The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Winter 2023

5 Minutes with a McKendrean

Photo of Stephen KullNot everyone gets the opportunity to directly affect the lives of current and future college students. While everyone on campus has the ability to use their unique gifts to help uphold McKendree as the incredible institution that it is, others like Stephen Kull, the vice president for institutional advancement, work hand in hand with alumni and friends of the University to create philanthropic opportunities that transform the lives of current and future Bearcats.

Stephen joined McKendree in May 2022 and leads the Development, Alumni and Parent Relations team on campus. He also collaborates with colleagues on the President’s Cabinet as they work together to shape the future of the University. A Texas native and proud Aggie, Stephen grew up in Austin and graduated from Texas A&M University-College Station. Read on to learn a little more about Stephen and the work he does here at McKendree!




What should readers know about your job?

We genuinely care about the cause and the donors looking to support our cause. We are there to facilitate philanthropy and create opportunities to transform lives and situations.

What or who inspired you to follow your current career path?

In 1996, my youth pastor asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told him I wanted a career where I traveled and got to talk to people about their passions. In 2005, I received a phone call from that same individual who told me about a job at Concordia Seminary doing just that, and he told them about me. I moved from Dallas to St. Louis and met my wife three weeks after I started, and the rest is history.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

One-on-one meetings with donors and aligning passions with institutional needs. We get to facilitate life change. What other job allows you to change lives of those that benefit from the support (students) and those that experience the philanthropy (donors)?

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

Not enough time. If I had my druthers, I would spend most of my time out traveling and meeting with alumni and friends of the University to identify passions, interests and stories that resonate with our current and future students.

What is something you absolutely cannot go without during your workday?

Coffee – at least 20 ounces to start the morning. Most people know me as someone who always has a coffee cup in hand in every meeting. I can drink coffee any time of the day and still get to sleep, but I cannot function without it in the morning. Little known fact: when I travel, which is often, I always seek out non-chain coffee shops in between meetings. During a workday where I am trying to buckle down and get stuff done, I am a big fan of a Piano Guys playlist on Spotify.