On April 29, 2016, Daisy Willis Grossnickle chaired her last meeting of the Columbia College Board of Trustees. Daisy, a well-known community leader and 1966 graduate of the college, has served on the board for 34 years — 11 of them as chair. She was the first female board chair of the college, which traces its roots back to 1851.
“Serving as chair of the board of my alma mater has truly been one of the great honors of my life,” Grossnickle said. “Watching the college grow and evolve has been an amazing experience. I feel that this is the right time to give someone else the opportunity to lead, but I am delighted to remain on the board as a member.” Daisy remains as chair until June 30, when new board officers will begin their terms.
Since being voted a trustee in 1982, she has played a key role in several committees, including the presidential search committees that brought Dr. Donald Ruthenberg and Dr. Gerald Brouder to office and most recently the committee that installed Dr. Scott Dalrymple as the college’s 17th president. As chair of the Educational Policies Committee, she helped the college implement its graduate and online programs. Under her leadership, the college also added a number of new sports teams, erected many new buildings and grew the student population to its current count of 27,000 at 36 locations across the U.S.
“Daisy has provided steady leadership and amazing insight as chair. We’re truly indebted to her,” Dalrymple said. “The college is a stronger place because of Daisy Grossnickle.” The college now boasts an endowment of more than $150 million and no long-term debt.
Daisy’s support of the college has been on display since she stepped on campus as a student in 1964, when it was known as Christian College. She has served in leadership roles for the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) Board, the Annual Fund, the Tradition Meets Tomorrow campaign and is a member of the of the President’s Society Charter Circle.
In 1991, Daisy was honored with the Columbia College service award by the CCAA for her significant contributions and service to the college. Also, in recognition of her generous contributions to the renovation of Missouri Hall in 2008, the college’s career center was renamed the Grossnickle Career Services Center. In honor of Daisy’s years of service, her family created, and many friends continue to support, the Daisy Willis Grossnickle ’66 Scholarship to provide assistance to students at Columbia College.
In a fitting tribute to the countless hours Daisy has spent making the college a better place, a bust of her likeness was commissioned and is placed in the St. Clair first-floor parlor. The bust was provided through philanthropic funds.