Wettest. Ceremony. Ever. Rain clouds opened up just in time for the Class of 2019 processional and awarding of diplomas on May 11. According to President James Dennis, the majority of the undergraduates overwhelmingly favored having their ceremony on the front lawn despite the forecast for scattered showers. The morning ceremony concluded with operatic soprano Christine Brewer ’76 singing “Mira (Can You Imagine That)” at the benediction. Master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded in the afternoon in the gym.



Psychology Professor Wins Grandy Award

Psychology Professor Wins Grandy AwardDr. Guy Boysen accepted the 2019 William Norman Grandy Faculty Award from Alumni Association President Ryan Furniss ’00 in recognition of his commitment to students and the ideals promoted by the University. The professor of psychology conducts much of his research collaboratively, co-authoring journal articles and copresenting or mentoring his students to present at professional conferences.

Guy teaches courses including introduction to psychology, abnormal psychology, psychological testing and measurement, and research methods, and advises the Psi Chi psychology honor society. His primary areas of professional expertise are the study of stigma toward persons with mental illness and the study of effective teaching and learning techniques. A prolific scholar, he has published three books and more than 50 research journal articles, and given numerous presentations to professional audiences.



Technos International Prize

Andrew Wagner ’19Andrew Wagner ’19, a summa cum laude graduate from Waterloo, Ill., ended his stellar college career with an impressive final honor: the 2019 Technos International Prize for academic excellence and international understanding. An honors program student who majored in international relations with minors in speech communication and Spanish, he was also the University’s Lincoln Laureate, the state’s highest student honor.

Andrew was Secretary-General of the Model United Nations, former president of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and captain of the speech team, winning numerous awards at national forensic tournaments. He led the mellophone section in the Marching Bearcat Band and the French horns in the Concert Band and the Wind Ensemble.

He discovered a passion for teaching as a volunteer Spanish instructor at Trinity Lutheran Middle School in Edwardsville, Ill. This summer, Andrew began a highly competitive, yearlong paid fellowship teaching English at Technos International College in Tokyo, where he spent two weeks as a McKendree sophomore.




Deborah MurphyAt the June 1 commencement ceremony at First Christian Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., Deborah Murphy, a Ph.D. researcher with more than 30 years of leadership experience, received the Outstanding Faculty Award. It is presented to an instructor who most inspires and impresses his or her students. Deborah is a part-time associate professor who has taught business, finance, management and marketing classes to Kentucky campus undergraduate and graduate students since 2013. A Kentucky native, she serves as the Deputy G8 for U.S. Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox.

Steve Morris ’19The “Spirit of McKendree Award” went to Steve Morris ’19, who graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in business administration. Steve was inducted into several academic honor societies, including Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success; Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration; and the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi. He is an industrial engineering technical representative supervisor at UPS in Louisville, Ky.

Daryl Hancock, chief of staff and executive director of the Kentucky campuses, presented both awards.



Drs. Myron Reese, Irwin Halfond Named Professors Emeritii

by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney '10

Dr. Myron ReeseTogether they have contributed more than 80 years of service to the McKendree University community. As two of the longest-standing faculty members retired, their colleagues and students applauded the significant impact each had on their respective fields and generations of Bearcats.

Dr. Myron Reese, who retired in December 2018, was named professor emeritus of chemistry for more than 50 years of service to the University. When Myron began his McKendree career in 1968, he had no idea he would be there for the next half-century. What kept him all those years, he said, was the satisfaction and fulfillment he received from teaching and “contributing to the achievement of so many—an estimated 4,000 students.”

In 1972, Myron was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of chemistry. In 1976, he was named a full professor and began many years as chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics. He served as associate dean, as well as a member of the Accreditation Task Force for the Higher Learning Commission in 1997-1998. In 2003, he received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award and was named a Distinguished Service Professor in 2011.

Dr. Dennis Ryan, professor of mathematics, worked alongside Myron for more than 28 years and praised his “diligence, preparation, attention to intricate detail, willingness, excellence in teaching and an ability to be a good colleague. He taught in an outstanding way for a half-century and contributed to the stability of our division. The one stalwart was Myron Reese.”

“I’d like to be remembered at McKendree for the role I played in helping students succeed in their course work, earn their degree, and go on to a fulfilling life after graduation,” Myron said. “I expect to miss many things associated with teaching, especially the day-to-day contact with students and working to improve lectures and develop new experiments for laboratory work."

As a member of the American Chemical Society, he plans to continue volunteering for activities, such as chemistry contests and local high school student competitions during his retirement.

Dr. Irwin HalfondDr. Irwin Halfond retired in May 2019 after 31 years at McKendree and was named professor emeritus of history for his contributions to the campus community.

Beginning his McKendree career in 1988, Irwin became a tenured professor in 1991 and a full professor in 1993. “I taught all three sections of history, from the beginning of time into the future,” he said. “The classroom changed from chalkboard dust and maps to completely computerized.”

In addition to teaching, Irwin chaired the Division of Humanities, served as faculty advisor for the McKendree History Society, and reviewed position papers submitted by high school students for Model U.N. He played a fundamental role in McKendree’s acceptance into Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and advised its chapter. A published reviewer for many books and historical dictionaries, he was also a reviewer for the State of Illinois in teaching social sciences. In 2011, he was named a Distinguished Service Professor.

“Irwin became known as the ‘assessment czar’,” noted President James Dennis. “His work paved the way for the assessment system we have at McKendree.”

Dr. Pat Folk, a retired professor of history, has known Irwin for 44 years. “He was the scholar in the History Department,” he said. “He has done virtually everything here and has been a wonderful colleague who has done so much for this school.”

Irwin said he hopes to be remembered “as a teacher whose main priority was the quality of student learning and their development of analytical skills needed for success in a wide variety of careers. I will miss the psychic rewards of the classroom, where teaching history transports me to so many different times, places, and events, almost always with increased insights. In this time-tripping process, student reaction to topics discussed played a key role. Over the past 31 years, McKendree has provided me with quality students and a collegial environment in which to teach.” In his retirement, he plans to travel and spend more time with his children and grandchildren.




Graduate Student at Commencement

Dr. LaMora and Graduate

Photo of Undergraduate at Commencement

Student Holding School of Education Flag

Students at Commencement in Rain

Commencement by the Numbers



SAVE THE DATE!   APRIL 14–15, 2020

McKendree University alumni who participated in Model UN are invited to return to campus for the 50th Anniversary of the Model UN program. For more information, check out