Gloria Cizungu has always had a fascination and love for cosmetics and, thanks to University of the Ozarks, she’s well on her way to turning that passion into a career.
Cizungu is a senior business administration major from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country of about 84 million in Central Africa. While she’s not scheduled to graduate from Ozarks until December 2020, she’s already combined her love of cosmetics with an entrepreneurial spirit to launch her own cosmetics brand a few months ago.
“I started doing makeup for people in 2016 back home, but I realized that it was so hard to get good products there and almost impossible if you were not wealthy,” Cizungu said. “I’ve always loved everything about cosmetics and I like looking good and having good makeup on. So in 2017, I started planning to have my own makeup brand.”
Cizungu decided to tie her country’s highly diverse linguistic landscape into the naming of her business and cosmetics line. While French is the official language of the country, there are more than 200 living languages spoken in the country. Kituba, Swahili, Tshiluba and Lingala are the country's four national languages.
She calls her business Buzuri, which means “beauty” in Swahili. When she launched her first products this past December, she named the collection Elimu, which means “education” in Lingala, because, “I believe that people can be educated through makeup.” The collection was composed of lipsticks, each of them named in honor of Congo’s national languages, plus some of the North Kivu (one of Congo’s provinces) languages.
“My favorite part of having my own brand is the education aspect of it,” Cizungu said. “I love it when I can explain what Buzuri means or I can tell people the meaning of my lipstick names. That makes me very happy because I feel like I’m sharing the pride of my country with them and helping to educate them about the languages of my country.”
Ironically, it was language that was Cizungu’s biggest obstacle when she enrolled at Ozarks in January of 2017 after learning about the University from a family friend who was an alumnus. She studied English for only about three months at the Congo American Language Institute (CALI) before enrolling at Ozarks.
“I thought I was a ready with my English, but I quickly realized that three months was not nearly enough,” she said. “The first few months were the hardest of my life. I didn’t have any friends and if you didn’t speak French to me it was hard for me to talk to you. I even remember having a roommate my first semester who I couldn’t even communicate to that our room was too cold. I had to Google everything. It was very painful, but I just started reading everything I could. I turned every one of my electronics to English and started doing everything --- music, movies and books --- all in English. I started making some friends and just continued to work on my English. It’s amazing how far I came.”
She said her professors were the ones who made a difference for her during that first semester.
“They were really my angels because they knew I had a language problem and they were patient and worked with me,” Cizungu said. “They were very encouraging and helped me to continue to improve. I remember when my I got my grades that first semester and receiving congratulations from some of them. I was crying that day. They truly are my mentors and some of them don’t even know how much they’ve helped and motivated me.”
That type of help has inspired Cizungu to look for ways to serve.
“When I didn’t have my family here, I saw people assisting and helping me through my hard times,” she said. “I even had somebody drive me two hours to a hospital during the summer when I was not feeling good. That made me realize what an impact we can all have on each other by helping one another. From then on I made myself a personal challenge to volunteer my time or service at least once a month for an entire year. That’s been a very rewarding experience.”
A curriculum concentration on international business and its bevy of business classes have been especially inspiring to Cizungu as she contemplates ways to grow and expand her cosmetics brand.
“I think about classes, such as my business communication class or my finance class, that have been so helpful in giving me skills and knowledge that I can use in my own business,” she said. “Studying business here at Ozarks has really opened my eyes to so many things. I believe I’ve learned things in all of my classes that will help me be a better business person.”
Cizungu’s cosmetics are produced in Canada and then, with the help of an uncle, shipped to her to be branded. She hopes one day to produce her own makeup in Congo and have her own cosmetics line in all 26 provinces of Congo.
“When I see people, especially Congolese, buying my makeup, I cannot describe my feeling,” she said. “It used to make me cry with happiness. My goal is to grow my makeup company back home and give my country access to high quality and affordable makeup. From there, I want to expend Buzuri makeup and export it all over the world.
While her goals may seem lofty, Cizungu has already proven that she can overcome long odds.
“When I moved here, I was not even sure I was going to make it to today,” she said. “Thanks to my vision and determination and to professors who pushed and challenged me, I have been successful. Now I know that it doesn’t matter which country you come from or what your background is. What matters is that believe in your vision and that you fight for it. Yes, I dream very big, but it’s because I believe in myself. Believe is a magical word that everyone should carry with them wherever they go.”
A wind comes up the snowy slopes of the great mountain. It comes from the Valley of Muses where grass is imprinted by sheep hooves and shepherds’ feet. The wind is made eloquent by something too deep to be seen or heard or even felt in human terms. Do you hear it, there along the snowy ridge overlooking the vast bays and the Odysseus-rocks of the shore, the wine-dark sea and the columns of orange cloud? Do you feel it on the hilly slopes where the laurel leaves tremble? Do you heart the silence, too? The poetry of the wind?
William R. Eakin, Redgunk Tales (2001)
University of the Ozarks Professor of Philosophy and German Dr. William R. Eakin, who explores issues of philosophical inquiry in imaginative ways through his fictional short stories, has announced that he will retire after a nearly 30-year career with Ozarks at the end of the 2020 Spring Semester.
Eakin joined Ozarks in 1991 as an adjunct professor and has been a full-time faculty member since 2000. He served as coordinator of the study abroad program from 2009-2014 and has been a full professor since 2009.
Eakin said he made the difficult decision before the academic year that this would be his final year at Ozarks.
“I have found my most-loved colleagues and friends here,” Eakin said. “I came to a place where I felt at home, where I could do what I felt I needed to do vocationally, and where I hoped I could make a difference. It was where my children too could find their best paths in life. They, too, were nurtured by U of O. I have been to a lot of colleges, studying and teaching, but U of O has given me the best education I could have received. I say that with gratitude.”
The recipient of the University’s 2003 Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award, Eakin developed the Philosophy program in the early 2000s and more recently helped establish a minor in Creative Writing and Thought.
Dr. David Daily, professor of religion and dean of the Humanities & Fine Arts Division, praised his colleague for his ability to reach students.
“When I think about Dr. Eakin and the long arc of his career here, I think of how he introduced generations of students to the riches of the world’s many cultures and religions and philosophies,” Daily said. “Whether it was taking students to see an ancient Hindu fire ritual in India or opening up a passage from Plato’s Symposium, Dr. Eakin had a gift for helping students take delight in new ideas and new possibilities. Day in and day out, he has done the hard work of hospitality in dialogue, and we are all the better for it.”
Eakin earned his undergraduate degree from Hendrix College, master’s degrees from Baylor University and University of California at Davis and his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He said he was always interested in how other people thought and how their views of the world differed from his.
“As a freshman in college in a course called ‘Views of Man,’ we read a book of philosophy each week,” Eakin said. “One week we’d be in Plato’s world, the next Augustine’s; we’d see the contributions of Descartes, then Marx. Each philosophical work opened another world. I find this incredibly important—that the edges and limits of our thinking can themselves be expanded and opened.”
Eakin said that view led him to not only teach philosophy, but to also write fiction, asking the “so-called boundary questions in both.”
“What am I as a person? Is there meaning in the universe? What is real? Is there a God? What can I learn from others with very different religious viewpoints? What is language and knowledge at all?,” he said. “At University of the Ozarks I found a place where my students and I could explore these things and a place where we encouraged students and faculty to open new conceptual worlds and literally go abroad. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with students in places like Greece, Italy, France, Germany, India and Egypt.”
In addition to his fictional short stories, Eakin has written scholarly papers and book introductions on poets and philosophers like William Blake, Thomas Reid, Plotinus, Shelley and others. He has also co-edited numerous books on the world religions and issues of ecology, feminism, justice and pluralism for Orbis Books. His short stories have appeared in more than 100 publications, including in five of his own book collections.
After retiring, Eakin said he will oversee the publication of a 30-year complete compendium of his short stories and will be helping a composer in New York City to adapt five of them as a musical theater production.
Reggie Hill, vice president for marketing and enrollment at University of the Ozarks, has been named by Arkansas Business as a 2020 40 Under 40 honoree, the publication announced on Monday.
According to the state-wide publishing group, 40 Under 40 honors men and women under the age of 40 “in business, nonprofits and government who are making a significant impact.”
The honorees, nominated by readers and chosen by the editors of Arkansas Business, will be recognized at a luncheon ceremony and in a special edition of Arkansas Business. The 2020 40 Under 40 awards luncheon, presented by Bank OZK of Little Rock, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 4 at the DoubleTree in Little Rock.
“I owe this honor to the students, faculty, and staff who tirelessly strive to make communities at home and around the world better,” Hill said. “I share this platform with University of the Ozarks, an institution that has been at the forefront of freedom, democracy and social progress throughout its 185-year history.”
Hill has led Ozarks to record enrollment growth since joining the University from Saint Leo University in Florida in 2016. Under his leadership, Ozarks has increased its enrollment more than 40 percent and surpassed 800 students for the first time in the college’s history in both 2018 and 2019. He oversees admissions, financial aid, public safety, marketing and athletics at the University.
The University of the Ozarks team of David Bondy, Juan Fernando de la Cruz, Nicolas Dunsworth and Richard Javier Rodriguez took home second place overall in the 2020 Arkansas Undergraduate Mathematics Competition, held Feb. 29 at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
It is the second consecutive year that a team from Ozarks has finished in the top two in the state-wide competition. Rodriguez and de la Cruz were part of Ozarks’ first-place team in last year’s event, the first U of O team to ever finish first overall in the AUMC.
A total of 10 teams from five universities competed in this year’s event, with Henderson State taking first place.
Also competing for Ozarks were, Jonathan Duffel, Nadine Karabaranga, Dakota Frits, Brilliant Pasipanodya, Misael Perez-Medina and Carlos Leon Beauregard.
Students competed in teams of 2-4 with no calculators, computers, books or notes available to them on the three-hour, 10-question test that emphasized problem-solving skills. Teams received 10 points for every correct answer and partial credit for incomplete but significant work.
The final results of the competition were not tabulated and confirmed until more than two weeks after the competition. The students learned of the results last week, according to the U of O team’s sponsor, Dr. Matt Myers, professor of mathematics. “All of our students competed with character and integrity and we are proud of the way they represented Ozarks,” Myers said.
“All of our students demonstrate a true passion for mathematics and they enjoyed the opportunity to test their skills against other top students from throughout the state.”
University of the Ozarks has cancelled all public, student and academic events on campus for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Semester and is limiting off-campus visitors in an attempt to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
There are currently no reported or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the U of O campus or in Johnson County.
On Friday, University officials announced that in-person classes were suspended for the next two weeks and that the University would transition to an all-online method of course delivery starting March 30 and lasting through the remainder of the semester. The University will continue most normal operations, but is asking departments to utilize remote work and "social distancing" whenever possible.
All University-sponsored events have been cancelled for the remainder of the semester, including the Walton Arts & Ideas Series, Ozarks Fest, intercollegiate athletic competitions, alumni events, University Theatre productions, art exhibits and music department concerts and recitals. The University has also suspended all other public workshops, meetings and conferences that were to be hosted on campus this semester.
In addition, the University is restricting off-campus guests from visiting campus. Campus Perks, the Rawhouser Fitness Center, Robson Library and the residence halls are among the facilities that are closed to off-campus visitors until further notice.
University officials said no decision has been made on the status of the 2020 Spring Commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 16.
University of the Ozarks is extending Spring Break and cancelling all classes, effective immediately, for the next two weeks to best protect students and the broader community in response to risks associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Classes will resume on Monday, March 30, in an all-online method of delivery and continue online for the remainder of the semester, University President Richard Dunsworth announced on Friday.
The University will remain open and most student services, including housing, dining and academic support, will continue to be provided for students who choose to remain on campus. All campus events, including intercollegiate athletic competitions, concerts and theatre performances, have also been cancelled.
While there are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the U of O campus, the move to transition to an all-online format and cancel on-campus events allows the University to implement “social distancing” protocols that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to minimize the spread of the virus.
“The last few days and weeks have been unlike anything any of us have ever seen,” Dunsworth said. “The fluidity of the situation and the pace at which the environment is changing is creating an ever-growing sense of angst and worry. However, this University has an incredible legacy of navigating through uncharted waters and difficult times and I am certain that our core Christian values, such as service, hospitality and justice, will help guide us through these trying times.”
Dunsworth said the University will spend next week preparing faculty and students for the transition from face-to-face teaching to virtual instruction.
“One of the greatest strengths of our University is the tight-knit and supportive community that we have all come to rely on,” he said. “While this situation presents many unique and serious challenges, we are confident that this collective spirit of collaboration and support will elevate us as we navigate the coming days and weeks.”
Spring break extended one week and classes to move to remote instruction.
The last few days and weeks have been unlike anything any of us have ever seen. The fluidity of the situation and the pace at which the environment is changing is creating an ever growing sense of angst and worry. I have asked myself and others countless times in the last few days what not only our mission, but our history calls us to do in order to prepare students to live life fully. Below you will see our current position. It reflects a collective best thinking for today. I believe, also, it is true to our Christian heritage.
Immediate Campus-Wide Changes
- Effective immediately, the University of the Ozarks is suspending all classes.
- Classes will resume after spring break on Monday, March 30 in an all online method of delivery and continue online for the rest of the semester.
- The University is open. Housing, dining, library, academic support and other services for students who remain on campus will continue to be provided.
No faculty, staff, or student should come to campus if they have any symptoms of the COVID-19. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, or respiratory symptoms.
Please consult with your family, friends, and mentors and decide whether it is best for you to continue your Ozarks coursework from home. If you believe campus/Clarksville is the best place for you to continue the semester, we will do our very best to serve you. The residence halls, houses, and apartments will remain open and there will be no break in food service from now until the end of the semester.
If you believe the best course of action is for you to go home, please make plans to check out of your residence hall at your earliest convenience. Residence Life is prepared to begin checking people out as early as tomorrow, Saturday, March 14. If you would like to take some time to prepare, please know that we will work with you. Please check your email regularly for communication from the University, especially your faculty.
All athletic activity including practices, strength and conditioning, and competitions have been suspended for the remainder of the semester.
Thank you! Thank you for leaning into these trying times. There will be training opportunities throughout the week for you and your colleagues to collaborate on moving courses away from face-to-face delivery. I hope over the next few days you review with your advisees their plan for the rest of the semester. Many of them will be preparing to leave campus and may need to check-in with you regarding best means of communication or challenges for finishing special projects from a distance. If you have challenges that prevent you from moving to an online environment taught from your homes, please work with your respective dean to find an appropriate solution.
Staff and Administration
If your work can be performed remotely, please work with your colleagues to make that a reality. If your work requires you to be on campus, please continue to monitor your health and behavior to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
If you have a personal situation that makes you vulnerable to the virus, please work with your supervisor to develop a plan to ensure your well-being and the well-being of those you love. Knowing every situation is a little different, supervisors have been given broad authority to find solutions while demonstrating institutional values.
All campus events intended to draw an audience are suspended. This includes the Walton Arts & Ideas Series, Winter Formal, Ozarks Fest and University Theatre’s Pinocchio.
In order to protect the most vulnerable among us, we suspended all official and previously-authorized international travel. Moving forward, all institutional travel is suspended. If you believe your circumstances warrant an exception, please consult with your respective vice president, dean, or director. Any member of the campus community who travels outside of the state is asked to self-report their travel plans. Any travel could result in initiation of self-quarantine protocols.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- While students have the option to leave campus and return home, we are asking that if they check out of the residence halls that they stay away from campus for the remainder of the semester. Students will be able to check out of their residence halls starting Saturday by contacting the Office of Student Affairs.
- Many of the University’s student services will remain operational, including Robson Library, the Jones Learning Center, Borck Cafeteria, Rawhouser Fitness Center and computer labs.
- No outside guests will be allowed on campus.
- More information regarding online instruction will be communicated in the next few days to students from Provost Gill as well as from their respective professors.
- Staff members should check with their supervisor to determine their work protocol during this period.
- The University’s custodial team continues the enhanced environmental cleaning practices that have already been implemented, including increased sanitizing of touch points. We encourage all members of our campus community to adhere to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
- A decision about the Commencement in May will be determined in the upcoming weeks.
I know there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We will continue to provide updates on the transition in the next few days. The University’s highest priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. While there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 at Ozarks or in Johnson County, we believe these measures are necessary to implement social distancing in the interest of public health.
Richard L. Dunsworth, J.D. University President
The Rev. Christopher M. Lee, associate pastor at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church in Richardson, Texas, will visit University of the Ozarks during the week of March 9-13 as part of the University’s Pastoral Study Leave Program.
Lee will lead the University’s weekly Chapel Service at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel.
Born in Charlotte, N.C., and was raised in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Lee is married to his college sweetheart, Brandy, who serves as the AVID Program Coordinator at South Garland (Texas) High School. They have two daughters, Erin and Jordyn.
He is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, earning a bachelor’s degree with Cum Laude honors in communications. In 2012, he earned a master of divinity degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary. He also holds a certification in executive leadership from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill.
Lee was ordained as a minister of word and sacrament in August of 2013. Prior to ordination, he served five other churches in the areas of mission, outreach and youth ministry.
Lee has, each time, been the first African-American minister to serve in the history of each congregation. His passion for social justice, outreach and community engagement is lived out in his involvement with local schools, non-profit organizations, community panels, radio contributions and various community organizations.
The Pastoral Study Leave Program was established in 2005 by the late Rev. Dr. James R. Struthers of Stillwater, Okla., a long-time member of the University’s Board of Trustees. Struthers established the program to bring Presbyterian pastors to the U of O campus for personal and professional development.
Several University of the Ozarks art students received recognition at the River Valley Arts Center’s 2020 Collegiate Competition, held this past weekend in Russellville, Ark.
The Collegiate Competition gallery will be on display through March 27, 2020, in the arts center, located at 1001 East B Street in Russellville.
Vicente Vazquez, an art minor, received second place for his ink drawing, “The Stars Are Trying to Say Something.”
Art major Blanca Claudia Almaraz-Martinez received an honorable mention for her porcelain sculpture, “Growth within the Family.”
Art major Madison Clary (pictured) also received an honorable mention for her mixed media sculpture, “Armored Skin.”
Other U of O students featured in the exhibit include, Shalley Coffin, Megan Johnson, Aaliyah Knowles, Victoria Rousseau, Kayla Newman and Willow Stratton.
“This is a great opportunity for students at the college level to participate in a juried art exhibition,” said Tammy Harrington, professor of art at Ozarks. “To display artwork in a different venue other than the classroom or in the art department hallway is exciting and it also gives the students an awareness of what their peers in the region are creating. I am proud of all the students that are exhibiting in the show and am extremely pleased that Vicente, Blanca and Madison received honors. It is important for art students to think beyond the classroom and to start developing their professional practices while in school and to continue these practices after graduation.”
University of the Ozarks Theatre will present three showings of William Mastrosimone’s dark and gripping drama, “Extremities,” on March 6, 7 and 8.
The play, which is recommended for mature audiences because of its adult theme, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, in the Walton Fine Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $8 for the general public and can be purchased at the box office prior to the show.
First performed at the Westside Theatre in New York in 1982, “Extremities” is an intense play about an attempted rape, power and gender in society.
Marjorie is the young woman who is attacked in her home by a stalker and would-be rapist, Raul. She fights back and manages to tie him up and lock him in the fireplace. Her two roommates come home to the grim scene and offer different points of view about rape and justice. The three women turn on the attacker and each other at various points in the rest of the play. There is violence and profane language throughout.
Dr. Rebecca Bailey, assistant professor of theatre, is the director of the play and Lucas Hoiland, theatre technical director, is the set designer and technical director.
The student cast includes, Kimberly Lacye Day as Marjorie, Kevin Nawa as Raul, Nichole Finch as Terry and Tiffany Quinton as Patricia.
Crew members include, Jimmy Reinier as stage manager, Jonathan Adderley as assistant stage manager, Jonathan Becker as guest artist and fight choreographer, Petron Brown as fight captain, Day as dramaturg, Mason Clough as lighting designer, Haley Wheeler as sound designer and Ben Howard as costume designer.
Other crew members include, Sydney Ward as props designer, Fion Chen as graphic designer, Nawa as assistant technical director, Ethan Lubera as scenic charge artist, Klara McElory and Kenzie Lewis as assistant scenic charge artists, Karie Miller as sound board operator, Gracie Bormann as light board operator, Lilly Olmsted in wardrobe and Quinton in costume technology. The back stage crew includes Ward, Adderley and McElory and the technicians include Bormann, Finch and Reinier.
Also working as crew members are Paula Jurado Gurdian, Geoshan Lee, Jake Holland and Amy Alderson.