Duane Bonifer  |  Published August 20, 2022

Class of 2026 Welcomed, Challenged

The beautiful thing about Monmouth College is that all of the tools you need to succeed are right in front of you,’ new students told at Matriculation Convocation.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — Members of the Monmouth College Class of 2026 on Saturday, Aug. 20, were welcomed, helped, introduced, celebrated, challenged, encouraged, assured and matriculated.

Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt told members of the Class of 2026 that they have chosen an exp... Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt told members of the Class of 2026 that they have “chosen an experience that will help you to grow in intellect, in moral courage, in social commitment.”The more than 260 new members of the Monmouth community — who came to the College from 176 high schools, 25 states and 23 countries — actually started to arrive on campus at the end of July, with the more than 50 participants in the three-week Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activities research program, known as SOFIA.

That was followed by a wave of students playing on fall athletic teams, members of the marching band and student leaders. The remaining new students arrived on campus on Saturday morning.

Check out more than 408 pictures from Welcome Week.

And for the first time on Saturday afternoon, members of the Class of 2026 and their family members gathered together in the Huff Athletic Center for the College’s annual Matriculation Convocation. The ceremony was moved from its usual location on the Wallace Hall Plaza because of the threat of inclement weather.

“It’s not simply a college you are entering today, you are entering a whole set of educational traditions, a whole history of higher learning,” Dean of the Faculty Mark Wilhardt told the students and their families.

The new students were told they had “all of the tools you need to succeed.”

“The beautiful thing about Monmouth College is that all of the tools you need to succeed are right in front of you,” said Jacob Rathgeb ’23, president of the Scots Senate, the College’s student government. “Monmouth offers rich opportunities to each and every student.”

Members of the Class of 2026 sign the Monmouth College Pledge in Glennie Gymnasium, following Mat... Members of the Class of 2026 sign the Monmouth College Pledge in Glennie Gymnasium, following Matriculation Convocation in Huff Athletic Center field house. Monmouth graduate Brad Foley ’95 told the new students that “you enter as a student but will graduate as a Scot.”

“Monmouth College is set up for everyone to thrive,” said Foley, who is a member of the Monmouth Alumni Association Board of Directors. “It’s a place where faculty and staff truly care about students’ well-being and want them to succeed.”

Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt told the students that they have “chosen an experience that will help you to grow in intellect, in moral courage, in social commitment.”

“The faculty and staff will ask more of you than has been asked before,” he said. “They will challenge your assumptions, urge you to examine your beliefs.”

The College’s faculty are “why a Monmouth College education is so special,” said Wilhardt.

“Each and every one of your faculty is willing to work with you to meet their high expectations,” he said. “Your professors will be there with you in every step in that process … you have teachers dedicated to the prospect of your improvement.”

Moving in

Luke Jachimiec ’26
of Aurora, Illinois, was among the more than four dozen students who participated in the SOFIA program. During the three-week program, he and three other students helped professor Robert Utterback build an eight-bit computer from scratch.

Jachimiec said he liked moving into his residence hall almost a month early. And while he remembered to pack everything he needed for college, he wound up not bringing enough snacks.

“I shared my food with a couple of friends, so they helped me eat it,” he said. “But I liked moving in before everyone else, with a limited number of people on campus. It was cool to be the only people on campus.”

“Monmouth College is set up for everyone to thrive. It’s a place where faculty and staff truly care about students’ well-being and want them to succeed.”
—Brad Foley ’95

Fellow freshman Reese Hicks ’26 of Bloomington, Illinois, arrived on campus “exactly at 9 a.m.” on Saturday with mother, Krystal, and father, Jordan. She said it took her about three hours to unpack in her Grier Hall room. And while she forgot a few things, such as a jewelry holder, Hicks said she was looking forward to “the whole college experience at Monmouth.”

Averi Rangel ’26 of Moline, Illinois, arrived about an hour after Hicks, with her mother, Stephanie, and father, Patrick. After a call to the College’s facilities office to get a new bed frame for her Fulton Hall room so that she and her roommate could bunk their beds, she said her room was set by mid-afternoon.

“I’m looking forward to basketball and meeting new people,” said Rangel, who plans to play on Monmouth’s women’s basketball team.

Ethan Main ’26 of Oneida, Illinois, started packing Thursday. He had plenty of help to help him move into his Graham Hall room — mother, Trisha, father, Rodney, and younger brother, Max. When they finished unpacking in less than two hours, Main realized he had forgotten to pack one thing — underwear, which was remedied by a run to the nearby Target.

“Other than that, it was a good move-in,” said Main. “It went real nice and smooth. The only issue was finding a parking spot” because so many people were on campus.

Expanding their horizons

At the matriculation ceremony, Wyatt told members of the Class of 2026 that their Monmouth academic and cocurricular experiences would combine to give them excellent career preparation.

“In this day, when technological change is taking over careers once thought to be automation-proof, no single major program can give you all the knowledge that will sustain you for the rest of your working life,” said Wyatt. “What we do especially well at Monmouth is to nurture in you the mindsets — intellectual curiosity, adaptability, creativity, and ethical grounding — that will empower you to succeed in whatever field of endeavor you choose.”

Wyatt also encouraged students to explore their new home — especially places beyond campus.

“One of the great opportunities that Monmouth, both the College and the town, offers is a rich tapestry of backgrounds and experiences,” he said. “Our total student body comes from 29 states and 26 countries. At the Smithfield plant on the edge of town, more than a dozen different languages are spoken by the employees. Seek out those people who look and talk differently than you do, who come from places that might seem alien to you. You will be the richer for it — and so will they.”

Members of the Class of 2026 gather on the steps of the Huff Athletic Center before their Matricu... Members of the Class of 2026 gather on the steps of the Huff Athletic Center before their Matriculation Convocation on Saturday, Aug. 20. Members of the class come from 176 high schools, 25 states and 23 countries.

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