Twenty-eight years ago, Todd McKinney, associate dean of student life and director of student activities, first stepped foot onto Ursinus’s campus. He knew there was something special about the college, and that was one of his motivations for joining UC. He explains, “I was initially drawn to the campus because I wanted to be part of a dynamic and exciting learning environment, where the exchange of ideas and knowledge flowed freely among faculty, staff and students.”
Over the last three decades, McKinney’s leadership roles have enabled him to experience just that. McKinney works with and advises students on a variety of student-led initiatives such as the UC Ambassador Program, which is responsible for exacting positive change both on campus and within the local, national and global communities; Ursinus College Student Government, which seeks to represent the student body in decisions affecting fellow students and conversations with administration; Campus Activities Board, which aims to plan and organize entertaining events on campus and the Inter-Greek Council, a group of students that oversees and governs all of Greek life.
McKinney says he appreciates Ursinus’s liberal arts setting and working with students with copious amounts of interests and skills; however, he emphasizes that the most enjoyable part of his long career has been watching the personal growth of both the past and present students he’s advised. He elaborates by saying, “It has been so rewarding to see first-hand, the student leaders who go through the educational and social experience at the college continue being leaders in their vocations and communities where they work and live.”
While McKinney has seen many students come and go through the Eger Gates of Ursinus over the years and witnessed plenty of change on campus, he believes there has been one constant through it all—the fact that the college prepares students to success in the fullest way within their lives. The programmatic opportunities and various academic centers are helping to mold thoughtful graduates and create a culture of creativity. These centers and institutes support and embody a liberal arts education. McKinney says, “Through programs such as the Common Intellectual Experience (CIE), the formation of the Parlee, U-Imagine and Melrose Centers and the Institutes for Inclusion & Equity and Student Success, students are granted the chance to embrace the full body of educational resources available through various offerings associated with a liberal arts education.” McKinney continues, “To study outside one’s field and to have the chance to contemplate all there is at Ursinus, allows students to have a better understanding of the world we live in and how to live fully.”
McKinney’s interest in enabling Ursinus’s continued progress has compelled him to support the college philanthropically through a payroll deduction gift. McKinney says, “The reason I contribute to the college is to continue the legacy of helping to provide for the continued success of Ursinus and its mission to educate the next generation of citizens in our global society.”
Ursinus offers everything a student needs to prepare him or herself for an enriching future, but McKinney fully acknowledges that it’s up them to make the most of these opportunities. McKinney has these words of advice for students: “Take advantage of all that the college offers including clubs, athletics, the arts, civic engagement and service to others and all of the possibilities that exist so that you can have a say in your educational journey. Take risks and engage in activities that may not be at the top of your list of things to do, in other words, explore EVERYTHING!”