Culver-Stockton College

Culver-Stockton College

Infobox University
name = Culver-Stockton College

established = 1853
type = Private
president = Dr. William L. Fox
affiliations = Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
city = Canton
state = Missouri
country = United States
campus = convert|140|acre|km2|1
students = 853
faculty =
website =|

Culver-Stockton College is a private, residential, four-year, liberal arts college located in Canton, Missouri. Culver-Stockton College offers a liberal arts education with practical learning experiences. The campus is located on convert|140|acre|km2|1 on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Culver-Stockton College was founded as Christian University in 1853. As of fall 2006, the college enrolled 853 students (FTEs).

Mission:The mission of Culver-Stockton College is to provide students of promise a superb education within an active learning community founded upon integrity and the best values of faith and the human spirit.


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:

"Here on the summit of two of a circle of hills, divided by a vale so virgin in its primitive luxuriance of forest and tangled wood that twilight lingers at midday beneath its bough, are to arise the structures dedicated to the equal culture of the male and female mind." (Howard L. Conard, ed., "Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri," vol. 1, The Southern History Company, St. Louis, Mo., 1901)
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. Dr. James Shannon became the college's first president the following year.

Civil War

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 Ben 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.

College Renamed

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.

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 Dec. 1, 1860, she was married to Lucius Llewellyn (L.L.) Culver. The couple moved from Illinois to St. Louis in 1876. Her husand, 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.

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 Manuafacturing 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.

Natural Disasters

During the summer of 1993, the Mississippi River flooded the Midwest. Although Culver-Stockton, located "on the "Hill," would have been safe from floodwaters if Canton's levee had broken, college employees assisted in filling and stacking sandbags for the town's levee. When residents below the hill were ordered to evacuate their homes, the college opened its doors and facilities to house approximately 600 area residents. In the end, the town's levee did not break; and the evacuation notice was lifted on July 29, 1993.

A tornado devastated the campus and part of the town of Canton on May 10, 2003, just hours after commencement ceremonies had concluded. The field house that had held the ceremonies was completely destroyed. The landmark dome on Henderson Hall was ripped off. Other buildings were damaged extensively, and more than 200 trees on the concourse were uprooted. Since then, the dome has been replaced, the fieldhouse rebuilt, and other repairs made.


Twenty four 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 1859 when he died several months after suffering a stroke.

Other presidents and their years of service include:

*Benjamin Harrison Smith 1865-1875
*Winthrop Hartley Hopson 1875-1877
*Reuben Lindsay Cave 1877-1881
*John Clopton Reynolds 1881-1883
*Oval Pirkey 1883-1886
*John Huffman Hardin 1886-1888
*Thomas Franklin Campbell 1888-1889
*Simpson Ely 1889-1893
*Perry O. Powell 1893-1894
*Benjamin H. Smith(2nd term)1894-1895
*Clinton Lockhart 1895-1900
*David Roberts Dungan 1900-1902
*Carl Johann 1902-1914
*Earl Marion Todd 1914-1917
*John Hepler Wood 1917-1937
*Walker Harrison McDonald 1937-1950
*Leslie Edward Ziegler 1950-1956
*Fred Helsabeck 1956-1973
*Harold Charles Doster 1973-1977
*Robert Windsor Brown 1978-1989
*Walter Swanson Reuling 1989-1992
*Edwin Batton Strong 1992-2003

Current president

The current president, who arrived in Canton just days before the tornado hit, is Dr. William L. Fox. President Fox became the institution's 24th president on June 15, 2003. Fox received a bachelor of arts degree in history (with honors) from St. Lawrence University in 1975, a master of divinity degree from Harvard University in 1978, and a doctorate in American religious history (with distinction in the major field) from George Washington University in 1989.

Ordained to the ministry in 1978 (affiliated with the United Church of Christ), Fox led churches in metropolitan Boston, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In 1990, he was among the youngest entries in "Who's Who in American Religion." Fox has written and published on a variety of topics, including two books on the history of American Freemasons, the award-winning "Valley of the Craftsmen" (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press distributor, 2001) and the highly acclaimed "Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle: Two Centuries of Scottish Rite Freemasonry" (Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press, 1997; second printing, 1999). His first book is an intellectual biography of the 20th century theologian Willard L. Sperry, and Fox has been the general editor of "Studies in Church History" (Peter Lang Publishing), which included nine scholarly books.

Fox entered college administration from his dual careers in academia and the church. From 1999 to 2003, he was a senior administrator at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md. In addition to supporting three presidents as special assistant, Fox functioned as a senior advancement officer, worked in academic affairs as associate dean for graduate and professional programs, and led the enrollment management division to two record-setting years. During his years at Goucher, he coordinated college strategic planning, was the administrative liaison to the Board of Trustees, and established a 40-member national board of visitors. In 2000, Fox was selected for participation in the Institute for Educational Management (IEM) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was also accepted into the 2003 Harvard Seminar for New Presidents at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was an invited participant in the 2004 Educational Leadership Program at Yale University.

Fox's faculty experience includes an appointment at Howard University School of Divinity, service as associate professor of philosophy and history at Montgomery College in Maryland, and teaching history at Goucher. While leading a church in California, he was adjunct professor of church history at the Claremont School of Theology and president of the Clinebell Institute, a pastoral care and training center for eastern Los Angeles County.



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"

The first building on Culver-Stockton Campus was Old Main, today known as Henderson Hall. Construction was begun in 1853 and 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 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 William Jennings Bryan spoke on campus on Aug. 24, 1904, to help raise funds. 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. 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 continued to serve, as it does today, as a primary administrative and classroom building. Henderson Hall was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

"Johnson Hall"

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"

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.

"Ellison A. Poulton Memorial Stadium"

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"

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. 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"

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"

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"

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"

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"

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 Roberts, a long-time faculty member and administrator. At the base of the hill was placed a sign that included, along with her name, the names of those students who had given their lives in World War II.

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 27 different fields of study as well as an online degree-completion program for adults, called Connected Campus. Culver-Stockton also partners with the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing in Quincy, Ill., just across the river, to offer a four-year nursing degree.


The Division of Business offers bachelor of science degree programs, with majors in Accounting, Business, Finance, Management, and Management Information Systems. Programs are focused around hands-on experience and leadership development. There are several student organizations in the division, including one which operates an online e-Bay business. Minor concentrations also are available.


The Division of Education/Applied Arts offers degree programs and certification for future teachers, including early childhood, elementary education, middle education, secondary education, and special education. Although some states may require additional certification tests, all states will accept Culver-Stockton's teaching credentials at least provisionally.

"Applied Arts"

The division also offers accredited bachelor of science degrees in applied arts, including athletic training, physical/health education, and recreation management.

Fine Arts

Culver-Stockton includes a thriving Division of Fine Arts, with degree programs in art, arts management, music, theatre, and musical theatre. Culver-Stockton is one of only two colleges to offer an arts management degree, which combines courses in fine arts, business, and communications. The musical theatre major, new in 2007, combines courses in music, theatre, and dance.

Humanities and Social Sciences

The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences offers degrees in Communications (with a focus on either Speech Communication or Media Communication), Criminal Justice, English, History, Political Science, Psychology, Religion and Philosophy. The division also offers a pre-law program.

Natural and Mathematical Sciences

The Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences balances a solid liberal arts foundation with preparation for a professional career. Majors are available in biology, mathematics, or clinical laboratory science. Pre-professional programs are available in occupational and physical therapy, dentistry, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.

Nursing Program

Partnering with the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing, Culver-Stockton combines staff and faculty expertise, resources, and commitment of both campuses to offer a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The baccalaureate degree is jointly conferred by Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Culver-Stockton College. 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, Ill., although many students continue to live on the Canton campus.


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). Fifteen 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, softball, 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.

Notable Alumni/ae

*Edward V. Long, US Senator from Missouri

External links

* [ Culver-Stockton College website]
* [ Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing website]

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