The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Summer 2023

"It's Been a Great Ride!"Dr. George Fero Retires

George FeroWhere were you in 2001? During the year iTunes and the first iPod arrived, Google Images launched, and audiences enjoyed “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” Dr. George Fero arrived at McKendree. A professor of education and previous chair of the Division of Education, Health and Human Performance, George was a key leader who helped launch the university’s graduate programs and oversaw a transformation period in education, including the creation of eight new educational programs and more. He taught graduate-level coursework and advocated for technology in the classroom. A talented musician, George is also a bike enthusiast and has been a fierce advocate for biking and pedaling safety, especially in our region.

On May 2, 2023, George was honored at a faculty retirement celebration in which he was awarded the rank of Professor Emeritus, becoming the newest lifetime member of the university community. Dr. Tim Richards, a professor of secondary education who retired last year, returned to speak and thank George for his years of dedication to the university, calling him “well-respected and a friend of many.”

George remembers when McKendree achieved national accreditation for the education programs, calling it a significant achievement. “The process caused us to deeply consider who we were and what we wanted our graduates to look like,” he said. “I think this raised the quality of our programs about 10 notches, and we have not stopped moving forward.” He hopes the campus community will remember his contribution as a leader in the establishment of graduate studies for the university when it was McKendree College. “Having graduate studies really changed the mission, structure, growth, and prestige of the institution in ways that are still being realized,” he remarked.

While George has been serving in higher education since 1988, he spent many of those years at McKendree because it is a place in which he immediately found himself as part of an extended family. “As I traveled around the region, state, and country, I would often cross paths with a McKendree graduate who was doing something good for themselves, their community, and essentially McKendree,” he said. “McKendree instills in its graduates a strong sense of service, and that is always evident.”

Throughout his time at McKendree, George has experienced numerous proud moments, especially when he hears from graduates about their accomplishments. “I maintain contact with a number of graduates through social media, and it is great to see and hear from them about what they are doing now,” he said. He expects to miss his weekly morning coffee sessions with his colleagues, who often helped him solve problems, and the lunches with education faculty that followed their monthly school meetings.

George, however, is looking forward to traveling with his wife, Marie, and, of course, getting back to his daily bicycling routine – perhaps combining it with some of their travels.

For now, George leaves these parting words of wisdom to his beloved campus community: get involved! “I gained great satisfaction helping others through my volunteer work, and it provides me an opportunity to meet a lot of others with the same commitment,” he said.