Elaine Flory Fleenor, Ph.D. '65
For as long as I can remember, McPherson College has been an important part of my life. From the time I was very young, family members and friends connected with the college would visit in our home, and sometimes my family hosted student deputation teams which traveled to Brethren congregations representing the college.
McPherson College acquired a new poignancy for me when Alice, my oldest sister and "second mother," left our home in east central Iowa and traveled six hundred miles to become a freshman at McPherson. I was in the early elementary grades and my little sister Christina was a preschooler when Alice began college. With Alice's college enrollment, my parents, Glen and Esther Flory; my sister Christina; and I began our annual trips to McPherson each October. Alice was followed at McPherson College by my older sisters Joyce and Phyllis, and the visits to campus continued. I recall walking around the campus and being introduced as one of the little sisters of a college student. Sometimes our visits included an overnight stay in the dorm with one of my big sisters. This, I thought, was "really cool!"
My parents encouraged my developing affinity for McPherson College. My mother was a former teacher who always fostered academic excellence in her children. Although he was from a family of educators, my father himself as the oldest child had dropped out of high school to help his father support the family. Dad wanted his children to have as much formal education as possible, often saying that "no one can ever take that away from you."
Predictably, I always expected to go to college, and I never considered any other undergraduate college than McPherson! When I was a high school senior, I was delighted to learn that McPherson College had awarded me a $1000 scholarship to be used over four years. I vowed to do my best to live up to the trust the college had placed in me.
My parents moved to McPherson from eastern Iowa at the end of my freshman year. I finished my McPherson College years and began teaching in nearby Buhler. Three years later Christina graduated, then continued as a college employee in the Registrar's Office. Subsequently she married a young drama professor, Charles Fischer.
During the 1970s my dad began working in the maintenance department at the college; a position he would hold for more than twenty years. He loved the work very much and was especially fond of working with students. He was in his upper eighties when he retired from this position.
Sadly, my younger sister Christina died of a rare lymphoma in 1974 when she was only twenty-seven years old. Our scholarship was born out of her memorial fund and was initially known as the Christina Flory Fischer Scholarship. From the beginning the principal in the fund has been kept intact, and only the interest income has been disbursed to students. Initially the amounts paid to students were very small; however, we hoped that they felt our support. It was comforting to our family to know that Christina's legacy lived on through the scholarship.
When our father died in 1999, it seemed only fitting that a portion of his memorial fund should go into the scholarship. The name of the fund then became The Christina Flory Fischer/Glen E. Flory Scholarship.
Years passed, and various family members contributed to the fund periodically. In 2012, it was decided to change the name of the scholarship once again. The Glen E. Flory Family Memorial Scholarship seemed an appropriate name to honor our father's encouragement of his children and many others to attend McPherson College as well as his years on staff at the college. The purpose of the name change was to encourage broader family ownership of the fund and to build up the principal upon which the scholarships are based. I have included the scholarship in my estate plan, and I encourage others to consider doing this also. Personally, I would hope that our scholarship fund will become large enough that several students can be helped each semester. Since only the interest income will be awarded in scholarships, the fund will continue indefinitely.
Although it has now been nearly fifty years since I was a student at McPherson College, the memories of my student years remain fresh and new. My debt to the college is enormous. The college prepared me very well for a professional career, subsequent graduate degree programs, and a lifetime of participating and serving in ways I learned in college. It is my prayer that by supporting The Glen E. Flory Family Memorial Scholarship, I can repay a small portion of my debt to the college by helping some of today's students to receive the quality educational experience provided at McPherson College.