Jim Dennis is now in his twenty-fourth year as president of McKendree University. During his tenure, McKendree’s growing reputation has garnered national attention. Prestigious publications and organizations, including U.S. News & World Report, have recognized McKendree for delivering a high-quality education. McKendree University has also been honored as one of the country’s “Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education. McKendree has expanded its academic course offerings to 53 undergraduate majors, and added graduate degree programs in education, business administration, human resource management, nursing, criminal justice, and professional counseling. McKendree now also offers doctoral programs in education and nursing. Through McKendree Worldwide, the University delivers many of its programs to students at external locations, in a blended format, or fully online.
Since Dr. Dennis’s arrival, the number of faculty and staff has almost tripled, and enrollment is up 86%. The campus has also more than doubled in size.
Successful fundraising campaigns have enabled Dr. Dennis to dramatically enhance the McKendree landscape. His contributions include new construction of academic, athletic, and fine arts buildings, a campus entryway, two new residence halls, and the renovation of historic campus buildings, including Bothwell Chapel and the campus dining hall. In addition, McKendree has partnered with outside developers to build athletic facilities, including a Wrestling Center, a weightlifting Performance Center, and the McKendree Metro RecPlex, a state-of-the-art facility containing hockey rinks and an aquatic center.
McKendree has raised $35 million toward a $40 million goal for its current capital campaign, “Forward – The Campaign for McKendree University.” This campaign supports the renovation of Voigt Science Hall and Holman Library.
Dr. Dennis currently serves on the boards of the Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis, Memorial Hospital-East, Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois, St. Louis Regional Chamber and several other professional organizations.