McKendree University Honors Outstanding Students, Faculty and Staff

Honors Convocation Held During Academic Excellence Celebration

(LEBANON, Ill., April 27, 2018) — McKendree University recognized academic achievers across all disciplines and presented awards to three faculty members and a staff member at an Honors Convocation held April 26 at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. The event was part of the university’s fifth annual Academic Excellence Celebration. Students were recognized for maintaining high grade point averages while participating in clubs and organizations, athletics, music, and service projects.

Dr. Guy Boysen, associate professor of psychology, gave the opening address, “Questioning Your Professor,” and encouraged students to “find meaningful work and people who make the work of life meaningful.”

Accounting instructor Terese Kasson received the 2018 Exemplary Teacher Award, given by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. Selection criteria include excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education, and service to students, the institution and the community.

Regarded by her students and peers as an excellent instructor, Kasson is “knowledgeable, engaging, accessible outside of class, and helpful,” said Dr. Christine Bahr, provost. “Her courses are fast-paced and challenging but she is always willing to meet with them individually to help them master the material. She prepares students for by providing career tips and advice and emphasizing what to expect in their future jobs.” Kasson is an academic advisor, started a student organization, has served on numerous faculty committees and since 2014 as the Faculty Athletic Representative.

Associate Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching were presented to part-time faculty members Scott Neill and Dr. Marleis Trover. Neill has taught health and wellness courses at McKendree since 2013, and this year began teaching the University 101 course for first-year students. His teaching style incorporates videos, instructional games, discussion, presentations, PowerPoint slides and outdoor activities. Colleagues and students say he is not only knowledgeable but also compassionate, caring and willing to work with students who struggle.

Trover has been a part-time faculty member in the graduate education program for 11 years, teaching courses in school law, curriculum theory and design, school and community relations, supervision, finance and facilities, leadership, educational research, and statistics. She has assisted with curriculum development for the Master of Arts in Education program in principal preparation, the specialist program in superintendent licensure, and the doctoral program in curriculum design and instruction, and helps recruit students to the graduate education program.

The title of Distinguished Service Professor was given to two faculty members who have reached the 30-year milestone in their McKendree careers: Dr. Irwin Halfond, professor of history, and Dr. Nancy S. Ypma, chair of the Division of Visual and Performing Arts and professor of music. Halfond chaired the Division of Humanities from 1992 to 2006, and advised the McKendree College History Society, Model United Nations, and Phi Alpha Theta history honor society. He has served on numerous faculty committees, played a key role in building the curricula for the history major, and advised history majors over the years and taught them how to conduct historical analyses.

Ypma chaired the Division of Humanities from 2007-2011 and since 2011, the Division of Visual and Performing Arts, ensuring that the music, art and theatre curricula and programs are of the highest quality. She served as chair of the Fine Arts Series from 1988 to 2006, director of music from 2000-2012, and as the university’s pianist and organist for the past 30 years. She has also chaired or served on numerous faculty committees.

George Kriss, director of information technology, received the fifth annual President’s Award for Professional Excellence. Criteria for the award are leadership, distinguished accomplishment, performance beyond the call of duty, creativity and innovation, and outstanding service.

“He has one of the hardest jobs on campus, because everyone is always going to him for help, and we aren’t always polite about it. He and his team are constantly saving the day, and saving us from ourselves,” said Dr. James Dennis, university president. Kriss received his MBA from McKendree and has served the university full time since 2004.

School and division chairs introduced the following students for exceptional achievement within their respective areas:


College of Arts and Sciences

Division of Computing, Dr. Kian Pokorny, chairperson

McKenna Lalis, Steeleville, Ill., computational science

Zachary Middendorff, Marissa, Ill., computer information systems

Gregory Ortiz, Granite City, Ill., computer science

Brady Rose, South Roxana, Ill., information technology

Division of Humanities, Dr. Kevin Zanelotti, chairperson

Gregory Kassen, Albers, Ill., English

Teagan Schwab, Neenah, Wis., organizational communication

Kaitlyn Hutchison, Harrisburg, Ill., philosophy

Jaycee Kusko, Tinley Park, Ill., professional writing and rhetoric

Merisa Ashbaugh, Knoxville, Ill., public relations

Erika Brown, O’Fallon, Ill., religious studies

Macci Rueter, Effingham, Ill., speech communication

Division of Science & Mathematics, Dr. Michele Schutzenhofer, chairperson

David Junge, St. Jacob, Ill., biology

Himani Patel, Eldoret, Kenya, chemistry

Chelsea Gossett, Hoopeston, Ill., mathematics

Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Neil Quisenberry, chairperson

Emily Thompson, Nashville, Ill., biopsychology

James Stanley, Dallas, Texas, economics

Hannah McCollum, Lebanon, Ill., history

Elizabeth Graham, Normal, Ill., international relations

Kaylee Darnall, O’Fallon, Ill., political science

Ciara Jones, O’Fallon, Ill., psychology

Jessica Lirios, Greenville, Ill., psychology

Alexander Baldwin, Heyworth, Ill., sociology-criminal justice

Samantha Kassen, Albers, Ill., sociology-criminal justice

Division of Visual and Performing Arts, Dr. Nancy S. Ypma, chairperson

Brian Lyman, Joliet, Ill., art

Luke Davis, Granite City, Ill., music education-instrumental track

Brett Hanna, Belvidere, Ill., musical theatre

School of Business, Dr. Jean Sampson, chairperson

Nicole Fung Calleja, Panama; and Dustin Jacober, Trenton, Ill., The School of Business Outstanding Students of the Year, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual

Allison Paradies, Lincoln, Ill., accounting

Robert Watkins, Indian Head Park, Ill., business administration

Austin Niggli, Highland, Ill., economics and finance

Rachel Ford, Trenton, Ill., human resource management

Emily Stanowski, Nashville, Ill., marketing

Mollie Bowman, Sullivan, Ill., management

Hailea Hadsall, Macomb, Ill., sport management

Scott Air Force Base Campus

Carolyn Abry, Troy, Ill., accounting

Stephen Batta, Jr., Scott Air Force Base, Ill., business administration

Alma Davis, North Ridgeville, Ohio, human resource management

Bruce Davis, Mascoutah, Ill., management

Online Programs

Kelli Starry, Elizabethtown, Ky., accounting

Robin Spicer, Marion, Ill., business administration

Erin Korte-Lamparter, Highland, Ill., human resource management

Eric Jones, Granite City, Ill., management

Kelsi Teague, Carterville, Ill., marketing

Master of Business Administration

Matthew Farber, O’Fallon, Ill., business administration

Britni Holtmann, New Baden, Ill., business administration

Colleen Lischwe, St. Louis, Mo., human resource management

School of Education, Dr. Allison Fahsl, chairperson

Master of Arts in Education

Jacob Halde, Troy, Ill., educational administration and leadership

Lindsay French, Kell, Ill., special education

Christopher Eddy, O’Fallon, Ill., teacher leadership

School of Nursing and Health Professions

Division of Health Professions, Dr. Dawn Hankins, chairperson

Hailey Porter, O’Fallon, Mo., athletic training

Benjamin Muller, Whangarei, New Zealand, exercise science and sports performance

Gabrielle Weyhrich, Fremont, Neb., health and wellness

Master of Arts

Courtney Miller, Granite City, Ill., clinical mental health counseling

Division of Nursing, Dr. Kelli Whittington, chairperson

Bethany Gusler, Elizabethtown, Ky., nursing

Margaret Sitzes, Red Bud, Ill., nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Jennifer Charles-Ajao, O’Fallon, Ill., nursing education

Heather Taylor, St. Louis, Mo., nursing management/administration

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Christopher Guelbert, St. Louis, Mo., ethical leadership

Honors Program,
Dr. Brian Frederking, director

Lucendia Adams, Dahlgren, Ill.; Amanda Geiger, Tomball, Texas; David Junge, St. Jacob, Ill.; Samantha Kassen, Albers, Ill.; Jessica Lirios, Greenville, Ill.; Mackenzie Munie, Highland, Ill.; Elijah Phillips, Mt. Vernon, Ill.; Macci Rueter, Effingham, Ill.; Ashly Schmitt, Johnsburg, Ill.; Chloe Thies, Willisville, Ill.; Hannah Zickefoose, Coal City, Ill.

Active Collegians Engaged in Service (ACES), Dr. Joni Bastian, vice president for student affairs and dean of students

Hailea Hadsall, Macomb, Ill.; Bailey Rhoades, St. Charles, Mo.; Jason Whitlock, Gillespie, Ill.

Newman Civic Fellow Award

Ileanisse Soto, San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

Distinguished Service Professor Awards

Dr. Irwin Halfond

Dr. Nancy S. Ypma

Associate Faculty Awards

Scott A. Neill

Dr. Marleis A. Trover

General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church Exemplary Teacher Award

Terese Kasson

President’s Award for Professional Excellence

George Kriss