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Dulee earns prestigious Tom Johnson Scholarship

Barry McNamara
Laura Dulee (center) is flanked by members of the College's Department of Political Economy and Commerce and by her volleyball coach, Kari Shimmin. Pictured from left are Dick Johnston, Shanna Bruer, Julie Rothbardt, Tom Prince, Dulee, Shimmin, Wendi Bolon, Judy Peterson, Ken McMillan and Mike Connell.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – A hard-working leader has been named this year’s recipient of the Tom Johnson Scholarship at Monmouth College.

Laura Dulee, a business administration and public relations double major from Bloomington, Ill., was notified of the honor Tuesday in an impromptu ceremony in the College’s Center for Science and Business.

Dulee’s academic adviser said that she is an exemplar of what it means to be a Monmouth student.

“Compassion, academic excellence and leadership are all areas in which Laura excels,” said Tom Prince, visiting assistant professor of political economy and commerce. “She represents our College, community and our future in many of the same traditions and values as Tom Johnson did, and she is a very deserving recipient of this scholarship.”

Dulee said the numerous co-curricular activities she’s had as a Monmouth student have done a great deal to enhance her college experience, including a 10-day study-abroad experience in Australia. Working closely with her professors has also been a great benefit.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the professors and stop by their offices,” said Dulee, the daughter of Tom and Beth Dulee. “At Monmouth, you can grow really strong personal relationships with the professors. They cheer you through being in the classroom, but also outside the classroom.”

Dulee has heard those cheers outside the classroom as a member of the Fighting Scots volleyball and softball teams. Her coach for her first three seasons on the court, Kari Shimmin, called Dulee “a great leader.”

“What stood out most for me when I watched Laura play volleyball in high school was how she could lead a team,” said Shimmin, who is an instructor of kinesiology. “Those leadership skills made her a leader on our volleyball team, and it’s why she’s a leader on the softball team. I think it’s her hard work that people want to follow after. It’s also her enthusiasm and her love for whatever she’s doing. She puts her whole heart into it.”

Now in its fifth year, the highly competitive $10,000 scholarship is funded by the Edward Arthur Mellinger Educational Foundation and named in memory of Johnson, who served as foundation president. It is given annually to an outstanding junior student in the department.

“Tom Johnson was a banker who did a lot of great work for our community as a business person, but also had a legacy of giving back to the community,” said Wendi Bolon, chair of the College’s Department of Political Economy and Commerce, which awards the scholarship. “This scholarship honors the hard work of Tom Johnson – his work ethic, his community spirit.”

Dulee is also a member of the women’s fraternity Alpha Xi Delta and several campus honor societies, in addition to serving as a speech tutor and working for the admission office.

“Her involvement on campus is very much how Tom Johnson was with his involvement in the community,” said Shimmin.

Even though her brother Brad Dulee also attended Monmouth, graduating in 2017, Dulee said she made her own decision to attend Monmouth.

“I was not coming here because of him,” she said of her college decision. “Everything about Monmouth sold me in a different way. We’ve had totally different experiences, but yet the same awesome experience.”