News - Financial champions at the chalkboard and behind the books

Financial champions at the chalkboard and behind the books

By Carla Morris

Greenville University remembers four teachers, whose love for learning and love for GU students endured long after they stepped away from the classroom. The quartet’s combined giving spanned 120 years. They supported athletic teams, academic chairs, programs, buildings, missions trips, and all kinds of learning experiences. 

Above all, however, they favored funding scholarships that instilled confidence in students and helped them complete their degree programs. Teachers Marie (Clouse ’52) OwenStan ’59 and Jolene (Oschner ’60) Ellis, and David Dickerson ’55 all had hearts for students.

Marie-Owen.jpgThe Cool, Yet Commanding Teacher

Marie Clouse attended Greenville schools throughout her childhood and youth. After graduating from Greenville College with a degree in education, she made teaching her career. Marie established a reputation as an outstanding teacher instructing fifth- and sixth-graders in math and science.

Upon Marie’s death in 2019, a former student recalled that Marie was always fair-handed and “in control of her classroom, with her cool, yet commanding demeanor.” She did more than prepare students for junior high school and high school. She impressed and inspired them and taught them values.

Marie enjoyed nearly 30 years of marriage with banker Maurice Owen before his passing in 1987. Though an endowed scholarship named for the couple is available for graduates of Greenville High School, Marie generously supported other scholarships that helped students from all walks of life. She gave faithfully for 41 years.

Student's Choice, Teachable MomentsStan-Jolene-Ellis.jpg

GU’S 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Stan Ellis, who passed last month, felt called to teaching. He taught school for more than 35 years, mostly in Wayne Township, Indianapolis, and picked up 12 students’ choice awards as most favored teacher along the way. Top scholars repeatedly named him their most influential secondary school teacher.

Stan’s partner in love and life, Jolene, thoroughly enjoyed teaching reading and writing. “Every part of her life was a teaching moment,” loved ones recalled upon her death last summer.

Together, Jolene and Stan supported athletics at GU, Jewish-Christian studies, and the University’s choir. Mostly, though, in their 41 years of giving (including 36 consecutive years), they helped students by funding scholarships.  

Smitten By the Liberal Arts

David-Dickerson.jpgDavid Dickerson felt completely at home in the liberal arts with broad interests that encompassed student government, creative writing, and choir. The scholar would one day teach in the English department at GU and then take his passion for Shakespeare west to serve Seattle Pacific University. There, he would eventually assume responsibilities as VP of academic affairs and dean of faculty.

In 1980, he created the position of dean of arts and sciences. Today, the College of Arts and Sciences, the largest academic unit on SPU’s campus, includes two divisions, each with its own dean. Upon David’s death last summer, friends and family remembered him thoroughly enjoying music, literature, drama, and the visual arts—a true “Renaissance man.”

David supported the GU Choir and various funds including the Kinney Hall and President’s House Funds. But mostly—over 38 years of giving—he supported students via scholarships. 

Thank you Marie, Jolene, Stan, and David for showing the extended Greenville University community how to care for students.

This story was published on February 02, 2021




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