Leona Bellew McConnell attended Peniel College in Texas in the late nineteen teens. In the Peniel Catalogue of 1918-19, she is listed as enrolled in the "Conservatory of Music" and in the "Department of Theology," and is shown in the 1919-20 issue as a graduate of the "Teachers Course in Music."
She left the college before taking a degree, however, and went to Africa as a missionary. In Africa, Leona, though possessing a rather robust physique, so on experienced health difficulties and physical ailments as a result of living in the primitive conditions. So, she found it necessary to return home after a limited term on "the field." She enrolled at her former school, which by that time had relocated from Peniel, Texas to Bethany, Oklahoma where it took the modified name, Bethany-Peniel College.
Near that identical time, on July 8, 1931, she married her elderly B-PC professor Dr. C. A. ("Uncle Charlie") McConnell (age 71, she age 33). Leona was filled with elation at becoming "Mrs. Uncle Charlie." Younger students at B-PC enjoyed observing their behavior, seeing the couple as comporting themselves rather like teenagers. Dr. A. K. Bracken, President of B-PC at the time, overheard Leona say at the post-wedding reception in Bethany, "I'm just going to lean on him, and lean on him, and lean on him."
In 1933, Leona graduated at B-PC, now SNU, and enrolled in the University of Oklahoma for graduate studies. After two years there, she was awarded the M. A. degree in history, having completed a thesis on the "History of the Town and College in Bethany." In short order, she joined her husband on the staff of the College, serving many years thereafter mostly as a key figure in the Office of the Registrar. Most of the time her title was that of "Recorder."