McKendree Will Honor 12 Alumni at Awards Dinner Oct. 22

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University will present its highest alumni honor to the Reverend Robert Edwards, of Mascoutah, at an awards dinner on Oct. 22 at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon. The Peter Akers Alumni Award is given annually to recognize a former student’s professional success, outstanding service and loyalty to the university. It is named in honor of Rev. Peter Akers, the first McKendree degree recipient and the institution’s first president.

Rev. Edwards graduated in 1957 and completed a master’s degree from Boston University School of Theology in 1961. His 45-year career in ministry with the United Methodist Church included six years as superintendent of the Vandalia District UMC. After his retirement in 1999, he was associate pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Belleville for four years. A former Mascoutah “Person of the Year,” he is active in numerous civic organizations including the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. He is a university trustee, a William McKendree Society donor and a sponsor of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts.

The Alumni Association will commend 11 others for their exceptional contributions to the honor and prestige of McKendree. “All are deserving individuals who demonstrate the values imparted by a liberal arts education,” said the director of alumni relations.

Four will be inducted into the Academy of Excellence for their achievement, leadership and character. They represent excellence in education; the humanities; language, literature and communications; and math, science and technology.

  • Charles Kamm ’55, of Lebanon, taught at Summerfield Grade School before he became an administrator in 1961. As a former superintendent and principal for 23 years, he received many accolades for his commitment to the students and schools he served. As the subject of a recent book, The Man who Became A School, he is praised for being a teacher “who lives on and through his students.” Kamm serves on the St. Paul United Church of Christ Council and McKendree’s Teacher Advisory Council, as a volunteer for Interfaith Caregivers, and as a liaison for the Hoyleton Children’s Foundation. He was inducted into the Lebanon Education Foundation Hall of Fame and received the Kappa Gamma Epsilon Career Achievement Award for exemplary service in public education.

  • Rev. Robert Souders ’58, of Caseyville, retired in 2002 as senior pastor of St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Belleville after 37 years. He is a recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award and a founding member of the Mission Society for United Methodists. He has also been a volunteer and scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, and a 25-year member of the Memorial Hospital board. At McKendree, he helps with annual fund drives and volunteers as a chapel speaker.

  • Anne Meyer-Thomure ’80, of Belleville, has served for 22 years as director of hospital and community relations at Memorial Hospital. She was named as a “Phenomenal Woman of Metropolitan St. Louis” by Racial Harmony and an “Ambassador of the Year” by the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce. Active in her community, she volunteers with the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, United Way, and Hospice of Southern Illinois. She is vice president of the Fairview Heights Chamber of Commerce.

  • Dr. Kristi McQuade Daugherty ’91, of Edelstein, has been a faculty member of Grinnell College and Bradley University, where she is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. She has mentored over 20 undergraduate researchers and three graduate students at Bradley, receiving a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Service. Her professional accomplishments in the biochemistry field include numerous publications, projects and presentations.

McKendree’s Loyal Service Award is given for long and continuous service demonstrated by attendance at university functions, assistance in recruitment, service in fundraising for scholarships or programs, and a positive influence on the university’s mission and image.

  • Kent Marty, ’80, of Edwardsville, is the driving force behind the Steven Marty Memorial Scholarship Fund, created in honor of his late brother. Steve Marty received an Administration of Justice degree from McKendree in 1979 and enjoyed an extensive career in law enforcement. Kent Marty has honored his brother’s legacy by raising nearly $125,000 for the scholarship fund, which benefits students pursuing careers in law enforcement. He has also served on the Sports Hall of Fame Committee and frequently attends McKendree events. He is the director of international trade channel development for Aclara Technologies, his employer for 31 years.

The 2011 Rising Star Awards will be given to two alumni from the past decade who have excelled in their profession.

  • Joe Blasdel ’00, of Lebanon, has taught political science at McKendree since 2005 and coached its debate and speech team since 2003. His students consistently advance to final rounds in major tournaments and his coaching has led the university’s debate program to numerous championships, culminating in a national first-place finish in 2010-11. He was named to the board of trustees for the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence in 2011.

  • Matthew Olmsted ’01 is director of sales for RR Donnelley Roman Financial in Korea, India, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where he resides. He remains active at his alma mater nonetheless, returning for campus events and maintaining relationships with faculty and friends. During his college years he was involved with the Choir, Cantori (now the Chamber Choir), and New Student Orientation, and he studied abroad in Ireland and Japan.

Four former outstanding student-athletes will enter the university’s Sports Hall of Fame this year: Hank Feldt ’59 of Mascoutah; John Batson ’88 of Chicago; Jamie Dienell ’04 of Lebanon; and Cory Wilson ’05, receiving the award posthumously.

For more information about the alumni awards and all 2011 homecoming activities, visit



Four to Be Inducted into McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame