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

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.

Voorhees Selected for National Register

Voorhees School, the University of the Ozarks’ iconic rock-walled building that has anchored the southwest corner of campus for nearly eight decades, has been selected for inclusion into the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.

Known as Voorhees Hall for much of the past 70 years, it was among 30 properties throughout the U.S. named to the national register by the National Park Service earlier this month. The register is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

Completed in 1941 as Voorhees School, it is the third U of O property on the National Register of Historic Places, joining Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel (1933) and MacLean Hall (1927).

“Voorhees School tells a story of alumni spirit and the University’s faithful tradition of service to its community, state, and nation,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “The designation is important to University of the Ozarks because it’s a resource that will help the University continue to grow its legacy as a high-quality liberal arts college that honors the people who carved out such an impressive history in the landscape of time.”

Construction on Voorhees began in the late 1930s as a joint project between the college and the Clarksville schools. It was built by the National Youth Administration (NYA) for $21,700 and named after Mary T. Voorhees of Clinton, N.J., who made several donations for the construction of the building.

Voorhees School was originally used as a practice teaching school by the college’s education students to teach ninth-graders in the Clarksville area.

It was used as a school for just over a year before the college turned over the campus to the U.S. Navy during World War II in 1944-45 to be used as a training facility. Voorhees was one of the primary teaching facilities for the early radar training during the 16-month period the Navy utilized the campus.

Over the years, the building has housed the state’s first pharmacy school as well as a student union, alumni and public relations offices, an art museum and art classes, the Walton International Scholarship Program offices and psychology laboratories.

It is currently being renovated and will be leased as a restaurant by Shane and Angela Kasper, former owners of Pasta Grill in Clarksville. Kasper’s restaurant is expected to open in January.

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

University of the Ozarks Ranked No. 3 in South Region by U.S. NEWS

For the third consecutive year, University of the Ozarks has been ranked No. 3 in the Best Regional Colleges of the South category by U.S. News & World Report.

In its 2019 edition of Best Colleges, which hit the newsstands this week, U.S. News listed U of O third among the list of more than 80 regional colleges in its 12-state South Region. The overall rankings examine such criteria as academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

It is the 20th consecutive year that Ozarks has been ranked a “top tier” university by the publication. Ozarks has been ranked among the top 10 of schools in the South Region in each of the past eight years, including third in each of the past three years.

“These rankings are yet another endorsement of the commitment that our faculty, staff, administrators and board of trustees have in fulfilling the mission of this University,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “Our commitment to controlling costs and limiting student debt while also providing a high-quality and personalized educational experience is resonating with students and their families.”

Additional rankings

Ozarks, which posted a record enrollment of 872 students this semester, was also ranked No. 12 in the South in the “Best Value” category in the magazine’s annual late summer publication that analyzes institutions of higher education. The value rankings evaluate the cost of attending a college or university relative to the quality of the institution.

In addition, U.S. News ranked Ozarks tied for first in the region in the category labeled “The Foreign Student Factor,” which looks at the percentage of undergraduate international students enrolled at universities. Both Ozarks and Webber International University in Florida reported 19 percent of its student population as international.

“Our graduates will live and work in an ever increasingly diverse and multicultural world,” Dunsworth said. “We believe creating a multinational campus in the Natural State is not only a great extension of our mission, but it’s also preparing our students to be able to live and compete in a global economy.”

The publication’s South Region consists of primarily undergraduate colleges and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia.

University of the Ozarks Shatters Enrollment Records

University of the Ozarks continues to be one of the fastest-growing universities in the region, shattering enrollment and admission records for the second consecutive year and topping 800 students for the first time in its history.

A total of 872 students are enrolled at U of O for the Fall 2018 Semester, the most in the University’s 184-year history and a 15 percent increase over last year’s previous record of 755 students.

Enrollment at Ozarks has increased 49 percent since 2013, when 585 students were enrolled.

The incoming class, which includes first-time freshmen and transfer students, is 323 — the largest incoming class in the University’s 184-year history and a 38 percent increase over the incoming class of 2016.

The university also reported a retention rate of 75 percent for last year’s freshman class from fall 2017 to fall 2018, a 15 percent increase over the fall-to-fall retention rate from the previous year.

“There is growing energy and excitement throughout the campus as we continue to reach notable milestones in this University’s long history,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “The growth reflects the University’s positive image and reputation in higher education here in the River Valley and across the region, nation and world. With a record number of new students choosing Ozarks as well as a significant increase in retaining our current students, this success is reflective of the outstanding work of our dedicated faculty and staff.”

This year’s student body is one of the most geographically diverse in the University’s history with182 international students from 25 countries, including the Bahamas, Belgium, Haiti, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Malaysia, Panama, Russia, Rwanda, South Korea, Spain and Zimbabwe. Ozarks also has students from 27 states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

The University is also setting records for enrolling local students, with 169 students from the River Valley counties of Johnson, Pope, Conway, Franklin, Logan and Crawford. A total of 104 students hail from the University’s home county of Johnson, including 40 in the incoming class.

Dunsworth said the University and its board of trustees have worked to hold, and in some cases decrease, the cost of attending Ozarks for students and their families over the past six years by eliminating fees, freezing tuition, increasing scholarship support and placing an emphasis on technology.

“We remain committed to keeping an Ozarks’ education affordable and reducing the amount of debt our students incur and I think prospective students and their families see that,” Dunsworth said. “We’ve implemented a sound financial aid strategy that is in line with our mission of serving and preparing students from diverse backgrounds. When you combine that with increased academic opportunities, broader international partnerships and more innovative programs and curriculum, you have an educational experience that is truly top-notch.”

Reggie Hill, vice president for marketing and enrollment, said the University closed admission in June for the second consecutive year.

“We’re seeing more students applying early, completing applications and confirming their attendance at Ozarks well before the deadline,” Hill said. “This tremendous enrollment growth is a consequence of building strong relationships locally and abroad, strategic enrollment planning and a significant increase in retention. It’s a wonderful testament of the value of an Ozarks education as well as the campus-wide efforts we are putting into recruiting students who desire a high-quality, personalized education.”

U of O Expands Full-Need Tuition Scholarship Program

University of the Ozarks is expanding its new full-need tuition scholarship program for students from Johnson County to the neighboring counties of Logan, Franklin, Madison and Newton.

Under the new program, which took effect this year for Johnson County students, the University covers the direct cost of tuition after all federal and state aid, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Subsidized Loans, has been applied. The full-need tuition scholarship does not cover room and board or books.

High school students from Logan, Franklin, Madison and Newton counties will be eligible for the full-need tuition scholarships starting in the 2019 Fall Semester.

“This program has been so popular and successful that we’ve decided to expand it to several counties surrounding Johnson County,” said Reggie Hill, vice president for marketing and enrollment. “We are committed to making an Ozarks education both affordable and accessible to as many local students as possible and to help lower the debt that students are incurring.”

Under the full-need tuition scholarship program, eligible students must be from the five designated Arkansas counties and have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less. The students must also be eligible for the Arkansas Challenge Scholarship and must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Feb. 15.

With a maximum federal Direct Subsidized Loan of $3,500 per year, the most an eligible Ozarks student would have in college loan debt for their tuition after four years would be $14,000. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, the average student loan debt of 2015 bachelor’s degree recipients was $30,100.

Students must maintain a 2.7 grade point average and be enrolled in 15 credit hours per semester to retain the scholarship.

Approximately 100 current students hail from Johnson County, including a new incoming class of 40 this semester,

For more information about the full-need tuition scholarship, please contact the Office of Admission at 979-1227.

Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer to Speak at University of Ozarks

Renowned storm chaser and extreme meteorologist Dr. Reed Timmer will speak at University of the Ozarks on Thursday, Sept. 27, as part of the University’s 2018-19 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.

Photo of man wearing a blue shirt and baseball cap in front of storm-chasing vehicle

Meteorologist Reed Timmer

The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center. There is no cost for admission and the public is invited.

Timmer will discuss his career as a TV meteorologist and celebrated storm chaser. There will be a question and answer session with Timmer at the end of his presentation.

Timmer completed a Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 after starring on Discovery Channel’s hit TV series Storm Chasers for four seasons. He has been storm chasing for Accuweather the last two years, providing coverage of extreme weather in the U.S. such as tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards and flash floods. He most recently covered Hurricane Lane in the Hawaiian islands in August.

Reed has documented more than 1,000 tornadoes and dozens of hurricanes in 18 years of storm chasing, including historic extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the super tornado outbreak in “Dixie Alley” in April of 2011.

Reed is well-known for his tenure on the Storm Chasers series during 2008-2011, and the intercepting of tornadoes using custom-built, armored tank-like vehicles called the Dominators. Reed published an autobiographical and educational book, “Into The Storm,” in 2010.

When he’s not chasing storms, Timmer can often be found in university lecture halls and civic auditoriums speaking on severe weather preparedness and the science of extreme storm chasing or researching the seasonal climatology of severe weather and its teleconnections with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and Gulf of Mexico.

U of O alumnus Joe Pennington, a meteorologist with KFSM, Channel 5 in Fort Smith, will introduce Timmer at the event.

The Walton Arts & Ideas Series has been sponsored by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation since 1994. For more information about this year’s series, please contact the Office of Public Relations at 479-979-1420.