McKendree University to Honor Retiring Model United Nations Advisor

Reception for Dr. Jim Dohle of CBC

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University finds it important to honor those that have contributed greatly to the many organizations present on campus. As McKendree’s Model United Nations program observes its 41st year, a reception on April 9 at 6 p.m. will celebrate the contributions of one of its longest serving advisors.

Dr. Jim Dohle, a Model U.N. advisor for Christian Brothers College in St. Louis, is retiring. A resident of St. Louis, he has served as an advisor for the university’s Model U.N. program since the very first conference in 1972, when he was a faculty member at St. Teresa’s Academy.

Since that first conference, Dohle and fellow inaugural member Dr. James Kerr of Triad High School in Troy have been the cornerstones of the program. Both men have contributed to both process issues about how the program should run and also substance issues about what topics should be included in the conference.

Dr. Brian Frederking, professor of political science at McKendree, is a strong advocate of the role the high school advisors play in the program. “We rely heavily on our high school advisors for advice about running the program, and Dr. Dohle has been an invaluable contributor,” he said.

McKendree students who help in running the conference for the high school students share a similar view. Ben Pollard, a senior history and international relations major who is the Model U.N. coordinator, was quick to highlight the importance of Dohle’s role. “Dr. Dohle has been such an important part of McKendree Model United Nations,” he said. “He understands that it is a great educational tool for students and always makes sure that learning is the goal. His helpful insight into topics for each session, and suggestions over the years, have helped shape and better the McKendree Model U.N. Program.”

It is clear that Dr. Dohle’s valuable contributions will be greatly missed. Looking back on the years that he served the program, one becomes aware of how much the program has grown and developed under his tutelage.

Over the 40 years that McKendree has hosted Model U.N., the program has grown to now having 16 participating high schools with over 300 students attending. Dohle  described the program’s growth as “truly amazing.” The high number of attendees has allowed the Model U.N. to recently implement the use of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts in the conference. This has enabled a General Assembly to be used as a plenary session.

“The first two days of the conference everyone is in their committees,” Frederking explained. “During the third day we can put many students in the Hett, and the GA plenary session can then consider resolutions passed by the committees. It is a tremendous opportunity for high school students to speak in front of a large audience in a formal setting.”

Dohle described the program upon its inception as being very different to what is seen presently. “In its inception we had sessions through Saturday morning and students were offered the opportunity to sleep over in the dorms,” he said. “General Assembly sessions were held in the old Bearcat Gym, something left over from World War II.  Sessions were intense and volatile.  This was during the Yom Kippur of 1973. Arab [delegation] nations walked out. It was great fun.”

The program has not only furthered the education of high school students but also enabled some of McKendree’s more politically engaged students to further their skills in diplomacy. As of 2005, McKendree’s Model U.N. began developing a program to feature in collegiate conferences, and it has achieved high levels of success. The program has won five overall delegation awards, and students have won individual delegate awards 18 times.

Pollard pointed to this new feature of the school’s Model U.N. as helping to develop the current high school event that McKendree hosts each year. “With the collegiate trips that McKendree started taking only a few years ago, we have been able to incorporate new programs like an experimental Security Council, historical Security Council, and an International Press Delegation.”

With the implementation of these new programs and a wave of successful Security Generals, Pollard has seen a remarkable increase in participation from schools and its students. Frederking shares similar views, stating that with the success of the Model U.N., the program plays an important role in public relations with the surrounding high schools and an excellent recruiting tool for the university in enrolling future brilliant Bearcats.

Dr. Jim Dohle will have a send-off at the opening session of the spring Model U.N. conference at McKendree University on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. at the Hett, to thank him for his valuable contribution. Other retired veterans of McKendree’s Model U.N. program are invited to attend the session.