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Honoring a Legacy of Service and Education

The Bennett Family

The Bennett Family: Jon ('93) and Lisa ('94) Bennett, Craig ('87) and Cyndi ('94) Bennett, Katherine ('99) and Darren ('91) Bennett, Aimee ('03) and Luke Jones, with Cliff ('61) and Nancy ('61) as they celebrate their 50th anniversary.

The Cliff and Nancy Bennett Endowed Scholarship honors more than 54 years of marriage and long, meaningful careers spent in Christian education. Established in 2013 by the couple's four children—Darren, Jon, Craig and Aimee, the scholarship is intended for Freed-Hardeman University education majors who plan to teach English or math.

Cliff and Nancy met in 1959 as students at FHC. Freed-Hardeman was a two-year college at the time, so in 1963 Cliff finished his degree at Harding, and Nancy completed hers at the University of Tennessee Martin. They married that summer and moved to Southeast Missouri; Nancy began her career as a high school English teacher, and Cliff taught math at the same school.

In 1972 when the Bennetts were 30, they moved to Henderson to join the FHU family. The school was becoming a four-year college and expanding its faculty.

The Bennetts filled many positions at Freed-Hardeman during their careers. Nancy's roles included English teacher, yearbook advisor, director of FHU's public information office, assistant athletic director and director of academic services. Cliff taught sociology, marriage and the family, social work classes, college algebra and graduate counseling courses. He also served as a guidance counselor, dean of students and vice president of student affairs.

The Bennett Family

Front: Baylor Jones, Harper Bennett, Emily Bennett, Reese Bennett and Gracie Bennett; Back Row: Dane Bennett, Cole Bennett, Dalton Bennett, Avery Bennett, Dylan Bennett and Brock Bennett. "Eleven reasons we want FHU to prosper," Nancy Bennett said. "Perhaps scholarships like ours will help."

Their family grew again in 1982 with the adoption of their daughter, Aimee. "All of our kids grew up in the shadow of the bell tower," Nancy said. All of the Bennett children, as well as all three daughters-in-law, are graduates of FHU.

Cliff added, "FHU has been such a huge blessing to our family and apparently our children feel that way about it, too. If we can help other families enjoy what we've had through this scholarship, then that's a good thing."

Nancy and Cliff were particularly pleased their children acknowledged their commitment to education. "There are few scholarships for those who want to teach," Nancy said.

"I've always believed that schools can be mission fields. Children may not see Jesus reflected in many lives if their teacher isn't that example. There's an opportunity for a teacher in the classroom to be the hands and feet of Jesus."

The scholarship has been awarded three times and is supported by the Bennett family.

"There were lots of consumables that our children could have purchased as an anniversary gift," Nancy said. "They could've sent us on a two-week vacation, and it would have been over with. But this gift has long-lasting, potentially eternal, effects."

Today Cliff is retired, and Nancy works in public relations with the Bramblett Group, a marketing, advertising and public relations firm. Much of her work through BG focuses on FHU, so she still remains involved with the university for a fifth decade. The Bennetts also remain active members of Estes Church of Christ. When not spending time with their children and 11 grandchildren, they often can be found on the sidelines of FHU athletic events cheering for their beloved Lions.

Realize the Power of a Gift

Like the Bennetts, you, too, can put your gift to work today and support FHU students. Simply contact Kyle Lamb CFP® at 1-800-348-3481, ext. 6020 or klamb@fhu.edu to get started, at no obligation.

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