At a ceremony held Friday, May 19, at Lewis and Clark Community College, documents were signed to establish endowments for mental health services at the college. In attendance were nearly 100 family, friends and colleagues of the honorees, Dr. Sonjia and Don Peacock. Pictured from left: College Foundation Board President Rob Schwartz, Jay and Melanie Culver, Sonjia Peacock (via Zoom), College President, Dr. Ken Trzaska, Dr. Linda Chapman and Foundation Executive Director, Dr. Dale Chapman, Photo by ALAN SHAWGO/Route 3 FilmsGODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is making important access to mental health services easier than ever, thanks to a generous donation through the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation.

Jay and Melanie Culver, of Atlanta, Georgia, announced their intent, Friday, to endow mental health and counseling services at Lewis and Clark through a remainder trust gift to the L&C Foundation.

Named after Melanie Culver’s parents, the Dr. Sonjia Peacock and Don Peacock Endowed Fund will have three components: the Sonjia Peacock and Don Peacock Endowed Scholarships; the Dr. Sonjia Peacock Endowed Counseling and Mental Health Chair; and a Peacock/Culver Discretionary Sub-Fund.

“My mother, Dr. Sonjia Peacock, had a 20-year career in Student Mental Health Counseling and Student Support at Lewis and Clark,” said Melanie Culver. “It is mine and Jay's honor to commemorate both my mother and father with these endowed gifts.”

The Culvers recognize that Lewis and Clark Community College empowers students by making a high-quality education accessible and attainable, which includes access to mental health services.

During her time at L&C, Sonjia Peacock was instrumental in establishing the college’s mental health services. She was hired in 1981, just after the college’s 10th anniversary, and retired in 2001.

“Don and I are grateful and honored that our son-in-law and daughter have established this gift,” Sonjia Peacock said. “It was my pleasure to work at Lewis and Clark Community College for two decades. I recognized in 1981, as I do today, that mental health care is an urgent need. It is extremely rewarding to be recognized by our children for the work we did and the lives we affected throughout our careers.”

The Dr. Sonjia Peacock and Don Peacock Endowed Scholarships will provide financial assistance for promising students seeking a higher education at Lewis and Clark.

The Dr. Sonjia Peacock Endowed Counseling and Mental Health Chair will increase students’ access to mental health services, recommend advanced mental health strategies, conduct research in the area of mental health counseling, and/or provide support services.

The Peacock/Culver Discretionary Fund will underwrite future priorities that address the mental health needs of students. Examples include new equipment, new initiatives, and new programs.

“Mental health counseling, programs and services are essential to the success of our students, and have never been more in demand,” said L&C President Ken Trzaska. “These Peacock/Culver endowments, and the resources they represent, are remarkable in their thoughtfulness, vision and capacity for changing the lives of students and their families.”

The Dr. Sonjia Peacock and Don Peacock Endowed Fund was established through a planned gift from Jay and Melanie Culver, However, they didn’t want to wait to make a difference. To meet needs that exist today, the family has established The Dr. Sonjia Peacock Endowed Fund for Mental Health Services through an additional significant gift. It will support the College’s mental health counseling, programming, and research, as well as related expenses, starting immediately.

"On behalf of the students, team members, Board of Trustees and our entire community college district, I thank the Culvers and the Peacocks for making this day possible," Trzaska said.

The endowments were established through the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation.

“On behalf of the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation, I wish to express our appreciation to the Culver and Peacock families for creating this unprecedented endowment,” said Rob Schwartz, president of the Foundation's Board of Directors. “This seven-figure planned gift will support untold numbers of students for generations to come. What an exciting moment we are witnessing.”

For more information on Lewis and Clark, or to learn how to support the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation, visit Contact the L&C Foundation at (618) 468-2011 or

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