A Night of Networking and Celebration


By Merisa Ashbaugh, Contributing Writer

Students, faculty, and alumni of McKendree University gathered in the Hett on Wednesday, April 18th to network with communication professionals and celebrate the accomplishments of those being inducted into Lambda Pi Eta. Lambda Pi Eta is the National Communication Association’s official honor society. The honor society represents what Aristotle described in Rhetoric as three ingredients of persuasion: logos (Lambda), meaning logic; pathos (Pi), relating to emotion; and ethos (Eta), defined as character credibility and ethics. Lambda Pi Eta has more than 500 active chapters at four-year colleges and universities nationwide, and the purpose of the organization is to recognize, foster, and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies. The newest group of inductees includes: Hanna Toepper, Erin Fleshren, Teagan Schwab, Kaleea Washington, Lilly Soto, and Joshua Cobbins.

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Lambda Pi Eta inductees moments before the ceremony. Photo credit to McKendree University.

McKendree University graduates from the class of 1996 up to 2017 were also in attendance at the event. Alum shared detailed experiences in their fields of work and how being a part of the communication department at McKendree impacted their lives, from holding positions at Anheuser-Busch and the St. Louis school district, to the athletic department at Washington University. Students were able to network with these individuals and gain valuable insight into their desired career paths, learning more about potential job opportunities for life after graduation.

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Alumni speak to a group of students at the communication networking night. Photo credit to McKendree University.

The guest of honor for the evening was McKendree’s very own, Dr. Betsy Gordon. Betsy was born and raised in the little town of Linden, Alabama. She vastly enjoys drama and received her master’s degree in theater from the University of North Carolina. Her first job was actually teaching art, drama, and speech at a small community college. During this time in her life, she realized that she really enjoyed seeing students growth in speech, and that is when she went on to earn her doctorate in speech from Louisiana State University.

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Guest of honor, Betsy Gordon, delivers a speech to the group. Photo credit to McKendree University.

She went on to teach interpersonal theories, political campaigns, and public speaking at Iowa State University. Dr. Betsy Gordon found herself moving to Lebanon, Illinois to start the next journey in her life, developing the organizational communication program at McKendree University where she has taught for the last 27 years. Following the fall 2017 semester, Betsy Gordon announced her retirement.

Throughout her time at McKendree, Dr. Gordon won all three teaching awards the university offers: The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award, The United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award, and the William Norman Grandy Teaching Award for her outstanding knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for teaching. For Betsy, teaching is all about the students. She loves attending events such as this one to hear students’ stories when they come back to the place where it all began and watch their progress over the years. During the communication networking night, Dr. Gordon delivered a powerful speech in which she thanked her colleagues and students for all of the memories and the lasting impact they left throughout her journey at the university. She concluded her speech with message for her students regarding their future endeavors:

“If I could give you one gift, it would be the gift of finding a job that when you walk into work every day you say, I’m home.”

One comment

  1. What a wonderful night to celebrate our students–both past and present! Congratulations to Hanna, Erin, Teagan, Kaleea, Lilly, and Joshua for their induction into Lambda Pi Eta. And kudos to Dr. Rich Murphy for the time, passion, and effort it takes to pull off an event like this.

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