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Mohammed awarded prestigious Tom Johnson Scholarship

Duane Bonifer
Tom Johnson Scholarship recipient Farida Mohammed of Accra, Ghana, is joined Wednesday by members of the Monmouth College community and Edward Arthur Mellinger Educational Foundation in the Mellinger Commons of the Center for Science and Business. From left: Gary Martin of Monmouth, Mellinger Foundation board member; Political Economy and Commerce Professor Michael Connell; Mohammed; Mellinger Foundation President Gary Willhardt; Monmouth First Lady Lobie Stone; and Monmouth President Dr. Clarence R. Wyatt.
The last day of classes of the 2016-17 school year was a memorable one for Monmouth College student Farida Mohammed.

The business administration and economics junior from Accra, Ghana, was officially presented the Tom Johnson Scholarship Wednesday afternoon in the Mellinger Commons of the Center for Science and Business.

The $10,000 scholarship is funded by the Edward Arthur Mellinger Educational Foundation and named in memory of Johnson, who served as foundation president.

The scholarship, which is in its third year, is awarded to a junior in the political economy and commerce department. The award is based on an essay, academic performance and financial need.

Mohammed said she plans to pursue a doctorate in food economics, and she also hopes to eventually be a restaurateur.

“All of you here are my mothers and fathers, I have learned so much from you, and I have grown so much since my freshman year,” she said at the reception. “Thank you for believing in me.”

Following the ceremony, Mohammed said she was surprised to learn she had received the scholarship. She was informed that she had been chosen for the scholarship by most of the faculty in the political economy and commerce department, who called her into a room to tell her she had been selected for one of the College’s more prestigious scholarships.

“The only thing I remember was screaming, crying and running out of the room because I have never been surprised like that in my life,” she said. “This scholarship means so much to me because not everyone gets a chance to leave their home country, much less get a scholarship like this.”

Mohammed credits her adviser, Political Economy and Commerce Associate Professor Wendine Bolon, for helping ignite her passion for business and economics.

“She has been a personal mentor and a role model,” Mohammed said of Bolon. “When I came here 2-1/2 years ago, I was just this shy student who sat in my room and cried all the time because I was homesick. But when she was made my adviser, I learned so much. She has given me so many opportunities. She never said ‘No,’ she always encouraged me to go for it, and never gave up on me.”

Mohammed is the first international student to receive the scholarship from the foundation, which has awarded more than $50 million in scholarships since it was establish in 1959, according to Mellinger Foundation President Gary Willhardt.

Monmouth College President Dr. Clarence R. Wyatt said the College and the community are fortunate to have an organization with the Mellinger Foundation’s commitment to broadening educational opportunities.

“We are grateful that the Mellinger Foundation has had such a long partnership with Monmouth College, with the city of Monmouth and with the surrounding community,” Wyatt said. “We are fortunate to have an organization like this in a community our size that is so forward-thinking and so involved in working and investing to make our community and college even stronger.”