McKendree University Welcomes the Class of 2026

First-Year and Transfer Students Represent 33 States, 30 Countries

(LEBANON, Ill., August 19, 2022) – McKendree University welcomes the Class of 2026 to campus as 425 first-year students and 125 transfer students arrived on campus this week. This is the second largest class in the University’s history. The new students lined the streets as they processed to the University’s front lawn, international flags flying and students holding posters of the states they represented.

Continuing a trend from recent years, an increasing number of new Bearcats are from out of state or from other countries. While 58 percent of the Class of 2026 have come from throughout Illinois, others represent 32 additional states, as well as 30 other countries. International students have arrived from Argentina, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Class of 2026 has a collective high school grade point average of 3.54 with 80 percent of first-year Bearcats entering as academic scholars and a record-breaking 28 percent coming in as honor scholars, which requires a GPA of 3.75 or higher. Ten percent of students are legacy students, meaning they have had a parent, grandparent or sibling attend the University in the past.

“At McKendree, we want you to know that we are preparing you in many ways, be it your classroom experience, in academic activities, by your engagement and co-curricular activities, and finally by preparing you for careers through your personal and intellectual growth,” said Daniel C. Dobbins, president of McKendree University. “We are committed to your success, and I look forward to witnessing your success in the classroom, on the stage, and on the field. Remember this day. You marched in a procession today as an individual, as part of a state or country, and as part of a class. You’ll do that again at your commencement.”

Emmanuel Segbedzi, president of the Student Government Association, challenged the incoming students to believe in the One McKendree mission, do what gives their lives meaning and continue to soar higher in their academics and extracurricular activities.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tami Eggleston, provost of McKendree University, instilled a sense of “purple pride” in the newest Bearcats. “Some of those faculty members are going to become some of your favorite people,” she said. Since Dr. Jean Sampson, professor of management and marketing, recipient of the 2022 William Norman Grandy Faculty Award, and speaker at this year’s convocation, was unable to attend the event, Dr. Eggleston relayed a message from her to the students. “I would like to tell the students that in addition to having a great new student orientation, try to make some new friends this week, be yourself, smile at other students, meet someone who’s different than you, be honest, and have fun as you meet new people,” Dr. Eggleston said in Dr. Sampson’s stead.

Continuing a longstanding McKendree tradition, all new students signed the Matricula, a document that signifies their enrollment and becomes an official, permanent University record. They will participate in three days of orientation, activities and “Into the Streets” volunteer service in Lebanon before classes begin on Monday, August 22.

The ceremony concluded with the singing of the fight song, led by the McKendree University Spirit Band, the football team, the volleyball team, and Bradley Eston, senior and music education major at McKendree. Bogey D. Bearcat also made an appearance to pump up the spirit of this special day.