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Cleland gives $90,000 to enhance scholarship fund

Barry McNamara
11/20/2013
Nancy Cleland of Knoxville, Tenn., recently made a $90,000 gift to Monmouth College to enhance the John W. Cleland Scholarship, which is named for Nancy’s father. Pictured are Nancy’s grandfather, John Scott Cleland, and his second wife, Eva Hanna Cleland, who both had long careers at Monmouth College.
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Nancy Cleland of Knoxville, Tenn., has made an annuity gift of $90,000 to enhance the John W. Cleland Scholarship at Monmouth College.
 
Nancy is the daughter of John W. Cleland ’43 and the granddaughter of John Scott Cleland, who was dean of the college from 1927 to 1951. Another noteworthy member of the family was Eva Hanna Cleland, an English professor at Monmouth for 37 years. She married John Scott Cleland following the death of his first wife, who was Nancy’s grandmother. Cleland Hall, a men’s residence hall built in 1966, is named in the family’s honor.
 
Though not a Monmouth alumna, Nancy has fond memories of spending time on campus while visiting Eva Cleland at her East Broadway home, located across the street from the college. Nancy attended Eckerd College for two years before graduating with a degree in English from the University of Tennessee.
 
“All my life, I grew up hearing stories about Monmouth College,” said Nancy. “There’s a community about Monmouth that I know my family really loved. There’s just something wonderful about going to a small school. It provides a wonderful experience that is much different from what I call the big ‘factory’ universities.”
 
Nancy’s mother, Reina Sabel Cleland, attended Mount Holyoke College, and she and her husband met at Purdue University, where they were enrolled in the graduate program in physics. Nancy said her parents both appreciated the financial assistance they received for their higher education, and they hoped to one day set up a scholarship.
 
Senior Donasia Rasheed of Dixon, who spoke on behalf of the student body at the dedication of the college’s new $40 million Center for Science and Business last year, is one of many students to receive the John W. Cleland Scholarship since its creation in the mid-1980s. A general scholarship, it supports a “worthy student” at Monmouth.
 
“Scholarships account for a very large amount of my school costs, and without them, it is very likely that I would not be able to attend this college,” Rasheed said.
 
“I want everybody to be able to go to college,” said Nancy, who worked with Monmouth College senior development officer Craig Schmidt in making the gift. “I know my parents believed that way, too, and they didn’t want to see young men and women burdened by student loans. I wish more people would think about setting up annuities as a way to help an organization or, in this case, a college that they really care about.”