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Evangel volleyball player receives $92,000 Army ROTC scholarship

Published on Nov 16, 2020 by Erin Hedlun

Emily Connelly is presented with a $92,000 scholarship check from MSU Military Science Department Chair Colonel Toni Rieke.// PHOTO by EU Athletics


SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Evangel University (EU) sophomore Emily Connelly was awarded a $92,000 scholarship from Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on Thursday evening, Nov. 12. Colonel Toni Rieke, head of the Military Science Department at Missouri State University (MSU), was on hand to present the award.

The check was presented before the start of EU’s volleyball match against Park University. Connelly, a native of Liberty, Texas, is a member of the EU women’s volleyball team.

The Army ROTC program, offered to EU students through a partnership with MSU’s Bear Battalion, is what led Connelly to make the ten hour move to Springfield, Missouri.

The $92,000 scholarship will cover three years of Connelly’s campus-based tuition, including books and fees.

Evangel University partners with MSU’s Bear Battalion Army ROTC program to train cadets for future military service while pursuing a higher education degree.

“Emily possesses the leadership traits we look for in young leaders,” said Philip Roberson, enrollment and scholarship officer in the Department of Military Science at MSU. “She is a dependable, motivated young leader who will excel in her future career as an army officer.” 

Emily Connelly participates in field training activities. // PHOTO courtesy of MSU’s Bear Battalion


Emily Connelly, a calling to serve

Connelly comes by her calling to serve in the armed forces naturally. Her grandfather served in the Navy and her uncle served in the Army.

Emily Connelly // PHOTO courtesy of MSU’s Bear Battalion

“They both passed away before I made the official decision to pursue ROTC.” Connelly said. “I believe they would be so proud of me if they were still here.”

Connelly is a natural born leader, serving as president of the student council and an active member of the National Art Honor Society and Business Professionals of America while in high school.

She was also a dedicated dual-sport athlete, competing in both volleyball and track throughout her high school career.

The opportunity to combine her determination and grit with the pursuit of a high quality education led her to enroll at Evangel. The scholarship money will ensure she completes her degree in Multimedia Journalism.

“I knew I was called to attend Evangel, but had absolutely no idea how I could afford it,” Connelly said. “After some research, I discovered ROTC and all of the opportunities it provided. It aligned with my goals to serve in the military and I felt that I was well-suited for the program because of my drive and work ethic. It’s been a great fit.”

Once commissioned as an army officer, Connelly plans to join the Signal Corps, a branch responsible for the creation and management of communication and information systems, and a fitting career choice for Connelly’s communication-focused degree.

Emily Connelly participates in field training activities. // PHOTO courtesy of MSU’s Bear Battalion


ROTC program shapes future leaders

The Army ROTC program is offered through a partnership between Evangel University and MSU and provides a way for students to sharpen their leadership skills and hone their athletic ability while considering a future career in the armed forces.

A blend of seated Military Science-focused courses and field training opportunities challenge students to build character and confidence while discovering the career opportunities available as a full-time military officer.

The ROTC program is open to students from all academic departments and courses count as elective credits. Advanced classes are specifically for students who desire to become commissioned army officers upon graduation.

Eligible high school and college students may earn full tuition Army ROTC scholarships, renewable annually.

“Emily is a great example of the type of student who will one day make an outstanding officer,” said Dane Moore, Veteran’s Center coordinator at Evangel. “Like Emily, students who qualify and have the desire to serve their country are offered a unique opportunity to do so through our ROTC partnership program.”

To learn more about Evangel’s Army ROTC program, visit


About Evangel University 

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,300 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.