Magazine for McKendree - Winter 2018

Winter 2018 Magazine


Photo of President Dr. Dennis
President's Message »

A new semester is under way and I am reminded that the single most important thing we do here at McKendree is educate individuals who go out into the world and make significant contributions in our society.

While the university is a complex enterprise with many activities that occur beyond the classroom, the student faculty interaction that takes place in the classroom remains at the core of our mission. One of the most exciting outcomes for any educator is when a student goes out and in turn educates others. In this issue of The Magazine for McKendree, we are pleased to share a discussion with five award-winning educators. these McKendreans are having a significant impact on young people throughout our state, and are being recognized for their excellent work.


Moving FORWARD »

Compelled by strong momentum following years of unprecedented growth, McKendree University launched the public phase of FORWARD: The Campaign for McKendree University, a $40 million fundraising campaign, to advance boldly into the future.

Renovation and Addition to Voigt Science Hall

It is imperative that we provide students and the excellent faculty who teach in the sciences with the tools they need to excel and to continue to attract and retain the most academically talented students.

Renovation of Holman Library

The renovation of Holman Library will provide an improved study and research environment for students and faculty, transforming the library into the center for the exchange of electronic data and information.


Homecoming Football Game
Homecoming »

McKendree University celebrated several of its accomplished alumni at its annual awards dinner, held on Sept. 30 at the St. Clair Country Club in Belleville, Ill. Chosen by the Alumni Association Board, the 2017 winners have made their mark in their professions and at their alma mater.

Honorees were recognized in the following categories: Peter Akers Award; Loyal Service; Academy of Excellence for the Humanities, and Language, Literature and Communication; Rising Star; and the Bearcat Sports Hall of Fame.


Living and Learning in Vietnam
Living and Learning in Vietnam »

When Dr. Darryn Diuguid applied to be a Fulbright Scholar, he knew there was nowhere he would rather spend a semester than in Vietnam. For the associate professor of education, it was more than a teaching assignment. It was an opportunity for his teenage son to experience the culture of his birthplace, and to explore as a family places far from the familiar.

The teaching assignment was also an opportunity for Darryn's son Evan to experience the culture of his birthplace.

 Darryn’s passion for international travel was ignited during a seventh grade Spanish class trip to Spain. He has been to every continent except Antarctica. “I’ve lost track of the number of countries I’ve visited,” he said.


McKendreans Address Issues, Challenges in Education
McKendreans Address Issues, Challenges in Education »

McKendree University is proud of its reputation for graduating students who go on to become award winning, highly respected P-12 teachers, superintendents and school administrators. Others bring years of experience as former teachers or administrators to the University as members of our faculty and staff. Among the region’s best, many have earned accolades from state and national professional organizations. We asked five recently honored McKendreans about challenges facing today’s educators. Despite their diverse experiences and perspectives, common themes emerged: the importance of parental involvement, creating an environment of acceptance, the need for continual improvement, and doing more with fewer resources. Meet the panel.


Active Learning Center Promotes Collaboration
Active Learning Center Promotes Collaboration »

The Active Learning Center (ALC), a high-tech hybrid of classroom and collaborative workspace next to New Residence Hall West, originated as a class project. A year ago, instructor George Kriss, MBA ’08, director of information technology, gave his Business 401 Management Information Systems class a task: design a business center for the campus. The class surveyed other students’ needs and wants, identified an underused fitness center as a potential location, designed a layout, and created a website and brochure outlining their proposal.


Meet Our Student Laureate
Meet Our Student Laureate

Himani Patel came all the way from Eldoret, Kenya, to find her “home away from home” at McKendree University. The senior chemistry major is our 2017 Student Lincoln Laureate. The Lincoln Academy awards the State of Illinois’ highest student honor for leadership, service and excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

“I was excited to learn about science, but here I realized that I’m also very interested in social justice issues,” said Himani. She spent a semester adjusting to campus life and cultural differences before getting involved as a tutor, resident assistant, lab assistant, peer mentor, student ambassador, and member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.


Board Approves President’s Contract Extension
Board Approves President’s Contract Extension »

In November, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a multi-year extension of the employment agreement with President James M. Dennis.

“The Board is pleased with the direction of McKendree and credits much of the success of the University in recent years to Dr. Dennis’ leadership and the team he has assembled,” said Board Chair Daniel J. Lett ’91. “Over the past 23 years, through his vision, leadership and tireless devotion, McKendree has experienced a renaissance.”


Hankins Honored for Excellence in Teaching
Hankins Honored for Excellence in Teaching »

Dr. Dawn Hankins, the long-serving chair of the Division of Health Professions and the professor and director of athletic training, received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award on Nov 12, 2017. The annual award honors St. Louis area educators who make an outstanding contribution to the teaching profession and to their students.

“Dr. Hankins is responsible, organized, and ethical. She is a paragon of professionalism,” said Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree University provost. “Students find her demanding but fair. If they are serious about becoming athletic trainers, then she is serious about preparing them to be the best. Her colleagues regard her as a leader who speaks confidently and acts with dedication.”


Hett Receives Rural Community Arts Grant
Hett Receives Rural Community Arts Grant

The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts has received a $4,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund Rural Community Arts Education Program, in partnership with the Arts and Education Council. The program brings artists and entertainers into classrooms and performance venues so people and families living in smaller communities surrounding the St. Louis metropolitan area have greater access to the arts.

“We are very pleased to have had this support for the past five or six years,” said Peter Palermo, director of the Hett.


$100K Grant Funds Two-Year Math Project

$100K Grant Funds Two-Year Math Project

Dr. Allison Fahsl, professor of education and chair of the School of Education, and Dr. Jennifer Hope, assistant professor of education and director of teacher education, have received a $100,000 grant from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group Foundation to support the “READY 4 Math” project. The two-year project is intended to improve early childhood mathematics instruction in rural early childhood centers. Professional development will include monthly trainings held on the McKendree campus and twice-monthly sessions in the participants’ preschool classrooms.



Our Gilman Scholar in Ireland
Our Gilman Scholar in Ireland »

Emily Davis, a junior from Alhambra, Ill., is at the National University of Ireland in Galway this semester as a recipient of a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the State Department. The professional writing major is studying the development of literature, taking a class in Gaelic and learning how the English language’s roots interconnect with other cultures. Read about Emily’s project with nursing home residents online.


New Degree Programs and Majors
New Degree Programs and Majors »

The University’s newest degree programs and majors combine innovation and flexibility with the personal attention and small faculty-student ratio for which McKendree is known.

Master’s in Criminal Justice

In the criminal justice master’s program, Dr. Jennifer Webster and her faculty colleagues teach McKendree Online students and those in the classroom simultaneously. While some students pursue their degree fully online, others take classes on campus as well as online. This approach to instruction offers a convenient alternative for adult graduate students who need flexibility.


New Faculty Members
New Faculty Members »

McKendree University announces several new faculty and staff members who have joined the campus community over the summer. Joining the faculty are the following:

Dr. Jessica Campbell, assistant professor of English

Dr. Mark DiDonato, professor of sport management

Dr. Ahed Elmsallati, assistant professor of computing

Dr. John McDonald, assistant professor of music education

Dr. Lauren Thompson, assistant professor of history

Paul Worrell, reference and instruction librarian


Sophomore Superheroes Win ‘Justice League’ Prize »
Sophomore Superheroes Win ‘Justice League’ Prize »

Kyle and Cole Nordmann walked the red carpet as grand prize winners of an all-expenses paid trip to the world premiere of “Justice League” in Los Angeles in November. The identical twins from Belleville, Ill., and three Althoff High School friends won a nationwide “League Up” contest sponsored by Warner Bros. and DC Comics.


Gordon, Mayhew Retire
Gordon, Mayhew Retire »

In the 27-plus years she called McKendree home, Dr. Betsy Gordon influenced countless students and taught many their first college class. The professor of speech communication retired in December as a professor emeritus.

“I enjoyed the challenge of making first-years feel confident about their interactions with all of their teachers, and developed a list of helpful tidbits to share with them,” she said. “Among them were truly dumb questions that cause teachers to think less of you, like, ‘are we doing anything in class today? I have something important to do’.”


Deckard Triplets Make McK Their Home
Deckard Triplets Make McK Their Home »

Having spent just one day apart in 18 years, triplets Andrew, Brandon and Curtis Deckard knew when it came to choosing a university, they needed each other to make college feel like home. The first-year students from Bethalto, Ill., decided McKendree University offered the best opportunity to gain a quality education and to play NCAA football on an all-star team. During last year’s highly anticipated National Signing Day event at Civic Memorial High School, each put on a McKendree Bearcats ball cap, revealing their college choice to the world.


So, How Did You Spend Your Summer? They Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro
So, How Did You Spend Your Summer? They Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro »

What’s the best way to kick off your McKendree experience? Climbing the tallest mountain in Africa, of course! For first-year student Aaron Reuter, summiting Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro was the perfect way to discover his capabilities—and to improve the water quality of an entire African village.

A computational science major and ROTC student from O’Fallon, Ill., Aaron had never climbed a mountain before scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer. Seven years of experience as a long-distance runner gave him a high level of physical endurance, yet, as all climbers know, the mountain demands something more from those who pursue its peak: motivation.


Sport Highlights
Sports Highlights »

The women’s bowling team was invited to the White House on Nov. 17, one of 18 NCAA programs honored on National Collegiate Champions Day. The team won the 2017 NCAA National Championship last April. All nine members of the Bearcats’ title-winning squad, along with Coach Shannon O’Keefe, Director of Bowling Bryan O’Keefe, Graduate Assistant Coach Matt Farber and Director of Athletics Chuck Brueggemann ’88 attended the gathering. The McKendree bowlers included seniors Sarah Wille, Jessica Mellott and Nicole Fung Calleja; juniors Lauren Pate, Ashley Dunn, Ashley Hathaway and Christie Draper; and sophomores Breanna Clemmer and Taylor Bailey.


Arela Williams Kills it On the Court, in the Classroom
Arela Williams Kills it On the Court, in the Classroom »

Arela Williams ’18 was a four-year starter and outside hitter for the Bearcat women’s volleyball team. Her success began in high school, where she played for LaJolla Country Day in San Diego, Calif. She started to gain recognition as she grabbed second-team All-League honors as a sophomore. Things only got better; her junior year she received first-team All-League selection and was a first-team All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) honoree. In her senior year, Arela left her mark as she earned first-team All-League and second-team All-CIF honors. She also received Division 5 Player of the Year accolades and was selected to play on the San Diego All-Star Team.


2016-17 President’s Report
2016-17 President’s Report »

The 2016–17 fiscal year continued to reflect the economic challenges experienced across the State of Illinois and globally. With a pragmatic approach driven by committed leadership, the University was able to withstand exterior factors and position itself well for the year to follow.

While tuition and auxiliary revenue were down slightly, gifts overall rose dramatically. Giving to Capital Projects was up, due to the gift of two buildings at the McKendree West residence halls complex and a large Campaign pledge payment. Endowment gifts were also up, due in part to the establishment of two new endowed scholarships. Alumni giving remained consistent with last year and included two large gifts. Giving by foundations, corporations and churches also increased considerably.


You are the Root of our Success
You are the Root of our Success »

At McKendree University, the Annual Fund is made up of thousands of individual unrestricted gifts. These gifts are used to bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of the McKendree experience. Students benefit from your annual giving from their first moments on campus and continue to receive an outstanding education and experience because of your generosity.

Power in Numbers

By making a gift of any size, you become a part of the important tradition of giving at McKendree University. Your participation is the key—by giving every year, you impact the lives of our students every day.


Purple Fridays
Purple Fridays »

On “Purple Fridays,” the Alumni and Development staff visit local workplaces where numerous McKendree alumni are employed, to recognize them and give updates of the latest news at their alma mater.

Triad High School, Troy, Ill., Dec. 1, 2017, front row, l. to r.: Jessica (Joiner) Hasemann ’90, Shannon (Stueber) Mallrich ’98, Megan Doty ’15, Stephanie (Harris) Potthast ’12 and Katy (Czerwonka) Rahar ’14. Back row, l. to r.: Tony Viviano ’16, coordinator of annual giving and advancement services; Kathy (Betts) Mersinger, M.A.Ed. ’11, Dianna (Hicks) Fogleman ’00, Kenny Deathrage ’01, Kelli (Jackson) Barbour ’91, Todd Grigg ’94 and Holly (Weathers) Sallee ’13.


PJ Thompson
Letter from the Alumni Director »

I hope you are enjoying this edition of the magazine. We continue to have alumni do great things all around the world. We love hearing about what you all are doing.

Thanks so much for your participation in alumni events and activities. Thank you for the contributions you have made to McKendree University. Every gift counts! We value you and every resource you provide for the advancement of our alma mater.


Make It McKendree