Cheville house was organized during the spring of 1965 in anticipation of the opening of the Gunsolley Annex (Graybill Hall) the following fall. It took its name from 1923-1960 religion professor Roy Cheville and was located on the first floor of the annex during its first two years of existence.
Roger Hershey ‘67 was the first house president of Cheville, serving three semesters from Fall 1965 through Fall 1966. Hershey came from Edwards house to help create Cheville, along with most of the original house council: Robert Ritchie, vice president/secretary; Gordon Suddaby, vice president/treasurer; Clare Vlahos and Steve Raiser, senators; Garland Land, chaplain; Earnest Garner, assistant chaplain; Charles Harris, intramurals chair; Harold Hawley, assistant intramurals chair; and Stephen “Bruce” Hobart, social chairman.
The house system was fairly new – it started in 1962 – and was still evolving when Hershey held his position as a house president. However, he recalls the intentional message of inclusivity surrounding the new house system and now appreciates the experience as one of his early leadership roles – similarities that are shared by Graceland students today.
“That was a huge leadership opportunity for me,” shared Hershey. “I learned to organize people, be responsible and accountable, and my confidence level coming out of those two years was huge.”
In those first years, the house council included 10 members of Cheville who had been hand-picked for the new house – a large leadership percentage in a house with mostly all new students (freshmen and transfers). Hershey believes this created a unique and positive opportunity for the group of young men to come together, and he recalls Cheville being a really strong house.
“It was a great laboratory for people to explore leadership development,” he shared, “but I had a lot of fun, and I won’t ever forget that.”
Hershey graduated Cum Laude from Graceland and then earned a Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Laws in corporate and commercial law from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). He served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and he has used his law degrees in a variety of professional involvements.
Most recently, after serving nine years on the Park University Board of Trustees – two of them as chair – Hershey spent the last 12 years of his career as vice president and general counsel, then as vice president for entrepreneurial ventures at Park. He retired in 2016 but continues to serve as special legal counsel for the university.
Hershey speaks of how Graceland prepared him for law school, and how the focus on agency and stewardship he felt from Graceland and Community of Christ motivated him to become and remain civically engaged throughout his life, especially in the areas of conservation and environmental protection. He has served on many boards related to this passion and continues to be civically engaged in his community of Independence, Missouri, as well as through his persistent connections to Cheville.
Hershey worked with members of the first Cheville house council to establish the Cheville House Endowed Leadership Scholarship fund in 1993. This scholarship is awarded to members of Cheville who hold a leadership position for the house, and Hershey has continued to support the effort throughout the years. Additionally, he attends the Cheville house breakfast each year, where he and other members – from the original members in 1965 to current students of the house – raise money for the scholarship and simply come together to celebrate their shared heritage as Chevillians.
Today, Cheville is located on the second floor of Graybill Hall, where it has been since 1976. The current house president is Dylan Fox ’21.
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