Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks dedicated a new park on the north side of campus on Saturday, Oct. 30, in honor of the University's first ladies.
Ozarks’ First Ladies Juanita Ehren and Sherée Niece paused for a photo after the dedication ceremony for First Lady Park and Juanita’s Garden. Mrs. Ehren served as First Lady from 1982-1990, while Mrs. Niece became First Lady in 1997.
First Lady Park, located between the Walton Fine Arts Center and the Mabee Sports Complex, was officially dedicated during a short ceremony. Also dedicated within the small park was Juanita’s Garden in honor of Juanita Ehren, who served as first lady at the university from 1981-1990 when her husband, Dr. Fritz Ehren, was president. Among the special guests at the dedication ceremony were the Ehrens and current first lady Sherée Niece.
“First Lady Park is our tribute, as a campus community, to honor the many first ladies who have graced Ozarks,” said University President Dr. Rick Niece. “First ladies are often the unsung heroes on campus, and most of the presidents I know are quick to acknowledge the invaluable and loving support they receive from their wives. Most of my success is because of Sherée. Sherée continues to be influenced and mentored by another amazing first lady, Juanita Ehren, and we were pleased to be able to dedicate Juanita’s Garden within First Lady Park to recognize Juanita. The new park and garden will serve as a testament to the exemplary women who served Ozarks faithfully.”
Juanita Ehren has been affiliated with Ozarks for more than 60 years. She first worked at the college as a secretary in the late 1940s and met her husband of 60 years, Fritz Ehren, there. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ozarks in 1971 and later served as a business instructor.
“Ozarks holds such a special place in my heart,” she said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time as first lady at Ozarks and being in a position to entertain people and represent the university.”
Mrs. Ehren said she was “stunned” when she learned the university was naming a garden in her honor.
“It is such a wonderful honor for me, and a wonderful honor for all the former, current and future first ladies of the university,” she said. “It’s a very busy role to be first lady, but I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it.”
First Lady Park, completed earlier this year, was dedicated during a short ceremony on October 30.