The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Summer 2023

McKendree Celebrates a Successful First-Ever Founders Week

Founders WeekFounders Day? More like Founders Week! In anticipation of McKendree’s impending bicentennial in 2028, the campus community celebrated its 195th birthday like it’s never been celebrated before: with an entire week of fun, gratitude, philanthropy, and – of course – cake.

Energizing Traditions to Pave the Way for Our Bicentennial

On Monday, February 20, what is recognized as McKendree’s true birthday, faculty, students, and staff gathered in Ames to kick off the University’s inaugural Founders Week Celebration, a week that celebrates the university and the philanthropy that has paved the way for Bearcats for nearly two centuries. Bedecked in colorful party hats, the campus community kicked off the week with the annual singing of “Happy Birthday” to McKendree, led by members of the McKendree University Chamber Choir.

Throughout the week, McKendree and the campus community shared quick facts and history of philanthropy with students, expressed why they love McKendree on a gratitude board in Holman Library, and banded together to give back to the University during our new giving day, One McKendree Giving Day, which lasted 1828 minutes to honor the university’s founding year. The giving day was an incredible success, with more than $128,000 raised. McKendreans near and far joined together to make this new tradition a major success by honoring their roots, celebrating all that the community has accomplished, and giving back to the institution they care dearly about so that future Bearcats can continue to learn and thrive.

With Eyes Set to the Horizon

The university is delighted to present a spend plan for $15 million of capital projects over the next five years, made possible through the remarkable support and generosity of donors who championed FORWARD: The Campaign for McKendree University. This substantial investment will bring about significant improvements in various areas across campus, fostering an enhanced environment for both students and faculty.

The Lair Student Center, an integral hub of student life, is currently undergoing renovations to create a more modern and inviting space, encouraging community engagement and collaboration. Additionally, our on-campus fitness center is nearing the completion of a much-needed facelift, providing state-of-the-art facilities to promote wellness and an active lifestyle among students, faculty, and staff.

Looking into the future, the university’s commitment to aesthetics will be further exemplified through numerous campus beautification projects, creating visually appealing spaces that inspire creativity and pride. To ensure the safety and security of the campus community, significant enhancements will be made to campus security measures, employing technology and infrastructure to safeguard all members of the university.

The first phase of a $5 million renovation of the first floor of Voigt Science Hall will commence, setting the foundation for cutting-edge research and learning environments. The plan also includes renovations to residence halls, ensuring comfortable and contemporary living spaces for students. Athletics will receive necessary attention and upgrades to support and enhance the university’s competitive programs, fostering a culture of excellence and success. Finally, the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts will receive necessary enhancements to continue to showcase exceptional talent and cultural experiences, enriching the arts community within and beyond the university.

With this ambitious spend plan, the university is poised to transform its campus, embracing the future while maintaining a steadfast commitment to academic excellence and the true McKendree experience for its constituents.

Make a Difference in McKendree’s Future

We hope that you will join us for the next McKendree University Founders Week, which is set for February 19-23, 2024, and continue to build momentum for the future of this great institution and its students. To learn more, please visit