Attending college in a small town on the southern Iowa border was not in the plan for California native, Angel Monroy. But then, in the summer of his junior year in high school, he attended the weeklong youth camp SPECTACULAR with his youth group on Graceland’s Lamoni campus. “SPEC was an amazing experience for an inner-city kid from Southern California. While there, I made a lot of friends, experienced a beautiful campus and was offered a soccer scholarship. Suddenly, Lamoni, Iowa seemed like the right fit,” Angel recalls.
From being away from home as a freshman to coaching the men’s soccer team his last year as a graduate student, Angel recalls many experiences, memories and lessons learned during his years at Graceland University. The one thing that sticks out most he says is, “Excellence is a process, not a goal.”
Angel feels blessed to have held the roles of both player and coach of the Graceland men’s soccer team. In 2006, the team won the national championship, but it wasn’t until 2007 when Angel truly experienced excellence. There was a difference all over campus when the team returned for the 2007 preseason at the start of the fall semester. There was something in the air, whether it be swagger, confidence or awesomeness, but he remembers it was infectious. Each team member made it a point to do their best and be their best every day. That was the year that taught Angel there was another level within himself he had yet to achieve. Today, Angel no longer looks for excellence. Instead, he focuses on the details and works at giving his best every day, and he believes that has made him a better person, professionally, as a husband and as a father.
The people are Angel’s link back to Graceland. The educators, coaches, staff and fellow students are why he had an amazing experience, why a soccer team from an NAIA school beat schools 10 times its size, and why the nursing program is among the best in the country. Angel is particularly grateful for the guidance of faculty like Tom Powell, Ivan Joseph and Claudia Horton. To this day, Angel’s closest friends are from his years at Graceland, and though they don’t see each other as much as they would like, when they do it’s as if they are back in Lamoni.
Angel earned his first of three degrees in 2000 when he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Graceland’s Lamoni campus. He returned to the Independence campus earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2006, and a Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner in 2010. His undergraduate nursing degree is the base upon which Angel has built his professional success.
The preparation he received at Graceland has afforded him many opportunities including selection as a new graduate to work in the intensive care unit at Truman Medical Center, a level I trauma center and a position reserved for experienced critical care nurses. Angel was subsequently accepted into Duke University where he specialized in orthopedics. Currently, Angel works as an orthopedic and sports medicine nurse practitioner in Overland Park, Kansas with Apex Orthopedics. Additionally, he works with Kansas City’s professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, as part of their medical staff.
A member of Aaron House while attending the Lamoni campus, Angel still proclaims, “Once a Knight, always a Knight.”
“I loved my time at Graceland because it brought me to where I am today. When I look at my wife, Valerie, who will give birth to our son in May, and my daughter, Anna, I am thankful for the experiences that have made what my life is today possible. I am glad I chose Graceland.”