Chuck Klawitter portrait image with dog


LCC Foundation Receives Nearly $4 Million Gift 

The Lower Columbia College (LCC) Foundation is pleased to announce receipt of the remaining $3.6 million of the Charles “Chuck” L. Klawitter Estate, resulting in the second largest gift in the Foundation’s history.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce and honor the Estate of Charles Klawitter for his life-changing gift to the college,” said Kendra Sprague, LCC Vice President of Foundation, HR, & Legal Affairs.

Chuck was born November 27, 1945, in Longview. He grew up in South Kelso and graduated from Kelso High School in 1964. He attended LCC, then graduated from the University of Washington in 1968 with a BS in Chemical Engineering.  After receiving his degree, Chuck went to work for Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan. Dow transferred him to Plaquemine, Louisiana where he worked until he retired in 2004 after 36 years. 

After retiring, Chuck returned to Kelso and became an active fundraiser with the Kelso Lions Club. He managed food concessions at Kelso High School football games, and organized the newspaper recycling program. Proceeds were used to support local Lions Club charities. Chuck also led the Lions ‘Bicycles for Kids’ program, which provides repaired used bikes to children in need. He also kept himself busy remodeling pre-World War II homes in South Kelso. 

The Charles “Chuck” Klawitter Endowment in the amount of $3.6 million dollars is the second largest endowment held by the LCC Foundation. The endowment will provide nearly $200,000 in unrestricted support to the college to be used for the college’s highest priorities in perpetuity.

“LCC is fortunate to have supporters like Chuck Klawitter, whose gifts will continue to benefit students for years to come,” said Steve Fuller, LCC Foundation Board Chair. 

“Lower Columbia College was a foundational part of Chuck’s education, and he was always appreciative of the opportunities that resulted from his time at the school.  It was important to Chuck that after he passed, he invested in the future of the school and students from the Kelso-Longview area through the donation of his estate,” said Carla Kneipp, Chuck’s niece and executor of his estate.

Chuck had three siblings, brother Dan and sisters Barbara Sweeney and Adele Kneipp. All four siblings attended LCC. In 2015, they established the Chuck and Anita Klawitter Scholarship in honor of their parents and the importance they placed on education. After Barbara (Klawitter) Sweeney’s passing in 2020, the fund was endowed and renamed the Chuck and Anita Klawitter and Barbara Sweeney Scholarship. Since 2015, the Klawiter siblings have generously provided nearly $103,000 to the scholarship fund, intended to support Kelso High School graduates.

“We appreciate this opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate this extraordinary gift from Mr. Klawitter, and for his legacy of education that will last for generations to come. It is an honor to work in a community that is so giving and so supportive of its local community college,” said LCC President, Chris Bailey.

The LCC Foundation was formed in 1976 to provide financial support where public funds are not sufficient, and to gather public support for the enhancement of educational opportunities at Lower Columbia College.