March 21, 2013
“Shedding light on student dreams” is exactly what Paul and Betty Preston Steele of Chillicothe are doing by setting up a new scholarship through the North Central Missouri College Foundation. This slogan is from an award given to Betty and is exactly what the Steeles had in mind when establishing this Gift in Action named scholarship for students at North Central Missouri College in Trenton. This endowed scholarship will allow a student pursuing a degree related to the Agriculture and Natural Resources career pathway to receive funds in both the fall and spring semesters of their sophomore year. This gracious Gift in Action will provide a legacy of assistance to students striving to achieve their educational goals, and North Central’s agricultural leaders of tomorrow cannot help but feel the positive impact of this generous bequest.
Both Paul and Betty have a passion for education. They each served many years on the Chillicothe R-II Board of Education which served as the prelude to their service in education governance. Paul was appointed to the Board of Curators at the University of Missouri by then-Governor Mel Carnahan; he actively served in this role from 1997 to 2003 and was president of this board in 2001. Betty was appointed to the Missouri State Board of Education in 1993 and served in that capacity for nine years. During that time she was president for two terms. She also was on the National Association of State Boards of Education and was president for one year.
Paul and Betty are living examples of the role higher education plays in achieving lifetime success. “My life course was so positively impacted through my college experiences,” comments Paul, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Betty, who attended Trenton Junior College (now NCMC) before transferring to the University of Missouri, echoes Paul’s thoughts and adds that they recognize the importance for many students of the community college as a success-bridge between high school and a bachelor degree. Betty, who received an Honorary Doctorate in Education Pedagogy from Northwest Missouri State University, taught piano at Missouri Western State University for 10 years and also was Senior Vice President at Citizens Bank and Trust.
In addition to higher education, agriculture is important to the Steele family. Paul and Betty grew up on family farms. Paul was the fifth generation of his family to farm their land; in 1965, he began his farm operation of livestock and grain production. Betty grew up on a family farm northeast of Trenton. Paul’s involvement and ownership of area ag-related businesses, together with farming, reinforced the importance of agriculture-related degrees, equipping graduates to fill roles in the area businesses and communities. Due to their love of agriculture and their high respect for the NCMC Agriculture and Natural Resources program under the direction of the Department Chairman David Nowland and Barton Farm Campus Manager Rustin Jumps, Paul and Betty set up their Gift in Action named scholarship to benefit an NCMC agriculture student.
The Paul and Betty Preston Steele Agricultural Scholarship will definitely “shed light on student dreams” for years to come, and current NCMC freshmen can now contact Director of the NCMC Foundation Teresa J. Cross or instructors Nowland and Jumps for more information on how to apply for this new scholarship.
“Named scholarships are a great way for individuals or families to leave a lifetime legacy while helping deserving students achieve their higher education goals,” commented Ms. Cross. She can be contacted at 660-359-3948 x1403 or by e-mail at email@example.com for information about forming a named scholarship to honor family members or in memory of loved ones. “Your Gift in Action will help deserving students afford their college education and have a positive impact on their lives.”