Our McKendree


Convocation 2019Welcome, Class of 2023!

The University welcomed 340 first-year and 90 transfer students to begin the fall semester. The Class of 2023 has an average high school GPA of 3.5 and 11 percent have a legacy family connection. While 61 percent of the new students have come from Illinois, our newest Bearcats also represent 27 other states and the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Vietnam.



Leads Sigma Zeta

Dr. Robb VanPutte, professor of biology, was elected to lead the Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society as its executive director in 2019-2020. The national undergraduate honor society encourages and fosters scholarly activity and recognizes academic scholarship in the natural and computer sciences and mathematics. McKendree’s Beta chapter has a longstanding affiliation with the society founded in 1925 in Alton, Ill., by three individuals who believed science is best taught by actively engaging students in research.

Robb has taught at McKendree since 1999 and has held the Harvey C. Pitt and Winifred Ann Pitt Endowed Professorship of Biology since 2010.



Joining the Faculty

McKendree University welcomed the following new faculty members who joined the campus community over the summer:


  • Dr. Robyn Swink, assistant professor of social sciences

  • Dr. Vincent Dunlap, associate professor of chemistry

  • Dr. Katie Alford, assistant professor of education

  • Dr. Michael Hahn, assistant professor of psychology

  • Brittany Dobill '06, MBA '09, instructor of marketing



American History Seminar

Dr. Lauren Thompson, assistant professor of history, was one of 25 participants in the Council of Independent College’s American History Seminar on “The Civil War and American Memory” at Yale University in June. The seminar was for a select group of faculty members in history, political science and related fields who may be called upon as resources and experts when questions arise over the fate of controversial historical statues and markers on their campuses and in their communities. The Civil War era and African-American history are among Lauren’s areas of expertise.



Former Students Win Investment Contest

A hypothetical stock portfolio put together by a McKendree investments class more than two years ago outperformed all others to win the $10,000 top prize in the St. Louis Area Stock Contest.

On Dec. 1, 2016, students were assigned a hypothetical $1 million to invest equally in 20 stocks, which were held for the length of the 28-month contest. At its conclusion on March 31, their investments had grown to $1,434,088. The 18 students, all of whom have since graduated, were members of a a Finance 355 class taught by Dr. Faisal Safa, associate professor of finance.



$100K Grant Continues Funding for ‘Ready 4 Math’

“READY 4 Math,” a professional development project to improve early mathematics instruction in rural communities, has received a second $100,000 grant from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group Foundation for renewal in 2020.

The foundation’s Early Math Initiative provides educators with the knowledge, confidence and tools to teach and inspire children from infancy through elementary school about the world of mathematics. At McKendree, “READY 4 Math” supports monthly training on campus and twicemonthly sessions in participants’ preschool classrooms using provided activities and materials.

Dr. Allison Fahsl, professor of education and School of Education chair, and Dr. Jennifer Hope, assistant professor of education and director of teacher education, lead the project.