Arkansas Valley Electric Continues Scholarship Support

Arkansas Valley Electric Continues Scholarship Support

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. 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 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.

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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.”
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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 alumna Edna Elkins Patterson ’67 and her husband, John, have created a new scholarship endowment at Ozarks to assist elementary education students from Johnson County. The long-time Clarksville residents established The Edna Elkins Patterson and John S. Patterson Education Scholarship recently with a gift commitment of $100,000. The first preference for the scholarship is to assist students from Johnson County who are majoring in elementary education. “The loyalty of our alumni and their desire to help students is one of the University’s strongest qualities and the Pattersons exemplify that commitment,” said Lori McBee, vice president for advancement. “We are grateful that the Patterson Scholarship will make it possible for many more students to excel at Ozarks, in their careers and in their communities.” After graduating from Ozarks in 1967 with a degree in elementary education, Edna served more than 35 years as a teacher and media specialist, including 32 years in Clarksville elementary schools. She also taught in Van Buren, Ark.,, and Springdale, Ark. Edna, whose family moved to Clarksville when she was 5, said that while she was a student at Clarksville High School she served as an aide to school librarian Lois Smith, wife of long-time Ozarks biology professor T.L. “Prof” Smith. Lois Smith encouraged Edna to attend then College of the Ozarks. “Since there was no library degree available at C of O, I majored in elementary education,” she said. “Children’s literature, taught by Ruby Villines, was a class I especially enjoyed. She instilled in me a desire to teach. This gift is an expression of appreciation for all the wonderful teachers I had at C of O, now University of the Ozarks.” Edna said attending Ozarks was one of the best decisions she ever made. “My dad had been diagnosed with cancer so I knew I wanted to go college as close as possible so that I could be there with him,” she said. “I lived on campus for three years and had so much fun and met so many wonderful friends. My father died during my senior year, so I always felt blessed that I could be close to him in his final years and also receive a great education.” The Pattersons, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June, said the scholarship endowment stands as testimony to the faith journey they have had through their worship and service at First Presbyterian Church of Clarksville. The Patterson have two children, Page Patterson Hardin and Penny Patterson Coffman, and three grandchildren, Abigail, Regan and Graham. John, a fourth generation Clarksville resident who retired in 2007 after serving as a circuit court judge in Franklin, Johnson and Pope counties, said he and his wife feel blessed to be able to help Ozarks students. “Being able to establish a scholarship at this stage of our lives rather than through a will or estate gift makes this very special,” he said. “We will be able to see the scholarship benefit students in our lifetime and perhaps even be able to sit down and have coffee with some of the recipients in the future. That’s a true blessing.” University of the Ozarks is introducing a new full-need tuition scholarship for students from Johnson County. Under the new program, 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, have been applied. The full-need tuition scholarship does not cover room and board or books. It will go into effect for the incoming Class of 2018. “This program continues our commitment to making an Ozarks education both affordable and accessible and to lowering student debt,” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “The message we want to send to students and families from Johnson County is that you don’t have to leave the county for an undergraduate education that is both world-class and affordable.” Under the new program, eligible students must be from Johnson County, Arkansas, 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. “This model will allow for a simplified communication of financial aid to students early in the process,” said Reggie Hill, assistant vice president for advancement and director of enrollment marketing. “By providing this scholarship in combination with federal and state financial aid resources, we will be able to recruit and retain more students with high financial need from Johnson County. And, we can help ensure that they are not burdened by excessive loan debt when they graduate.” Students must maintain a 2.7 grade point average and be enrolled in 15 credit hours per semester to retain the scholarship. For more information about the full-need tuition scholarship, please contact the Office of Admission at 979-1227. APPLY NOW! The P.E.O. Chapter “Q” of Clarksville has established a $500 scholarship that will be awarded each year to a female freshman at the University. The agreement was signed by P.E.O. chapter president Joe Ann Young, a 1957 Ozarks graduate, and University President Richard Dunsworth in May. Also attending the signing were Chapter “Q” members Dr. Jane Cater, a retired communications professor at the University, and Dawn Dvoracek, director of church relations at U of O. According to the agreement, the scholarship will be awarded annually “to an incoming female freshman student with a minimum of a 3.0 high school grade point average with preference given to a resident of Johnson County, Arkansas.” “This scholarship is consistent with P.E.O.’s mission of promoting educational opportunities for women,” said Young. “We’re pleased to be able to offer this scholarship for young women from Johnson County who are eager to learn and to continue their education at University of the Ozarks.” P.E.O., which stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, was founded in 1869 to promote the educational opportunities for women. The organization has more than 250,000 members nationally. The Clarksville chapter was established in 1938.
"P.E.O.University President Richard Dunsworth talks with P.E.O. Chapter “Q” of Clarksville members (from left) Dr. Jane Cater, Joe Ann Young and Dawn Dvoracek during the announcement of a new annual scholarship established by the organization.
University of the Ozarks has announced a $10 million gift from the Walton Family Foundation establishing an endowed scholarship program to assist promising students from low and middle income families. President Richard L. Dunsworth announced the new Frontier Scholarship Program to the campus community in the University's Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel on Monday morning. "There has been much written and discussed about the escalating costs of higher education in our country, and for many families the cost exceeds their reach," said Dunsworth, as he shared information regarding the scholarship program. Dunsworth told the audience the Frontier Scholarships would boost the private, four-year institution's ongoing efforts to provide a high quality liberal arts education to students who may otherwise struggle to afford it.  Initial Frontier Scholarships will be awarded to qualified students entering as freshmen in the fall of 2017.  Sixteen Frontier Scholars will be admitted in the program's first year, with about 60 students enrolled in the program by the fall of 2020.
U of O President Richard Dunsworth announced a $10 million gift from the Walton Family Foundation on Monday for the new Frontier Scholarship Program.
Dr. Judy P. Boreham, chair of the University's board of trustees, said that the Frontier Scholarship Program would add tremendous support to the University's strategic plan, "Renewing Our Place," adopted by the board last fall. "At the heart of the plan is the belief that the University, building on its legacy, should be accessible regardless of economic means," Boreham said. "We see this gift as wholly consistent with our mission and long history of social and educational leadership." Dr. Dave Daily, moderator of the Faculty Senate and professor of religion, commented, "We are proud of the quality of education we provide to our students, especially at a cost that defies national trends. We've already eliminated hundreds of dollars in fees while not raising the cost of tuition, room and board. With this generous gift, we will be able to extend the reach of an Ozarks education even further." Dunsworth expressed deep appreciation to the Bentonville-based foundation established by the late Sam and Helen Walton for furthering the University's "pioneering spirit in higher education."  Noting that Ozarks is the oldest institution of higher education in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Territory (founded in 1834), he enumerated many "firsts" that he said demonstrated "the unflagging frontier spirit at the University." The list included Ozarks' status as the first college in Arkansas to admit women in 1875, the first historically white institution of higher education in Arkansas to admit African-American undergraduates in 1957, the first historically white college in the state to integrate its varsity athletics program, and the first in the nation to establish a program to assist college students with specific learning disabilities. Helen Walton joined the University's board of trustees in 1974, was a former chair of the board, and was named honorary lifetime chair of the board in 1985. Ozarks is a host school for the Walton International Scholars Program, and is the home of the Walton Fine Arts Center and Robson Memorial Library (named in memory of Mrs. Walton's parents).  Other endowed scholarships and professorships have been established at Ozarks by the family. Ozarks' Fall 2016 enrollment is 686, up 5.4 percent, and the University will provide over $8.8 million in institutional financial aid to students this school year.  This amount does not include additional state or federal grants for which Ozarks students may qualify. For the second consecutive year, the University has been ranked number one in the "Great Schools, Great Prices" value category among universities in the South by "U.S. News & World Report," and was ranked third overall among 75 colleges in the publication's South Region. The Frontier Scholarship endowment is the latest in a string of major gifts and commitments to the University that includes funding for the complete restoration of the University's Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel, the $2 million McElree Faculty Enrichment Endowment, a $1 million endowed math professorship, an $800,000 endowment for study abroad scholarships, and funding to construct and support a new competition tennis complex and associated facilities.

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.

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Virginia L. King, who died in 2014, donated almost $1 million in her lifetime to support Ozarks and its students.

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 will 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."

The Rev. Bruce H. Williams, a distinguished 1943 graduate, wants to help ensure that today's Ozarks students have the same opportunity that he had as a graduate of University of the Ozarks.

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The Rev. Bruce H. Williams, a 1943 graduate of Ozarks, and his second wife, the Rev. Tracy Julian Williams, recently established the Virginia Laster Williams and Bruce H, Williams Endowed Scholarship in memory of Williams' late wife.

Williams and his late wife Virginia Laster Williams '43 were long-time supporters of Ozarks, dating back to the 1950s. Virginia passed away in 2011 and in 2013 Bruce Williams established the Virginia Laster Williams and Bruce H. Williams Endowed Scholarship to help Ozarks students receive the same quality education that allowed him to accomplish so much.

Williams, who turned 93 in August, lives in West Columbia, Texas, with his second wife, the Rev. Tracy Julian Williams.

Originally from Sharon Hill, Penn., he left his home to attend what was then College of the Ozarks in the late 1930s. Even 70 years later, Williams fondly remembers arriving at Ozarks.

"When I came to school here, there were three of us young men who came from the Northeast," he said. "One of the other guys owned a Model T Ford Touring car, and we all drove down in that.  I was supposed to take turns driving, but I almost wrecked us and they didn't let me drive anymore after that. It was a long trip. We were three days late getting here, and there was some question about whether or not they would allow us to enroll. Thankfully, the college president, Dr. Wiley Lin Hurie, said yes."

Williams majored in English and minored in religion at Ozarks. He knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in the ministry and spent some of his time at Ozarks working with local churches.

"There was a group here called the Christians Service Group," Williams explained. "I was a member, and we'd go out to different small towns and teach Bible classes to the local schools. I went to a little town called Montana. It was an old coal-mining town. I also went on Sunday to preach. I'd go out Saturday night and stay with some of the local families and preach on Sunday. I'd hitchhike there and hitchhike back."

During Williams' sophomore year in 1939, Europe entered into World War II. Two years later, when Williams was a senior, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, launching the country into the war.

"Before the war, I earned money to go to college by going to sea as an apprentice seaman during the summers. When the war came, I was naturally interested in the Navy. When the attack on Pearl Harbor came, a number of us went down to Russellville to enlist. I took the enlistment exam, but I couldn't pass the physical. I had to come back three months later and try again. That time I passed, but they wanted me to stay in college and become an officer when I graduated," Williams explained.

After graduating from Ozarks, Williams spent three years in the Navy, serving as an officer during World War II. He left the Navy to attend Princeton Seminary and was ordained in 1949. He was called to serve as a pastor for Buckingham Presbyterian Church in Berlin, Maryland. Founded in the 1680s, Buckingham is one of the original nine Presbyterian churches in America. Williams stayed at Buckingham for three years before returning to the Navy.

For the next 30 years, Williams served as a Navy chaplain. In addition to his time in World War II, Williams served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired from the Navy as a commander in 1975. Afterward, he served as interim and pulpit supply in several churches in Texas as well as a chaplain in the Texas Department of Corrections facility at the Clemons Unit in Brazoria, Texas.

Williams knows what an impact an education can make in a person's life, especially to those who struggle to afford it.

"When I was student, Dr. Hurie heard of this young man in the hills who wanted to go college but didn't have any money. Dr. Hurie recruited this young man and brought him to Ozarks on scholarship," Williams said. "He would tell people that he came to school with 45 cents in his pocket. When he graduated, someone asked him how much money he had. He reached in his pocket and pulled out 45 cents. Ozarks gave him a complete college education, and he basically didn't have to spend a cent."

For that reason, Williams and his late wife, Virginia, made it a point to support their alma mater, even as they were starting their professional careers.

"Virginia and I decided early on that we would give something to Ozarks. In the beginning, it wasn't much. In fact, some of the high school students at the church where I was preaching were making more money than I was. There was not much that I could give, but we started out giving what we could," Williams said.

Sixty years later, Williams and his second wife Tracy want the scholarship they are establishing to serve as a testimony to the appreciation Bruce and Virginia Williams had for Ozarks and to help other students have access to the same opportunities Rev. Williams was afforded.

"When I began college, the Great Depression was still on. Ozarks gave me a chance to become what I always knew I wanted to be at a cost of about $400 over four years," Williams said.

As a member of the Class of 1943, Williams served as secretary of the class from 1978 to 2006 and was recognized in 1993 with the Distinguished Alumni Award.  Together, he and the late Virginia Williams received the 2006 Legacy Award from the Alumni Association.