Humanitarian Award Winners Reflect Spirit of MLK

MLK Humanitarian Award WinnersLebanon, Ill. — McKendree University will celebrate the spirit of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and give its annual Humanitarian Awards to a student, professor and alumna for outstanding community service on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. in Bothwell Chapel. The university’s new Gospel Choir will make its debut performance at the event.

Lance Allen, a senior international relations major from Peoria, is a campus leader who participates in Model United Nations, Marching Bearcat Band, and the debate and individual events team. In 2012 he won a national championship in extemporaneous speaking at a tournament sponsored by Pi Kappa Delta speech and debate honor society. He has served on McKendree’s residence life staff and volunteers with campus ministries.

Dr. Karan Onstott, a Swansea resident, is an associate professor of health promotion and wellness who has taught at McKendree for over 19 years. She and her “Wonders of Wellness” students promote healthy diets and lifestyles to the campus and community, and coordinate the Community Helpings Food Co-Op at McKendree. Onstott serves on the Lebanon Kids board of directors and works with Lebanon Garden Club to offer a cooperative gardening and cooking program in the summer. She and her students have developed a garden on campus, where children and college students grow vegetables and herbs from seed to harvest. Onstott is also president of Get Up and Go, a St. Clair County Health Board initiative, and brought the 2012 Health Policy Summit to campus in November.

Dr. Constance Rockingham, of Fairview Heights,a 1975 McKendree graduate,is president emeritus for the Center for Racial Harmony, a grassroots community organization she established over 18 years ago to promote understanding among racial and ethnic groups. She created the annual “Phenomenal Women of Metropolitan St. Louis” to recognize outstanding service to schools, churches, families and communities. She has served on many local, regional, state and national committees and boards, including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the American Association of Higher Education Black Caucus, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Junior Achievement. A longstanding member of the McKendree Alumni Association board, she serves on several University committees and volunteers frequently at campus events.

The keynote speaker for the awards program will be Bishop Robert Schnase, the Bishop in Residence of the Missouri Area of The United Methodist Church. Alumni and guests are invited to join him at a luncheon and discussion of his latest novel, "Remember the Future: Praying for the Church and Change" at 11 a.m. at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts on campus. The cost is $10 per person. For information or reservations, call (618) 537-6962.