Mollie Paisley ('22) is pictured on the far right, along with a trio of fellow Monmouth College alumni at HON, including, from left, her 2022 classmates Drake Dietrich and Preston Evans. Also pictured is Shaniah Anderson ('20)

MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS (May 24, 2023) Students in Monmouth College's Class of 2023 received their diplomas on May 14, entering the "real world" armed not only with a distinguished leather-bound parchment, but with the knowledge that Monmouth graduates get off to a solid start.

In fact, 98% of the members of Monmouth's Class of 2022 reported being either employed or in graduate school within six months after graduating. According to the College's First Destination Survey results, roughly three-quarters of those graduates are working, and the other quarter are attending either graduate or professional school.

"Those results show that students are continuing to do the things they want to do," said Marnie Dugan ('95), director of the College's Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership, and Fellowships. "It sounds so simple, but it's a very good thing. They're navigating things on the employment side and on the graduate school side."

In addition to attending graduate school at a pair pf Big Ten universities — Illinois and Wisconsin — members of the Class of 2022 are attending a trio of law schools, and regional institutions that include Western Illinois University, Illinois State University, and Palmer College of Chiropractic. The '22 grads are also spread out across the country, enrolled in graduate and professional programs from the University of North Carolina, to Colorado State University, to California State University, Fullerton.

On the job front, organizations represented include top local employers Caterpillar, HON Co, OSF Healthcare, and the Rock Island Arsenal. Members of the Monmouth Class of 2022 are also working at the Department of Defense, Morningstar, and Bayshore Capital Advisors. Several '22 grads are working in education, including locally at the Monmouth-Roseville school district, Immaculate Conception School, and Monmouth College.

“Real world” examples

Class of 2022 graduate Mollie Paisley said she found out about her position at HON through Monmouth alumni."Then I was able to connect with Marnie Dugan at the Wackerle Center to update my résumé and cover letter and tailor it to the company," she said. "From there, I spent days preparing with Marnie and several professors at the College to create a persuasive presentation for my interview that I was asked to present. I felt very prepared for my interview and used various skills I learned through my business writing, marketing, and advertising classes."

Paisley said one of the most important skills she learned at Monmouth was building "a personal brand."

"That lesson has really stuck with me," she said. "Building your personal brand, as I had been doing throughout my four years at Monmouth, helped me make connections, highlight my important accomplishments throughout the years, and create career goals for my future."

Bryan Peters is another '22 graduate who expressed gratitude to the Wackerle Center for sharpening his professional skills. An account executive with Pangea Resourcing, Peters is in charge of project development in the US East region, working with renewable-energy companies.

Initially, he said, he had "no interest in relocating," but Pangea made an offer too good to refuse.

"They ended up giving me a large raise in my base salary, a much better commission scheme, much more responsibility, and room for career growth, and paid the relocation costs, so it felt like a no-brainer," he told Dugan. "I just wanted to thank you all for everything you did to get me ready for a role like this."

More good news

Monmouth's First Destination survey also showed positive results in the financial data, as the mean starting salary increased to $46,919 from the previous survey's figure of $40,336. The three-year improvement is just under $10,000.

Also on an upward trajectory is what is called "knowledge rate" — the percentage of graduates who responded to the survey. The pandemic and other related issues had caused that rate to slip in the past few years, said Dugan.

"But this year, our knowledge rate increased to nearly 70%," she said, "putting us back on track to get to where we were pre-pandemic."

Dugan said another piece of good news was an increase in the number of students taking advantage of the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience during their time at Monmouth.

"The results showed more engagement for the graduates when they were students," said Dugan, "with the percentage of students reporting having at least one internship during their four years increasing from 62% to 89%."

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