Barry McNamara  |  Published April 24, 2024

Highlander Leadership Awards

Schnetzler, Plumley, Landon among award winners at annual ceremony.

AWARD RECIPIENTS: Pictured in front, from left, are Fatima Gutierrez, Olivia Postin, Tasha Bernius, Kaid Laid, Maddy Henry,... AWARD RECIPIENTS: Pictured in front, from left, are Fatima Gutierrez, Olivia Postin, Tasha Bernius, Kaid Laid, Maddy Henry, K Short and Nyla Jackson. In back are David Wright, Chris Goble, Ethan Main, Will Plumley, Jeff Schnetzler and the Rev. John Huxtable.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College held its annual Highlander Leadership Awards earlier this month, recognizing individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to the campus community.


White and Crimson Leadership Award

Jeff Schnetzler ’25 of Metamora, Illinois, received the White and Crimson Leadership Award, which recognizes students who have taken extra strides to go beyond the call of duty to have an impact on campus.

A classics and social science education major with a history minor, Schnetzler has been involved in Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activity, football, track and field, the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, residence life as a resident assistant and head resident, Teachers Allied with Rural Towns and Neighborhood Schools, the Illinois Educators Association and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as its president.

Through SAAC, Schnetzler has advocated for athletes’ mental health and for more meal money on road trips, “a change that has been felt by every athlete, helping them feel more supported,” wrote his nominator. On a larger scale, he has been involved representing students at various levels for the College’s hiring process, including incoming president Patricia Draves.

“He is not afraid to say when something needs to be changed, and he knows how to either do it himself or who to go to to make it happen,” wrote one of his nominators. “He is the person in everyone’s corner who wants to make a positive change that will outlast his time on campus.”

“He is not afraid to say when something needs to be changed, and he knows how to either do it himself or who to go to to make it happen.”


Also a classics tutor, Schnetzler’s contributions to that department have been profound. Last March, he helped plan and lead the national meeting of Eta Sigma Phi, the national classics honors society, and he also played a major role behind the scenes and during Classics Day VI, which took place last fall.

“The initiative he took for the two events was tremendous, and his dedicated planning and confident guidance contributed significantly to them being as successful as they were,” wrote another nominator, noting that one event drew visitors to Monmouth from all over the country, while the other attracted visitors from all over the state. “Jeff is a quiet person by nature, but he does not have to speak loudly to get things accomplished, because his work ethic and the responsibility he takes earn others’ respect for him.”


Emerging Leader Award

William Plumley ’25 of Geneseo, Illinois, the chapter president for the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, was named this year’s Emerging Leader Award recipient. Last year, Plumley represented the chapter as SigEp’s Grand Chapter Conclave in San Antonio. He has been recognized on several occasions for his academic achievement and commitment to Greek life ideals, being a recipient of SigEp’s Balanced Man Scholarship, its New Member Academic Excellence Award, and the Clifford B. Scott Key Prize for Sound Mind and Body.

Outside of SigEp, Plumley has participated in cross country and track and field since his freshman year and has been a member of the Chorale, Chamber Choir, Wind Ensemble and Fighting Scots Marching Band.

“This past semester, he finished his senior history research a year ahead of schedule, and he maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.92.”


“William has been able to thrive in athletics, the fine arts and Greek life during his tenure at Monmouth, and has done all this while working towards his double major in history and political science,” wrote his nominator. “This past semester, he finished his senior history research a year ahead of schedule, and he maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.92.”

Off campus, Plumley has regularly participated in community service, putting in a variety of hours in Boy Scouts, youth ministry and public assistance programs.


Champion for Change

The Champion for Change Award is a recently created recognition established to honor the life and legacy of Champion Miller, the first person of color to have affiliation with Monmouth College. The student who receives this award aligns with the character of its namesake – a champion for change for equity and inclusion. This year’s recipient is Kaid Landon ’24 of Beloit, Wisconsin.

“Like Champion Miller, Kaid’s presence has made a difference at Monmouth College,” wrote his nominator. “We are better because he chose our school. His kindness, sensitivity and passion for equity and inclusion have culminated in a tremendous leader on our campus. He is driven and steadfast in his pursuit to support marginalized persons and expand his understanding of the world.”

“Like Champion Miller, Kaid’s presence has made a difference at Monmouth College. We are better because he chose our school. His kindness, sensitivity and passion for equity and inclusion have culminated in a tremendous leader on our campus.”


Monmouth students have consistently commented on the need for an LGBTQ+ affinity space on campus, and Landon created it, bringing together the entire SOFIA program to paint canvases that now hang in the space.

“Students from all over our campus now have an attachment to that room, regardless of their sexual or gender identity, because of Kaid’s organizing efforts,” wrote his nominator, who noted that Landon follows a motto put forth by Adam Eli that “queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere.”

Other students who were honored at this year’s Highlander Leadership Awards include:

* Peer Mentor of the Year: Maddy Henry ’25 of Harmon, Illinois
* Good Neighbor Award: Tasha Bernius ’25 of Eureka, Illinois
* Student Employee of the Year: Olivia Postin ’24 of Avon, Illinois

Faculty and staff honored were:
* Monmouth Difference Maker Award: Rev. John Huxtable
* Adviser Excellence Award: Chris Goble, communication studies
* Outstanding Career Mentor: David Wright, English

Organizations and programs honored were:
* Service Excellence Award: Mental Health Peer Educators
* Organization Excellence Award: Association for Student Activity Programming
* Kaleidoscope Award: Get Moving Monmouth

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