Commencement 2015


The Class of 2015 graduates received their diplomas during the 175th commencement exercises on May 9, 2015 at the Lebanon, Ill., campus.

The Lebanon undergraduate ceremony was held on the front lawn in the morning. New graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, and School of Nursing and Health Professions received a congratulatory handshake from Dr. James Dennis, president. “You now have the ability to make what comes next be great - in your work, in your communities, in your families, in your lives,” he told the group. “In the end, your final grade will be determined by you. It is my hope that you will continue to strive to better yourselves, and that you will do great work while seeing that there is always more to be done. May your final grade always be ‘incomplete’.”

Dan DobbinsA Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree was conferred on Daniel Dobbins ’81, outgoing Board of Trustees chairman, for his service, insight, leadership, philanthropic support and commitment to his alma mater. He was board chair for eight years and will continue to serve on the board.

Bishop Jonathan Keaton, episcopal leader of the Illinois Area of the United Methodist Church, gave the invocation.

During the afternoon graduate ceremony in MPCC, the first three Doctor of Education (EdD) degrees in curriculum design and instruction were conferred.

A month later, 69 of the 150 members of the Kentucky campuses’ Class of 2015 participated in the Kentucky Campuses ceremony on June 6, 2015 at First Christian Church in Elizabethtown, Ky.

Lisa HintonLisa Hinton ’15 received the “Spirit of McKendree Award” given for academic excellence and community concern. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the Radcliff campus. Lisa joined the Radcliff staff in October 2010 as support services coordinator and now serves as a student success advisor, financial services coordinator and VA certifying official.

Over 700 degrees were conferred at all campuses in 2015—three doctorates, 13 education specialists, 153 master’s, 530 bachelor’s and 16 associate degrees - on graduates who completed their degree requirements in December 2014, and in May and July 2015. One-hundred-fifty five graduated with honors: 24 summa cum laude, 73 magna cum laude and 58 cum laude. The new graduates hail from 20 states and three countries.

The Smiths Prove It’s Never too Late

by Lauren Apetz ’16

SmithsAdrienne Smith, MBA ’15, and husband Doug ’15, both graduated on May 9. Doug with his bachelor’s degree in the morning and Adrienne with her master’s degree in the afternoon. The road to graduation was not an easy one for this married couple from Mascoutah, Ill. The Smiths juggled full time jobs and a family while attending classes and doing homework.

Their schedule was so full that Doug and Adrienne would sometimes go days without seeing each other due to work and class. Their daughter Codi, a high school junior, really helped out around the house. “She was a huge help and we couldn’t have done this without her,” Adrienne said. No matter how busy their work week would be, they always made time for family on the weekend.

Doug had two associate degrees before he decided to pursue his bachelor’s degree in 2011. A stroke in 2012 postponed his journey for a year. He was back at it in 2013, and is now a part of the Class of 2015. Doug took a majority of his classes at the Center for Scott Air Force Base, where many of his accelerated program classes were offered.

“The staff members at Scott don’t get enough credit,” he said. “If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have graduated in May.”

Adrienne had traveled a lot due to her active duty career in the Air Force, which prolonged the process of attaining her bachelor’s degree. It took her 20 years to complete her bachelor’s degree of applied sciences in paralegal studies from McMurray University in Texas and she came back to McKendree for more. While Adrienne walked across the stage with her MBA diploma, she is not yet done. She now wants a doctorate in criminal justice. “Some people keep their body fit,” she said. “I like to keep my mind fit.”

The Smiths are all about McKendree University. They love the campus, the atmosphere, and how helpful everyone is. It’s why Doug and Adrienne want their daughter Codi to become a Bearcat, too. “We’re dropping hints,” Adrienne joked.

They highly recommend McKendree for people wanting to go back to school or further their education. “Getting our degrees has changed the way we think about certain things,” Doug said. “It gave us an understanding to the way things worked.” Both hope to continue their education at McKendree and say it’s never too late to get that degree.