Shreve leaving conference staff

published 8/23/2021
Amy Shreve has announced that she will be leaving the Illinois Great Rivers Conference staff at the end of August 2021. Ms. Shreve is relocating with her family out of state, but she will continue to provide some limited contract services with IGRC through the next couple of months.

IGRC students receive $110,350 in scholarships

published 1/29/2021
Thirty-five students from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference were awarded $110,350 in scholarships to assist in their undergraduate and graduate studies, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry announced recently.

IGRC hosting a virtual remembrance of MacMurray College

published 6/1/2020
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church is hosting an online Service of Leave-Taking for MacMurray College on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. Persons wishing to attend the leave taking can access the stream at:

Mac Murray College closing at the end of Spring 2020 term

published 3/27/2020
The Board of Trustees of MacMurray College announced March 27 it will close at the end of the spring semester in May 2020, ending a 174-year history in higher education.

Charles O’Connell, chair of the Board of Trustees, said the Board voted unanimously to close after extensive analysis and consideration, reaching the conclusion that the school “had no viable financial path forward,” with declining enrollments, rising competitive costs and a small endowment. He noted that alumni had been generous in a recent fundraising drive, but that it was not sufficient to reverse trends.

Invest in mission trips for a life-changing week

published 3/1/2018
(Editor’s note: Spring Break is a time where many campus ministries take students on mission trips. The immersion experience is often identified as transformational and life-changing. As you think of your financial support, consider contacting one of the campus ministries or church-related schools to see how you can support such experiences for students like Jaclyn)   By Jaclyn Tekiela Illinois State University Wesley Foundation   “My name is Jaclyn Tekiela, and I was a member of the Illinois ...

27 IGRC students benefit from United Methodist scholarships

published 11/7/2016
A total of 27 students have been awarded a combined total of $44,000 to further their education with scholarships from General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Funds for the scholarships are derived from the United Methodist Student Sunday offering which will be observed on Sunday, Nov. 27 this year.

Saluki Food Pantry result of IGRC Leadership Grant

published 8/22/2016
Concerns about students having enough to eat led SIU student Loran Morris to secure a Leadership Grant through the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church and work with SIU’s Wesley Council, a registered student organization and campus ministry, to establish the Wesley Foundation Food Pantry in early 2012. Morris, a Steeleville native, earned her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics that year and two years later received her master’s degree in nutrition at SIU. She is now a registered dietitian.

Campus ministry: a place of authentic connection

published 10/29/2015
These moments have shown me how deeply college students have a desire to be known, a desire to find people to have authentic connection with in a world where that authenticity can be difficult to find. They are reminders that the role I play in this campus ministry is important to helping these students find that genuine connection. Most importantly, these moments have taught me that our campus ministry must always be a place where these authentic connections happen. These students have stories to tell and so much to teach the rest of us, and they are looking for a place to do just that.

Illini Fighting Hunger honored by Foodbank

published 10/29/2015
Illini Fighting Hunger (IFH), a student program of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois, was recognized in September by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank as Community Partner of the Year award for 2015 for its work in facilitating meal packaging events with various groups to assist local food banks and food pantries in the fight against hunger. IFH has led the packaging of over 1.4 million meals, many of which have been distributed through the Eastern Ilinois Foodbank.

WIU speaker series discusses Faith on Campus

published 10/29/2015
The Wesley Foundation at Western Illinois University is always looking for ways to connect with the campus and the Macomb community. On three consecutive Monday evenings in September the campus ministry held a speaker series at the Foundation.

The Board of Directors and students brainstormed on ways to promote faith on campus. This collaboration led to the creation of the “Talking Faith On Campus” events, which greatly exceeded expectations. Over the summer, students invited seven campus administrators, faculty, staff, and community leaders to participate in these forums. The students of Wesley Foundation decided to use a question and answer format and then developed specific questions for each guest.

Illinois Wesleyan names Jensen its new president

published 9/14/2015
The Illinois Wesleyan University Board of Trustees announced on Sept. 14 that Eric R. Jensen of Hamline University has been selected to serve as the University’s 19th president. Jensen was named following a national search, which began in February. He succeeds Richard F. Wilson, who announced his retirement in December 2014 and will step down at the end of October.

Hester leaving MacMurray College

published 1/26/2015
After eight years as president of MacMurray College, Dr. Colleen Hester will be departing May 31, Board Chair Charles O’Connell announced Dec. 30.

Three IGRC Merit Scholars announced

published 10/18/2014
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has announced three individuals have been awarded Merit Scholarships for the 2014-15 school year.

McKendree University named 'College of Distinction'

published 7/22/2014
McKendree University has been honored as a College of Distinction for the 2014-2015 school year. It is among a select group of colleges to earn this prestigious designation, based on excellence in four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant campus communities and successful outcomes.

IGRC Embarks on New Scholarships Fund

published 3/7/2013
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference (IGRC) is expanding it support for Africa University by raising an additional $250,000 for scholarships. The conference's plan is to provide immediate support and help at least 10 students to complete four years of study. Each of the conference's 10 districts is being asked to raise $25,000, which would support one student from freshman year to graduation day. The IGRC's Africa University Committee announced the effort at the 2012 Annual Conference. Richard ...

Gilbert new Higher Education consultant

published 1/23/2013
SPRINGFIELD – The conference Equipping and Connecting Team has announced the hiring of Teresa Gilbert as consultant to higher education. Gilbert is the founder and owner of Pathways to Excellence, which provides training, speaking and coaching services in leadership and organizational communication. She has more than 20 years experience in administrative leadership as well as having served with her husband as director of the Wesley Foundation at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.   “Campus...

11 IGRC Students Receive UM Scholarships, Loans

published 12/7/2012
NASHVILLE – A total of 11 seminary and university students from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference have been awarded a total of $13,900, to assist in their educational pursuits. Funding for the scholarships and United Methodist loans are derived from the United Methodist Student Day offering, which is one of six Special Sunday offerings. Although it can be celebrated at any time of the year, most United Methodist churches celebrate United Methodist Student Day on the Sunday following ...

McKendree University teacher receives award for exemplary service to students

published 8/28/2012
LEBANON -- Dr. Martha McDonald doesn’t just use her voice when teaching her nursing students about pathophysiology. She puts her whole body into the effort – literally throwing herself into a wall to make a point. The point — in that particular instance — is to illustrate the difference between normal breathing and breathing done for a patient by a ventilator.   “(I do a) floating through the air kind of thing, waving my arms — that I’m just a breath coming in naturally. And then I slam myself ...

McKendree University among top regional universities for 2012

published 9/13/2011
LEBANON -- U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 “Best Colleges” edition rates McKendree University’s overall score in the top 25 percent of all 626 participating institutions in the Regional Universities category nationwide. Ranked at No. 44 of 146 Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, McKendree is listed ahead of all other comparable St. Louis area institutions but one.   This year is the first time McKendree is included in the Best Regional Universities category (rather than Best Regional ...

MacMurray College places high in national ranking

published 8/30/2011
JACKSONVILLE – MacMurray College was ranked No. 14 in the Washington Monthly magazine’s 2011 annual rankings of baccalaureate colleges in the country. According to the September/October issue, which was published Aug. 29, the rankings are intended to measure how much a college or university gives back to the country. To gauge that effect, the magazine based its rankings on such criteria as social mobility, research and service. The magazine uses several measures to gauge these three criteria. ...

MacMurray College President Appeals to IGRC for Assistance

published 7/26/2011
The following letter was issued by Dr. Colleen Hester, President of MacMurray College in Jacksonville on July 25, 2011: Dear Friends of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church, It is with sadness and urgency that I share the news of recent, devastating flooding at MacMurray College. On behalf of our students, faculty, and staff, I ask for your prayers and for your support. The MacMurray family has a strong history of support from our United Methodist community, and ...

MacMurray College seeks donations to repair flood damage

published 7/15/2011
JACKSONVILLE -- While a boil order has been lifted in this community, officials at MacMurray College are reaching out soliciting donations to make repairs sustained by the June 17-18 floods. Persons wishing to make donations to the MacMurray College Flood Relief Fund can do so online by visiting the college website, clicking on the Give Back to Mac button and noting the MacMurray College Flood Relief Fund as your designation. Donations may also be mailed to: MacMurray College, Office of ...

Conference scholarship applications available through March 31

published 2/17/2011
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry is offering two types of scholarship opportunities for the 2011-2012 school year. Forms and applications are available by visiting the Higher Education page on the IGRC website. For more information or if you have questions, contact Christy Blickensderfer. Applications must be received at the United Methodist Center by 4:30 PM, March 31. Illinois Great Rivers Conference Merit Awards   From the United Methodist ...

Scholarship opportunity for daughters of clergy

published 1/6/2011
A Distinguished Alumnus of MacMurray College is providing a one-time scholarship opportunity for the daughter of a Christian clergyman to receive a MacMurray education. Lila Underwood Judkins, who graduated from MacMurray in 1936, is endowing the scholarship as she attended MacMurray in part because of scholarships, loans and a position in the school's Pfeiffer Library. Recognizing the support that made her education possible and wanting to affirm her commitment to the College, Judkins, herself ...

43 students receive scholarships, loans

published 10/22/2010
NASHVILLE – A total of 43 college, university and seminary students received $65,550 in loan and scholarship funding as part of more than $5 million awarded by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the 2010-2011 school year. The recipients include the following:   Special Seminary Scholarships Leanne Noland from O’Fallon First UMC, attending Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Noland also received $750 Conference Merit Award. Alexander Thompson from Pawnee UMC, attending ...

United Methodist students disappointed as giving shrinks

published 10/22/2010

Churches are encouraged to observe Student Day on Nov. 28 or any other day that this is convenient for the church. In addition, individuals can now contribute online with a credit card at any time at, where you can also order free promotional resources, video presentations, and worship resources. Or call United Methodist Communications at 888-346-3862 to order resources.

Links to give online for all three Special Sundays with Offerings in support of scholarships can be found at


To learn more about loans and scholarships, visit

WIU Wesley Foundation announces new director

published 4/19/2010
The Board of Directors at the Wesley Foundation at Western Illinois University, Macomb, announces that Nathan Hopping has been hired to serve as the director beginning July 1, 2010. Nate is a graduate of WIU and will graduate from Garrett-Evangelical Divinity School in May. Previously, Nate has served in the IGRC summer camping program and as a student pastor while in seminary. Nate’s wife, Meredith, is the daughter of Rev. Ray and Susan Owens (Pontiac First). The Board would also like to ...