Magazine for McKendree - Winter 2018

Gordon, Mayhew Retire

Dr. Betsy GordonIn 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’.”

“Often on the first day of class I introduced them to the ‘halo theory’ that says if you exhibit the characteristics of a good student, the teacher will assume you are a good student—being on time, addressing the teacher by their name or title, meeting deadlines, etc. The converse is also true; if you straggle in late or miss a deadline, the teacher assumes you are not a good student. Being mindful of those impressions can help you be more successful.”

Betsy joined the faculty in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 2008. Her devotion was recognized in McKendree’s faculty awards trifecta: the United Methodist Church Exemplary Teacher (1995), Emerson Excellence in Teaching (2004), and Grandy Faculty Award (2013). She chaired the Division of Language, Literature, and Communication from 2001-2009 and helped bring about the theatre and Spanish majors. She directed first-year advising and served on or chaired many committees.

As faculty in residence for two years at McKendree West, she introduced a book club, film series and Christmas cookie day. She sponsored several Hett events and cheerfully supported Bearcat athletics and service projects.

“Betsy is not just a positive person, she’s generous with that positivity,” said Dr. Alan Alewine, her friend and colleague. “A Thoreau quote on her personal web page reads, ‘It is an art to saunter.’ That sums up her approach to life. Don’t rush. Pay attention. Savor everything.”

Now she has more time to savor the things she enjoys—art, horror movies, massages, college football and travel, with Egypt and Machu Picchu high on her must-see list.

Sally Mayhew MBA ’06 retired as Vice President Emerita for Administration and Finance, in recognition of 17 years of outstanding service. She joined the staff in 2000 as an accountant, became director of student accounts in 2003, and was appointed vice president for administration and finance in 2006. Shari Keffer ’11, MBA 12, formerly comptroller, is the interim vice president of finance.