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Class of 2018 continues 150-year-old tradition of giving back

Barry McNamara
From left, Monmouth College seniors Tessa Jones, Becca Reading, Sarah Ellis, Mary Kate Luzzo, Caitlin Cole and Farida Mohammed show off one of the college signs that the Class of 2018 paid to have refurbished.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – This year’s graduating class at Monmouth College has continued a campus tradition that goes back exactly 150 years.

The Class of 2018 is raising money to replace and refurbish several of the weathered signs on campus.

“That ended up being a total of 15 signs around campus, one of which is the big sign directly across from the Quinby House,” said Sarah Ellis ’18 of Chrisman, Ill., a member of 12-person Senior Class Gift Committee. “We’re happy to get that rolling, even if we can’t raise the funds to get every single sign done. We’re hoping that every little bit we can get can make a visual impact on the campus.”

Monmouth’s “first class gift was presented in 1868, in the form of a tree,” a gift that many other early classes also made, according to College Historian Jeff Rankin.

Ellis said that many of the class gifts over the years have been marked with the particular class’s year, and the Class of 2018 will be no exception.

“On all of the signs that we’ve created the funds for, we’re getting our signature at the bottom,” she said. “Not only is it a nice way to make everything look better, but you can more easily navigate around the campus, and we left our little piece of ‘us’ there.”

Ellis said it’s important for students to make a gift to the College because the College has undoubtedly made a positive impact on their lives.

“Whether it was through an adviser or a friend, Monmouth College has helped you,” she said. “Making a gift is a great way to leave your mark on the campus.”

An accounting and business major, Ellis is a member of five honor societies and the women’s fraternity Alpha Xi Delta.

“The College has been absolutely wonderful to me,” she said. “Not that I was a scared or timid freshman, but I’ve definitely come out of my shell. In fact, I just did the Myers-Briggs personality assessment (again). As a sophomore, I was a definite introvert and now, as a senior, I am on the borderline between being an extrovert and an introvert. I think that’s a testament to the College. All of my opportunities here have allowed me to come out of my shell and realize who I am, realize what my top priorities are.”

Through her various leadership positions, which include serving as president of Alpha Xi Delta, Ellis said, “I learned how to voice my thoughts, how to deliver myself as compassionate but still firm at the same time. I’ve had wonderful advisers along the way who have given me examples of how to do so.”

After graduation, Ellis will move to San Antonio to work as a legal entity accountant for Caterpillar Inc.

“I think this is going to be a very fun opportunity not only to immerse myself in another culture but also get the more urban aspect of living as opposed to my rural background,” she said.

Commencement exercises for the Class of 2018 will be held at noon May 13 on Wallace Hall Plaza. The commencement speaker will be critically acclaimed author Min Jin Lee.