McKendree University

McKendree University
Former names
Lebanon Seminary
McKendree College
Motto Artium Morum et Religionis Disciplinae
Motto in English
The Disciplines of the Arts, of Morals and of Religion
Type Private
Established 1828 (1828)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment $30.9 million[1]
President James M. Dennis
Academic staff
105 f/t[1]
Administrative staff
Students 3,001[1]
Undergraduates 2,342[1]
Postgraduates 659[1]
Location Lebanon, Illinois, U.S.
38°36′25″N 89°48′55″W / 38.60694°N 89.81528°W / 38.60694; -89.81528Coordinates: 38°36′25″N 89°48′55″W / 38.60694°N 89.81528°W / 38.60694; -89.81528[2]
Campus Suburban
235 acres (95 ha)
  McK purple and white
Athletics NCAA Division II - GLVC
Sports 33 varsity teams
Nickname Bearcats
Mascot Bogey

McKendree University (McK), formerly known as McKendree College, is a private liberal arts university located in Lebanon, Illinois, United States. The area is a part of the Metro-East region of Greater St. Louis. Founded in 1828 as the Lebanon Seminary, it is the oldest college in Illinois. McKendree enrolls approximately 2,300 undergraduates and nearly 700 graduate students representing 25 countries and 29 states. In the undergraduate program, on average there are 51% females and 49% males. The institution remains affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school renamed McKendree University beginning with the 2007–08 academic year. McKendree University comprises a College of Arts and Science, a School of Business, a School of Health Professions, and a School of Education.[3]

Fielding athletic teams known as the McKendree Bearcats, the university has recently completed the process of transitioning athletics from the NAIA and member of the American Midwest Conference to NCAA Division II and the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).


Established by pioneer Methodists, McKendree is the oldest university in the state of Illinois and continues to have ties to the United Methodist Church. First called Lebanon Seminary, the school opened in two rented sheds for 72 students in 1828 under Edward Raymond Ames. In 1830, Bishop William McKendree, the first American-born bishop of the Methodist church, permitted the Board of Trustees to change the institution's name to McKendree College. Later Bishop McKendree deeded 480 acres (194.2 ha) of land in Shiloh, Illinois to endow the college. Reverend Peter Akers, in 1833, was the first president of the newly named college. He was president of McKendree College three times and received its first degree, an honorary Doctorate of Divinity. In 1835, the college received one of the first charters granted to independent church colleges by the Illinois legislature. The institution still operates under the provisions of a second, more liberal charter obtained in 1839.

Since 1994 and the installation of its current President, Dr. James M. Dennis, the institution has significantly increased its enrollment. In recent years, a new enrollment management strategy has yielded larger numbers of high quality students, built substantial graduate enrollments and strongly diversified the student body. In 2001, the college embarked on a capital campaign which raised more than $20 million for the campus including the creation of a performing arts center.


McKendree University confers degrees from four colleges and schools and offers over 50 undergraduate majors, 45 minors, and master's degrees in four areas: business administration, criminal justice, education, nursing, and clinical mental health counseling. McKendree also offers a doctoral program in education, with the opportunity for teachers and administrators to earn a specialist degree. The university is classified as Master's Colleges and Universities (Master's/L) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.[4]

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report's 2015 "Best Colleges" edition ranks McKendree University in the top tier of Midwest regional universities. In addition, McKendree has full accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[5] McKendree has been fully accredited by the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission since 1915 and received its ten-year renewal in 2003-2004. McKendree's School of Education is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). McKendree's School of Nursing and Health Professionals is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).[6]

The university offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and a doctoral degree through its four schools:

More than 50% of the classes have fewer than 14 students. McKendree's student-to-faculty ratio is 14 to 1. More than 90% of the faculty have earned a Ph.D. or higher.

McKendree University is host to chapters representing a number of honor societies and academic fraternities including:

Lebanon campus

McKendree University's main campus is located on a wooded 235 acres (95 ha) in Lebanon, Illinois, about 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Missouri.

The campus is laid out in roughly a rectangle bordered by Stanton Street and College Hill Cemetery to the west and Monroe St. to the east. North Alton St. and Summerfield St. bisect the campus and are the main roads for vehicular traffic on campus.[8]

The university opened the Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (the Hett) in September 2006. The $10 million, 34,400-square-foot (3,200 m2) theater includes practice and storage space for the McKendree University band, choral department and faculty offices. The Hett includes a full-size stage with a 500-seat auditorium.[9]

The Marion K. Piper Academic Center (PAC) is the student union, which is the center of the campus, with the library located directly to the northwest of it. All academic buildings are located in the southwestern sections of the campus.[8]

Residence halls

Student housing is provided along the north-central and northeastern areas of the campus.[8] McKendree offers three different types of residence halls: traditional dorm style, suite style, and apartment style.[10] Traditional-style halls are predominantly freshmen and are co-ed by floor. The residence halls are served by the Ames Dining Hall, located between Baker Hall and Walton Hall.

Traditional style halls:[10]

  • Baker Hall
  • Barnett Hall
  • Walton Hall

Suite-style halls:

  • Residence Hall East
  • Residence Hall West
  • The Suites

Apartment-style halls:

  • Bearcat Den
  • McKendree South
  • McKendree West

The suite-style and apartment-style halls are predominantly upperclassmen; freshmen are not allowed to live in McKendree West Apartments.[10] Suite-style residence halls are located in a 70-student complex on the eastern edge of campus called The Suites. The suites are co-ed by suite and include three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a common area.[10] McKendree West Apartments are the university-owned apartment-style residence housing option. McKendree West houses approximately 380 students and is co-ed by apartment.[10] They are located a half mile from the main campus. The university offers a shuttle service to transport residents to and from McKendree West, called the Bogey Bus named after McKendree's mascot, Bogey the Bearcat.[10]

On October 23, 2010, the university held a groundbreaking ceremony for two new residence halls. The new 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) residence halls are designed in a modern glass-and-brick style of architecture to blend with other modern buildings on campus as well as the many historic brick buildings. Each new hall is a three-story structure connected by a two-floor glass bridge. The new residence halls tentatively named "New Residence Hall: East" and "New Residence Hall: West" were completed in time for the 2011-2012 academic year.[11][12] Due to this addition, McKendree University was able to recruit their largest first-year enrollment in 185 years: class of 2017.[13]


McKendree University athletic teams are called the Bearcats. The university is a member of NCAA Division II, after completing the transitioning process from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in July 2013.[14] The university competed as an independent during the 2011-12 academic year before becoming a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) for the 2012-13 academic year as a provisional NCAA member.[15] In addition to GLVC sponsored sports, McKendree also fields NCAA-sanctioned teams in women's bowling as an independent program and men's volleyball at the National Collegiate (Division I/II) level in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). The school also fields teams outside of the NCAA structure in two NCAA-sponsored sports and four non-NCAA sports. In the NCAA sports of men's ice hockey and women's lacrosse, McKendree is respectively a member of the ACHA Division II in the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association (MACHA) and the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (WILA). The non-NCAA sports sponsored by McKendree are men's bowling, men's and women's powerlifting, and bass fishing (coeducational).

McKendree University was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1912 to 1938. They were in the NAIA as members of the American Midwest Conference (with the exception of football where they played in the Midwest League of the Mid-States Football Association) through the 2010-2011 season.

Move to the NCAA

On July 12, 2010 the university was informed by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee that it was accepted into the NCAA Division II.[16][17] McKendree continued to play in the NAIA during the two-year candidacy period, before it became a member of the GLVC during the provisional year. The fourth academic year, 2013–2014, the NCAA would vote to make McKendree an active member of NCAA DII.[16]

On October 6, 2010 it was announced that McKendree University received and accepted an invitation to the GLVC.[18] The Bearcats became the 17th member of the GLVC in 2012.[19] The university is now eligible for all conference and NCAA championships.[18]

The Bearcats participate at the intercollegiate level in 14 men's sports, 13 women's sports and 1 co-ed sport:

Men's sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey (ACHA DII/DIII)
  • Powerlifting
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Women's sports

  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Golf
  • Hockey (ACHA DI)
  • Lacrosse
  • Powerlifting
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Co-ed sports

  • Bass Fishing

Men's basketball

McKendree's men's basketball coach, Harry Statham, currently holds the all-time record for wins at a four-year institution. His 1,101 wins during his 50 seasons at McKendree are unmatched by any other basketball coach at a four-year college or university in the United States.


The McKendree University bowling team is headed by Shannon and Brian O'Keefe. Shannon played softball up to high school and won the All-American award as a center fielder. She went to Portland State University and began to input herself in the amateur status. Brian went to University of Nebraska, and took many coaching classes. Shannon has been on the National Bowling team ten years in a row, and has won over 20 titles. Brian was never much of a professional bowler, however was very passionate about coaching, and because of that landed himself a place in the Bowling Hall of Fame as one of the top coaches of the decade. Since their placement at McKendree University the bowling teams, together, have increased their overall average by 12 pins. They came to McKendree in the 2014-2015 school year to coach the men and women's programs. Under their supervision the men and women both went to the National Collegiate Bowling Competition. The women placed fifth and the men placed sixth. The 2016 men's team won the USBC national championship.

External programs

McKendree University also has campuses in Louisville and Radcliff, Kentucky, classes at Scott Air Force Base, and nursing bachelors and masters programs at several locations in Southern Illinois.

The Center at Scott Air Force Base

The Center at Scott Air Force Base is offered on-base for military personnel. Students can pursue an undergraduate degree while taking one-month classes to meet the busy and changing schedule for the service men and women.

Kentucky campuses

McKendree University also has two campuses in Kentucky located in Radcliff and Shepherdsville. Programs at these locations are structured to provide convenience for working adults who want to pursue an associate degree in Business Administration; a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Accounting, Management, Human Resources Management, Computer Information Systems, Information Technology, or Nursing; or a master's degree in Business Administration or Nursing.

Accelerated Instruction with McKendree (AiM)

The Accelerated Instruction with McKendree (AiM) program is designed for adult students whose commitments make them unable to attend McKendree's Lebanon campus. The accelerated Bachelor of Business Administration degree is available in: Business Administration, Management, Marketing and Human Resources Management


McKendree University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in an online format. These programs have been designed to provide the quality McKendree experience to those who are unable to attend one of our campuses or off-campus locations. Bachelor's degrees include Business Administration, Nursing and Psychology.


McKendree University offers two nursing programs at locations throughout Illinois and Kentucky, as well as online course options. These programs include the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Completion Program and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program.

Achievements and awards

Annual all-campus events


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 As of June 30, 2014. "Quick Facts". McKendree University. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  2. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: McKendree University
  3. "McKendree plans university evolution". St. Louis Business Journal. February 12, 2007. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
  4. "McKendree University". Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  5. "Directory of HLC Institutions". Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  6. "McKendree University". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  7. Fraternities and Honor Societies, McKendree University, retrieved August 26, 2012
  8. 1 2 3 "Campus Map" (PDF). McKendree University. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  9. Staff (July 2006). "RUSSEL E. AND FERN M. HETTENHAUSEN CENTER FOR THE ARTS". STL Commerce Magazine. Archived from the original on October 22, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Staff. "Residence Halls". McKendree University. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  11. Staff (November 19, 2010). "S.M. Wilson building resident hall at McKendree University". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  12. Sitton Construction Group completes work on two projects at McKendree University St Louis Post Dispatch, (October 21, 2011), retrieved August 27, 2012
  13. McKendree University. "Class of 2017 is Largest First-Year Enrollment at McKendree University". retrieved September 11, 2013
  14. Looney, Josh (July 15, 2013). "Division II adds new conference, members". NCAA. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  15. "NCAA Approves McKendree University For Provisional Year in Division II". GLVC. August 30, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  16. 1 2 Staff (July 12, 2010). "McKendree Approved for Membership in NCAA Division II". McKendree University. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  17. Held, Kevin (July 2010). "Lindenwood, McKendree athletic departments accepted into NCAA Div. II". KSDK. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  18. 1 2 Staff (October 6, 2010). "McKendree to Become Member of Great Lakes Valley Conference". McKendree University. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  19. Staff (October 7, 2010). "GLVC adds McKendree". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
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