Culver–Stockton College

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Culver–Stockton College
Culver–Stockton College logo.png
AffiliationChristian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Endowment$21.0 million (as of 2013)[1]
PresidentKelly M. Thompson
Location, ,
United States

40°07′46″N 91°31′51″W / 40.1295°N 91.5309°W / 40.1295; -91.5309Coordinates: 40°07′46″N 91°31′51″W / 40.1295°N 91.5309°W / 40.1295; -91.5309
Campus140 acres (56.7 ha)

Culver–Stockton College is a private, residential, four-year, liberal arts college in Canton, Missouri. Culver–Stockton College offers a liberal arts education with practical learning experiences. The campus is located on 140 acres (56.7 ha) on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, 150 miles north of St. Louis. Culver–Stockton College was founded as Christian University in 1853 as the first institution west of the Mississippi River chartered specifically for men and women. As of fall 2014, the college enrolled 830 students.


D. Pat. Henderson.

In the 1850s, D. Pat Henderson and other Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) leaders were interested in creating an institution for the education of male and female students. Describing the site of the college that he had helped to select, Henderson said:[2]

In 1853, the college's founders were granted a charter by the State of Missouri to establish Christian University, in which classes began in 1855. Christian University was the United States' first co-educational institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. Dr. James Shannon became the college's first president the following year.[2]

Civil War[edit]

After a local scuffle between Southern and Northern sympathizers, federal troops were sent to Canton in July 1861 where they occupied the school's only building. The troops left after a short stay. Another wave of federal troops arrived in October 1861 and took forcible possession of the Old Main. They occupied it until early December 1862, using the building as a base for expeditions to fight Confederate units, chase down deserters, and seize property of disloyal citizens. They left Old Main a ghostly shell with broken doors and windows and locks, burned seats, and much of the furniture and teaching materials carried off or destroyed. Many trees on campus had been felled and the fences burned. It was nearly the death of Christian University. Under the leadership of B. H. Smith, the college reopened in 1865, but made little financial and physical progress until Dr. Carl Johann became president in 1902. When Old Main burned in 1903, the building was replaced by Henderson Hall.[2]

College renamed[edit]

The college changed its name in 1917 to reflect the generosity of two donors, Mary Culver and Robert Stockton. Stockton and Culver, both of St. Louis, played a vital role in the college's history with generous donations for residence halls, a new gymnasium, and grants for faculty salaries.[2]

Born Mary Elizabeth Comegys in Champaign County, Ohio, on March 19, 1841, Culver was one of three daughters and two sons born to Cornelius M. Comegys and his second wife, Anibel Dunlap McCune. As a child, she moved to Indiana. On December 1, 1860, she was married to Lucius Llewellyn (L.L.) Culver. The couple moved from Illinois to St. Louis in 1876. Her husband, an inventive man who was skillful in improving kitchen ranges, became a business partner with Robert Stockton. Their Company, Majestic Manufacturing Co., produced iron kitchen ranges. The Culvers had no children but invested their energy and funds into philanthropic activities.[2]

Robert Stockton was born in Mt. Sterling, Ky., on July 5, 1842. Orphaned at the age of 12, he stayed with his grandmother and worked in a shoe store until he was 15 and moved to Missouri with an uncle. He joined the Confederate army near the end of the Civil War and was stationed in Richmond, N.C. After the war, he moved back to Missouri and worked for Simmons Co. He met L.L. Culver, and they began the Majestic Manufacturing Co. Christian University's President Carl Johann met Stockton on a fund-raising campaign. Stockton became a generous donor to the college, giving money to help repair the college after a fire, funds for cottages to house married students, funds for teachers' salaries, money to eliminate Christian University's debt and many other projects.[2]


Twenty-six presidents have served Christian University/Culver–Stockton College through the years. The first was James Shannon. Shannon served as president of State College of Louisiana, Bacon College in Kentucky, and the University of Missouri before coming to Christian University in August 1856. He served as president until his death in 1859.[2]
Presidents and their years of service include:[2]

  1. James Shannon (1856-1859)
  2. Benjamin Harrison Smith (1865–1875)
  3. Winthrop Hartley Hopson (1875–1877)
  4. Reuben Lindsay Cave (1877–1881)
  5. John Clopton Reynolds (1881–1883)
  6. Oval Pirkey (1883–1886)
  7. John Huffman Hardin (1886–1888)
  8. Thomas Franklin Campbell (1888–1889)
  9. Simpson Ely (1889–1893)
  10. Perry O. Powell (1893–1894)
  11. Benjamin H. Smith (2nd term) (1894–1895)
  12. Clinton Lockhart (1895–1900)
  13. David Roberts Dungan (1900–1902)
  14. Carl Johann (1902–1914)
  15. Earl Marion Todd (1914–1917)
  16. John Hepler Wood (1917–1937)
  17. Walker Harrison McDonald (1937–1950)
  18. Leslie Edward Ziegler (1950–1956)
  19. Fred Helsabeck (1956–1973)
  20. Harold Charles Doster (1973–1977)
  21. Robert Windsor Brown (1978–1989)
  22. Walter Swanson Reuling (1989–1992)
  23. Edwin Batton Strong (1992–2003)
  24. William L. Fox (2003–2009)
  25. Richard D. Valentine (2009–2014)
  26. Kelly M. Thompson (2014–present)

Recent presidents[edit]

President Valentine launched the first capital campaign in twenty years which increased the endowment from $15.8 million in 2009 to $21.0 million.[4] In addition to raising the endowment, there were upgrades in buildings, scholarships and athletic facilities.[5][6] Enrollment has grown from 771 2010 to 830 in 2015. Unlike the national trend of many more women than men students, Culver- Stockton is evenly divided 50/50 between men and women.[7]

Richard Valentine (2009-2014)[edit]

Richard Valentine, a 1970 graduate of Culver–Stockton, served as the 25th president of Culver-Stockton from 2009 to 2014. Valentine's educational career spans 38 years at four institutions. At Culver he has served as the first C-SC alumnus president, as a member of the Culver–Stockton Board of Trustees and as a dean of admissions. Valentine raised $2M to endow a Travel Study program. “Ninety percent of our enrollment will have had travel experience by the time they leave Culver-Stockton," Valentine said. Among his accomplishments while President include successfully completing C-SC's first capital campaign, increasing alumni participation to the highest level in its history and bringing in two years in a row an incoming class of 300+ students for the first time in 15 years. Other projects completed as listed in the ‘’Herald-Whig’ article include remodeling a residence hall and the library, constructing a new softball complex and C-SC's coffee shop, installing a state-of-the art recording studio and television studio, enhancing campus beautification through landscaping, fountains, benches and installing a new entrance and funding a new Recreation and Wellness Center.[6]

Kelly M. Thompson (2014-present)[edit]

Dr. Kelly M. Thompson became the twenty-sixth president of Culver–Stockton College on July 1, 2014. She is the College's first woman president and succeeds Mr. Richard Valentine, the College's first alumnus president. According to Ron Leftwich, Class of 1964, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and former vice president of Shell Oil, "We look forward to her leadership and working with her as we continue to become a stronger College focused on enhancing the Student Experience." Dr. Thompson is a higher education administrator who has specialized in enrollment management and fund raising. Thompson served as Vice President for External Relations since 2008 at Barton College in Wilson, N.C., which is also affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination. Thompson has experience in major gift fundraising, campaign management, annual fund programs, planned giving, marketing, alumni and parent relations, admissions and financial aid. She raised $3.5 million for a new theatre, $1.6 million for a new entrance, and increased Barton College's net tuition revenue by $2.4 million. Her previous employers included Davenport University, National-Louis University and the National College of Education. Thompson earned an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in communications and theater from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from the University of Illinois-Champaign.[8]



Most of the buildings on today's Culver–Stockton campus have been built since 1937. Much construction and complete renovation of the major buildings on campus have taken place since 1980.

Henderson Hall[edit]

Henderson Hall, now on the National Register of Historic Places

The first building on Culver–Stockton Campus was Old Main, known today as Henderson Hall. Construction began in 1853 and was completed in 1855. The building was destroyed by fire on March 23, 1903. In keeping with a tradition that carries on today, students didn't miss one day of school. Officials organized classes in local churches. College President Carl Johann resolved to rebuild; and within 10 days of the fire, the citizens of Canton raised $15,000 for a new building. The college collected $8,000 from insurance and salvaged $4,000 worth of stone and brick from the old building. The new building was completed and occupied by May 15, 1904. Since funds were still short to complete payment, orator and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan spoke on campus on August 24, 1904, to help raise funds. Since the original building had a dome, a dome also was part of the new construction. The dome on Henderson Hall continues to be an important symbol of the College to this day. Henderson Hall originally housed science laboratories, men's and women's gymnasiums, a museum, a dining room, a “commercial” department, library, administrative offices, classrooms, an assembly hall that seated about 600 with a rolling door at the rear that could be opened to add 400 more spectators, and three meeting rooms for student groups. As educational activities were dispersed to other buildings, Henderson Hall continued to serve, as it does today, as a primarily administrative and classroom building. The new building was named for Dr. Pat Henderson, one of the founders and first president of the board of trustees. Henderson was a church leader, an editor and publisher of religious publications, and a tireless public servant. He was instrumental in the founding of Eureka College and Columbia College in addition to Culver–Stockton. He served in several governmental social service capacities during and after the Civil War. He was an outspoken advocate of education for women. Henderson Hall was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. [9]

Johnson Hall[edit]

Johnson Hall was built in 1912 as Culver–Stockton Hall as a “co-educational” residence hall with 44 men living on one wing and 44 women on the other. There was a superintendent's office in the middle to maintain no communication between the sides. Culver–Stockton has historically considered the physical fitness of the student body a high priority. A gymnasium occupied the main floor of the center section. A swimming pool, dining hall, and laundry occupied the basement. The hall represents an early collaboration between important pioneer donors, Mary Culver and Robert Stockton, each of whom contributed $25,000. The dormitory wings of Johnson burned in 1923 but were rebuilt to house 100 women. Male students moved to another building. A new gymnasium building with swimming pool was constructed on a nearby site and the old gymnasium and swimming pool area was remodeled into parlors, classrooms, meeting rooms, practice rooms and a YWCA room. Students still live in Johnson Hall. Its basement has been a dining hall and a theater but currently serves as administrative offices for student organizations and the Student Development office.

Carl Johann Memorial Library[edit]

The college library had been housed in Henderson Hall before discussion began in 1937 about a separate building. The Great Depression and looming war slowed money raising, but $23,000 was raised before World War II broke out. In 1947 the need for a separate library/classroom building became acute. Six faculty houses were razed to make room for the new building. The building was named after Carl Johann, an important early college president. The original building housed the bookstore/soda fountain, a projection room, a phonograph room, and a museum in the basement. The second floor was used for administrative offices and classrooms. The library and the headquarters of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society were on the third floor. Administrative offices were moved back to Henderson after renovations were completed, and offices in Johann were remodeled for faculty. Wings added in 1965 were initially to be funded using a federal grant under the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963. After the grant was approved the Board of Trustees realized that complying with government regulations would add $50,000 to the cost of the building and prohibit the teaching of religion classes in the new wings. The board turned down the grant. It was a newsworthy act. As word got out many newspapers and individuals praised the College's independence. One of the wings housed science classrooms, offices, and labs. The other wing housed general classrooms, offices and additional library study space on the third floor. In 2002 the science department was moved to its own building. In 2012, "The Lab," a coffeehouse and gathering spot, was constructed in the area that used to house a science lab.

Ellison A. Poulton Memorial Stadium[edit]

The Ellison A. Poulton Memorial Stadium was dedicated at Homecoming in 1953 to Ellison A. Poulton, a Canton native. While a student at Culver–Stockton, he played on the football team. He graduated from Culver–Stockton in 1919 and Harvard Law School in 1922. The Roy D. Wilcox Memorial Pressbox was added in 2003.

Carla Rifkind Warsaw Memorial Chapel of All Faiths[edit]

Required daily chapel was a ritual of academic life at Culver–Stockton from the beginning. In the 1960s one focus of student unrest was required chapel. Ultimately, required chapel services were eliminated. Voluntary chapel service continued reflecting the historic affiliation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the mission of the college. Services were held in an assortment of places including an outdoor chapel on the northeast corner of campus.

In 1970 the college began planning the new Gladys Crown Student Center named for the wife of Col. Henry Crown, prominent businessman and philanthropist.[10] Connected to the east wing is the Carla Rifkind Warsaw Memorial Chapel of All Faiths. The chapel contains centers for worship and meditation for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish students. Rabbi Dr. Louis Binstock of Chicago led the dedication service in 1972. Long-time art professor, Grant Kenner created the All Faiths Frieze encircling the chapel interior in 1973-76. The frieze displays an original ecumenical emblem designed by Prof. Kenner and 44 other symbols representing the great religions of the world. In 2002, Professor Kenner created stained glass and metal doors for the chapel.

Herrick Foundation Center[edit]

The Herrick Foundation Center, renovated in 1983 from the L.L. Culver Gymnasium, built in 1925, was named for the Herrick Foundation which contributed funds toward the building. A center for business and art, the building features classrooms and seminar rooms, a 125-seat auditorium, five art studios, a photography darkroom, a general computer lab and a graphic arts lab, and the Mabee Art Gallery, located in a two-story gallery that hosts several professional art exhibitions are planned annually as well as faculty and student art shows.

Robert W. Brown Performing Arts Center[edit]

The Robert W. Brown Performing Arts Center was added to Alexander Campbell Auditorium in 1990. It is named in honor of Robert W. Brown, president emeritus. The state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center houses all three of Culver–Stockton's performing spaces. The Alexander Campbell Auditorium, which was built in 1966, is a 900-seat proscenium theatre used for musicals and larger theatre productions. Mabee Little Theatre is a flexible seating "Black Box" experimental theatre, used for theatre department productions and student-directed productions. The Performing Arts Center also houses practice and rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, a costume shop, orchestra pit, the music computer lab, piano lab, faculty studios, and classrooms.

Science Center[edit]

Opened for classes in 2002, the Science Center is Culver–Stockton College's newest academic building. The facility houses the college's science, mathematics and computer information systems academic departments. The Science Center features the John A. Sperry Jr. Astronomical Observation Platform, Carolyn L. Brown Lecture Hall, a computer lab, several science laboratories, classrooms and faculty offices.

Roy D. Wilcox Memorial Pressbox[edit]

The Roy D. Wilcox Memorial Pressbox was built in 2003. It is named in honor of Roy D. Wilcox, a Culver–Stockton alumnus and Wildcat sports fan. Wilcox's family attended the dedication ceremony during Homecoming 2003.

The "Hill"[edit]

Throughout the College's history the “Hill” has been an enduring symbol of the college. For decades students climbed the east front of the campus up the steep hill to get from downtown to class. In the winter, students and local children used the hill for sledding. In 1964, after much discussion, a roadway was built connecting Lewis Street and Henderson Hall. Alongside the road a sidewalk and steps were built. The Board of Trustees envisioned a road that would give a panoramic view of the college on one side and the Mississippi Valley on the other. The site was named after Ada Wallace Roberts, a long-time English professor and administrator. At the base of the hill was placed a memorial with the names of those alumni who had given their lives in World War II.[11]

The Concourse continues to provide the panoramic view the trustees originally sought. About 200 campus older trees were lost in the tornado of May 2003. The College developed a Greenspace Committee to advise on landscaping matters and to protect the historic views.


Culver–Stockton College offers bachelor's degrees in many different fields of study. C-SC offers a unique curriculum that splits up the typical 15-week semester into a 12-week term and a 3-week term designed to give students more hands-on experience by focusing on fewer classes at once. This schedule encourages and often includes domestic and international travel.[12] Also, through its Online Campus, courses can be taken in an 8-week accelerated format. In addition, Culver–Stockton partners with the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing in Quincy, Ill., just across the river, to offer a four-year nursing degree.[13]

The 2016-2017 listed tuition and fees are $25,415 and room and board is $8,110. Over 90% who apply for financial aid receive it. On average, need-based aid covered 72% of students' costs.[14] The student-faculty ratio at Culver–Stockton College is 15:1, and the school has 59.9 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students.[14]

Starting in 2013, the Business Division began offering an online MBA. The most popular majors are Business Administration and Management; Sport and Fitness Administration/Management; Psychology; Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; and Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration.[15] The college is divided into three large divisions as of July 1, 2014, which contain many different majors and programs. An individualized major is also an option. The three new divisions are entitled Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences (ALAS), Fine, Applied, and Literary Arts (FALA), and Business, Education, and Law (BEL).

Nursing program[edit]

Culver–Stockton partners with the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Students generally spend their freshman and sophomore years attending class on the Culver–Stockton campus and their last two years at Blessing-Rieman in Quincy, Illinois, although many students continue to live on the Canton campus.[16]


Culver–Stockton's athletic teams are known as the Wildcats and compete in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, an affiliate of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Eighteen Wildcat teams compete in the HAAC: basketball (men's and women's), soccer (men's and women's), golf (men's and women's), track and field (men's and women's), cross country (men's and women's), baseball, football, volleyball (men's and women's), softball, bowling (men's and women's),y and a co-ed spirit squad. Both track and field and cross country were reintroduced in 2007. Complete records of all teams are available online.[17]

Greek life[edit]

Over a third of the men (36%) live together in fraternities and a third of the women (39%) live together in sororities.[7] Greek life on Culver–Stockton's campus differs from many as the college provides on campus housing for the Greek houses. The sororities are housed in three separate buildings located near the center of campus. The fraternities, with one exception, are housed in fraternity park which was completed in 1996. The college has plans to build a fourth house in "the park" to house the last fraternity.[18]

Interfraternity Council[edit]

Fraternity Chapter Founded National
Affiliation Date
Local Name
Alpha Tau Omega Eta Omicron Chapter 1967 1971 Beta Gamma Phi
Delta Upsilon Culver–Stockton Chapter 1988 1988
Kappa Alpha Psi Eta Kappa Chapter 1974 1974
Lambda Chi Alpha Kappa Mu Chapter 1867 1939 Hawkins Literary Institute
Tau Kappa Epsilon Zeta Pi Chapter 1868 1959 Mathatropian Literary Society

Panhellenic Council[edit]

Sorority Chapter Founded National
Affiliation Date
Local Name
Chi Omega Mu Gamma Chapter 1867 1927 Zetolophian Literary Society
Sigma Kappa Beta Mu Chapter 1927 1947 Omega Delta
Sigma Sigma Sigma Eta Sigma Chapter 2005 2005 Phi Kappa Chi

Past Greek organizations[edit]

Organization Chapter Founded Date Left Campus Local Name
Alpha Xi Delta Beta Nu Chapter 1943 2004
Sigma Phi Epsilon Missouri Epsilon 1952 1990s

Professional Greek organizations[edit]

Organization Chapter Focus Founded National Affiliation
Delta Phi Epsilon Culver-Stockton International Affairs 2013 2014

Honor Greek organizations[edit]

Organization Subject/Class
Alpha Chi Senior
Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice
Beta Beta Beta Biology
Lambda Pi Eta Communications
Phi Alpha Theta History
Phi Eta Sigma Freshman
Pi Lambda Theta Education
Psi Chi Psychology
Sigma Beta Delta Business
Sigma Phi Zeta Music
Sigma Tau Delta English
Theta Alpha Phi Theatre

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Education Rankings and Advice: Culver Stockton College". US News & World Report. 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Library". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  3. ^ (Howard L. Conard, ed., "Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri," vol. 1, The Southern History Company, St. Louis, Mo., 1901)
  4. ^ Bob Gough, Culver-Stockton to launch $10.4 million capital campaign Archived 2015-02-07 at the Wayback Machine "Quincy Journal".
  5. ^ See US News Education Rankings and Advice: Culver Stockton College (2015)
  6. ^ a b Steve Eighinger, “Culver-Stockton College president ‘has lived his dream’,” Quincy ‘’Herald-Whig,’’ May 13, 2014.
  7. ^ a b see US News Education Rankings and Advice: Culver Stockton College (2015)
  8. ^ "Culver-Stockton selects first female president," Quincy Herald-Whig May 22, 2014 Archived June 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project". Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  10. ^ Lee, Culver-Stockton College: The First 130 Years (1984) pp 154-56
  11. ^ George R. Lee, Culver-Stockton College: The First 130 Years (1984) pp 141-42
  12. ^ "Admission - Culver-Stockton College". Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Nursing Students". Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b "". Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  15. ^ see US News Education Rankings and Advice: Culver-Stockton College (2015)
  16. ^ "Nursing". Culver–Stockton College. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  17. ^ "Culver-Stockton College Athletics". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Greek Life". Retrieved 19 September 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peters, George. Dreams Come True: A History of Culver-Stockton College (1941)
  • Lee, George R Culver-Stockton College: The First 130 Years (1984)

External links[edit]