Dr. Kyle McKenna
Dr. Kyle McKenna
Photo by Liz Bunnell
Dr. Kyle McKenna


While walking through a Waldenbooks, Dr. Kyle McKenna came across a book by William E. Paul called Immunology Recognition and Response.

“It was divine providence,” said McKenna. He read it cover to cover and was inspired to go to graduate school and study immunology and microbiology.

McKenna is one of the many new professors at Franciscan University this year. He attended The University of Maryland to study biology for his undergraduate and the University of Maryland Baltimore for his graduate studies.

“I always wanted to go into science. It was a good fit for me,” said McKenna.

McKenna had thought about teaching and during a four year fellowship at Emory University, he was given the opportunity to. After his time at Emory, he and his family moved to Pittsburgh where he taught and did research at the University of Pittsburgh for eight years.

“I love seeing the ‘wow!’ that students get when they understand something that is very complex and maybe they thought was beyond them,” said McKenna. “ I just love when you see people excited about the concepts because I’m still wowed by them.”

McKenna and his family had known about Franciscan for a while.

“We had watched Scott Hahn’s videos,” he said.

He got his first taste of what it would be like to teach here when a Franciscan student working in his lab suggested that he come to campus and deliver a lecture to her immunology class. He loved the atmosphere at Franciscan.

In December, a teaching position became available at the school. By that time he felt he was ready to transition into teaching full time, so he applied.

“The preparation and delivering of a lecture here further solidified how great it would be to do it full time,” said McKenna about the interview process.

Now, Dr. McKenna teaches Medical Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology.

“You guys are a whole different ball of wax,” he said about getting to know the students. “There is something about this place. The students are so alive and easy to communicate with. Everyone seems to be on the same level. … Being able to share that enthusiasm with the students is what I like the most. It makes me excited about doing everything I do.”