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Monmouth College names four new Presbyterian Scholars

Barry McNamara
From left: Elisabeth Riedesel ’21, Alyssa Whitacre ’20, the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott, Courtney Ouart ’21, Allison Meyers ’21.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s Presbyterian Scholarship is an investment in the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

That’s how Monmouth’s chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott, views the scholarship, which is one of the most prestigious the College awards to its students.

“We’re in the most religiously unaffiliated generation of all time right now, and church-related colleges have a unique opportunity to reach young people, to continue to show them that the church can be relevant in the world today,” she said.

The Presbyterian Scholarship is open to first-time freshmen and transfer students interested in connecting their Presbyterian faith to an education at Monmouth College. All of the recipients were recommended by their Presbyterian pastors. Monmouth was founded in 1853 by Scotch-Irish Presbyterian pioneers.

This school year, Monmouth awarded Presbyterian Scholarships to four new students, increasing the total number of Presbyterian Scholars on campus to 17.

Monmouth’s new Presbyterian Scholars are: Allison Meyers ’21, an elementary education major from Elmwood, Ill.; Courtney Ouart ’21 of Toulon, Ill.; Elisabeth Riedesel ’21, a biology major from Davenport, Iowa; and Alyssa Whitacre ’20, a public relations major from Gurnee, Ill.

“This Presbyterian Scholarship seemed a lot like how my youth group would be, and I wanted that sense of community again, and I wanted to grow in my faith in college,” observed Whitacre, who said she experienced some of that growth during a retreat at the beginning of the semester. “I see it providing a lot of leadership opportunities for me.”

Riedesel called Monmouth’s spiritual climate “free.”

“They don’t make you think one way or another about what religion you should choose or shouldn’t choose. ... You can be whatever you want to be on campus, and no one’s going to tell you otherwise,” she said.

Riedesel said that her fellow Presbyterian Scholars are part of a built-in group of friends who discuss faith and other campus issues.

“We always tell churches, ‘Send your students to us, so we can equip them and give them back to you when they graduate,’” said Ott. “We’re about bringing students here, educating them ... educating them for something – to graduate from here and not just get a job for yourself but graduate from here and do something to make the world a better place.”

Ott said the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is “a church that believes in doing good for the world, and we believe that education is good for the world.”

“We hope to be the hub of all this goodness here at the College over the course of the four years that the students are here in residence,” she said.