Gordon and Ozturk Retire as McKendree University Professors Emeriti

(LEBANON, Ill., May 12, 2018) — Dr. Betsy Gordon and Dr. Feza Ozturk have retired from their distinguished teaching careers at McKendree University with the honor and title of professor emerita, awarded at the May 12 undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Gordon, of Lebanon, Ill., joined the faculty as an assistant professor of speech communication in 1990, was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and to full professor in 2008. Beloved by her students, she received the university’s teaching award trifecta: the United Methodist Church Exemplary Teacher Award in 1995, the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004, and the William Norman Grandy Award in 2013. She chaired the Division of Languages, Literature, and Communication for 12 years; coordinated freshman advising; served as faculty advisor to Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society; and started a faculty-in-residence program at the McKendree West student apartments. She has been a strong supporter of the performing arts, the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, Bearcat athletic programs, and co-curricular activities.

“It is impossible to say how many lives Dr. Gordon touched during her impressive career. One thing is certain – she is an inspiration to students, faculty and staff, and we will always be grateful to her for making McKendree University her home,” said Dr. James Dennis, president. “This university is stronger because of her wisdom, leadership, generosity, dedication and kindness.”

Dr. Feza Ozturk, of Lebanon, Ill., joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1988, was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and became a full professor in 2010. Throughout her 29-year career, she provided significant leadership for development of the chemistry curriculum, taught a wide range of chemistry courses, served on faculty committees, advised students and devoted her time generously to the Division of Science and Mathematics. Chemistry majors and honors students benefited from her guidance as they conducted high-level research projects in preparation for graduate school. Many of those she mentored went on to earn Ph.D. degrees in chemistry.

“Always on campus working in her office or lab, always available to meet with students, always greeting her faculty and staff colleagues with a smile, Dr. Ozturk has served as a role model for academic professionalism,” said the president.

Ozturk received three faculty professional development awards, one from the U.S. Department of Energy, and two from the National Science Foundation. She received a Fulbright Scholar Award and while on sabbatical in 2007-2008, served as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer at her alma mater, Ege University in Izmir, Turkey.


Dr. Gordon

Dr. Ozturk

Dr. Betsy Gordon (top) and Dr. Feza Ozturk (bottom)are the newest lifetime members of the McKendree University faculty. Each was named a Professor Emerita at the May 12 undergraduate ceremony by Dr. James Dennis, university president (at the podium).