Commencement 2014

Nykhala Coston Wins Technos Prize

Commencement PhotoNykhala Coston ’14 won the 2014 Technos International College Prize, sponsored by the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust in Japan to foster multicultural awareness. Every year the faculty awards the prize to a graduating senior for outstanding academic performance and commitment to international understanding.

Nykhala graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. The First Generation student scholar studied for a semester in Pune, India, and spent one spring break on a mission trip to a Chicago homeless shelter. She presented her research at several professional conferences, participated in the Psychology Club, edited and wrote for the McKendree Review newspaper, and ran cross country for the Bearcats. Nykhala was recently chosen for a six month internships as an assistant language instructor for the Technos College Internship Program in Tokyo, Japan.

Alum Honored with Grandy Award

A McKendree-educated professor who helps students develop the skills they need to become successful in business has won the top faculty award for 2014. The Alumni Association presented the William Norman Grandy Faculty Award to Dr. Jean (Scheller) Sampson ’83, associate professor of management and marketing.

Commencement PhotoDr. Sampson incorporates active learning and real-world activities in all of her classes. She requires her students to conduct research, analyze data and communicate the relevance of their findings to professional audiences,” noted Dr. Valerie Thaxton ’76, a university trustee and alumna. “Many students seek her out to serve as their academic advisor or internship supervisor because they know she will treat them fairly and help them grow academically, socially and professionally.”

Outside of the classroom, Jean coordinates the Paris Exchange Program; works with the Phi Beta Lambda student business organization; chairs the Student Affairs Committee and the Athletic Oversight Committee; serves as a first-year and transfer advisor for the School of Business; and takes students to professional conferences and competitions.

She became a full-time faculty member in 2005 after teaching part-time for several years and working in various management positions with several agencies.

Commencement PhotoTechnos Prize

While the Technos Prize announcement has become an annual part of the Lebanon campus commencement, many may not realize that at Technos International College in Tokyo, the McKendree University International Certificate is awarded. In April it was presented to Tomomi Yoshimura, a student at Tokyo Air Travel Hotel College, who is entering her second and final year of an English career course at the top of her class with perfect attendance.


The Class of 2014 graduates officially turned their tassels to the left during 174th commencement exercises on May 10 at the Lebanon, Ill. campus. Bachelor’s degrees were awarded in the morning and master’s degrees in the afternoon.

New graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Business, Education, and Nursing and Health Professions each received their diploma and a congratulatory handshake from Dr. James Dennis, president. The Class of 2014 members represent 16 states and four countries.

The university conferred 908 degrees at all campuses in 2014 - 307 master’s, 597 bachelor’s and four associate degrees - on graduates who completed their degree requirements in August and December 2013, and in May and July 2014. One hundred- sixty-one graduated with honors: 38 summa cum laude, 76 magna cum laude and 47 cum laude. A third of the graduating class received master’s degrees in education, professional counseling, business administration or nursing.


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Dr. Lyn Huxford was named Professor Emerita of Sociology during the commencement ceremony. “Among her faculty peers, Lyn has earned respect as a senior faculty leader, a wise and reasoned thinker and a collaborative problem solver,” President James Dennis told the audience.





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Students and families participated in the annual Graduation Celebration Dinner on Friday evening.







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Rev. Shane Bishop, senior pastor at Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Ill., was the guest speaker at the Senior Farewell Service on Friday afternoon.







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Jake Halde ’14 proudly displays his diploma. He finished his coursework in December.









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MAED graduate Tia Crowder ’14 partakes in the hooding ceremony.








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Two MAED graduates pose for a photo after the graduate ceremony.








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A new graduate cheers at the end of the undergraduate ceremony.







Check out more photos from commencement.