Our History

The Beginning

In the 1850s, D. Pat Henderson and other Disciples of Christ leaders were interested in creating an institution to educate young men and women. In 1853, they were granted a charter by the State of Missouri to establish Christian University, the first coeducational college west of the Mississippi River. Dr. James Shannon became the first president and classes began in 1855.

During the Civil War, classes were suspended while federal troops occupied the college’s only building, Old Main. Under the leadership of Ben H. Smith, the College reopened in 1865 but made little progress until Dr. Carl Johann became president in 1902. When Old Main burned in 1903, the building was replaced by Henderson Hall.

College Benefactors

In 1917, Christian University officially changed its name to Culver-Stockton College to honor its benefactors Mary Culver and Robert Stockton.  Culver and Stockton were staunch supporters of the College, helping to keep operations going several times over the years.

Christian University President Carl Johann met Stockton on a fundraising campaign. Stockton later became a generous donor, giving money to help repair the college after a fire, to build cottages for married students, support teachers’ salaries, paying off college debt and more.

Culver made generous donations to Christian University, guided by the advice of Robert Stockton, who her husband’s business partner. She donated to help the College advance teacher salaries, improve library and laboratory facilities, and build L.L. Culver Gymnasium in honor of her late husband.


Buildings

Most of the buildings currently on campus were built after 1937. Since 1980, many of the major buildings have been renovated and others built.

The newest building, the Science Center, opened in 2002. 

In May 2003, a tornado struck campus and the city of Canton. Henderson Hall was damaged, and the landmark dome (used by river captains for navigation) was ripped off. The Field House was leveled and Zenge Hall, a fraternity house, was damaged beyond repair. Other buildings received minor damage, and 300 trees were brought down on the hill behind Henderson Hall. Fortunately, no one was injured. The dome was replaced, and the buildings were repaired or replaced.

College Benefactor

In 1917, Christian University officially changed its name to Culver-Stockton College to honor its benefactors Mary Culver and Robert Stockton.

Mary Elizabeth Culver

Mary Elizabeth Connegys was born on March 19, 1841, in Champaign County, Ohio. One of three daughters and two sons, as a child, she moved with her family to Indiana. On Dec. 1, 1860, she married Lucius Llewellyn (L.L.) Culver. They lived in Illinois until moving to St. Louis, Mo., in 1876, where Culver, an inventor skillful in improving kitchen ranges, became a business partner with Robert Stockton. Their company, Majestic Manufacturing Co., produced malleable kitchen ranges.

The Culvers had no children and invested their energy and funds into philanthropic activities. After L.L. passed away in 1899, Mary inherited his stocks. She made generous donations to what was then known as Christian University, guided by the advice of her husband’s business partner, in order to help the college advance teacher salaries, improve library and laboratory facilities, and build L.L. Culver Gymnasium.

Robert Henry Stockton

Robert Henry Stockton was born in on July 5, 1842, Mount Sterling, Ky.  At the age of 12, his parents died, and he lived with his grandmother, while working in a shoe store until the age of 15, when he moved to Missouri with an uncle. Stockton joined the Confederate army near the end of the Civil War. After the war, he moved back to Missouri and worked for Simmons Co. He later met L.L. Culver and started the Majestic Manufacturing Co. Stockton handled sales, and Culver handled the factory.

Christian University President Carl Johann met Stockton on a fundraising campaign. Stockton later became a generous donor, giving money to help repair the college after a fire, to build cottages for married students, support teachers’ salaries, paying off college debt and more.

- See more at: http://cm1.culver.edu:9992/Sites/www.culver.edu/about-us/Culver-Stockton/index#sthash.iulMkghM.dpuf