Garden dedication honors family legacy

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 

Though Donna Clodfelter never attended Culver-Stockton herself, she spent more than a decade as a C-SC superparent. Donna’s three sons were each four years apart, and as soon as one graduated from Culver-Stockton, the next enrolled —attending the College for 12 consecutive years. From 1981 to 1993, Donna worked to get her boys through college and avidly supported Culver-Stockton College, seldom missing a family weekend and attending most Homecomings.

To recognize their mother’s support in getting them through college, Scott, Rick and Robb Clodfelter funded the creation of a garden on the Culver-Stockton campus. The Clodfelter Hosta Garden is located south of the Gladys Crown Center and will be a permanent reminder of a mother’s hard work and dedication. “I was so surprised and honored when the boys told me about their plans,” said Donna. “The campus is so beautiful and the garden will add to it.”

The Clodfelters learned about Culver-Stockton College from Reverend Gary Mayes, a Disciples of Christ minister at their church in Kennett, Mo. Mayes is a C-SC alumnus, and he encouraged Donna and her sons to learn more about C-SC because of its strong connection with the Christian Church. The family came to visit campus and felt at home right away. Coincidentally, the first person they met when they came to visit was the then director of admission and current president of the College, Richard Valentine. “It just goes to show how tight-knit the C-SC community really is,” said Donna.

After their first visit, Scott enrolled that fall, beginning the family’s long relationship with Culver-Stockton College. Each Clodfelter had unique experiences while attending; one even met the love of his life–with a little help from his mother. Through a mutual friend, Donna had met the mother of another Culver-Stockton student, Mary Ettling. She encouraged Robb, who was attending C-SC at the time, to seek out Mary. It took until Robb’s second semester during the Greek Olympics for them to meet, and they have been together ever since. The couple hopes their two children will also attend C-SC.

During the 12 years with her boys at Culver-Stockton, Donna watched Scott graduate in 1985 with his degree in journalism, Rick graduate in 1989 with degrees in elementary education and music, and Robb graduate in 1993 with his degree in English education. Currently Scott lives in Chicago working as a freelance social media consultant, Rick lives in New York City working as the director of content acquisitions and co-productions for the Cartoon Network and Robb lives in St. Charles, Mo., working as an indirect account executive for Verizon Wireless. Donna also lives in St. Charles.

The Clodfelter men are happy they found a way to honor their mother for her hard work and sacrifices. “It is an honor to be able to recognize our mother this way with a gift that will be a lasting contribution to the campus,” said Scott.

Donna was a single parent who was willing to make sacrifices to get her boys through college. “My boys have been my life. It was my goal for the boys to get a college education,” said Donna. “And it was all worth it. They are doing super in their careers and I credit that to Culver-Stockton.”