Fishers’ Gift to Support Music, Religious Studies Programs

University of the Ozarks has received a gift commitment from John and Sue Fisher of Broken Arrow, Okla., and their daughter, Jennifer of Bixby, Okla., to benefit the music and religious studies programs

The gift was made in honor of Jennifer, a 1993 U of O graduate, and will be used to fund faculty chair endowments for the music and religious studies programs as well as to help fund student scholarships.

Jennifer was a general studies major and also sang in the University choir.

John and Sue Fisher said the gift is a testament of their love for their daughter and for the role that U of O has played in Jennifer’s life.

The gift agreement read: “Jennifer has a great love for University of the Ozarks and the life she had while a student on campus. What she took away from her experience at Ozarks will remain with her always. Singing in the choir was a wonderful memory for Jennifer and she continues to sing with the campus choir during Homecoming and alumni choir events.”

The gift is part of the University’s current five-year, $55 million CLIMB HIGHER Campaign that was launched in 2014.  The campaign has raised nearly $44 million for scholarships and facilities.

“A strong America depends on an educated community to make informed decisions concerning its governance,” said John Fisher. “University of the Ozarks has demonstrated its ability as a leader in higher education, where students are infused with the understanding that the actions of conscience will stand the test of time. The University has been highly successful in equipping students armed with the skills and tools to function in a challenging world. We support the programs, the philosophy and the goals of University of the Ozarks and we are proud to have a part in providing for its continued presence in the academic community, where bigger is not always better.”

John Fisher is retired from a business career where he held major positions with a Fortune 500 company in Chicago. Later in his career he owned a retail home center in Broken Arrow and served as a national bank director for 26 years. He remains active in his community. Sue has been involved in various church ministries and currently serves as the director of Healing Hats, a city-wide ministry in Tulsa, Okla.

After graduating from Ozarks, Jennifer went on to earn a master’s degree in Christian education from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. She has been involved in Masonic affiliated activities since the early 1980s and is a member of the International Order of Rainbow Girls and the Order of the Eastern Stars. She also serves as the director of the Green Country Puppeteers, a Christian ministry for young children. Jennifer has served on the U of O Alumni Association Board of Directors and received the University’s Young Alumni Award in 2001. She is employed in the retail field.

MacLean Hall Undergoing $10 Million Renovation

University of the Ozarks’ MacLean Hall is currently undergoing a $10 million renovation, the most extensive refurbishment project in the building’s 92-year history.

Construction began in December on the stately “H” shaped, three-story student residence hall that was completed in 1927 and sits on the east side of College Avenue. The current project is expected to be completed in early August, in time for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.

The renovation will include a fire sprinkler system, new central heat and air systems, an elevator, and all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing components. The student housing capacity will increase from 170 to 220 and additional common areas and laundry facilities will be created.

Most of the work this semester is being performed on the lower level after approximately 40 students who resided there in the fall were accommodated in other campus housing. The remainder of the renovations will take place during the summer break.

“This is a full renovation of MacLean Hall,” said Jeff Scaccia, vice president for finance and administration. “Basically we’re taking all the deferred maintenance out of the building and putting in new systems and components that are more modern and energy efficient. And, in many ways we’re restoring the building to its historic look.”

One example of reverting to the original look will be at the front of the building. With the inclusion of the fire sprinkler system, the external staircases that were added in the early 2000s are no longer needed and will be taken down.

The addition of an elevator to the historic building, as well as an ADA entrance door on the east side, will make MacLean Hall much more accessible.

The renovation project will also include new bathrooms, LED lightning and furnishings throughout the building. The large second-floor ballroom will also be renovated and a gas fireplace added. A courtyard will be created in the back of the building and new landscaping will be incorporated.

MacLean Hall was constructed in 1926-27 at a cost of $150,000. It was named in honor of Marie MacLean of Atlantic City, N.J., who was inspired to donate $60,000 for the project after hearing then-Ozarks President Dr. Wiley Lin Hurie speak at her church. Much of the original design and construction was completed by Ozarks’ faculty and students.

MacLean has undergone major renovations in 1968, 1976, 1988 and the early 2000s.

The current project’s construction company is Nabholz Corp., and Credo Design Architects is the architectural firm.

Arkansas Valley Electric Continues Scholarship Support

Representatives from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation (MyEnergyAVECC) made a $3,500 donation to the University of the Ozarks’ Wallace M. Milton Scholarship Fund on Jan. 30.

Those attending the presentation included (from left), Sam Davis, AVECC board member; Brandon Fisher, IT/GIS manager and interim member services manager for AVECC; alumnus Kevin Baskin ‘85, AVECC member services representative; Richard Dunsworth, U of O president; Nathaneal Rankin, student ambassador; alumnus Philip Taylor ’85, AVECC board member; and Rebecca Lester, director of major grants at U of O.

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative has been supporting scholarships at U of O for more than 40 years. The Wallace M. Milton Scholarship was established in the late 1970s in memory of the former corporation manager. It is awarded to a University of the Ozarks student from the AVECC region.

Frizzell Named Registrar at University of the Ozarks

Monica Frizzell has been named the new registrar at University of the Ozarks, effective Jan. 2.

A 2002 graduate of Ozarks, Frizzell has served in the Registrar’s Office for more than 15 years, including 11 years as assistant registrar.

“I am very excited about Monica stepping into the role of registrar,” said Jeff Scaccia, vice president for finance and administration. “She brings considerable experience working in the Registrar’s Office and is very familiar with the requirements and responsibilities of the position.  Her background will also give her insight into where improvements may be made to better the student experience and to continue improving operational efficiency for the office and how it interacts with the rest of the campus.”

Frizzell worked in the Registrar’s Office from 2001 to 2005 and served as assistant registrar from 2005 to 2014 before leaving the University in 2014. She returned in 2017 as assistant registrar. She also previously worked as the office manager in the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts from 2000 to 2001.

She replaces Wilma Harris, who retired in December.

“I have had the pleasure of serving students, faculty and staff at Ozarks for many years in the Registrar’s Office and I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the campus as registrar,” Frizzell said. “I look forward to continuing to help students achieve their degrees and to see them succeed.”

The Registrar’s Office maintains the official repository of student enrollment, registration and academic records of current and formerly enrolled students. It is responsible for registering U of O students, reporting grade information and maintaining academic records. The office is responsible for maintaining an accurate schedule of courses and provides assistance to students with name and address changes, enrollment certifications, registration, schedule adjustments after the drop/add period and graduation.

Three Join University of the Ozarks Board

Nathaniel “Nat” Raggette of Missouri City, Texas; Denton Tumbleson of Clarksville, Ark., and Buck Hill of Idabel, Okla.; have been appointed to the University of the Ozarks Board of Trustees, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The three were unanimously approved by the board to serve three-year terms during the board’s annual fall meeting in October.

Raggette is managing director and senior oil and gas banker of Natixis, a French investment company with corporate headquarters in Paris. He has more than 20 years of financial services experience and previously worked at RBC Capital Markets, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bright Horizon Resources. He earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Tumbleson is community president for Simmons Bank in Clarksville. A 1974 graduate of U of O, he is a past president of the University’s Alumni Association and previously served as a trustee from 1994-97 and from 2002-2014. He and his wife, Jane, have three daughters, Jennifer, Ashley and Lauren.

Hill is the owner and president of SETCO Solid Tire & Rim Assembly Company, a manufacturer and international distributor of solid tires for all makes and models of equipment used in off-road applications. Hill and his wife, Natalie, established the Dylan Giles Hill Memorial Scholarship in memory of their son, Dylan, a 2015 Ozarks graduate. The Hills have a daughter, Brennan; son-in-law, Mitchell; and a grand-daughter, Giles.

Also during the October meeting, several board members were re-elected for three-year terms: Rev. Tasha Blackburn of Fort Smith, Ark.; Allyn Donaubauer of Fort Smith; Catherine Lowry of Little Rock, Ark.; and Dr. Sherilyn Poole of Park Forrest, Ill.

In addition, Dr. Jim Bruning of Fort Smith was elected as the board’s new chair, Poole was selected as chair-elect, and Chris Allen of Clarksville was chosen as secretary.

Anonymous Donors Gift $10,000 to JLC

The University of the Ozarks’ Jones Learning Center has received a $10,000 gift from the parents of a former JLC student for providing a “life-altering experience” for their son.

The parents, who wished to remain anonymous, said the JLC made a tremendous impact on their son and helped him graduate from U of O with honors.

“This gift is being given to support the mission of the Jones Learning Center by grateful parents of a child who entered the University of the Ozarks as a shy, immature, frightened kid who had some learning difficulties and was very unsure of himself,” the parents said. “As a result of the faculty and staff of both the Jones Learning Center and the University of the Ozarks family, as well as the incredibly hard work of our son, he graduated Cum Laude and as a mature, confident and prepared young man. We thank the entire University of the Ozarks family for providing a life-altering experience for our son.”

Jones Learning Center at University of the Ozarks

The gift will be a part of the Debbie Williams Memorial Endowment Scholarship that was established last year for scholarships to JLC students. It was created by family, colleagues, friends and former students of Williams to memorialize the long-time JLC coordinator who died in 2017.

“We are thankful for the generosity of donors like these who have seen first-hand the great work that our faculty members and JLC staff do to transform lives,” said Lori McBee, vice president for advancement. “Their gift helps ensure that future JLC students will have the same type of high-quality support and education that their son received.”

The Jones Learning Center is a comprehensive support program on the Ozarks campus.  Bright students with learning disabilities, AD/HD, and autism are completely mainstreamed into the university while receiving support in a program with a 1:5 staff-to-student ratio.  Daily scheduled meetings with JLC staff help the students to stay organized and to complete assignments.  In addition to the support they receive at the center, the average class size at U of O is about 17 students, allowing each to receive individual attention from professors in class.

Ozarks Outdoors to Present NOLS Film Tour

University of the Ozarks will host the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) film tour titled, The Exploration, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov., 29.

The event, which is presented by the University’s Ozarks Outdoors program, will be held in the Rogers Conference Center. It is open to the public and there is no charge for admission.

The multi-city Exploration film tour started as a way to tell the stories of ordinary individuals pursuing their dreams in extraordinary wilderness environments. It continues this year with six short films that range from a group of runners traversing Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in a weekend, to the canoe trip that jump-started Jimmy Carter’s movement to protect rivers.

With this film tour, NOLS hopes to highlight the inspiring places and people that can be found in this world, and stoke the fire of adventure.

NOLS is a non-profit outdoor education school based in the United States dedicated to teaching environmental ethics, technical outdoors skills, wilderness medicine, risk management and judgment, and leadership on extended wilderness expeditions and in traditional classrooms.

For more information about the event, please contact Adam Bates at 979-1400 or abates@ozarks.edu.

University of the Ozarks’ Dunsworth Named to NCAA Division III Presidents Council

University of the Ozarks President Richard L. Dunsworth. J.D., has been appointed to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Presidents Council, the highest governing body in the division.

Dunsworth will begin his four-year term in January, at the close of the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando, Fla.

The Presidents Council sets NCAA Division III’s strategic plan and establishes and directs the general policy of the division. Division III is the largest of the NCAA divisions with more than 430 member institutions. The 18 Presidents Council members are elected in balloting open to all presidents and chancellors at member institutions.

In 1996, University of the Ozarks became a founding member of the NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference (ASC), which is made up of 13 colleges and universities in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Approximately 40 percent of U of O students compete in one or more of the 17 NCAA Division III sports offered by Ozarks.

Dunsworth will become the first president from the ASC to serve on the Presidents Council.

“I am honored to be chosen to represent University of the Ozarks and the American Southwest Conference on the national level in my role as a member of the Division III Presidents Council,” Dunsworth said. “I look forward to being an advocate for the values and benefits of NCAA Division III athletics and working to provide support and guidance for our student-athletes to excel in their respective sports as well as in the classroom.  Division III athletics is an integral part of our campus experience and I am eager to share Ozarks’ and the ASC’s perspective with other institutions.”

The council meets on a quarterly basis and has budgetary oversight, as well as the ultimate authority to establish, direct and implement policies for the division.

Since Dunsworth’s appointment as the 25th president of University of the Ozarks in 2013, enrollment has climbed 40 percent and more than $40 million has been raised for scholarships and facilities at the private, Presbyterian-affiliated University.

Dunsworth recently concluded five years of service on the NCAA Division III Financial Aid Committee.

Dotson Crowned Poet Laureate of Spadra Valley

auren Dotson, a senior English major from Harrison, Ark., took home top honors in Season 13 of the University of the Ozarks’ Project Poet competition.

A total of 28 students entered the annual multi-week, fall semester competition that started in mid-September. In the following weeks, several poets went out of print until five remained, competing against each other in a lively finals episode on Oct. 26.

Dotson won the top prize of $1,000 and the title of Poet Laureate of the Spadra Valley for 2018. Rebekah Moore, last year’s co-champion, finished runner-up and took home the $500 second prize. Chava Roberts, Jarret Bain, and Marcelina Pop received $250, $150, and $100, respectively

“Over the course of the season all Project Poet poets wrote thought-provoking poems about various subjects, poems infused with love and grief and grace,” said Chris Carrier, adjunct English professor and coordinator of this year’s competition. “They made Ozarks a richer, more beautiful place.”

Project Poet began in 2006 as the brainchild of Ozarks’ Professor of English, Dr. David Strain, and his former colleague, Dr. Kendrick Prewitt. The competition challenges students to draw on their creative writing skills and their wit, and is open to students from any program on campus.

Based on Bravo TV’s program “Project Runway,” the poetry competition presents contestants with a new challenge each week. Contestants read their entries before the panel of three faculty/staff judges, and the audience, who acts as the fourth judge. When all votes are tallied, one contestant wins immunity for the next week’s challenge, while two or three others go “out of print.” The contestants who make it through to each successive round are given more difficult challenges as the competition progresses.

Since 2006, more than 300 students have competed in Project Poet.

J.T. Patterson Honored in Rededication Ceremony

University of the Ozarks on Wednesday rededicated the J.T. Patterson Administrative Services Office in memory of the University’s long-time business manager.

In front of numerous family, friends and University employees, the newly remodeled office suite was rededicated during a ceremony in the lobby of the Mabee Administration Building.

Patterson, who passed away in 2000, served as business manager at Ozarks for 38 years, retiring in 1982.

“We in leadership positions at Ozarks well know, and regularly and humbly acknowledge, that we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “These giants of Ozarks’ past endured, and persevered, and led through times and challenges so daunting that the institution’s very existence was sometimes threatened. Today, with J.T.’s amazing legacy in mind, we have a great opportunity to celebrate this giant by rededicating the newly remodeled Office of Administrative Services in his honor.”

The ceremony was attended by several members of the Patterson family, including J.T. and Lucile Patterson’s two children, Dr. Jack Patterson and his wife, Lisa, and Ann Patterson. Both Jack and Ann Patterson are graduates of Ozarks. Also in attendance were J.T.’s niece, Beth Patterson Duvall; granddaughter Katie Patterson Bradley; and grandson Jay Patterson and his wife Sarah and their son, J.T.

“For J.T. to be honored and memorialized in this way by the University means everything to our family,” said Jay Patterson. “This University meant so much to my grandfather as well as my grandmother and to see that Ozarks still holds him in such high esteem is very humbling. This University is in our family’s bloodlines and in our marrow and we’re so grateful that the family name will continue on here with this honor.”

The J.T. Patterson Administrative Services Office houses the University’s student records and registrar functions, financial aid, work study reimbursement and student billing offices.

“Not only does J.T.’s name above the door celebrate his legacy at Ozarks, so, too, does the design of the office suite,” Dunsworth said. “J.T.’s work to help students attend Ozarks is legendary. The personal time and attention he and his staff would give our students, now alumni, was exceptional. We hope and feel that he would very much like the way reception for students and access to convenient, one-stop help has been enhanced through these services.”

Born in 1915 in northern Johnson County, J.T. Patterson attended what was then The College of the Ozarks and Draughon’s Business College in Dallas, where he met his wife, Lucile. The couple were married Dec. 24, 1937, in Hubbard, Texas, the same year as his graduation from Draughon’s. He worked as an accountant for Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Company in Dallas until 1943, when he returned to Clarksville to serve as business manager for the University. He retired from that position in June of 1980. The University administration asked him to return in September of 1981, and Patterson worked another year. His career at the University spanned 38 years and he served under 10 presidents.

Other special guests during the ceremony were alumnus and long-time friend of the Pattersons, Dr. Don Pennington of Clarskville, and life-long friend Ann Murphy Lafferty of Gloucester, Mass., the daughter of long-time Ozarks librarian Lucille Murphy.