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Citation of Merit Recipients Awarded at Friday Dinner

On Friday March 6, 2015, McPherson College honored its Citation of Merit recipients for 2015, all of whom have shown their care for – and service to – the world around them: as a pastor, as a university leader and as an advocate for the disadvantaged in the courtroom.

The McPherson College Citation of Merit, the college’s highest award, is given to the college’s most distinguished alumni for lifetime accomplishments in service to profession, community, church and to McPherson College. The recipients are recommended by the Alumni Awards Committee and approved by the College Board of Trustees.

This year’s recipients are Dr. Jean Lichty Hendricks, Larry Martin, and Roberta Strickler. Congratulations to these outstanding alumni! Photo gallery of ceremony.


Dr. Jean Lichty Hendricks ’69

Jean demonstrates what it means for liberal arts graduates to be “well-rounded.” She’s fluent in German and studying French; an advocate for women and church pastor; and a talented pianist and committed volunteer for church, community and college.

Jean taught for four and a half years after graduating from MC, then earned a Master of Divinity degree along with her husband, Francis, from Bethany Theological Seminary. They entered the ministry together, serving as co-pastors in Sheldon, Iowa. Jean continued on to become minister of nurture at the Wichita Church of the Brethren.

She’s served the church in a number of other leadership roles – moderator, teacher, district committee member, Brethren Ministers Association officer, and member of the Bethany Seminary Board, to name a few.  Prior to retirement, she served seven years as president and general manager of the Mutual Aid Association for the Church of the Brethren, and still serves on the church’s District Ministry Commission.

She also worked for McPherson College as the Director of Church Relations and in several volunteer roles, including member of the alumni board nominating committee, member of task forces for area college events, and even a community member in the college’s revitalized band – playing clarinet.

Jean and Francis now make their permanent home in McPherson, and Hendricks said she sees exciting challenges ahead.

“I very much appreciate this honor from my alma mater,” Hendricks said. “Hopefully my feelings of being very undeserving will be overshadowed by a motivation for the next years of life.”

Larry Martin ’70

Larry graduated from MC with a major in sociology, then went on to work for R.T.P., Inc. Here, he consulted to the New York State Urban Development Corporation, which is the largest builder of low and middle income housing in the United States. His work involved traveling to locations in Central New York to ensure they followed state regulations.

In 1977, he served on a task force that spearheaded the construction of Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome. From there, he moved into the advancement department of Syracuse, where he helped lead capital campaigns, worked with alumni and organized programming.

In 1986, he led an effort to give Syracuse a West Coast presence, including opportunities for communication and drama students to experience Hollywood behind the scenes. This led to him working closely with the CEOs of Warner Brothers, Universal Studios and Paramount Studios, as well as such Hollywood celebrities as Dick Clark, actor Peter Falk, and director Spike Lee.

In 1995, Syracuse University employed him as Executive Director of Program Development. His effective leadership and program enhancements in the area have culminated in the university naming him as vice president of program development in 2012.

Martin credited McPherson College as a main source of his success in his career.

“McPherson College gave me an opportunity and prepared me well for both my professional and personal life and I met a number of great friends along the way,” he said. “I have exceeded my wildest dreams and am proud to say I have not taken advantage of nor betrayed another individual to achieve success.”

Roberta Strickler ’70

Roberta graduated from McPherson College with a degree in history, following an active college career that included working on the “Spectator” – MC’s student newspaper – and recognition as a member of Phi Alpha Theta – the history honor society.

Not long after graduation, she was a research assistant at the Council for Community Services of Metropolitan Chicago, working on a project to create a health information and referral service.

Strickler went on to earn her law degree from Northwestern University and then joined the Chicago firm Monahen & Cohen. She specialized in helping disabled adults with probate, estate and trust services and in so doing helped a population in particular need of assistance. She continued her legal career as an attorney-at-law in her current home of Baltimore, Md.

She also went into real estate management of residential and office properties in 1979 and continues to do so to this day in her retirement.

As important as her professional career, however, has been her service in her personal life. For a decade she served in a number of roles for the Parents Association for the Park School of Baltimore, including a term as president and a member of the Board of Trustees.

Also, as a master gardener with the University of Maryland Extension and a board member of the Mt. Washington Improvement Association and Baltimore Green Space, she has consistently advocated for more open, natural and greener space in her community.

Roberta currently serves on the college’s Board of Trustees, as well as a number of other service roles to the college, such as the National Alumni Committee and as co-chair of the Eastern Region Enhancing the Legacy Campaign in 2002, which put the college on the firm financial ground it continues to hold today.

“It was an honor to receive the Citation,” she said. “I look forward to returning to campus in the future.”