Hickinbotham Establishes New ECC Foundation Scholarship

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An endowed scholarship has been established by Letha Hickinbotham through the East Central College Foundation to honor her parents.  The Gladine and Clarence Laubinger Sr. Memorial Scholarship, which can be applied to tuition, fees or books, will be awarded to a full-time ECC student who was active in FFA while in high school.  Shown, seated is Clarence Laubinger.  Standing, from left  are Shannon Grus, executive director of the ECC Foundation; Dr. Jon Bauer, vice president of finance and administration at ECC; and Letha Hickinbotham, emeritus director of the ECC Foundation.

Union, Mo - Letha Hickinbotham, an emeritus director of the East Central College Foundation and long-time college supporter, recently established an endowed scholarship to honor her parents.

The Gladine and Clarence Laubinger Sr. Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time ECC student who was active in FFA while in high school.  The $500 scholarship can be applied to tuition, fees or books.

“I am pleased to be able to help deserving students achieve a college education while honoring my parents’ lifelong commitment to agriculture,” said Hickinbotham.  “This is an investment in capable students who will go on to build successful careers – whatever their major might be.”

Hickinbotham’s parents, Gladine (Helling) Laubinger and Clarence Laubinger Sr., were both born in 1914.  Gladine died in 1998, but Clarence still lives on the Birch Creek Century Farm where he and his wife raised their 10 children.

The family was involved in all phases of farming, raising hogs, cattle and 2,000 chickens which supplied eggs to Steak N Shake restaurants in St. Louis.

When they retired in 1974 they bought a camper and spent several years traveling to every state and Canadian province.   “When we ran out of road on our trip to Alaska we just toured the rest of the northern area by plane,” noted Laubinger.  They also took their camper on frequent trips to Branson.
The couple celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a trip to Hawaii and also toured Europe, tracing their ancestors in Germany.

All 10 of the Laubinger children still live in Missouri.  There are 24 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.  Laubinger stated that the holidays are the happiest time because it brings family back to the farm.  “I love when the house is filled with children,” he said.

“I’m very proud of my daughter,” Laubinger noted.  “I’m pleased that she would do something like this.”
The Laubinger scholarship is not the first scholarship established by Hickinbotham.  In 1994 a scholarship was established in memory of her son, Floyd.  That award is open to ECC engineering majors, with preference given to St. Clair High School graduates.

Hickinbotham has been involved with the ECC Foundation since 1981, serving as president from 1994-95.