Homecoming and Alumni Weekend Highlights


Homecoming Photo Collage

1. The Bearcats won the Homecoming football game by a 38-13 margin over Southwest Baptist University.

2. The 2015 Homecoming Queen and King, Cassie Kaiping ’16 and Dewayne Gatti ’16, were introduced before the football game. A new tradition in 2015, Charles “Chuckie” Phillips ’17 and Lauren Reeves ’18 were crowned Homecoming Prince and Princess.

3. Students showed their spirit and rooted on the women’s volleyball team.

4. Paul “Greek” Durato ’72, Joe Lanius ’75, and Mark Allen ’77 enjoyed the tailgate.

5. The Reverend Dr. Miley Palmer ’58 was the guest speaker at the Homecoming chapel service on Oct. 4, 2015.

6. On Saturday morning, Jon Becker ’13 participated in the bag toss at Reunion Zero.

7. Lindsay (Weathers) Fark ’07, and son Cash, watched the Homecoming parade.

8. Sharing memories at the Golden Reunion were Class of 1965 members Karen Landwehr, Geraldine (Wille) Zobrist, Myra (Lirely) Owens, and Beverly (Gamble) Imming, front row; and Raffi Ovian, Sylvester “Sy” Korte, Jim Forrler and Frank DeWerff, back row.

9. On Saturday, members of the William McKendree and Cornerstone Societies, including Jerry Cornell ’74 and Sharon Cornell, gathered for breakfast.


Homecoming Photo Collage 2

10. The McKendree Color Guard marched in the Homecoming Parade.

11. Posing in front of the Bearcat Statue before the game is quickly becoming a tradition.

12. Dr. Dennis took a photo with several students at the William McKendree Society Breakfast.

13. The McKendree cheerleaders performed during the football game.

14. Family and friends of Sports Hall of Fame inductee Woody Derickson ’60 gather before the Alumni Awards Dinner.

15. Coach Mike Babcock’s children, Tyler and Emily, enjoyed the BBQ Bash and Kids Zone before the football game.

16. Guests mingled in the lobby before the Alumni Awards Dinner in the Hett.

17. Fans cheered on the football team during the Homecoming game.

18. The women’s volleyball team won its Homecoming game by 3-0 over Southern Indiana University.


Rising Stars

Rising StarsRising Stars are McKendree graduates of the past decade who have made significant achievements in their professions or chosen fields, and who have demonstrated a high level of involvement in the University and in their respective communities.

Adam Prest ’05, of O’Fallon, Ill., majored in accounting and became a licensed CPA in 2006. He is a manager at Anders CPAs & Advisors’ Tax Services Group in St. Louis, Mo., where he interned as a McKendree student. In 2009 he received the Missouri Society of CPAs Outstanding Young Professionals Award in 2010 was named one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 Under 30.” He is a member and past president of the Missouri Society of CPAs’ St. Louis chapter; a member and past chairman of the Lea Global CPA Network’s Young Professionals Steering Group; an associate member of the St. Louis Sports Commission; and a Fair Saint Louis committee member and volunteer. He remains involved at McKendree as treasurer of the Sigma Nu Alumni Association, Friend of the Hett donor and Bearcat Booster.

Rebecca (Lindstrom) Wohltmann ’09 earned degrees in accounting and political science and went on to graduate summa cum laude from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2012. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Missouri and specializes in business transactions, estate planning, corporate law, criminal tax, taxation and litigation for Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd.

The Belleville, Ill., resident is a member of the Zion Lutheran School Board and Women’s Missionary League, Belleville Running Club, Belleville Marathon Committee, and Illinois State and St. Clair County Bar Associations. As a student, Rebecca was McKendree’s Lincoln Laureate, a New Student Orientation leader and University 101 peer mentor, involved in debate, bowling, Model U.N., and several organizations, committees and honor societies. She continues her involvement as a donor, University debate tournament judge, Homecoming Committee member, and participant in McKendree’s 5K road races.

Not pictured is Dr. Adam Biggs ’06, a research psychologist for the U.S. Navy. The former Troy, Ill., resident studied psychology at McKendree, earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Notre Dame, and completed his post-doctoral work at Duke University. His research interests have been in attention and perception, including theory and practical applications of visual search, individual differences and cognitive enhancement. At Duke, his study of visual search—the act of finding targets among distractors—has helped transportation safety agents improve their search for dangerous objects.

Loyal Service Award

Loyal Service AwardsD. “Brant” Harper ’73, of Murray, Ky., accepted the Loyal Service Award from Alumni Board President Maria (Stallings) Page ’89, MAED ’06. The former business and economics major was a member of Ferox (Phi Rho Chi) for four years, a class officer, junior class president, and member of the Inter-Society Council, Campus Program Board and Student Congress. He went on to receive an MBA degree from Millsaps College in 1986 and was employed by Bunge North America as an assistant vice president until his retirement. Brant remains an active supporter of the University. For five years he helped bring the Lone Oak High School Marching Band from Kentucky to the Lebanon campus for a one-week band camp.

Medallions Start a New Tradition

Homecoming MedalsThe McKendree University Alumni Association has started a new tradition. Under the leadership of PJ Thompson, director of alumni relations, a series of medallions were created to represent the various awards given during the annual Alumni Awards Dinner. In addition to the plaques the winners receive, each awardee now also receives a medallion. Past honorees who attended Homecoming 2015 also received medallions, which they are encouraged to wear every year moving forward.

Imagery on the medals was created by the University’s Graphic Designer Ed Vernon, who meticulously designed each with a unique symbolic significance. The Sports Hall of Fame medal features the Bearcat head used in the athletics logo. The Rising Star medal is represented by one star rising above others. The Loyal Service medal includes a large gear engaged with smaller gear cogs, symbolizing one’s will to serve the University. Two “McK” keys on the Peter Akers Award medal represent success and opportunity. The four Academy of Excellence medals include imagery from the gonfalons, which represent the College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Business, Education and Nursing and Health Professions.

If you are a previous Alumni Award recipient and were not present at Homecoming 2015, please plan to attend the Alumni Awards Dinner on Oct. 15, 2016 to receive your medal.

Peter Akers Award

Peter Akers AwardJoan (Weber) Barnes ’53 received McKendree’s highest alumni honor, the Peter Akers Award for professional success, outstanding service and loyalty. The Belleville, Ill., resident has supported her alma mater throughout the years as an Annual Fund donor, Friend of the Hett, Bearcat Basketball Booster and loyal sports fan. She is active in St. George’s Episcopal Church and enjoys tennis, golf, her book club and being a grandmother.

An elementary education major and psychology minor in college, Joan enjoyed a long career as an educator and administrator whose greatest reward came from being a classroom teacher at many levels. She earned a master’s degree in education before working as a reading specialist, elementary school teacher, teacher corp-director at SIUE/Cahokia School, Cahokia School District principal, and director of the Early Childhood program. She also wrote and developed curricula for the Cahokia School District and adult education program.

Alumni Awards Call for Nominations

Nominations for the 2016 Alumni Awards ends May 1, 2016. The Alumni Association is looking for leaders—graduates of McKendree University who have shown strong leadership in their careers, outstanding service to the community, and success in athletics or other notable accomplishments.

For more information or specific awards criteria, check out the Alumni Association webpage.

The Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Sports Hall of Fame 2015Entering the Bearcat Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 were alumni Rebekah (Diers) VanScoyk ’10, women’s bowling; Derwood “Woody” Derickson ’60, baseball and basketball; Kayla (White) Moll ’09, softball; and via a videotaped message, Darrell Flake ’05, basketball.

Rebekah (Diers) VanScoyk helped raise the visibility of the women’s bowling program, thanks to her consistent performance and year-round dedication. Becky and her teammates established a standard of excellence on the lanes that elevated the Bearcats into national prominence.

In each of her four years, the Bearcats bowled in the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Championships, which serves as the collegiate national championship event. As a sophomore in 2007, Becky led the squad to a second-place finish in the 16-team field—the highest finish for the Bearcats in the tournament to date—and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Bowler. That same year, she qualified for the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships, placing third overall.

As a senior, Becky again led McKendree to a third place finish at the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships, where she earned All-Tournament honors and the Chris Stoehr Sportsmanship Award. She also reached the quarterfinals of the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships in 2009.

In 2008, she won the USBC Youth Open Championship All-Events title to earn a spot in the Bowling’s Clash of Champions in 2009, where she finished second among an elite field of 16 bowlers. She remains the only McKendree bowler to compete in the Clash of Champions.

In her four years at McKendree, Becky captured numerous in-season tournament titles and All-Tournament accolades. She was a two-time first-team All-America selection by the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association following her junior and senior seasons.

Woody Derickson played both baseball and basketball during his college playing days but it was on the baseball diamond where he made his mark with his talent and versatility.

Woody was a key contributor for the Bearcats’ baseball squad during his three seasons with the program. In 1958 he hit a team-best .460 on a McKendree team that went 10-0 in conference play and batted .349 collectively.

As a senior, Woody helped carry the Bearcats to their seventh consecutive Prairie Collegiate Conference championship. He led the team with 19 walks, tied for the team lead with four home runs, and was second on the team with a .390 batting average, 32 base hits and 10 stolen bases.

Throughout the years, Woody has remained a loyal fan and booster of Bearcat athletics.

Kayla (White) Moll was a catalyst at the top of the softball lineup on Bearcats teams that posted 128 victories during her four-year career. Relying on her blazing speed both on the base paths and while roaming the outfield, she capped her career by helping McKendree to its final National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
National Championship appearance.

At the time of her induction, Kayla held McKendree career records in five categories: hits (255), runs scored (167), doubles (51), triples (24) and walks (82).

As a senior, Kayla put together a late-season run that culminated with McKendree’s second American Midwest Conference (AMC) tournament championship in three years and propelled the Bearcats into the NAIA National Championships for the first time in a decade.

In each of her four seasons, she earned first-team AMC All-Conference honors and was an Academic All-Conference selection.

Darrell FlakeDarrell Flake played only two seasons starting at forward on the men’s basketball team yet he had one of the most impressive careers in Bearcat history. He dominated in the paint both offensively and defensively as McKendree enjoyed an extended run among the top programs in NAIA Division I.

Darrell posted a career total of 1,499 points, the highest point output by a two-year player in the program’s lengthy history. He averaged 21.1 points, including a team-leading 23.7 points per contest as a senior in 2001–02. With a smooth shooting touch, he connected on 68.1 percent of his field goal attempts, the highest percentage in program history. He hauled in 633 rebounds over his 71-game career, averaged just under nine rebounds per outing, and finished second on the team in rebounding in each of his two seasons as a Bearcat.

He was a two-time first-team All-Conference selection, and as a senior, conference Player of the Year and a first-team All-American. Darrell went on to star in Iceland’s Premier League, where he won Player of the Year awards in 2006–07 and 2007–08 playing for Skallagrimur.

Academy of Excellence

Academy of ExcellenceThree alumni entered the Academy of Excellence in 2015 for achievement, leadership and character in education; the humanities; and language, literature and communication.

The Reverend Lisa (Jones) Guilliams ’84, of Granite City, Ill., completed a degree in management and marketing and received a Master’s of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2009. She has been a pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Granite City since 2003 and was ordained as an elder in 2011. In 2001 Lisa founded TWIGS, which distributes free sack lunches (60,000 in 2015) and offers school supplies, backpacks and haircuts to children of families in need in 15 local communities. In 2009 she founded FIGS (Fellowship Involving Granite Seniors), a fellowship group now 150 members strong. In 2012, FIGS and TWIGS merged to form the non-profit Family Treehouse.

Kyle Gordon ’88, MAED ’08, of Swansea, Ill., graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social studies and a master’s degree in education and education leadership. The Collinsville (Ill.) High School history teacher advises the nation’s largest student council and sponsors several co-curricular activities, chairs the school improvement team, and is creating a Renaissance-style program to recognize student achievements. Kyle is director of the Illinois Association of Student Councils and the Kaskaskia District of Student Councils, a former Illinois Student Council Advisor of the year, and was co-chairman of the National Association of Student Council’s National Conference. He has received numerous awards for education, leadership and community service.

Tracy Rouch ’88, of O’Fallon, Ill., received a degree in public relations and went on to earn a master’s degree in speech communication and organizational communication. An honorary member of Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society, she has served on the McKendree Alumni Board, and volunteers as a Presidential Scholarship interviewer. Since 1996 Tracy has been the director of public relations for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Save the Date!

Homecoming and Alumni Reunion Weekend

October 14-16, 2016