After serving 30 years as Coordinator of Research and Records in the Anderson University Office of Development during an unprecedented time of growth, Brenda McKee has retired.
McKee saw many significant changes over those 30 years. When she arrived in the fall of 1993, Anderson had just graduated its first four-year graduates since returning to baccalaureate status. She served under several presidents, including Dr. Lee Royce and most recently, Dr. Evans Whitaker. During Dr. Whitaker’s years, she saw Anderson become a comprehensive university and more academic degrees offered than ever before.
She also feels privileged to have been a part of successful multimillion dollar campaigns, which included major improvements to the Rainey Fine Arts Center as well as construction of Thrift Library and the G. Ross Anderson, Jr. Student Center.
“For 30 years, Brenda has been the heart and soul of the Development Office at Anderson University,” said Senior Vice President for Development and Presidential Affairs Wayne Landrith. “As Coordinator of Research and Records, she has been responsible for keeping our records organized and up-to-date, and she has done so with meticulous attention to detail. We are so grateful for her dedication to serving the Lord and helping Anderson University fulfill its Christian higher education mission.”
While she served in the same position for 30 years, that role evolved over time as major system upgrades took place and new technology became available.
“I came to work in September of ‘93 and in July of ‘94 our data was uploaded into the new Raiser’s Edge software. That was probably one of the highlights of my time at Anderson, being able to work with Blackbaud on getting that new software program up and running and all of the data downloaded,” McKee said. “There were a lot of hours involved, but I enjoyed being able to do that. I was also charged with processing and receiving all the contributions that came into the University and preparing the reports of all of our support we had received.”
In terms of technology, digital records went from being stored on a local server to the secure cloud-based system currently in use. And then there was the major shift to increased online giving in 2016.
“It was amazing, the major increase we saw with online donations,” McKee said. “More and more, contributions are coming in online versus by check.”
One thing that has not changed in those 30 years? The wonderful relationships that McKee enjoyed with her colleagues in the Office of Development and the campus as a whole. Some of those relationships go back to her days in the classroom at Anderson. Her first classes were in the mid-1980s and led to an associate’s in liberal arts in 1986. She remembers many of her professors from that first degree, some of whom are still at Anderson University like Dr. Bob Hanley.
With the emphasis on adult education that led to the ACCEL program in the late 1990s, McKee went back to school in the evenings and earned her bachelor’s in computer information systems. She was able to use many skills learned in those classes to help her as she dealt with newer systems in her role in the Development Office.
Now that she’s retired, McKee looks forward to spending more time with her family. Her husband Dennis McKee, who worked 35 years at the Anderson University physical plant, retired as its director in 2013. Dennis also served on the Anderson City Council for many years. The couple have four grown sons, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren who all live in Anderson.
McKee will also have more time to enjoy singing with the Vocal Matrix Chorus, a female barbershop harmony musical group associated with Sweet Adelines International. She and a few other ladies from Anderson regularly travel to Greenville for rehearsals and she plans to travel to the 2023 Sweet Adelines International Convention this October in Louisville. She also sings in the choir at Temple Baptist Church in Anderson.