The grandchildren of long-time Clarksville residents Everett E. and Myrtle Mae Williams believe that their deceased grandparents would be happy knowing the house they built near the University of the Ozarks campus nearly a century ago is now a part of the University. The Williams House, located at 406 Brown Street, about three blocks west of campus, was recently donated to the University by descendants of Everett and Myrtle Mae Williams, who built the house in 1926. The 928-square-foot, two bedroom house was gifted by the family in memory of one of the Williamses’ grandsons, Keith Kilcrease, a 1964 U of O graduate who died in 1983. Keith’s sister, Susan, also attended Ozarks, as did numerous relatives. “This college has always meant a lot of our family and we feel great that it’s going to be a part of the University and that the family name will continue to be recognized with the house,” said Mitch Kilcrease, a grandson of Everett and Myrtle Williams. “Our family has a long history with Clarksville and the University and donating the home to the University was the right thing to do.” Everett, who died in 1971 at the age of 77, was a World War I veteran and a long-time butcher at a local grocery in Clarksville. Myrtle Mae, who died in 1999 at the age of 97, was a well-known seamstress in the community. “My grandmother would often sew and do alterations for the college presidents and other faculty and administrators,” Mitch Kilcrease said. “She would also board college students who needed a place to stay. C of O always meant so much to her and she would have a great big smile on her face now knowing that their home belonged to the college.” Everett and Myrtle Williams had four children — Evelyn Kemp, Robert “Spurlie” Williams, Jean Kilcrease and Kathryn Baskin, who lived in the house for most of the past four decades. Baskin moved to Nashville about five years ago and the house has been unoccupied since then. Mitch Kilcrease, an administrator at Florida State University, is one of eight children of Robert Lloyd Kilcrease and Jean (Williams) Kilcrease. In 1983, the family created a scholarship in memory of Keith Kilcrease for marketing students at Ozarks. “Our family is connected to University of the Ozarks in a lot of ways and this is just the next step,” Mitch Kilcrease said. “Our grandparents would be pleased.” The University is currently renovating the Williams House and it will be used for University housing.
A new philosophical approach to advancement and alumni relations at University of the Ozarks has led to a new department name for those services— the Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement. The name change, effectively immediately, reflects an effort by the University to build stronger life-long relationships with its alumni and external constituents, according to Lori McBee, vice president for advancement and alumni engagement. “Colleges and universities across the country are experiencing a decline in alumni participation, and we’re seeing that same trend here at Ozarks,” McBee said. “The name change shows that we’re placing a renewed emphasis on alumni engagement and that we’re committed to strong relationships with all of our alumni and friends. Engagement is becoming more and more critical, not only to achieve today’s fundraising goals, but to build a base of active and invested alumni and friends who will become our supporters of tomorrow.” The Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement encompasses several University programs, including development, alumni relations, church relations, major gifts, major grants and special events. Cara Graham serves as the director of development and alumni engagement. McBee said a national search will begin in April for the position of associate director of alumni engagement.
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.
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.
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.” 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.
During this Christmas season of blessings and gratitude, University of the Ozarks is grateful for the support and commitment of its many alumni and friends from around the world. Thank you for your past support. Your gifts have made a significant and lasting impression on the entire Ozarks community as well as future generations of Eagles.
We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to make a gift before the end of 2018.
You can support Ozarks in many ways:
- Ozarks Annual Fund
- Appreciated Securities
- IRA Charitable Rollover
- Endowed gifts in support of the University and her students
- Planned Giving
All annual unrestricted gifts go directly into the Ozarks Annual Fund to support scholarships and operations for an outstanding Ozarks education – small classes, excellent faculty, exceptional facilities, state-of-the-art technology and many hands-on learning opportunities. Year-in and year-out, the Ozarks Annual Fund is the single most important philanthropic initiative of the University. Every gift to this fund, regardless of size, has a direct and immediate positive impact on students.
There are also other methods of support:
- Securities, including stocks, mutual funds and electronically traded funds (ETFs) that have increased in value and been held for more than one year are one of the most popular assets to use when making a gift to University of the Ozarks. Making a gift of securities to us offers you the chance to support our work and may benefit you from a tax perspective.
- If you are 70½ or older and have an IRA, you may find an IRA Charitable Rollover to be a beneficial way of giving.
If you would like to visit about how you can help Ozarks or if you have questions, please give us a call 479-979-1354. Also, we will be happy to work with you in setting up an endowment or provide you giving opportunities for planned giving.
If you make a transfer of appreciated securities, please let us know so that we can watch for it on our end. Your accountant can give you guidance on any of these gift options.
To make a debit or credit card donation, please visit our website at www.ozarks.edu/give.
We are grateful for your continued support of Ozarks and her students, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Janna Rhinehart was the type of highly motivated and dedicated student that University of the Ozarks and the Walton Family Foundation had in mind when they established the Frontier Scholarship in 2017. The freshman health science and education major from Dardanelle, Ark., is one of about two dozen Ozarks students who are taking advantage of the new Frontier Scholarship, which was created through a $10 million endowment gift from the foundation to assist students who otherwise might struggle to attend college. “The Frontier Scholarship has been a true blessing to me and my family,” said Rhinehart. “I always strived to go to college but I wasn’t sure it was possible. My family works hard and I’m the middle child and this scholarship relieves a huge burden on myself and my parents. I will continue to work hard to prove my appreciation for this blessing and to make my family proud.” Rhinehart is a member of the women’s basketball team and the cheerleading squad. She said she chose Ozarks because of the scholarship as well as the academic reputation of the University. “This is really one of the top academic colleges in the area and that appealed to me,” she said. “I knew I would get a great education and also have the extracurricular opportunities like basketball and cheer. I also realized when I visited that Ozarks felt like a family. The overall atmosphere makes you feel like it’s home.” Juggling academics and extracurricular can be trying at times, but Rhinehart often relies on advice given to her by her high school coach. “He would always say, ’Breathe kid,’” she said. “It seems so simple, but it is definitely something I forget to do every now and then, especially in between the essays, quizzes, tests, basketball practices, cheer practices, classes, games, and personal life. On top of that, I stress about everything because I want to be the best I can possibly be and I can be super hard on myself. So, sometimes I stop and close my eyes and remember him saying, ‘Breathe kid.’ This allows me to take a second and appreciate where I am, and I realize everything is going to be OK.” Rhinehart’s professional goal is a career in education—as a teacher, coach or counselor. “I love working with people and having the opportunity to positively impact individuals and a community,” she said. “I want to go ahead and get a master’s degree when I leave Ozarks because education can truly be life-changing.” In just under one semester at Ozarks, Rhinehart said the most surprising aspect of Ozarks has been the support she has received. “The professors and staff are amazing; they care so much about you,” she said. “I honestly can say Ozarks professors are full of passion, care, and inspiration. It makes college more enjoyable because you feel like no one is against you. Everyone is pushing for you to succeed.”
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.
Chris and Martha Allen of Clarksville have established an endowed scholarship at University of the Ozarks to aid future educators. With a $50,000 commitment, the Allens created the Chris and Martha Allen Scholarship Endowment for Teacher Education. The scholarship will be awarded to education majors at U of O with financial need, with a preference given to those from Johnson County. Martha Allen spent more than 36 years teaching kindergarten through fourth grade in four states — South Carolina, North Carolina, New Mexico and Arkansas. The last 22 years were spent teaching fourth grade in the Clarksville School District.
Meeting a need
“We wanted to create a scholarship to help students at the University and education seemed like the logical choice,” Martha said. “The University does a wonderful job of preparing teachers and this was a way for us to help some of those future teachers pay for their education.” Lori McBee, vice president for advancement, said creating more scholarships for students is one of the University’s main objectives in its current $55 million Climb Higher Campaign. “Nearly 50 percent of our students are Pell eligible, so there is definitely a big need for scholarships,” McBee said. “Chris and Martha’s scholarship endowment will have a huge impact for years to come for so many students pursuing a degree in education. Our students are truly blessed by the generosity of the Allens and of all those who support Ozarks.”
Do more with an IRA
Chris Allen, a retired plant manager at HanesBrand in Clarksville who has served on the U of O Board of Trustees for 17 years, said they were able to create the endowment through an IRA charitable rollover. The Allens will use their IRA’s required minimum distribution to fund the endowment. “We visited with officials at the University and we were able to make it happen,” Chris Allen said. “We’re extremely blessed to be able to create this scholarship for education students. Having lived with a teacher for almost 50 years, I know personally the tremendous amount of time and commitment teachers put into their profession. We need to do all we can to promote and encourage more young people to pursue careers in education.” The Allens, who celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary in April, have lived in Clarksville for the past 30 years. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.
University of the Ozarks officials have announced that Cara Graham will serve as the University's new director of development, beginning July 2. Graham has worked as an attorney since earning a juris doctorate in 2007, including as a juvenile and family law attorney at her solo law practice in Oregon City, Ore. She has also worked in fund-raising at her undergraduate alma mater, Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and as a high school debate and speech teacher. As director of development, Graham will manage the day-to-day operations of all fundraising initiatives of the University, including donor research and identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship elements of the University’s fundraising cycle. “I am excited to have Cara join the fundraising team at University of the Ozarks,” said Lori McBee, vice president of advancement. “She brings a diverse and well-rounded employment background that will add a different perspective on how we achieve our goals. She will help us strengthen our annual fund campaign while we continue in the heart of our $55 million Climb Higher campaign.” After graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., Graham served as deputy district attorney for the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office in Oregon before opening her own practice in 2016. Her sister, Chloe Chrimes, is a 2014 graduate of Ozarks and Graham has family living in the area. “Joining the Ozarks family is a homecoming for me, both personally and professionally, and I am incredibly grateful to be welcomed into this community,” she said. “This is such an exciting time to join the life of this campus. As enrollment grows and more students are given the opportunity to receive an Ozarks education, the often quiet, behind the scenes, work of our development team is critical. I am excited to lead our great team of fundraising professionals in achieving goals that will serve the historic and evolving needs of our campus and students, and I am thankful for the opportunity to do so.” Graham’s husband, Larry, was recently named the director of public safety at the University. The Grahams have a 9-year-old daughter, Hope.