Westmont Magazine First Monroe Scholars Graduate
Two Full-tuition Scholarship Recipients Complete Distinguished College Careers
Four years after receiving the first full-tuition scholarships at Westmont, Kyle Watters and Luke Oliver graduated with honors in May. They competed with 30 other top applicants to the class of 2006 to earn the prestigious awards, which covered their entire college tuition. A $3 million gift from former professor Kenneth Monroe and his wife, Peggy, funds the Monroe Scholars.
With their impressive academic achievements, Luke and Kyle received numerous scholarship offers from leading colleges and universities. “I was actually planning to attend another scholarship competition when I found out I got this one,” Luke says. “I thought this is where God wanted me, so I didn’t bother going to the other one.” Kyle, who was also accepted at Stanford University and Harvey Mudd College, struggled over where to go.,/p>
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” he says. “But I had a lot of great advice. Professor Warren Rogers, who teaches physics at Westmont, graduated from Harvey Mudd, and guided me and my parents through the decision process.”
Kyle majored in both physics and computer science and wrote for the student newspaper. Last summer, he joined two students and Professor Rogers in conducting nuclear physics research at Michigan State University. For fun, he belonged to the ultimate Frisbee club. He will continue his education at Stanford, where he’s been accepted into a doctoral program in physics. His brother, Cody ’09, also chose Westmont.
A religious studies major, Luke competed in cross country and track and field. In April, he was one of 13 outstanding student-athletes to win a Golden Eagle Award. He helped the Warriors return to the NAIA National Championships for the first time since 2001. The two-time NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete twice competed in the marathon at the NAIA National Championships and was Westmont’s second cross country finisher at the NAIA Region II Championships in November. “I didn’t want to be part of a program that took over my life,” Luke says. “It’s amazing how Coach Smelley has his priorities in order. God comes first, school comes after that and athletics is down the list.” Luke plans to attend graduate school and will work at Covenant Bible College in Ecuador next year.
“Not once in the last four years have I regretted coming to Westmont,” Kyle says. “It was absolutely the right decision.”