Three foreign exchange students have been elected Lindenwood University-Belleville top student government leaders.
▪ Rafael Follador Gabriel, profiled by the News-Democrat as its Student of the Week earlier this month and an international student from Brazil, was elected president. The founder of Lindenwood-Belleville’s first fraternity and a member of the men’s soccer team, Gabriel said his top priority is to improve lines of communication between students and leadership to make sure all voices are heard. He’s 24 and a business administration major.
“If we can increase communication, we can make this the best school it can be,” Gabriel said.
▪ Alex Acuna of Ecuador, 22, previously the student government’s secretary, was elected vice president. He is majoring in finance.
▪ Basile de Raemy, of Switzerland, was elected treasurer. The 21-year-old junior in finance was previously a student senator at the school
Student government sponsor Cindy Manjounes said she has confidence that the new officers will have a lot of success.
“These young people are truly amazing in every sense of the word,” Manjounes said. “They are excellent students and are driven to succeed. I firmly believe they will make a difference not only on this campus but in the world. I am truly blessed and honored to be associated with such a great and vibrant group.”
Outgoing president Matt Ratterree, who will graduate next month, said he is similarly confident.
“I’m really happy that I’ll be leaving things in Rafael’s hands,” Ratterree said. “He’s really capable and I’m sure he’s going to do a great job.”
McKendree added to United Methodist Church historic site registry
The United Methodist Church has designated McKendree University as a national historic site for 188 years of service in higher education.
Founded in 1828, McKendree is the oldest college with continuous ties to the United Methodist Church.
“We are grateful for this special designation and know that it is just one more symbol and sign of the Methodist legacy and influence felt through the years on this campus and by the many students who pass through these doors,” Rev. Tim Harrison, McKendree chaplain, said.
The university joins several notable congregations, campgrounds, buildings and locations on the United Methodist historic registry, according to Paul Stroble, UMC elder and chair of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. Commission on History and Archives. He spoke at the April 1 commemoration ceremony at Bothwell Chapel.
The university’s history is closely tied to early American Methodism in Illinois. Its founders — Edmond Ames, Bishop William McKendree, Peter Akers and Peter Cartwright among them — were circuit riders, the traveling preachers who ministered to pioneer settlers.
“In 1827 at the fourth session of the Illinois Conference, a discussion took place about the inadequate training for men who were called to important positions of leadership as Methodist preachers. Not a single member of that group, not even the bishop, had a college education,” Rebecca Schreiner, director of Holman Library at McKendree, said.
Determined to provide educational opportunities for their successors, they formed a committee to establish a seminary in Lebanon.
“They discussed the purpose of the school, the raising of funds, the purchase of a site, and the kind of building it would be. Before they adjourned, Articles of Organization were formulated, which are still preserved in our university archives,” Schreiner said.
In 1828 circuit rider Edmond Ames opened the Lebanon Seminary in two rented sheds for 72 students. In the same year Bishop McKendree — the first American-born bishop of the Methodist church — deeded 480 acres in nearby Shiloh Valley as an endowment. In 1833 Rev. Peter Akers was appointed the first president of the newly named McKendree College. It was renamed McKendree University in 2007.
SIUE names Rich Walker interim vice chancellor
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen has appointed Rich Walker as interim vice chancellor for administration.
The appointment is contingent upon SIU Board of Trustees approval.
Walker steps into the role as Vice Chancellor for Administration Kenn Neher has announced his intention to retire at the end of May 2016. Walker currently serves as the assistant vice chancellor for administration for planning and budgeting, a position to which he was appointed in 2001.
“Rich will serve as interim vice chancellor through the 2016-17 academic year and until the new chancellor concludes a successful search for a permanent replacement,” Hansen said. “Rich has worked at SIUE since 1986 and is an active member of the Edwardsville community. He will provide critical leadership for the University during this important time of transition.”
Walker said he is excited to take another step in his career.
“My wife, Missy, and I came to SIUE expecting to stay five years and move on … that was 30 years ago,” Walker said. “I enjoy our University atmosphere and have developed an excellent rapport with colleagues and friends throughout the campus, the SIU system and the community. I look forward to continuing to work with many talented people to provide the best services and facilities to support our students, faculty and staff.”