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News Release

July 21, 2021

Couple gives to Northwest with interest in furthering education for future farmers

Susan and Bob Tucker place a high value on education because of the experiences it allowed them in their careers with large companies. That interest, combined with their roles as owners of a family farming operation, inspired their recent gift to support Northwest Missouri State University’s Agricultural Learning Center project.

The Tuckers’ support of the Agricultural Learning Center makes them members of the University’s Homesteaders society, a group of public and private donors who have provided gifts of $25,000 or greater toward the project. Additionally, the couple are contributors to The 1905 Society, a premier giving society that recognizes generous supporters who make annual unrestricted gifts to Northwest of $1,000 or more.

“We are just thrilled to have the opportunity to be a Homesteader and to be in on the ground floor of the Ag Learning Center and the rebuilding of the farm,” said Susan, who also serves on the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors.

Northwest will celebrate the opening of the Agricultural Learning Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday, July 30, at the R.T. Wright Farm, located north of the Northwest campus at 22893 U.S. Highway 71 in Maryville. The event, which coincides with the conclusion of the University’s Forever Green campaign, will include a short program and tours of the facility.

The $11.4 million Agricultural Learning Center, a linchpin addition at the Wright Farm, is a 29,000-square-foot multipurpose facility that will enhance the School of Agricultural Sciences, which is under the direction of Dr. Rod Barr.

“Rod took us on a tour and I could see his vision of what was going to happen at the farm, and it just excited us,” Susan said. “This is what Northwest Missouri State needs, this is what Missouri needs, so we thought it was a great opportunity.”

Susan was the third generation of the Gladstone family to attend Northwest – a legacy that began with her grandmother Grace Mayme Morgan Gladstone earning a teaching certificate from the Fifth District Normal School, as Northwest was called from its founding in 1905 until 1919. Her father, William Gilbert Gladstone, earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling at Northwest in 1968.

Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1976 and a Master of Business Administration in 1977 from Northwest, where she also was a Franken Hall director and a member of the business club. She has served as a member of the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors since 2018.

“Susan is an active member of the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors, and her ties to this region and to agriculture made the Agricultural Learning Center a perfect fit for her and Bob’s philanthropic support,” said Mitzi Marchant, vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the Northwest Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for the expertise Susan brings to the board as well as for her generosity.”

Susan says her love of math led her to the accounting field and the education she received at Northwest, particularly some rigorous computing classes, provided her with an edge as she began her professional career. She has held a variety of leadership positions in finance, real estate and human resources throughout her career, which included work at Payless ShoeSource’s corporate headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, from 1993 to 2008. Today, Susan is a self-employed attorney and certified public accountant, specializing in agricultural tax practices, in Worth, Missouri.

But farming remains her first love. As owner of Gladstone Family Farms – an active farm with cattle, soybeans and corn that Susan’s ancestors established in 1848 – she runs the business side of the operation.

“People don’t realize there’s a lot of business to a farming operation,” Susan said, adding she has continued to enroll in courses offered by Northwest and other universities to learn about agriculture taxation and build additional finance knowledge.

That is one reason, she believes, the addition of the Agricultural Learning Center to Northwest’s programming is so important.

“Farming just can’t be learned trailing along on the tractor with somebody in this day and age,” she said. “There’s so much with the seeds and the chemicals and the business side of it and the marketing, the grain and the livestock and the science around it. There's just so much that you can’t internship it. You need some classroom education if you're going to be profitable.”

For more information about the Forever Green campaign and making a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215