Growing up in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, Oliezer Torres dreamed of playing college baseball on the U.S. Mainland. After earning his high school diploma with honors at Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Olie started college at the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce — not on the mainland, and not playing baseball.

“I was frustrated and could not understand at the time,” Olie said. “I continued practicing and looking for options.”

And then, an opportunity popped up. Olie was recruited to play baseball at Morthland College. The 21-year-old biology major says he has had to overcome many challenges — including a language barrier and dealing with winter weather, but it has all been worth it.

“This is the place where the Lord wants me, at Morthland College,” Olie says.

This year, Olie is the recipient of the Pete Mondino Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established by Mr. Mondino’s wife, JoAnn, following his passing in December.

Like Olie, Mr. Mondino was no stranger to challenges — having served in the Navy during World War II. He was a supporter of higher education — Mr. Mondino spent more than three decades working as an electrician on the SIU campus — and a backer of Morthland College.

Morthland College is Forging Futures for many Patriot athletes like Oliezer Torres. The college is in the midst of a $320,000 scholarship campaign. For more information or to set up a scholarship fund, contact Leigh Caldwell, lcaldwell@morthland.edu, or Stephanie Parton, sparton@morthland.edu.