McKendree honors Edwards, Souders at Awards Dinner


Rev. Robert EdwardsLEBANON — McKendree University presented its highest alumni honor to the Rev. Robert Edwards, of Mascoutah,at an awards dinner on Oct. 22 at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon. The Peter Akers Alumni Award is given annually to recognize a former student’s professional success, outstanding service and loyalty to the university. It is named in honor of Rev. Peter Akers, the first McKendree degree recipient and the institution’s first president.

Rev. Edwards graduated in 1957 and completed a master’s degree from Boston University School of Theology in 1961. His 45-year career in ministry with the United Methodist Church included six years as superintendent of the Vandalia District UMC. After his retirement in 1999, he was associate pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Belleville for four years. A former Mascoutah “Person of the Year,” he is active in numerous civic organizations including the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.  He is a university trustee, a William McKendree Society donor and a sponsor of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts.
The Alumni Association commended 11 others for their exceptional contributions to the honor and prestige of McKendree. “All are deserving individuals who demonstrate the values imparted by a liberal arts education,” said Whitney Fraier, director of alumni relations.
Four will be inducted into the Academy of Excellence for their achievement, leadership and character. They represent excellence in education; the humanities; language, literature and communications; and math, science and technology.
  • Rev. Robert SoudersCharles Kamm ’55, of Lebanon, taught at Summerfield Grade School before he became an administrator in 1961. As a former superintendent and principal for 23 years, he received many accolades for his commitment to the students and schools he served. As the subject of a recent book, The Man who Became A School, he is praised for being a teacher “who lives on and through his students.” Kamm serves on the St. Paul United Church of Christ Council and McKendree’s Teacher Advisory Council, as a volunteer for Interfaith Caregivers, and as a liaison for the Hoyleton Children’s Foundation. He was inducted into the Lebanon Education Foundation Hall of Fame and received the Kappa Gamma Epsilon Career Achievement Award for exemplary service in public education.
  • Rev. Robert Souders ’58, of Caseyville, retired in 2002 as senior pastor of St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Belleville after 37 years. He is a recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award and a founding member of the Mission Society for United Methodists. He has also been a volunteer and scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, and a 25-year member of the Memorial Hospital board. At McKendree, he helps with annual fund drives and volunteers as a chapel speaker.
  • Anne Meyer-Thomure ’80, of Belleville, has served for 22 years as director of hospital and community relations at Memorial Hospital. She was named as a “Phenomenal Woman of Metropolitan St. Louis” by Racial Harmony and an “Ambassador of the Year” by the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce. Active in her community, she volunteers with the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, United Way, and Hospice of Southern Illinois. She is vice president of the Fairview Heights Chamber of Commerce.
  • Dr. Kristi McQuade Daugherty ’91, of Edelstein, has been a faculty member of Grinnell College and Bradley University, where she is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. She has mentored over 20 undergraduate researchers and three graduate students at Bradley, receiving a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Service. Her professional accomplishments in the biochemistry field include numerous publications, projects and presentations.