Barry McNamara  |  Published April 26, 2022

‘We Celebrate the Core of Our Mission’

Intellectual curiosity, academic achievements celebrated all over campus during Scholars Day.

“Today, Scholars Day, we celebrate the core of our mission – the nurturing of intellectual curiosity and achievement.”
– Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt

MONMOUTH, Ill. – No classes were held Tuesday at Monmouth College, but there was no shortage of learning being done as academic achievements of all disciplines were celebrated and on display all over campus.

The College held its annual Scholars Day, which includes the traditional Honors Convocation in the morning, a lunch honoring donors to College scholarships, and oral and poster presentations in the afternoon. (Visit the Scholars Day home page.)

“Great things happen every day at Monmouth College, and Scholars Day is a time to bring together the campus community to share our achievements,” said chemistry professor Brad Sturgeon, part of the College’s Student Activities and Support Committee, which helped organize the day. “At today’s event there were more than 100 presentations, ranging from theatre student posters to a brain dissection and virtual reality.”

As Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt said, the day is a celebration of the Monmouth mission.

“The combined power of thought and action is the heart of Monmouth College’s distinctive experience in the liberating arts,” Wyatt said during his remarks at the Honors Convocation, which was held in person in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium for the first time since 2019. “And it is that process of liberation that enables our students to approach the world, with all its challenges and opportunities, confidently, fearlessly.”

Check out more than 340 pictures from Scholars Day 2022.

Engineering professor John Iselin addressed that issue of confidence when listing the positives that come out of working with a 3-D printer, one of the hands-on learning experiences that students demonstrated during the afternoon portion of Scholars Day.

“You can design things in two dimensions that you can’t put together,” said Iselin, who is another member of the organizing committee. “There’s the issue of tolerance, such as how a one-inch pin might not fit into a one-inch hole. Working with a 3-D printer, the students learn a lot about visualization.”

The engineering students learn not only to construct 3-D projects, but how to construct the 3-D printer itself.

“I buy a 3-D printer and have the students put it all together, very carefully following the instructions,” he said. “It helps them gain some ownership of the program – that the machine they’re putting together is not just the administration’s or the faculty’s; it belongs to them, too. And it gives them the confidence that they can do it.”

‘Building Stories, Building Worlds’

Engineering and English might seem to be two vastly different disciplines, but students in English professor David Wright’s advanced creative writing class also built things – entire worlds, in fact. Their works were on display on the northern end of the Huff Athletic Center concourse, which included posters ranging from “Understanding Quantum Gates in Quantum Computing” to studies of entertainer/activist Josephine Baker and lyricist/theatre producer Oscar Hammerstein II.

“The class is called ‘Building Stories, Building Worlds,’” said Wright, who noted that students in recent years, perhaps influenced by the Harry Potter series, have enjoyed “living in a world that’s not the one they’re in.”

So Wright had what he called his “exceptional group” of students create their own, and even assigned them to write a pair of chapters – one that’s a reveal of the world they’ve created, and one with the conflict that will drive the story. When the students have completed the two chapters, they’re well on their way to creating a larger work, if they so desire.

Larissa Pothoven ’23 of Rock Island, Illinois, used the assignment to return to a story idea she first dabbled with as a high school student. Titled “Comidor,” her work follows a character named Evelyn who becomes an assassin after witnessing the deaths of her parents. She was inspired by fantasy series such as Ranger’s Apprentice and Ascendance, as well as by Pinterest prompts.

“Was (Evelyn) the hero, or was she the villain?” asks Pothoven of her readers.

“Great things happen every day at Monmouth College, and Scholars Day is a time to bring together the campus community to share our achievements.”
– Brad Sturgeon

Another student in Wright’s class, Jan Abel ’23 of Wataga, Illinois, jumped enthusiastically into the project, drawing maps of the world she created for her work, “Rusinya,” and displaying other props, including a sword.

A poster promoting the various fictional works included the first lines written by each of the students, including the following by Michael Gonzalez ’22 of Chicago: “A little early for an epitaph, and a little too late for final words.”

Special awards

During the Honors Convocation scores of students were recognized for their outstanding work in Monmouth’s academic departments, including the art department, which for the first year awarded its Home Again Prize for a piece of art by a non-senior that best describes their interpretation of “home.” The recipient was Charles Conkle ’24 of Morton Grove, Illinois.

A few non-departmental awards were also presented, including two new ones: the Jacquelyn Condon Prize and the Echols Family Prize. The latter, presented to a traditionally underrepresented minority student who combines academic excellence with active involvement on campus, went to Jonathon Diaz ’23 of Riverdale, Illinois. Corey Pevitz ’23 of Naperville, Illinois, received the Condon Prize, awarded to a student with outstanding academic achievements who also demonstrates exceptional contributions to campus life.

Two academic departments used the day to hold initiation ceremonies for their honor societies. New members were inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha for political science students and Lambda Pi Eta for students in communication studies.

Two other honor societies traditionally name their Freshman and Senior of the Year at the Honors Convocation. Receiving Blue Key’s Freshman and Senior Man of the Year awards were Ethan Panganiban ’25 of Wheeling, Illinois, and Mason Sanford ’22 of Mapleton, Illinois, respectively. Mortar Board’s Freshman Woman of the Year was Megan Dailey ’25 of Pendleton, Indiana. Olivia Matlock ’22 of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, received the Senior Woman of the Year honor.

At the 2022 Honors Convocation ceremony, Olivia Matlock '22 of Lee's Summit, Missouri, was named ...

At the 2022 Honors Convocation ceremony, Olivia Matlock ’22 of Lee's Summit, Missouri, was named Senior Woman of the Year by the College's Mortar Board honor society, and Mason Sanford ’22 of Mapleton, Illinois, was named Senior Man of the Year by the College's Blue Key honor society.

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p><strong>Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Pi Beta Phi, the first such collegiate women’s organization, was founded at Monmouth in 1867. It was followed three years later by Kappa Kappa Gamma. The two pioneering organizations today boast a total of 275 active chapters nationwide.</strong></p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Preparation</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>