Spotlight: Spencer Yancey
March 07, 2013
The Office of Alumni and Advancement would like to extend warm birthday wishes to Spencer Yancey ’32. Yancey celebrated his 103 birthday Feb. 2, and recently commemorated his 80th C-SC class reunion. Yancey is Culver-Stockton College’s oldest living alumnus.
Yancey has been a loyal supporter of Culver-Stockton for many decades now. When asked why, his answer is simple. “I think about how much Culver-Stockton helped me. When I graduated, I owed the school $450, and I paid that off in about ten years. But I paid it off a few times since then,” says Yancey. “I give to C-SC every year because I think I am paying back that $450 I owed at the end of my senior year. I will always be thankful to the College for allowing me to stay in school and continue.” Staying in contact and active with the College is something Yancey encourages all alumni to do. “I see the College has visits and workdays, inviting alumni to come back and get involved. This was not done when I was younger, but had it been, I would have taken part. I think it is a wonderful thing for Culver-Stockton.”
Though Yancey is unable to take part in campus work days, he is still remarkably active. “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to a chair weights class. On Mondays and Wednesday, I go to a swim class and I usually try to swim or walk on Fridays and Saturdays,” says Yancey. The staff at Larksfield Place, where Yancey lives in Wichita, Kan., says he is an inspiration to other residents, as well as themselves. “He’s famous around Larksfield. A lot of people in the exercise classes look up to him,” explains Dixi Coates, his chair weights teacher.
Yancey credits his longevity to his active lifestyle, as well as good genes. “Several people in my family have lived to be in their 90’s and 100’s,” says Yancey. Whatever the cause, he is still youthfully independent, and even continues to drive. He even made it back to C-SC’s Homecoming a few years ago, making the 400 mile trip by himself. “I was 99 years old the last time I made it back to C-SC. Much was said about me driving 400 miles to get there, but I had a wonderful time. I had the opportunity to talk to a class and tell them a little about C-SC back in the 30’s and forties,” said Yancey. Though it has been 80 years since Yancey was a student, he still has plenty of memories about Culver-Stockton.
“The first year I attended C-SC, I worked as a waiter for Watson’s café. My senior year, I was a manager of the football and I made all the trips with the football team, even though we did not win many games at that time. And of course, I first met my wife at Culver-Stockton, and we had nothing but fond experiences from then on,” remembers Yancey. “Times have changed, I will tell you. When I graduated from C-SC, I took my first job out of college teaching in Shelbyville , Mo., with an annual salary of $800. I used to pay $20 a month for room and board.”
Yancey’s years have provided him with many experiences, and he has wise words to offer current students: “Train yourself to meet people and be willing to do things for others. The greatest privilege we have is being able to help those who are needier than we. Also in the future years, continue to grow and study. I especially advise you to take a physical fitness program and stay in good physical condition.”