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College of the Ozarks
Motto Hard Work U
Established 1906
Type Liberal Arts College
Endowment $254.9 million[1]
President Dr. Jerry C. Davis
Faculty 89
Staff 150
Students 1,600
Location Point Lookout, MO, USA
36°37′05″N 93°14′26″W / 36.6181°N 93.2405°W / 36.6181; -93.2405Coordinates: 36°37′05″N 93°14′26″W / 36.6181°N 93.2405°W / 36.6181; -93.2405
Campus rural - 1000 acres (4 km²)
Nickname The Bobcats (men)
Lady Cats (women)
Affiliations NAIA

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian liberal-arts college in the Ozarks at Point Lookout in between Branson and Hollister. Located 40 miles (60 km) south of Springfield on a 1,000-acre (4 km²) campus, overlooking Lake Taneycomo, this small college has a student to faculty ratio of approximately 16:1, over 30 academic majors, and degrees in Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

The College charges no tuition for full-time students, due to its unusual student work program and donations. The program requires students to work 15 hours a week at an on-campus work station and two 40 hour work weeks during breaks. A summer work program is also available to cover room and board costs. [2] The college proudly refers to itself as "Hard Work U.", and places a high importance on character education.[3] Its mission since it establishment in 1906 is "to provide the advantages of a Christian education for youth of both sexes, especially those found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to procure such training."





The school was first proposed in 1901 as a high school by James Forsythe, pastor of the Forsyth, Missouri Presbyterian Church. Forsythe was from the St. Louis, Missouri area.

Forsythe was said to have been inspired to make the proposal after encountering a boy on a squirrel hunt who told him that his parents couldn't afford to send him to the closest high school 40 miles away in Springfield, Missouri.[4]

Forsythe was transferred to an assignment in Crocker, Missouri in 1903. However the Taney County Teachers Association took up the push.

The School of the Ozarks opened on September 12, 1907 in a 75 by 50-foot building atop Mount Huggins (named for brothers Louis and William Huggins from St. Joseph, Missouri who were among the founders of Nabisco[5] and had donated money for the school). In its first term it had enrollment of 180 with 36 boarders.[6]

From the start, the school adopted its practice of having its students work instead of paying tuition.

On January 12, 1915, the original building burned. School was temporarily held in Forsyth when five students graduating in 1915.[4]

Point Lookout

The school then relocated further up the White River at Point Lookout, Missouri on a 16-acre campus. The central building of the campus was the Maine Hunting and Fishing Club building which had been transported to the site by sportsmen from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair where it been the State of Maine exhibit. It was renamed the Dobyns Building in honor of W. R. Dobyns, President of the trustees at the time. The building burned on February 1, 1930. [7][8]

In the 1920s what would become the Ralph Foster Museum depicting Ozark heritage had its start in the basement of the boys dormitory Abernathy Hall.

In 1934 the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen opened to offer work for students. It is one of 90 work options. More than 100 fruitcakes are now baked daily.[9]

1950s expansion

In the 1950s under Robert M. Good and M. Graham Clark the school dramatically changed.

The campus expanded to 1,400 acres, the school's gothic chapel was built on the location of the original Dobyns Building, and a hospital was added.

In 1956 with high schools becoming increasingly available in the area, the school became a junior college.

The Museum of the Ozarks museum took over the entire Abernathy Building and was renamed the Good Museum for President Good. It was later renamed for country music pioneer Ralph D. Foster, who donated money and exhibits for it. The museum expanded in 1969, 1977 and 1991. [10] Among the exhibits is an original George Barris 1921 modified Oldsmobile Beverly Hillbillies truck donated by series creator Paul Henning who was inspired to do the show after a Boy Scout camping trip in the Ozarks. The museum also contains a large firearm display including a rifle belonging to Pancho Villa.[11]

Aerial photo of College of the Ozarks with Lake Taneycomo, Branson, and Table Rock Lake beyond

1960s to present

In 1965 it became a four-year college.[12]

In 1972 Genevieve Lynch bequeathed the land under Silver Dollar City and Marvel Cave to the college and the Branson Presbyterian Church (although the attraction is operated by the the Herschend family which has the lease).[13]

In 1973 the Wall Street Journal described it as "Hard Work U." The name has stuck as school motto.[14]

In 1990 it was renamed the College of the Ozarks.[12]

In 2004, the Keeter Center built on the same design as Dobyns Hall opened.


The College of the Ozarks Bobcats and Lady Cats compete on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. Men compete in baseball and basketball. Women compete in basketball and volleyball. The 2005-2006 Men's Basketball team won the NAIA Division II national championship, while the Lady Cats were the runner up. The men's team was second in the basketball tournament in 2000 and 2009.[15]

Since 2000 Keeter Gymnasium has been host to the NAIA Division II Basketball Championship games.


  • Williams Memorial Chapel
  • The Keeter Center
  • The Ralph Foster Museum
  • Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen
  • Edwards Mill
  • McKibben Hall
  • Lake Honor
  • Green House
  • The Dairy and Tractor Museum
  • Lyons Memorial Library
  • Memorial Dorm
  • Ashcroft Dorm
  • McDonald Dorm
  • Foster Dorm
  • Mabee Dorm
  • Youngman Dorm
  • Kelce Dorm

Special recognition

  • U.S. News & World Report, "Best College" yearly since 1989; ranked 29 among Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor's (Midwest) for 2007[16]
  • Templeton Honor Roll, "Character Building College"
  • Money Magazine's, "Best Buy College Guide"
  • Barron's, "300 Best Buys in Higher Education"
  • Princeton Review, "The Best 331 Colleges"

Notable alumni


  • 1906 - A. Y. Beatie
  • 1907 - George Gordon Robertson
  • 1907 - W. I. Utterback
  • 1910 - F. O. Hellier
  • 1911 - George K. Knepper
  • 1913 - William L. Porter
  • 1915 - John E. Crockett
  • 1916 - George L. Washburn
  • 1920 - Thomas M. Barbee
  • 1921 - R. M. Good
  • 1952 - M. Graham Clark
  • 1975 - Howell W. Keeter, Chancellor
  • 1981 - James I. Spainhower
  • 1982 - Howell W. Keeter, Acting
  • 1983 - Stephen G. Jennings
  • 1987 - William D. Todd, Interim
  • 1988 - Jerry C. Davis


  1. ^
  2. ^ "College of the Ozarks - Best Colleges - Education - US News and World Report". 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  3. ^ "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  4. ^ a b The School of the Ozarks: Beginnings - White River Historical Quarterly - Volume 8, Number 1, Fall 1982
  5. ^ "Missouri historical review - Google Books". 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  7. ^ "The Keeter Center". 1930-02-01. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  8. ^ One-Hundred & Sixty Acres & An Orchard - State of the Ozarks - August 28, 2009
  9. ^ "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  10. ^ "Ralph Foster Museum - College of the Ozarks". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  11. ^ "Ralph Foster Museum - Beverly Hillbillies Car, Point Lookout, Missouri". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  12. ^ a b "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". 1971-07-30. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  13. ^ Missouri Roadsides: The Traveler's Companion - Bill Earngey - University of Missouri Press (October 1995) - ISBN 082621021X
  14. ^ "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  15. ^ "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  16. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008: Baccalaureate Colleges (Midwest): Top Schools
  17. ^ "College of the Ozarks, Hard Work U". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 

External links


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