Barry McNamara  |   Published May 02, 2019

Celebrating the Class of 2019

Inspirational speaker Ron Gold to address Class of 2019 May 12 ceremony on Wallace Hall Plaza.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — Inspirational speaker Ron Gold will address more than 180 graduates at Monmouth College’s 162nd Commencement exercises, to be held at noon May 12 in the Huff Athletic Center.   It was determined on the Thursday prior to commencement to move the event indoors due to saturated grounds and the threat of more inclement weather.

RON GOLD: Founded Lean on We after a bicycle accident left him paralyzed. RON GOLD: Founded Lean on We after a bicycle accident left him paralyzed.Commencement exercises will conclude a weekend of activities that includes a baccalaureate service, the Honor Walk and the Senior Gala.

The May 12 commencement ceremony will also feature performances by the Monmouth College Wind Ensemble, Pipe Band and Chorale. Graduating student speakers will include Sobhi Kazmouz of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who is the College’s Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and Kaitlyn Rule of Geneseo, Ill., president of the senior class.

Gold was a Wall Street executive when, on Thanksgiving Day 2011, he and friends were on a long bicycle ride. During their ride, the driver of an SUV fell asleep and struck Gold head-on. The accident, which nearly cost Gold his life, left him paralyzed and in need of home care every day.

Gold and his wife, Betsy, discovered the challenges in finding reliable, affordable home health care. In response, they founded LeanOnWe. Their organization connects those in need of care directly with the people providing it. This arrangement allows those engaging care to find a provider with just the right skills and attributes, and allows the provider to keep all of the fee, rather than sharing the bulk of it with an agency.

“Ron’s is an inspiring story of triumph over trial, and a great example of the combination of social and business entrepreneurship,” said Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt. “We are grateful to Ron for agreeing to be our speaker, and to our board of trustees chair Mark Kopinski and his wife, Debbie Kopinski, whose friendship with Ron has brought him to us.”

Before starting LeanOnWe, Gold had a 25-year career in international equity mar¬kets, working for both Lehman Brothers and Barclays. He holds dual degrees from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn’s College of Arts and Science, and a master’s degree in business from Columbia University. Gold serves on the boards of several civic and non-profit organizations.

The College’s baccalaureate service – which will be held at 2 p.m. May 11 in Dahl Chapel – will feature a message delivered by the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson. Well-known nationally as a speaker, preacher and peace and social justice advocate, Nelson serves as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He previously spoke at Monmouth in 2016 at the College’s Martin Luther King Day Convocation. 

Baccalaureate will be live-streamed on the College’s YouTube channel (, and Commencement will be live-streamed on the College’s main Facebook page (

Following baccalaureate at 3:30 p.m., members of the Class of 2019 will have the opportunity to participate in the Honor Walk, which has also been moved indoors to the Huff Athletic Center. Seniors will present a specially minted commemorative coin to honor a family member, faculty or staff member, or friend who provided inspiration, motivation and support during their Monmouth College career.

Graduates and their family members will attend the Senior Gala, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 11 in Glennie Gymnasium.

The Senior Gala dinner will open with an invocation by senior Oscar Diaz of Chicago. After a welcome from senior Ashley Maurer of Fairbury, Ill., Kaleb Ware of Chicago will deliver the senior reflection. Members of the Senior Class Gift committee will present President Wyatt with the class gift, which totals more than $7,300. Members of the senior class will be given pins from the Alumni Association, welcoming them into the organization.

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