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The Clarkson family recently donated $10,000 to establish the Kelli Clarkson Memorial Scholarship Fund at Black Hills State University. Pictured left to right, Steve Babbitt, professor of photography at BHSU; Cathy Bennett, Kelli’s sister; Shelby Cihak, Kelli’s niece and senior secretary of the College of Liberal Arts at BHSU; and Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement at BHSU.

The Clarkson family recently donated $10,000 to establish the Kelli Clarkson Memorial Scholarship Fund at Black Hills State University.

Kelli Clarkson was born March 4, 1953, and grew up on a farm east of Belle Fourche. She graduated from Belle Fourche High School in 1971 and married Alan Crago that summer. She worked for the Posy Palace in Belle Fourche and various flower shops in Spearfish and Boulder, Colo. An extremely gifted artist, Kelli created art using as many different mediums as her imagination could conjure. These included painting, photography, floral arrangement, jewelry, pottery, textiles, interior design, and gourmet cooking among others. According to Cathy Bennett, Kelli’s sister, it was truly a delight to see her many creations. Kelli also had a wanderlust from an early age and life's travels took her many places including Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Tobago, Ethiopia, and many, many points in between. Kelli was diagnosed with cancer in February of 2010.

The scholarship is designated for a sophomore, junior, or senior majoring in mass communications with an emphasis in photography. For more information about establishing a scholarship at BHSU, contact Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement at BHSU, at (605) 642-6228 or Steve.Meeker@BHSU.edu.