Clarksville, Ark. --- Katherine (Rader) Garrett of Clarksville has been associated with University of the Ozarks for 74 years and she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Garrett, a 1939 graduate of what was then College of the Ozarks, will be presented with the Alumni Merit Award during the university’s annual Alumni Weekend, scheduled for April 17-19. The Alumni Merit Award is presented annually by the Alumni Association for "outstanding service contributions and excellence in leadership on behalf of Ozarks."
Garrett, who will turn 93 in June, taught English at Alma (
Ozarks Executive Vice President Steve Edmisten has worked with Garrett for 25 years and has witnessed first-hand her love for her alma mater.
"Whether she is baking cookies for students, pies for scholarship pie auctions, or helping to build support for the Annual Scholarship Fund, Katherine is a tireless supporter of all things Ozarks," Edmisten said. "I feel quite certain that if she were cut, she would bleed purple and gold."
Garrett said her support for Ozarks comes from her strong belief in education.
"The university does great things for young people and we should do all we can to help young people go to college and get as much education as possible," said Garrett. "The little support that I can give the university is multiplied several times by what they do for young people."
As an English teacher at
"I’ve heard that some college professors could tell if a student was from
"I had initially come to college to major in pre-medicine, but a professor told me I shouldn’t go into medicine because it was too difficult for a woman to get through medical school," she said. ‘That’s when I decided to go into education."
Garrett’s first teaching job was a one-year contract in the small rural
"I had been out of college almost 10 years and I had gotten my degree in secondary English and music at Ozarks," she recalled. "All of a sudden I was teaching 13 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. That was an interesting first year. We all learned together. One little girl who was in kindergarten that first year went on to earn her Ph.D. in science, so I guess I didn’t do too much harm."
Garrett began teaching in
"I just always enjoyed being around people and the challenge of helping people and I guess that’s why I loved teaching so much," said Garrett, whose husband passed away in 1985. "Education has always been a big part of my life and I think that’s why I love this university so much."
Garrett has a son, Orville Jr., who lives in