During its annual meeting and banquet Monday night, the Crowder College Foundation honoRed four individuals who have served the college.
Those recognized Monday were Anne and Kenneth Cope, Charles Nodler and Delores Whitehead.
In presenting the Copes with the distinguished service award, FRed Clark, a Foundation vice president, related stories about the couple, whom he has known since all of them attended Neosho High School together in the early 1950s, recalling Kenneth's athletic ability - he was on two championship football teams and three championship track squads - and Anne's debating skills - she was a state champion debater during her junior year of high school, in 1953, and graduated second in her class.
Clark also told how his family and the Copes vacationed together in Colorado.
“When you have 12 people in a condo, you learn to get along,” he said to laughter from the audience.
Clark also told of a practical joke he played on Ken Cope several years ago. At the time, Ken smoked Marlboro Cigarettes and Clark smoked OPs: Other People's. One day, during a civic club meeting, Clark spotted a carton of Cigarettes in Cope's car, and brought them inside to share with the club members.
“I told them ‘Boys, I've been bumming Cigarettes all of my life. Here's some to pay you back,' and handed each one a pack. Ken said ‘Hey, these are my brand.' ”
Clark said he left the meeting early, but Cope had discoveRed the joke and has “hurling rocks at the back of my car.”
“He went back in there, and made those guys cough up all of those Cigarettes,” Clark said while the audience guffawed.
The Copes have been long-time supporters of Crowder College's academic and cultural endeavors. Anne Cope served as a member of the Crowder College Board of Trustees for many years and volunteers each year for the annual book sale, which provides extra funds for the Learning Resource Center. The couple has also established two memorials. The first of these is a scholarship in honor of Forrest and Marie Cope, Kenneth's parents, who did not have the opportunity to attend college, but made sure their sons did. The second is the Howard and Ruth Bush Memorial, a fund established in 1969 in honor of Anne's parents to help the college library.
In accepting the award, Anne Cope said she was thankful to be a part of Crowder College for many years.
“I'm so proud of what Crowder has done,” she said. “Thank you very much. We do appreciate it and we're looking to several good years ahead.”
State Sen. Gary Nodler recalled one instance where his older brother, Charles, wanted to disobey their parents.
“I told him we can't do that because we'll get a whipping,” Gary Nodler said. “And he said ‘It's worth it to me to take a whipping, because I get to see you get one.'
“He is somebody who is willing to make a sacrifice,” the senator added, to the audience's laughter.
Gary Nodler presented his older brother with the foundation's outstanding alumnus award.
Charles Nodler graduated from Crowder College in 1973 with an associate's degree after first serving in the U.S. Army. He then earned a bachelor's degree in history from Missouri Southern State College, a master's of arts in history from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master's of arts in library science from the University of Missouri. He is presently an associate professor and archivist at Missouri Southern, and is a published author.
“I have a story about Gary, too,” the older Nodler related. “Gary went to college before I did, so I followed him in school. One of the frequent questions from my instructors was ‘Are you related to Gary?' I would say yes and they would say ‘But you're much More quiet than he is. My response would be ‘Oh.' They never did say what he said in class, but I took that to mean whatever he said, it was loud.”
Charles Nodler said Crowder College launched his academic and professional career, and thanked his instructors at the school, saying some of the very best professors he had were at Crowder College.
In introducing Delores Whitehead, the foundation's service achievement award winner, Alan Marble, president of Crowder College, said she had worked tirelessly for both the college and the foundation. “The foundation financial reports and statement of accounts are always meticulously prepaRed and balanced,” Marble said. “Each year, the auditors are delighted with the thoroughness and the careful attention to detail that is evident during their review. Delores processes every dollar that flows through the foundation, which amounted to over $4 million in 2006.”
Marble said Whitehead also handles the increased workload of the annual phonathon without complaint. She and her husband, Clarence, a retiRed Crowder College instructor, also made several models of the bell tower to be used as centerpieces at the scholarship banquet.
Also speaking at the event was Dr. Wayne Paul, a psychologist from Kansas City who works with troubled children and is a lay pastor at his church.
“I would not be able to do any of that if I was not a graduate of Crowder College,” he said. “It's time for my generation to start giving back and I'm here to tell you, thank God for Crowder College.”