Barry McNamara  |   Published August 19, 2016

Welcome, noble Scots: Monmouth’s Class of 2020 ‘excited’ to begin journey

Class of 2020 officially begins Monmouth College experience
  • Students and parents start to gather around Wallace Hall before Matriculation
Members of the Class of 2020 have arrived at Monmouth College – and they’re “excited.”

More than 100 returning Monmouth students were on hand to welcome the new class Saturday morning. Most of them – including head residents, resident assistants, orientation leaders and fraternity and sorority members – were stationed by the line of residence halls on the east side of campus along North Ninth Street.

Two students pushed a grocery cart full of bottled water, music blaring, along the Ninth Street sidewalk, providing refreshment on a morning that featured both overcast skies and bright sunshine.

As one vehicle would leave the unloading area, another would pull up, met by a sea of red-shirted students eager to help. A white pickup truck, its bed and backseat full of items, took just two minutes to pick clean, its contents headed to Room 226 in one of the halls. The refrigerator for Room 226 was moved in by Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt.

Hours later, Wyatt had changed out of his white polo shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, replacing them with academic regalia as he addressed the Class of 2020 at matriculation.

Wyatt commended the students for not taking an easier road, such as studying online “while sitting in your room at home wearing your pajamas.”

“You’ve chosen a path that will help you grow in intellect, in moral courage and in social commitment,” he said. “You are not alone … we are all here with you.”

The 2016-17 school year begins Tuesday, Aug. 23. This year’s Monmouth student body of about 1,200 includes 337 new students. The College’s diverse class of 298 first-time freshmen and 39 transfer students features students from 22 states and 15 countries. Overall, Monmouth’s enrollment includes students from 33 states and 33 countries.

“Excited” was a popular answer as members of the Class of 2020 were asked how they felt after walking through a gauntlet of faculty members at the close of matriculation.

Two of the first students through the line were Haylee Stone of East Moline, Ill., and Anissa Reese Jackson of Kewanee, Ill.

“I’m excited to meet my professors and to be able to have a relationship with them,” said Jackson, who plans to major in exercise science.

“I’m excited to start my career of becoming a teacher,” said Stone.

“It’s very exciting to start a new experience, meet new people and do new things,” said Brady Boyd of Bartonville, Ill. “I’m looking forward to enjoying the college experience.”

To the many parents who stayed on campus for the matriculation ceremony, Wyatt said: “We are deeply honored by the trust you’ve placed in us.”

“Every time we’ve been here, we’ve loved it,” said Boyd’s mother, Jennifer. “We’re taking the opportunity today to walk around a little and show Brady’s grandparents the campus.”

Another student’s grandparent, Lorna Utter of Monmouth, didn’t have to travel far to see her granddaughter at matriculation. Jordan Utter of Germantown Hills, Ill., whose father, Lance, graduated from Monmouth High School, had a “smooth” morning move-in. Jordan said that she is looking forward to starting her path toward an elementary education major.

“Unbelievable” was how Laura Lira of Midlothian, Ill., described the move-in experience of her and her husband’s Mario’s twin daughters, Bridget and Brittney. “It was wonderful how they unloaded the cars for us. They did it so quickly,” she said.

The twins didn’t plan to attend college together, but when Brittney visited campus to check out Monmouth and its water polo team, Bridget was also impressed.

Another set of water polo parents, Phil and Debbie Mathews of Flossmoor, Ill., said their daughter Emily likes the size of the campus and the “interaction. She’s not just a number here.”

Even Vice President of Enrollment Management Trent Gilbert couldn’t resist using the word of the day during his matriculation remarks.

“Today officially marks the beginning of your Monmouth College experience, and we couldn’t be more excited,” he told the members of the Class of 2020 seated on Wallace Hall Plaza.

“So far, so good,” Phil Mathews said of the matriculation day events. “I’ll see you in four years.”
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