Duane Bonifer  |  Published March 10, 2021

Finding a Community

With an eye on medical school, Admiral’s Scholar Ilese Rodeffer ready to get involved on campus.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Ilese Rodeffer of Bushnell, Illinois, found Monmouth College to be just right.

ILESE RODEFFER: I had been on other college visits, but none of them felt as welcoming as Monmou... ILESE RODEFFER: “I had been on other college visits, but none of them felt as welcoming as Monmouth did. The experience of coming to campus and seeing how everyone worked together made it feel like somewhere that I would fit in.”A senior at Bushnell-Prairie City High School, Rodeffer has been named one of Monmouth’s two Admiral’s Scholars. Admiral’s Scholars receive a full-tuition scholarship worth more than $160,000 at the national liberal arts college. They also get a $5,000 academic enrichment fund and a place in the College’s prestigious James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows Program.

When Rodeffer received the news that she had received one of the College’s most prestigious scholarships, she said she was “blown out of my mind that it was really happening.”

“I was grateful for the generosity, and it really struck me in that moment that this is happening. It was just a really nice moment,” said Rodeffer, the daughter of Kelly and Mark Rodeffer. “When I got off the phone, I went down to tell my mom and she gave me a hug, and we all celebrated by going out to dinner that night.”

Rodeffer, who hopes to become a surgeon, plans to major in either biology or psychology at Monmouth. She said that when she visited Monmouth, the College impressed her almost immediately as “somewhere where I would really want to go.”

“Everyone was so welcoming, and the environment was encouraging,” she said. “I just really liked the feeling of being on campus and walking through the facilities. I had been on other college visits, but none of them felt as welcoming as Monmouth did. The experience of coming to campus and seeing how everyone worked together made it feel like somewhere that I would fit in.”

During her four years in high school, Rodeffer has been very involved in both school and church activities. She’s a seven-year member of Scholastic Bowl, serving as varsity team captain. In Scholastic Bowl competition, she was a member of the All-Section team, was a two-time member of the All-Conference team and was selected to the Macomb Regional All-Tournament team.

A member of the National Honor Society, she’s also served as class president, been a member of the varsity golf team and was a cast member in her school’s spring play.

Beyond the classroom, Rodeffer is a leader at Faith Bible Camp at Yates City, Illinois, where she has logged more than 500 volunteer hours, as well as a group leader in Youth For Christ. She has also served as secretary and reporter for her 4-H club, and she has written and performed original music.

Rodeffer said she is looking forward to getting involved with Monmouth campus life, especially with groups that foster discussion and understanding among people from different faiths.

“I really like the idea of people of different faiths and philosophical backgrounds getting together and talking,” she said. “Instead of creating more division among us, something like that unites us, and I really like the idea of being a part of it.”

The Admiral’s Scholarship and the Stockdale Fellows Program honor the late Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, a member of the Monmouth College Class of 1946, and his late wife, Sybil. A Medal of Honor recipient for his service in the Vietnam War, Stockdale was later president of both the Naval War College and The Citadel, and was a longtime fellow of the Hoover Institution.

Meet Ilese Rodeffer …

Listen Up …

Ilese Rodeffer talks about Monmouth’s strong sense of community; interview begins at 6:59.

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