Campus Update -
Read about Ozarks' ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Campus Events Cancelled Through Semester

Campus Events Cancelled Through Semester

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.

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.

Student Athletes

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.

All Employees

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. 

Campus Events

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.

Coronavirus Updates Website

The university continues to provide important information and updates about coronavirus on a dedicated website.

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

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.

Missouri textile artist Meghan Rowswell will present her exhibit, “Transmutation,” in the University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery from March 2-19, 2020, as part of the University’s Artist of the Month Series.

There will be an artist talk featuring Rowswell at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, in Baldor Auditorium on campus, followed by a reception to meet the artist from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

Rowswell creates large organic fiber sculptures and installations inspired by nature and plants using found fabrics and materials.

Meghan Rowswell “Transmutation”

Describing transmutation as the action of changing or being changed into another form, Rowswell said her exhibit represents a meditation on how our trash becomes our landscape.

“Some of the most persistent sources of ecological concern today are the fashion industry and the devastating amount of clothing waste that ends up in the worlds landfills every year,” she said. “What would happen if the heaps of discarded clothing became a living part of the world around us? This work is a cautionary tale of how our waste defines us through the plants we depend on. As well as a visualization of the stories discarded objects can tell.”

Rowswell said the plant forms in “Transmutation,” have reclaimed textile items as part of their structural anatomy.

“The transmutation of fabric into botanical structures allows me to reimagine exquisite biological designs,” she said. “Each of these pieces is inspired by a native plant species from an ecoregion that I have visited. Through arranging these structures, I reinterpret the space and synthesize an environment.”

Rowswell said, “textiles are an intriguing medium to explore these forms because of their energetic and tactile nature. The challenge is in adding a third dimension to otherwise two-dimensional medium that stretches and sags in response to gravity.  I incorporate and expand upon traditional textile construction techniques in my sculptural components. The seams and frayed edges of a work represent the act of creation. There is something lovely about a glimpse into the structure of a form and seeing the maker’s hand. These rough areas juxtapose ideas of growth and vitality with savagery of cutting.”

Rowswell, who received a BA in art history from Hastings College, has exhibited in galleries and art spaces across the United States. She has also lived and exhibited in Japan. In 2014 she became a fifth level instructor of the Ohara school of ikebana. She is passionate about bringing the tradition of Japanese flower arranging to American students through teaching workshops at the Kemper Contemporary Museum of Art and Powell Gardens.  Formerly a resident of Art Farm Nebraska and an Artist Inc Kansas City fellow, Rowswell is a member of the four-artist group, The Polyartery Collective, that are recipients of the Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC and the Interpretive Grant from Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, as well as semi-finalists for the Rocket Grant in 2017 for their immersive art experience, “Weaving the River”.

Florida filmmaker Katie McEntire Wiatt will present a screening of her award-winning documentary, “Fly Like a Girl,” by Indie Atlantic Films at University of the Ozarks on Tuesday, March 17.

The event is part of the University’s Walton Arts & Ideas Series and begins at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center. There is no cost for admission and the public is invited to attend.

Wiatt will introduce the 84-minute film that marks her feature-length directorial debut as a filmmaker. Following the screening, Wiatt and her husband, Matt, executive producer and co-editor of the film, will discuss the making of the film and answer questions from the audience.

Wiatt said that while women make up half of the college educated workforce, they are significantly underrepresented in STEM/aviation fields. American women make up approximately six percent of the pilot population.

“This is a film about young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation, a field currently dominated by men,” Wiatt said. “From a Lego-loving young girl who includes female pilots in her toy airplanes, to a courageous woman who helped lead shuttle missions to space, ‘Fly Like A Girl’ shows us that women are in charge of their own destiny.”

Katie McEntire Wiatt

Wiatt is a producer/director at the Lakeland, Florida film company, Indie Atlantic Films. She first explored film production as a student at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla. At Dreyfoos, not only did she learn to edit on one of the first non-linear editing systems, but she also learned the fundamentals of cinematic storytelling. As part of the Indie Atlantic Films team for more than 10 years, Wiatt has produced, edited and directed films for broadcast and web.

Before joining Indie Atlantic Films, Wiatt was an elementary educator. It was during her time as a primary school teacher that she first developed the idea for “Fly Like a Girl.”

“Fly Like a Girl” has been selected for more than 12 film festivals across the country. It has received several awards including Best Documentary at the Hot Springs International Film Festival, The Award of Innovation at the Fort Myers International Film Festival, and the prestigious DoXX Spotlight Documentary Award at the Tallgrass Film Festival.

“The outpouring of support from the aviation community has been amazing,” she said. “It seems every one we reach out to wants to be involved in helping to tell the story.”

Wiatt has also served as a panelist at several film festivals, speaking on the topic of women in film. She is an active member of Women in Film & Television-Florida. To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, please visit

Jonathan Kipp Becker, a master mask maker, teaching artist and performer, will visit University of the Ozarks as an artist in residency in the theatre program from Feb. 9-15.

As part of his visit, Becker will present a production titled, “Facing Humanity: Masks of History and Culture, a Performance Demonstration,” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 11, in the Seay Theatre. The performance is free and open to the public and there will be a reception following the event.

Becker, who is currently an adjunct professor at Ball State University, will also be leading a mask workshop for Ozarks students and serving as fight choreographer for the University Theatre’s spring production of “Extremities.”

Becker has created hundreds of masks for theatre companies, producing organizations, individual artists and training programs in over 50 countries. His clients include Disney Theatrical in association with The Lion King, Focus Films, NBC, The Bravo Cable Network and Theater of Enchantment in Philadelphia.

Becker has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the United States and has worked as a member of the SunDance Institutes Playwrighter’s Lab, a laboratory founded by Robert Redford for the development of new works for theatre and film. He has appeared as an actor in programs with most of the major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada. Since 1988, Jonathan has helped in the development of 16 original works for theater. He co-founded and was Co-Artistic Director of two theatre companies: Les Senokrates in Luzern, Switzerland and The Brodeur Brothers in Paris, France.

In addition to performing and teaching, he is the owner/operator and master mask maker at, a full service production shop creating masks for the international theatre community. Educational institutions, professional theatres and individual artists in 50 countries are currently using Becker’s masks. You can visit the studio on line at

Becker recently founded The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts (NALPA).  The intention is to create an incubator space in which artists can develop new work and learn from each other. In the first four years, NALPA has assisted artists developing dozens of new musicals and new plays and more than 3,000 people from the local community and the nation have visited NALPA’s spaces supporting the effort to build a community of change.

In his current hometown, Becker was the recipient of the first annual mayors’ arts award in Muncie, Indiana, where he lives as a Muncie Maker. His masks have been featured in gallery shows throughout the United States. Becker is a graduate of The International School of Theatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France. He has a BA in Theatre from The College of Wooster, an MA in Acting and Directing from The University of Akron where and an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also a recognized advanced actor combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors and has completed the level one professor training in the Margolis Method. His teaching is inspired by the principles of Lecoq, Grotowski, Roy Hart, Rodenburg and Alexander.

University of the Ozarks Associate Professor of Art Dawn Holder will showcase some of her recent work in the exhibit, “Whence This Glory Perish,” from Jan. 22 through Feb. 21 on the U of O campus as part of the University’s Artist of the Month series. The exhibit will be displayed in the Stephens Gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. There will be a meet-the-artist reception from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the gallery. Holder said the “Whence This Glory Perish,” is a selection of work that she created while on sabbatical during the Spring of 2019. Installation by Dawn Holder“During that time, I participated in three artist residencies,”  Holder said. “While at the Hambidge Center in the mountains of north Georgia, I focused primarily on research and writing, while experimenting with new techniques to create text-based works. I then spent five weeks at a ceramics residency in Rome looking closely at ancient monuments, which inspired a series of sculptures and site-responsive photographs. Next, I spent six weeks at Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center in Denmark, where I continued to create sculptures, photographs, and built a new installation.” Holder said the sabbatical proved to be a very productive time for her as an artist. “I not only produced an abundance of new work, I also connected with artists from across the globe and participated in two international exhibitions,” she said. “I am grateful for the support from the university, my colleagues, and the other arts institutions that made this deep creative dive possible." The gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week when classes are in session. There is no cost to visit the gallery.

The Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, a long-time national advocate for children, will speak at University of the Ozarks on Monday, Feb. 10, as part of the Cecil and Ruth Boddie Farmer Chapel Guest Speakers Series.

Lindner’s talk is titled, “Is Childhood an Endangered Species?” and will begin at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The Presbyterian pastor has worked on behalf of children for most of her professional life. She served as the director of the Child Advocacy Office for the National Council of Churches of Christ in the 1970s and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as U.S. Commissioner for the International Year of the Child where she worked closely with the White House on child welfare policy during the Carter administration. In 2006, she wrote the book, “Thus Far on the Way: Toward a Theology of Child Advocacy.”

In her talk on the U of O campus, she will discuss how we can help ensure the wellbeing of children in today’s society.

“Today throughout the world children are subject to economic exploitation, trafficked for purposes of sexual abuse or as child soldiers and are subjected to rates of poverty and neglect that are unprecedented,” Lindner said. “Even in affluent countries, children today are often oversubscribed to tutoring, sports, drama, music and martial arts training leaving little time or opportunity for the essential developmental task of being children. As we increase our awareness and concern for the natural environment we might do well to consider the circumstances of the youngest cohort of humans and reconsider our priorities. Poet John Donne long ago lamented the plight of children who are “...weeping in the playtime of others.”  We will look together at the plight of children asking ourselves how we can best enable today's children to live the lives for which they were created.”

Lindner, who earned her Ph.D. in church history from Union Theological Seminary, was ordained in the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1975. She has served in churches throughout the country, most recently as senior pastor at Presbyterian Church at Tenafly in New Jersey from 2009 to 2018. She currently serves as a consultant for the Presbyterian Foundation and Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Lindner served as the Deputy General Secretary for the National Council of Churches from 1986-2007. She also served as the Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of the Palisades from 2007-2009.

The American Shakespeare Center will present William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, as part of the 2019-20 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.

The production will be held in the Walton Fine Art Center’s Seay Theatre on campus. The event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

Written by Shakespeare in 1595-96, the comedy portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. Shakespeare casts a theatrical spell powerful enough to make audiences of all ages believe in anything. This mischievous comedy of lovers, heroes, fairies, and rude mechanicals is his tribute to humankind's power of imagination, and reveals that the “course of true love can alter with just one touch of magic.”  

The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Based in Staunton, Virginia, the American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Year-round in Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — the ASC’s innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the past 30 years.

Beyond the Playhouse, the ASC is a hub for Shakespeare education and scholarship and also tours from Texas to Maine each year with a repertory of three plays. Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at

University of the Ozarks conferred degrees upon 24 graduating seniors during the 2019 Fall Commencement, held Saturday, Dec. 14, in Munger-Wilson Chapel.

Dr. Angela Wheeler Spencer, a 1998 U of O alumna and an accounting professor at Oklahoma State University, served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Jim Bruning, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, also commended the graduates on earning their diplomas.

Janae Williams, an environmental studies major from the Bahamas, gave the students’ welcome address and classmate Micaela Winters, a psychology major from Fort Smith, Ark., provided the scripture reading.

The Fall 2019 graduates were:

Bailey Sierra Albertson
Shell Knob, MO
BS, Marketing

Shelby Lynn Bosken
Valley Center, KS
BA, Art
Magna Cum Laude

Lillian Marie Bostic
Rogers, AR
BA, Art

Johnathan Scott Bowen
Hartman, AR
BS, Political Science

Madison Carol Chaney
Sikeston, MO
BS, Health Science

Fielder Thomas Dufrene
Clinton, AR
BS, Physical Education

Monica Flores
Clarksville, AR
BS, Health Science
Summa Cum Laude

William Merrem Forbes
Houston, TX
BS, Mathematics

Brittany Alexis Holt
Mansfield, Texas
BS, Biology
Cum Laude

Jordan Alexander King
Moore, OK
Bachelor of General Studies

Rebecca Anne McCarron
Covington, LA
BS, Health Science
Magna Cum Laude

Alec Daniel Mertin
New Blaine, AR
BS, Mathematics
Summa Cum Laude

Jaret Kyle Milligan
Hillsboro, AL
BS, Health Science

Abigail Rae Mork
Aurora, CO
BS, Chemistry

Siaygnoun Somphone Nhamnhouane
Van Buren, AR
BS, Health Science

Cecilia Marie Pearson
Clarksville, AR
BA, Communication Studies

Aaron Elliott Smith
Bentonville, AR
BS, Health Science

Taylor Antionette Snellback
Lonsdale AR.
BA, English

Manuel Tambriz Sac
Aldea Palacal, Solola, Guatemala.
BS, Management, International Business
Magna Cum Laude

Amber Lennex Taylor
Tulsa, OK
BS, Business Administration

Jacob Austin Toland
Little Rock, AR
BS, Health Science

Cody Lane Walters
Rogers, AR
Bachelor of General Studies

Janae Danielle Williams
Nassau, Bahamas
BS, Environmental Studies
Magna Cum Laude

Micaela Elizabeth Winters
Fort Smith, AR
BS, Psychology