Couple's dedication continues through Northwestern scholarship

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Couple's dedication continues through Northwestern scholarship

February 23, 2010

Decades in the education field and a lifetime of connections with young people led Clara Simon to establish an endowed scholarship at her and her husband Dean’s alma mater, Northwestern State College, now Northwestern Oklahoma State University, in 1996. The scholarship, for students in Northwestern’s teacher education program or for those pursuing a health-related degree, was a fitting choice for the lifelong educators.

Dean, a 1937 graduate, spent 10 years as a teacher and athletic coach in Alva, Okla., before serving 22 years as a teacher and education specialist in the Air Training Command of the U.S. Air Force. He also spent 10 years as an administrator at Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas, prior to his retirement.

Clara, a 1940 graduate, taught mostly at the elementary level for 27 years primarily in Alva and Amarillo. Throughout their teaching careers, the couple encouraged young people who demonstrated a scholastic aptitude and expressed an interest in the development of their talents.

Today, Northwestern students from Alva and surrounding communities are benefiting from the Simons’ dedication and generosity, even after the death of Clara and Dean. One of the 10 awarded the Clara and Dean Simon Scholarship in the fall, Kelli Krows, a Seiling senior, is pursuing her bachelor’s in math education at Northwestern with the hopes of teaching math and coaching girls’ basketball and track.

Krows had heard great things about Northwestern, a university that was close to home but far enough away to venture out and get the quintessential college experience. However, with the college experience often come worries of paying off student loans. For her, the Clara and Dean Simon Scholarship has helped ease debt concerns and allowed her to concentrate on her studies.

“You can get a great education at Northwestern because of the scholarships that are available,” Krows said. “Hopefully, with my education, I’ll be able to repay them and the university 10-fold.”

If Krows had the opportunity to thank the Simons, she would let them know how hard she has worked and how incredibly appreciative she is, she said.

“I am sure that the Simons would be very proud of the quantity and quality of students they have helped with the scholarship they started more than 14 years ago,” said Skeeter Bird, Northwestern Foundation CEO. “I am grateful that they, like many other donors, have chosen to make priceless investments in our young people.”

For more information about contributing to scholarships at Northwestern, contact Bird at or 580-327-8599.