WARRENSBURG, MO – A $1.2 million gift from the estate of the late Rudolph “Rudy” E. Grother and Florentine “Flo” Grother of Sedalia will increase scholarships available to graduates of Northwest High School in Hughesville or Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia majoring in elementary education at the University of Central Missouri. The gift to the UCM Foundation will support the Rudolph and Florentine Grother Scholarship established by the couple in 2005.

“We are so pleased that the Grothers supported the important work teachers do. Like so many others, they recognized the significant, lasting impact teachers have on children,” said Michael Wright, dean of the UCM College of Education. “Students need financial assistance today to achieve their dreams, and this gift will enable deserving elementary education majors to prepare for a career of service. The Grothers exemplified UCM’s motto ‘Education for Service,’ and we are so grateful they have ensured others will be able to follow in their footsteps.”

When the Grothers created the scholarship, they credited their elementary and high school teachers with encouraging their love for learning. They said that their teachers’ talents and dedication helped them develop a passion for learning. That passion continued into their retirement as they daily completed at least five crossword puzzles and read four newspapers. They also subscribed to 50 magazines.

Grother was a lifelong resident of Sedalia, graduating from Smith-Cotton High School in 1944. After high school, he attended UCM, where he was awarded a CMSU Regents Scholarship but was unable to use it. Instead he went to work as an electrician. When the company where he worked closed 20 years later, he returned to UCM and earned an education degree in 1966. He became an elementary school librarian in Sedalia,  establishing new libraries where there were none before. He served as a librarian in the Sedalia public schools for more than 20 years before he retired in 1986.

His wife, Florentine, was born in Sweet Springs and graduated from Houstonia High School in 1944. After attending Central Business College, she worked at Burkholder’s in Sedalia before becoming a senior customer service representative at Missouri Public Service. She worked there for 37 years, retiring in 1986.
The couple married in 1951 in Sedalia, where they lived for some 60 years. Florentine died in 2009 and Rudolph in 2011.

“Rudy and Flo Grother were dedicated to their family, friends and the Sedalia community. They embraced a philosophy of less is more and found joy in serving others through their many acts of kindness and generosity,” said Jason Drummond, vice president for development and executive director of the UCM Foundation. “They were proud of Rudy’s achievement to earn his degree from UCM and were passionate about supporting quality education at their alma maters. Their generous gift supporting scholarships for future elementary education teachers for the state of Missouri will continue their legacy forever.”

The Rudolph and Florentine Grother Scholarship gives financial assistance to UCM elementary education majors who have completed at least 24 credit hours, have a minimum 2.5 grade point average and show promise of leadership and academic ability. They also must be graduates of either Northwest High School in Hughesville or Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia.

This article was submitted to KSIS Radi Mike Greife, News Bureau Manager of TODAY Magazine at the University of Central Missouri.