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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Marion and Joan Miller Freeman’s generous gift to Northwest Missouri State University will be matched and distributed over a 10-year period.

Marion and Joan Miller Freeman’s generous gift to Northwest Missouri State University will be matched and distributed over a 10-year period. (Photo by Dillip Vishwanat)

Oct. 31, 2011

Adopt-a-Bearcat 1:1 match doubles Clayton couple’s $50,000 gift

Loyalty to their alma mater – Northwest Missouri State University – as well as friendships made on campus and a shared passion for teaching inspired a Clayton couple to help the next generation of Bearcats to pursue their educational dreams.

Marion and Joan Miller Freeman, who graduated from Northwest in 1950 and 1949, respectively, recently gave $50,000 to sponsor the Joan M. and Marion B. Freeman Adopt-a-Bearcat Scholarship. The Freeman’s gift and the University’s 100 percent match will be distributed over a 10-year period, ultimately providing $100,000 in scholarships.

Establishing a scholarship fund has been a consideration of the Freemans for quite some time, and they recently decided it was best to do it now, during their lifetimes, rather than later.

Joan Freeman, a music and physical education major from Burlington Junction, was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and Kappa Delta Pi and participated in band and orchestra. She later taught music and retired when the couple’s son, Randy, was born. Today, she is involved in Oasis, a volunteer group that assists elementary students with reading and writing.

Marion Freeman, a Tarkio native who majored in physical education and industrial arts education, washed dishes and served as a caretaker at the Quads for room and board. He joined the 129th Field Artillery of the National Guard in Maryville to help cover tuition. He also was a member of the Bearcat football and track teams, M-Club, Sigma Tau Gamma and Kappa Delta Pi. He later became a teacher, administrator and coach for 46 years. His last position was in the Clayton School District, and since retiring in 1993 he has continued to coordinate the school’s annual track and field competition, which now bears his name. The April 2011 event marked Marion’s 50th year to serve as the main director for the 77th annual Marion Freeman Clayton Invitational Track and Field Meet. The two-day meet, one of the oldest in Missouri, typically attracts about 40 schools from throughout the state each year.

“The education we received at Northwest put us in great job situations, and we saw this award as a win-win,” Marion Freeman said. “Costs are a lot higher now than when we attended college. It’s a good feeling to think that maybe we will touch a few more lives along the way with this scholarship.”

Northwest created the unique Adopt-a-Bearcat opportunity several years ago to assist in meeting a critical need for current scholarship dollars. Recipients meeting Northwest’s current policies for admission and financial assistance receive a one-time, $500 Adopt-a-Bearcat scholarship to help offset educational expenses. These scholarships are crucial in providing the additional funding needed for students who might otherwise not have been able to afford attending Northwest. Northwest matches Adopt-a-Bearcat gifts (minimum $250) dollar-for-dollar and awards scholarships in the donor’s name, or that of a loved one. Last year, 173 Northwest students benefitted from an Adopt-a-Bearcat scholarship.

For more information about Adopt-a-Bearcat scholarships or other giving opportunities, contact the Northwest Foundation at or 660.562.1248.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468