May 31st, 2005 @ 10:23 am | Author:
Charlotte Van Houten Estate Establishes Scholarship Fund
The Valley City State University (VCSU) Foundation announced that it has received a bequest of $750,000 from the estate of Charlotte Van Houten (’29), a long-time Valley City resident and VCSU alumnus. The bequest, the largest VCSU has received from a resident of Valley City in its history, will be used to fund a perpetual Charlotte Van Houten Scholarship for VCSU students.

Charlotte received her standard degree with a major in Music Education from VCSU (then called the Valley City State Teacher’s College) in 1929. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and her Master’s degree from Columbia University. She taught at the Hathaway Brown School, an independent school for girls in Shaker Heights, OH for 40 years, the last 18 of them as the Head of the Primary Department. She was a board member of the Childhood Education Association; a delegate for several years for Greater Cleveland to the National Conference of the Association; a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, a Jennings Scholar in 1963 for the Jennings Foundation; a board member of the Natural Science Club; and a member of the American Business Women’s Association. She retired in 1975 and returned to Valley City to be with her sister, Delphine Van Houten.

Though much of her life was spent in Ohio, Charlotte always retained her connection to Valley City and VCSU. Her father was Dr. Jacob Van Houten, a well-known and respected doctor and county health officer who practiced in Valley City from 1903 to 1960. As a child, she grew up on land that is now occupied by the VCSU Student Center, and would reminisce about the pony she kept in the back yard. In addition to giving to a variety of charities, Charlotte made annual donations to the VCSU Foundation every year since 1986, and has given to several other VCSU groups including Theatre, Music, V-500, and the Library. She was a member of Congregational United Church of Christ in Valley City, a member of Chapter A of the P.E.O. Sisterhood in North Dakota, Valley City Retired Teachers’ Association; and Valley City Arts and Gallery Association. Mary Heath, the personal representative of Charlotte, said, 'Charlotte believed that the arts and culture are very important for the survival of the community. She liked to think of Valley City as a small town with a lot of exciting things happening.'

VCSU President Dr. Ellen Chaffee said that the bequest will be used to fund a perpetual scholarship for students at VCSU. Dr. Chaffee said, "Charlotte Van Houten was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to education. Throughout her career, she touched many, many young lives. Her generosity and foresight ensure that she will continue to touch young lives indefinitely into the future."

Valley City State University (VCSU) is a four-year undergraduate university that prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.