2012 CommencementWho:

The Class of 2012, representing 31 states and nine countries, was the largest in McKendree’s history.


The 172nd commencement exercises. A total of 932 degrees—581 master’s, 340 bachelor’s and 11 associate’s—were conferred on those who completed their degree requirements in August and December 2011, and May 2012.

When and Where:

Two ceremonies on Saturday, May 12 on the Lebanon, Ill., campus front lawn and one on Saturday, June 9 at Highview Baptist Church East Campus in Louisville, Ky.

Highest Honors:

188 graduated with honors—37 summa cum laude, 83 magna cum laude and 68 cum laude.

2012 CommencementProud Parents:

On Mothers’ Day weekend, 3 moms crossed the stage with their children: Dede Haselton ’12 and Jennifer Poindexter ’12; Martha Ribes ’12 and Melissa Poelker ’12; and Janice Janek ’12 and Jacob Janek ’12

Sounds of the Day:

Bagpipes; “Pomp and Circumstance,” national anthem sung by Grace Fisher ’13, cameras clicking

Significant Stats:

“This afternoon you place yourself in the upper 2% of anyone on this planet.”—Dr. Joseph Cipfl, dean of the graduate school, to those receiving master’s degrees—over 36% of the Class of 2012.

2012 CommencementLoudest Ovations:

Last undergraduate Bogey D. Bearcat; Brad Gebben ’12; and Maria Billhartz ’12 (for whom someone sounded an air horn)

Encouraging News:

An estimated 97% of McKendree’s 2012 graduates will be employed or in graduate school within 6 months.

Colorfully Decorated:

Kamuela Brito ’12, wore leis brought by his family from Hawaii.

Parting Advice:

“We have prepared you to do well but now you must also ‘do good.’ Reach out, help others, make a difference in our world, do the right thing.”—President James Dennis


A Second Grandy Award for Dr. Eggleston:

Dr. Tami Eggleston told herself she would try not to choke up when some of her former students received their diplomas. However, when she was announced the winner of the 2012 William Norman Grandy Faculty Award for the second time in her McKendree career, the tears came early and unexpectedly.

Dr. Tami Eggleston Wins Her Second Grandy AwardThe associate dean and professor of psychology is one of McKendree’s most enthusiastic supporters. She joined the faculty in 1996 and won her first Grandy Award three years later. In addition to teaching, she has conducted extensive research in sport psychology and uses her expertise to help Bearcat athletes prepare mentally for competition.

She has led numerous initiatives,
developed faculty workshops, coordinated assessment and accreditation efforts, promoted the use of instructional technology, mentored student research theses, advised student organizations and chaired search committees.

“Students clamor to take her courses
regardless of the day or time they are offered or the subject matter involved,” said Maria Page, ’89, MAED ’06 Alumni Association president, as she presented the award. “All know that she is passionate about students, about teaching and learning, and about McKendree University. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find another faculty or staff member who displays as much school spirit, or wears as much purple, as Dr. Eggleston.”


English Major Takes Home Top Student Award:

Since 1992, McKendree University has partnered with the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust of Japan to honor students who have made a significant contribution to the campus community and have resolved to improve international relations.
Liz Gershon
Elizabeth Gershon ’12, of Scott Air Force Base, Ill., received the annual Technos International College Prize, chosen by the faculty for her outstanding academic achievement and commitment to multi-cultural understanding. A nontraditional student and mother of two, Liz graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, double majoring in English and religion. She helped lead the campus Interfaith organization and plan its Global Community Week activities, edited the “Montage” literary magazine, tutored in the Writing Center and volunteered in the community. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and served as president of the Sigma Tau Delta international English honor society chapter. Liz plans to pursue a Ph.D. and hopes to teach about the intersection of religion and literature.


Graduate Transforms Obstacles Into Success:

Reginald “Reggie” Cloyd ’12, of Danville, Ill., is a true success story. He started his college career with his main focus on football, however after sustaining three season-ending injuries he learned more about himself. After many early mornings of studying that led to even longer days, he gained a new outlook on life and his future: “Don’t ever give up.”

Reggie CloydReggie transferred to McKendree as a
sophomore with a foot injury and missed the first two football games of the season. He started in the third game, only to rebreak his foot. Unfortunately, his injury was so great he was out the rest of the season. The next year, as a junior, he starred in seven games, during which he tore multiple ligaments in his elbow; he did not finish the season. His third and final year on the team, Reggie had high expectations for himself. The football team needed him and while he desired to play again, he was nervous about yet another injury and “didn’t want to get hurt again.” The longing to play football outweighed the concerns about a possible injury, and he was back in the game. During the first quarter of the first game of the season, Reggie was on the field trying to work off a tackle when he injured his knee. For three years in a row, he was unable to finish the season.

“It was a tough time,” he said. “I was
questioning God and couldn’t understand why everything was going bad in my life.” He soon underwent two knee surgerieswhich progressed into a “gruesome rehab.” At this point, Reggie “felt like a failure in school and in [his] personal life.” He was supposed to stay home for the rest of the semester, but he was not about to give up. He wanted to come back and play and “prove that if you want something bad enough, it is possible.” The one thing that helped keep him feeling positive was his coaches, teammates, and peers at McKendree: “Everyone at McKendree was lifting up my spirits.”

Reggie CloydDetermined to continue, the double major
in political science and criminal justice decided he was going to apply for law school. That summer, he signed up for a class to help prepare him for the LSAT test. His daily schedule was filled from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. He would wake up at 3 a.m. to study until 6 a.m., work out, go to his two jobs, which were required to pay for school, attend his evening class, go back home to study some more, only to wake up and do it all over again. As much as Reggie studied every day for the LSAT exam, he had the lowest score in his class. He continued to push himself until one day something clicked. With every practice test he took, his score climbed higher until eventually he had the highest score out of all his peers.

Reggie applied to 13 law schools and
12 sent him acceptance letters. Out of those 12, three schools offered him full scholarships. He decided on the University of Illinois Law School and will be starting in the fall of 2012. He knows it will be a challenge, but “McKendree has prepared [him] to do well.”

Looking back, he reflects on his trials:
“Even when it didn’t look like it, God blessed me. He used the adversity in my life for my advantage. God’s plan was perfect for me.”

Reggie wants to
continue sharing his story with others and to be an example of how to succeed.