Photo of Andrew Olden

Andrew Olden '15


  • Photo of Andrew OldenSenior history and philosophy major, art minor from Edwardsville, Ill.

  • President, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society
  • President, McKendree History Society
  • Bearcats ice hockey forward, 2010-2013
  • President’s and Dean’s Lists
  • Co-founder of B.A.D.D. (Bearcats Against Drunk Driving)


What Andy Olden has learned about McKendree’s 186-year history could fill a book - and it has. “McKendree Recollections,” a limited edition coffee table book of rarely seen photographs, will be available in early 2015. It will feature more than 350 photographs documenting academics, the arts, student life, athletics and McKendree during wartime.

The collaborative project was a labor of love for Andy and 2014 graduates Meghan Dohogne and Tim Rose. The three history majors wanted to share the wealth of rarely seen historical images they discovered by working and volunteering in the University Museum and Archives with Debbie Houk, technical services librarian. They received encouragement and support from their history professor, Dr. Patrick Folk and from former president Jim Dennis.

“’McKendree Recollections’ came about after Meghan, Tim and I noticed the abundance of pictures the University Archives held,” Andy explained. “Meghan and I were co-presidents of Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society) and the McKendree History Society last year. The idea came about in a meeting that we should get these materials together for a publishable piece. We ran with it and began to contact the appropriate individuals.

“The most fascinating part of the process was having the opportunity to talk with alumni from several decades,” he continued. The students interviewed Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer; record-setting basketball coach Harry Statham; and nuclear physicist Cyril Curtis, who worked on the Manhattan Project.


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“The stories they shared about their years at McKendree showed how much being a Bearcat contributed to their growth as individuals and provided a foundation for their future accomplishments.”


After research for “McKendree Recollections” concluded last spring, Andy started the Historical Ambassadors program, which offers opportunities to learn about the campus and its deep historical ties. Volunteer ambassadors have given tours and presentations during Fall Family Weekend, homecoming, and the Class of 1964’s Golden Anniversary reception.

Andy has been involved in a variety of activities during his years as a Bearcat. He played ice hockey for four years under two different coaches, as a part of the only McKendree hockey team to make it to the ACHA Division III National Tournament. In 2012, he was an intern for the Cahokia Mounds State Historical Site, producing an article and an exhibit. He has been a member and officer of the McKendree History Society and of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society. He represented McKendree at regional Phi Alpha Theta conferences and presented his research at its biennial national conference in Albuquerque in January 2014.

After he graduates in May, Andy plans to pursue a master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. in American history, specializing in African-American history and the civil rights movement.

Learn more about McKendree University and the History program.