Academy of Excellence

Photo of the Academy of ExcellenceFour outstanding alumni who represent achievement, leadership and character in business, social sciences, nursing and health professions, and community service entered the Academy of Excellence.

Kenneth Cope ’68, of Swansea, Ill., graduated with a business degree and a minor in economics. In the 50 years since he started his boating, fishing and outdoor business, Cope Marine, he has achieved all industry sales and service awards for all manufacturers’ representatives. In 1998 he opened a second location in southwest Missouri and has purchased over 15 other marine dealerships to acquire inventory and quality personnel. He led the Greater St. Louis Marine Dealer Association as president for 18 years. Ken is on the board of the O’Fallon-Fairview Heights Lions and received its highest recognition for his charitable work.

Carol Klopmeyer ’71, of Mascoutah, Ill., completed her degree in history and went on to share her love of the subject as a teacher at Mascoutah Middle School in Mascoutah, Ill. A charter member of the Mascoutah Historical Society, she has served as its president several times since 1980. She was instrumental in the acquisition and renovation of the Berger-Kiel House and the creation of the Mascoutah Heritage Museum. In 2000, the Illinois Humanities Council honored her with the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. She has assisted McKendree in the acquisition and appraisal of donated historic items and as a voluntary curator, archivist and historian.

Debra Turpin ’90, MSN ’07, of Jerseyville, Ill., is a graduate of the RN-to-BSN degree program and the master’s program in nursing management-administration. She began her career in 1982 at Alton Memorial Hospital, BJC Health Care, in Alton, Ill. In 2009 she became its vice president of patient care services and chief nurse executive. Debra has helped foster a hospital-university partnership that allows McKendree to provide nursing education opportunities for Alton area students. She was instrumental in a recent agreement that ensures BJC nurses receive a strong educational opportunity with McKendree’s RN-to-BSN program.

Jeffrey Thornton ’88, of Lebanon, Ill., studied accounting and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Ferox (Phi Rho Chi) fraternity, Student Government Association, and McKendree Review staff. He was a manager for Bearcat men’s basketball and an assistant coach for women’s basketball and softball. Jeff is assistant vice president of indirect dealer services with U.S. Bank, his employer for over 25 years. Active in Rotary International since 1994, he helped create the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), served on the International RYLA committee in 2004, and oversaw 47 clubs as Rotary District Governor of Southern Illinois in 2011. He is also president of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference United Methodist Men.