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Oakson, Wilbourne named inaugural Goldsborough Scholars

Duane Bonifer
09/11/2018
Julia Oakson (left) and Shannon Wilbourne
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Two Chicago area residents are making history at Monmouth College.

Julia Oakson of Lombard and Shannon Wilbourne of Chicago have been named the inaugural William J. and Beverly Goldsborough Scholars at the national liberal arts college.

Monmouth’s most prestigious scholarship, the Goldsborough Scholars program is a full-tuition scholarship that recognizes outstanding students from the Chicagoland area who have consistently demonstrated academic excellence throughout their high school careers and who embody the mission and values of Monmouth, as evidenced by leadership, service, civic engagement and co-curricular commitments.

The program was established earlier this year by anonymous donors to honor former Monmouth Board of Trustees Chair William J. Goldsborough and his wife, Beverly. William Goldsborough is a 1965 Monmouth graduate.

“Access to higher education remains one of the single greatest paths to a fulfilling life,” said Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt. “There is no higher cause at the College than ensuring that bright and motivated young people can benefit from this rigorous and nurturing educational experience.

“All of us at Monmouth College are grateful for this extraordinary gift that will endow the William J. and Beverly Goldsborough Scholarship in perpetuity. We are also very pleased that the gift, and the prestigious scholarships it establishes, honor Bill and Beverly Goldsborough, who are such exceptional members of the Monmouth College family.”

Both Oakson and Wilbourne are members of the College’s Class of 2022.

“It’s an honor and humbling to be selected as one of the first Goldsborough Scholars,” said Oakson, who is the daughter of Brenda and Anthony Oakson and a graduate of St. Francis High School in Wheaton.

A business administration major, Oakson is a member of the College’s Honors Program, plays clarinet in the marching band and wind ensemble, and is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

“I love the small class sizes, how everyone knows each other, says ‘hi,’ holds the door open for one another and cares for one another,” she said.

Wilbourne, who is a graduate of Argo Community High School, is an accounting and Spanish major.

Wilbourne said she was attracted to Monmouth because it is the only liberal arts college in the 14-member Associated Colleges of the Midwest that offers accounting as a major.

“Accounting is what brought me to campus, but when I got here I just loved the layout of the campus,” said Wilbourne, the daughter Hurley and Patricia Wilbourne. “I also loved the community and the opportunity to get to know people.”

Wilbourne is also a member of the College’s Honors Program; is a member of the women’s basketball team; was named a James and Sybil Stockdale Fellow, a leadership-development program; serves in Pain is Temporary, a youth-mentoring program; and participated in the College’s Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activities summer research program.

Oakson and Wilbourne aren’t only in the same Monmouth class, they also live across the hall from one another on the third floor of Fulton Hall.

“It will be a good thing for us to start out with this together,” said Wilbourne.

To qualify for the Goldsborough Scholars program, students must have a minimum 3.5 grade point average; a minimum composite score of 26 on the ACT or 1240 on the SAT; and be a resident of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry or Will counties.

In addition to a full-tuition scholarship awarded for up to four years, Goldsborough Scholars are mentored by the College’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty; receive additional networking, professional and academic opportunities; and are invited to special alumni and College events.