University of the Ozarks has received a bequest of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars from the estate of Virginia L. King to endow a fund that will aid students in pursuing study abroad and international program opportunities.
King, who died in 2014 in Fayetteville, Ark., at the age of 94, was a long-time supporter of Ozarks, providing nearly $1 million to the university in her lifetime for scholarships and academic opportunities for students. The King Endowment for International Study has been established with a bequest of $740,000 to help students who want to take part in international programs and conferences, internships, and volunteer projects.
“Ms. King had a passion for students and for the transformational effect that can come from students having the opportunities to travel and to study abroad,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “She has left an amazing legacy at Ozarks and her gift with continue to impact students for many years.”
King had a long and distinguished career with the U.S. State Department and served at numerous embassies overseas as well as in Washington, D.C. She was an avid traveler and art collector, and she donated much of her art collection to the university.
Flo Lebois, director of international programs at Ozarks, said King’s gift ties in with the university’s new emphasis on global learning opportunities.
“Whether it is through studying at one of our partner universities, participating in a program abroad, doing an internship, teaching English somewhere in the world, volunteering, or being engaged in an international conference, we believe experiences abroad are essential to becoming a global leader,” said Lebois. “The King International Scholarship is a fantastic support to the internationalization of Ozarks. Thanks to Ms. King’s generous gift, we can now tell any of our student interested in an experience overseas that it is possible and that some of the financial barrier can be removed. It makes study abroad possible for many more of our students.”
Lebois said the parameters of the King fund are limited only by the imagination of students and their professors.
“The most important part of developing study abroad programs is to support faculty and staff engagement with students and to make sure that we consider each idea and work with them to make it happen,” she said. “The King fund will put international experiences within reach of all students and it will resonate across campus by helping to build a learning environment that promotes diversity and cross-cultural understanding.”