Impacting the Lives of Truman Students

Ellen and David Clithero

Ellen and David Clithero

"I owe Truman a great debt for who I have become professionally and the friends I have made throughout the years. And, of course, Ellen," says David Clithero.

David and Ellen Clithero met while working at Truman State University and as a couple have been able to impact the lives of students through their planned gifts.

Early in his college days, David became involved in a number of student activities. This involvement led him to join the Tel-Alumni campaign in its first year. This early experience, calling alumni to talk to them about giving back, gave David valuable experience. Even though a career in advancement was not his goal, Tom Shrout, vice president for University advancement, and Dr. Charles McClain, University president, saw David's potential and offered him a position in advancement at Truman.

Ellen's experience with Truman is quite different. Ellen lived on campus as a child while her father earned his B.S.E. degree through the GI Bill. Ellen's dad then taught at Truman and served as the advisor for the Echo yearbook and the Index student newspaper. The campus became Ellen's workplace as an adult with roles in the business office and advancement. After earning her degree in psychology, she became an academic advisor. According to Ellen, her relationship with Truman is multifaceted as it is and always will be "home."

After working in advancement at Truman, David took a position with Washington University in St. Louis. He returned to Truman to head up planned giving and government relations. In fact, David helped to build Truman's planned giving program. As director of planned giving, he started the Opportunities newsletter and has set the bar for those that followed him. He also became a charter member of the Joseph Baldwin Society by making Truman the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. According to David, he felt that if he were going to ask others to give through planned giving vehicles, he should do the same.

With that philosophy in mind, David and Ellen have given back to Truman in a variety of ways including through charitable gift annuities, a multi-year pledge and through a bequest of part of their estate. Through their selfless generosity, David and Ellen have created two scholarships—one to support students from Northeast Missouri and the other for students with an interest to study abroad.

Both David and Ellen have dedicated a significant portion of their professional lives to Truman with a passion for helping students. Now through a variety of creative planned gifts, they are leaving a legacy that will continue to help Truman students through scholarships for years to come.

To learn how you can help transform lives through a bequest, contact Marie Murphree, CFRE, today at or 660-785-4124.