The University of the Ozarks Alumni Association will present its annual awards to eight distinguished honorees during the Alumni Weekend 2013 Awards Banquet, scheduled for 5 p.m., on Friday, April 19, in the Rogers Conference Center.
The Alumni Awards Banquet is an annual part of the university’s Alumni Weekend and is presented by the Alumni Association as an opportunity to recognize deserving alumni of Ozarks. Tickets for the banquet are $18 each and can be purchased by calling the Alumni Office at 479-979-1234 or on-line at www.ozarks.edu/weekend.
University President Dr. Rick Niece, who will retire in June after 16 years at Ozarks, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. His message is titled, "The Bookends of My Life." Gary Rollins, a 1978 graduate of Ozarks and president of the Alumni Association, will present the welcome address.
The Rev. Dr. Bill Rail and his wife, Maxine, both 1952 Ozarks graduates, will be the recipients of the Alumni Legacy Award during the 2013 Alumni Awards Banquet, scheduled for 5 p.m. April 19, in the Rogers Conference Center.
The Rev. Dr. Jerry Rice ’53 will receive the Alumni Merit Award. Pete Waldo of Branson, Mo.; Dr. Johnny Dillard ’70 of Lowell, Ark.; and Bill ’53 and Bettye ’55 (Masterson) Aydelott of Sallisaw, Okla., will all receive the Alumni Achievement Award, which is given to alumni who achieves recognition in his or her profession. Ryan Rose ’07 of Fort Smith, Ark., will be presented the Young Alumni Service Award and the Rev. Dr. Bill and Maxine (Phillips) Rail, both 1952 graduates, will be given the Alumni Legacy Award.
Rice will be presented with the Alumni Merit Award, which is given for meritorious work for the university. A retired Air Force officer and Presbyterian pastor and chaplain, Rice was the former cadet chaplain at the Air Force Academy, served as the center chaplain at Keesler Air Force Base, and received two Legion of Merit Medals during his time in the service. He returned to Ozarks in 1989 to work for the university as the first dean of the chapel and professor of religion. He has been a long-time supporter of the University and is a past president of the Alumni Board of Directors and the 1972 recipient of the university’s Alumni Achievement Award.
Waldo, a baseball and basketball standout at Ozarks in the mid-1950s, is a retired basketball coach and teacher in Missouri. He coached and taught in the Ferguson School District from 1956 until his retirement in 1998. He was named the Basketball Coach of the Year for the St. Louis County Suburban North Conference in 1976 and was nominated to the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. His wife, Carolyn (Johnson), is also a graduate of Ozarks.
Dillard is president and co-founder of Central Research, a company based in Lowell, Ark., that provides a variety of administrative and financial services. A disabled veteran of the Vietnam War, Dillard is a tireless advocate for disabled service veterans, and his company employs many disabled veterans. Dillard, who earned a Ph.D. from Southwest University in 1990, will also be the featured speaker during the Alumni Lecture Series, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Friday, April 19, in the Boreham Business Building.
Bill and Bettye Aydelott have each spent more than 50 years in music education and ministry work in eastern Oklahoma. Bill was minister of music at First Baptist Church in Sallisaw for 21 years and served as an adjunct professor for 12 years at Carl Albert State College in Poteau, Okla. He also served as a principal and high school band director in Sallisaw for many years. Bettye taught elementary school music in Sallisaw for 27 years and served as a private voice and piano teacher for more than 50 years. In 2003, the Oklahoma House of Representatives honored the Aydelotts for "40 years of sharing their talents and enthusiasm with three million Oklahomans."
The Young Alumni Service Award is given to an alumnus who is under 35 years of age and who has been active in alumni activities and has demonstrated loyalty to Ozarks. This year’s recipient, Rose, is the pastor/director of church media at Butterfield Assembly of God Church in Van Buren, Ark. He has been active in alumni events since his graduation, including serving as master of ceremonies during the Alumni Awards banquet in recent years. He will serve as president of the Alumni Association starting in July. His wife, Tiffany, is also a 2007 graduate of Ozarks.
The Alumni Legacy Award, first presented in 2002, is given to alumni who have given unselfishly of their resources over a lifetime to support the university and its mission. The Rails have been life-long supporters and tireless champions of Ozarks since their graduation more than 60 years ago. Bill, a retired Presbyterian minister, received the Alumni Merit Award in 1982. Maxine was a long-time school teacher.
For more information on the Alumni Awards Banquet or any Alumni Weekend 2013 events, please call the Alumni Office at 479-979-1234.