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FORWARD: The Campaign for McKendree University

Forward Campaign Growth ChartMcKendree University has been driven by the desire to propel itself FORWARD for 188 Years. This constant motion has created a rich tapestry of intellectual inquiry, student engagement, artistic expression, and opportunity for vital growth, all in a community often characterized by the familiar words "home" and "family."

On May 7, McKendree launched the public phase of “FORWARD: The Campaign for McKendree University” - a $40 million comprehensive campaign to support the renovation of Voigt Science Hall and Holman Library.

Through this campaign the University will address the following objectives:

  • A renovation and addition to Voigt Science Hall

  • A renovation of Holman Library

  • Revitalization and renovation of our classroom facilities in Clark, Carnegie and Old Main, including improvements to technology

  • The raising of additional funds for endowed scholarships and endowed faculty positions

  • And, support for general use where funds are needed the most

“For 188 years it has been alumni, parents and friends who have come forward to provide support for this University at critical moments,” said Dan Lett '91, chair of the board of trustees. “It is because of this generosity McKendree can look to the future with confidence and be assured others will step forward as well. We are indeed grateful.”

To date, the University has raised over $25 million of its goal in donations and pledges.

The progress of any university rests in the dreams of what is possible; the sure hope that one act of generosity will inspire others and together they collectively will move those dreams FORWARD.


To watch the FORWARD Campaign video or to make a gift, go to



Rendering of Proposed Voigt Science HallVoigt Science Hall

As McKendree attracts students with ever stronger academic credentials, the demand for expanding academic programs in the sciences and in mathematics, and the need for state-of-the-art laboratory space and equipment, have increased greatly. Built in 1965, Voigt Science Hall requires significant renovations and an addition to address these demands. It is imperative we provide students and the excellent faculty who teach in the sciences with the tools they need to excel and to continue to attract and retain the most academically talented students.

The planned capital improvements to Voigt Science Hall include redesigned multipurpose classrooms, a large lecture hall, dedicated student research space, additional labs, faculty offices, a rooftop observatory, and informal meeting spaces to promote group learning. The renovation will also allow the use of updated equipment and technology by upgrading the electrical capabilities of the building. Faculty and students will no longer be hindered by electrical demands of new equipment on an old building. The addition to the building’s north end will feature a new formal entrance, lobby and elevator. The renovation and addition will nearly double the size of Voigt Science Hall.

Expansion and growth are important facets of the building renovation. “All McKendree undergraduate students complete at least one course in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics or computer science,” said Dr. James Dennis, president of McKendree. “In the last five years, the biology pre-professional major has experienced over 100 percent growth and the computer science major has increased by 54 percent. The growth in program size also mirrors the growth in technology needs, therefore this building will be outfitted with state-of-the-art teaching technology.”

“If we want to keep pace with the demands of the sciences, we have to have a facility which allows us to expand,” said Dr. Robb VanPutte, Harvey C. Pitt and Winifred Ann Pitt Professor of Biology. “We know if we are afforded the opportunity to renovate this space and build this building the way we know it needs to be, things will happen that just can’t happen now.”




Photo of Person Holding iPadHolman Library

The evolution of technology over the last fifty years has dramatically changed how libraries provide service to their patrons, and how they are evaluated in terms of providing access to scholarly work and resources. Once a space for quiet learning and research, libraries now act as centers for the active exchange of information.

Holman Library, which opened in 1969, will be transformed to provide the latest technologies, access, data and resources required by students and faculty for their academic work. The renovated library will be a center for collaboration as well as quiet study and research. Features will include the University Archives and Museum, compact shelving for print resources, expanded computer labs and group meeting areas, upgraded lecture rooms, improved access to technology, and a coffee and snack bar.




Campus-wide Capital Improvements

One of the great legacies of McKendree University is its venerable history. We are indeed proud of our founding as the first college in Illinois and we cherish our rich history. Three of the oldest buildings on campus, Old Main, built in 1850, and Clark and Carnegie Halls, built in 1911, are utilized every day as classroom and office facilities and are in need of improvements. The historical and vital nature of these buildings requires us to provide for their structural integrity now so they can continue to meet the needs of coming generations of students.




Endowed Support


The interaction between our students and our faculty defines our core mission. Endowed scholarships and endowed professorships make this exchange possible by providing students the opportunity to come to McKendree University and study with the very best faculty in their chosen field guiding their intellectual growth. Additional funds will support endowed student scholarships; endowed faculty positions; programs, services and co-curricular activities; classroom and laboratory equipment; salaries and professional development.




Photo of Campaign Reception at the HettMcKendree celebrated the public launch of FORWARD: The Campaign for McKendree University on May 7, 2016. Guests experienced Voigt Science Hall and Holman Library, witnessed student research presentations, dined on the stage of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, and learned of the University's aspirations in a video presentation of the featured objectives.

Cyril Curtis, Ph.D., Class of 1943

Quotation Graphic"When I attended McKendree, I focused on my studies in math, physics, chemistry and biology in addition to the general coursework. It is vital we provide new and updated science resources to the students of McKendree so they can become the doctors, researchers and scientists of tomorrow."

Brian Klostermann, M.D., Class of 2004

Quotation Graphic"When I first stepped foot on campus, this place was entirely different. To see what it has grown into over the last 10 years has been remarkable. To be a part of that, to stay a part of that and to help it grow, you can’t put a price on that."

Samantha Fagerberg, Class of 2017

Quotation Graphic"I don’t think that my dream would be possible without the scholarship McKendree has provided. McKendree has offered me so many opportunities, outside of the scholarship alone, which are helping me move towards what I want to do in the future."

Edward McGlynn, Class of 1968, McKendree University Board of Trustees and Jeanne McGlynn, Class of 1970

Quotation Graphic"I can’t imagine what this University would be like if over the years there weren’t donors who were willing to step up to the plate to contribute. The University has got to have new things in order to attract and continue to attract good students. It just doesn’t happen because you have the Hett, or it doesn’t happen because you have got a great gymnasium, or you have got a great football stadium. It happens because people see constant progress going FORWARD."

Christine Bahr, Ph.D., Provost and Dean of the University

Quotation Graphic"We’re committed to maintaining the beautiful buildings we have on this campus. There is a rich history in many of these buildings, but we are also challenged to continue to repurpose the buildings so we are using them in the most efficient and effective way so they are continuing to meet the needs of today. And we have done that over time. Over and over our buildings have been repurposed and upgraded and renovated for the needs of that particular student body and that particular period of time in our history."