They are in a league of their own.
The faculty daughters who graduated from Culver Military Academy from 1957 through 1971 know they are a unique group. And, as a group, they have come together to help other faculty and staff daughters make their way through Culver.
After walking through the Iron Gate for the first time after 50 years, Eley Graham Kuchar ’67 had the opportunity to represent the “coeds” and present the first scholarships to three daughters of faculty and staff members over Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Also attending the ceremony were Petra Nicholson ’72, Virginia Gleason Stinson ’62, and Brenda Kowatch Madala ’72.
“During our reunion last year,” Kuchar said, “we decided we would like to find a tangible way of expressing our gratitude for our Culver experience. For that seed planted in our heads and hearts, a committee was formed. The committee proposed an essay contest for current faculty and staff daughters who will be freshmen next fall. The winning entry writers would then be given a stipend to draw from for tuition.”
Receiving the stipends were first-place winner Anne Bonner, daughter of College Advising Director Dave Bonner, Grace Trefren, the daughter of Military Mentor Jed Trefren, was the second place recipient; and Erynn Janney, daughter of Kimberly Janney in Development, was the honorable mention.
Betty Jean Maull Schuster ’65, Jo Trickovic ’63, and Greta Hughes ’59 helped raise the funds and organize the essay contest. Kuchar said the nearly 40 women “cherish the memories of the Culver we were part of and are to have – in a small way – paved the way for you.
“We spoke often of how our experience was very, very different from what yours will be,” Kuchar said. “Simply because Culver did not know what to with us. Likewise, we entered Culver with very few expectations. We only knew we were being given a true privilege of attending classes and, perhaps, working on the Roll Call, the Vedette, and in the theater department, as we formed our own Culver experience.
“Well, we grew and learned together and from those formative years of 1957 to 1971, Culver was ready for Mary Francis England to institute what is now Culver Girls Academy.
“Those of us from yesteryear envy the Culver that is yours today,” Kuchar added.
Kuchar is the daughter of Col. Gerald J. Graham, the director of horsemanship. She married another 1967 grad, Al Kuchar, but they never dated while at Culver. Their son, Jeff ’02, was also on campus celebrating his 15th class reunion.