McKendree Honors Memorial Hospital at Founders’ Day Celebration


Photo of Mark J. Turner, President James Dennis, and Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe
At the podium with Dr. James Dennis, McKendree University president, are Mark J.
Turner, president and CEO of Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Richelle
Rennegarbe, chair of the University's Nursing Division.

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University marked its 183rd anniversary on Feb. 16 with a Founders’ Day program at the Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. The 2011 Friend of the University Award was presented to Memorial Hospital for its many years of support and service to the university. The award honors non-alumni for exemplary service to McKendree.

“Memorial Hospital has provided support and service to our nursing programs for many years,” said Dr. James Dennis, McKendree University president. “They have provided classroom space; assisted with recruitment of qualified students; and provided research opportunities, and practicum and clinical experiences to our students. Many of those same students have conducted their scholarly projects in partnership with Memorial Hospital.”

“It is a privilege working with the hospital’s nursing administration and nursing staff,” said Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, nursing division chair, noting that many of the hospital’s nursing administrators have served on McKendree University’s Advisory Council. The university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program is offered at three McKendree campuses, six community colleges, and six hospitals in Southern Illinois and Kentucky. The Master of Science in Nursing program offers two tracks: educator and manager-administration. Classes are offered on site and online.

Memorial Hospital is a major provider of surgical, diagnostic and physical therapy-rehabilitation services and the area’s sixth largest employer. Accepting the Friend of the University Award, Mark J. Turner, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Hospital, recognized the mutually beneficial relationship between the two institutions. He thanked the university for providing “a pipeline of individuals who come to work eager to learn.”

McKendree nursing faculty members participated in meetings to help support Memorial Hospital’s successful garnering of MAGNET status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. “Some of the credit and recognition goes back to McKendree University,” Turner said. “We are linked together as two community organizations.”

Keynote speaker was Pat Schou, executive director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, which serves rural communities throughout Illinois.

Closing the program with an encouraging “State of the University” address, Dr. Dennis spoke about recent accolades, aspirations and challenges for McKendree’s future. “Tuition dollars keep the doors open; donating dollars is what makes a school special,” he said. “Today McKendree is very special. We hope to make it more so.”