three years, Oku put fear in the eyes of many quarterbacks with his pass-rushing abilities and knack for making the big play at a big time. He was the first to rewrite the McKendree football defensive record book and set a standard of excellence along the Bearcats’ defensive line that was unmatched for 15 years.

In that 1999 season, Oku burst onto the scene for McKendree, setting program records with 23 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback sacks from his defensive end position. Thanks in large part to Oku’s play; the Bearcats posted a 9-2 overall record on the way to hosting their first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) home playoff game. He did not let up the following season, collecting 16 tackles for loss, which included 11 sacks on a 2000 McKendree squad that won seven contests.

As a senior in 2001, Oku helped McKendree return to the NAIA playoffs thanks to another stellar year at defensive end. He had 20 tackles for loss and 13 sacks among his 52 total tackles as the Bearcats registered eight wins and earned their second post-season berth in three years.

Oku led McKendree in tackles for loss and quarterback sacks in each of his three seasons while wearing the Purple and White. At the time of his induction, Oku is the only McKendree football player to record double-digit sacks in three different seasons.

When his three-year career was complete at McKendree, Oku reigned as the Bearcats’ all-time leader in tackles for loss (59) and quarterback sacks (39). Both records stood until the 2016 season. Oku was a three-time first-team All-Conference selection in the Mid-States Football Association-Midwest League. In addition, he became the first McKendree football player to garner first-team NAIA All-America accolades twice in a career, achieving the honor in 2000 and 2001.

Gary White
, Former Coach, Cross Country, Track & Field, Bowling

In his 15 years spent on the McKendree campus, Gary proved he could build a winning program for not just one, but multiple athletic programs. His knowledge in teaching and coaching student-athletes from numerous disciplines not only displayed his versatility and helped him achieve success unmatched by any Bearcat coach over that period.

Gary arrived at McKendree to help begin the Bearcats’ cross-country and track and field programs in 1996. Starting the programs from scratch did not faze Gary as he helped McKendree make an immediate impact in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The women’s track and field was the first to break through, taking top honors at the 1999 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championship. That marked the first national championship in McKendree history and served as a precursor for things to come. That title marked the first of four consecutive NAIA women’s indoor national championships for McKendree, with the last two coming in dramatic fashion in 2001 and 2002. The 2001 squad had just five student-athletes on the national roster, but the quintet accounted for 66 total points in a winning effort. A year later, McKendree needed a victory in the 4 x 400-meter relay to capture its fourth consecutive title. McKendree remains the only institution to win four consecutive NAIA Women’s Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

Along with the four women’s indoor crowns, Gary guided the women’s squad to the 1999 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field national championship. He also led McKendree to the 2001 NAIA Men’s Indoor Track and Field national title. Gary remains the only person to coach McKendree to a track and field national championship. In cross-country, he led the Bearcat men to a runner-up finish at the 1999 NAIA Cross Country National Championship. Gary also coached McKendree’s lone cross-country individual national champion in Araya Haregot, who crossed the finish line first at the 2002 national meet.

While building the McKendree cross country and track and field programs into national powers, Gary took on added responsibilities in 2001 as the head coach for the Bearcats’ newly-formed men’s and women’s bowling programs. In similar fashion, Gary used his knowledge of the sport and knack for recruiting top-notch talent to help make McKendree an immediate success on the lanes. He led the women’s program to its first seven appearances – all-consecutive – at the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Championships. The Bearcats fared extremely well during that span, posting national runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2010 along with a third-place showing in 2009.

In his final season as the Bearcats’ head coach, White led the women’s squad to victory at the NAIA National Invitational in April 2011, which marked McKendree’s first bowling national championship and the seventh in White’s storied career. In addition to his success with the McKendree women’s program, White guided the men’s squad to it’s first-ever USBC Intercollegiate Team Championship appearance.

Peter Akers Award

William F. “Bill” Blythe '63

Bill is the 2017 Peter Akers Award recipient for his professional success, outstanding service, and loyalty to the university.

While at McKendree, Bill was a history major with a political science minor. As a student, he was involved as a member of Student Congress. He served as a representative of the Public Affairs Forum to the United Nations (1962), to the Principia College Public Affairs Conference (1963) and was a member of the Platonian Social Society.

Following graduation, he went on complete a master’s degree from SIUE.  He began a career in education, teaching at Edwardsville Junior High for 32 years. During that time, he served as the Social Studies Department Chair and interim principal. Outside of his educational duties, Bill served on the Edwardsville Plan Commission, the Model A Restorers Club, and the Illinois Oil and Gas Association. He is also co-founder, and president of Quad “B” Oil, Inc.

Bill is a long time McKendree supporter. He is a past member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, a past recipient of the Loyal Service Award, a member of the William McKendree Society, and has provided support to the Forward Campaign and Friends of the Hett.

Bill met his wife Pat during their sophomore year at McKendree. They have been married 54 years. Bill states that they met many of their best friends at McKendree, many of whom remain friends to this day.

Bill and Pat enjoy spending time with their family. They have two sons, Tim (Hope) and Mark.  They also have one grandchild Brooke.