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The Whan Family Leaves a Legacy to North Central Missouri College

January 2011 - Trenton, Missouri

Family legacies play a critical role in the development of a college campus. The Whan family of Trenton, Missouri is just one example of how such legacies have made an impact on a college's ability to meet student and community needs. With contributions of over half a million dollars, Rachel, Marjorie and Keith Whan epitomize the concept of giving back to both their alma mater, North Central Missouri College (NCMC), and their community. All three members of the family grew up attending rural Missouri high schools; the girls were class valedictorians, while Keith ranked second in his graduating class.

At their parents' insistence, each of the Whan children attended and completed programs at what was then Trenton Junior College (TJC) and then headed off to four-year universities. Rachel and Marjorie aspired to become teachers and both graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Keith was interested in business and, with encouragement from then TJC President W.H. McDonald, attended and graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Canton. Keith entered the military while Marjorie and Rachel began their teaching careers in small one-room country schools. Rachel Whan Hoover and Marjorie Whan Dennison each taught 37 years and touched hundreds of lives. Unfortunately, Keith lost his life in World War II before he could follow his dream of coaching or beginning a career in business.

NCMC Director of Development, Steve Maxey, worked closely with Rachel and Marjorie after assuming his position with the college in 2001. While visiting with Steve in 2005, at one of the last events she attended, Marjorie noted the impact an attractive campus can have on the elderly and handicapped. With this in mind, the parking lot south of the Ketcham Community Center was constructed providing a smooth pavement, good lighting and increased accessibility to the center. The upgrades were funded using Whan family contributions in excess of $300,000.

This month a second gift has been received on behalf of the family with restrictions to use the funds at the Elizabeth and Arthur Barton Farm Campus. This recent gift of an additional $217,000 will be used to assist in the development of the Barton Farm Campus. Maxey indicates he is confident that the Whan family, in light of their agricultural roots and love of flowers and the outdoors, will earn special naming recognition, perhaps in support of the new greenhouse.

The Clements Group has assisted NCMC in the conduct of a feasibility study and provided consultation services for the college's "Invest in the Vision" capital campaign. For more information regarding the college and its campaign, please visit the college website at or contact NCMC Development Director Steve Maxey at

March 2011


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