College of the Ozarks was founded by a Presbyterian missionary Rev. James Forsyth in 1906 to provide education for youths who have no means to pursue education. The school was opened on September 12, 1907 in a building atop Mount Huggins. It has only an enrolment of 180 students with 36 boarders at the time of its first school term. The original building of the college was burned on January 12, 1915 and it temporarily held class in Forsyth where only five students graduated in the same year.
In later years, the school then relocated in the White River at Point Lookout, Missouri on a 16-acre campus. In early 1950s, the school changed and the campus expanded and the Gothic chapel was built and a hospital was added. By 1956, the population of high school students increased and the school became a junior college. It became a four-year college in 1965. In 1990, it was renamed College of the Ozarks. College of the Ozarks today is now a college of liberal arts that offers over 40 different majors to 1,500 students.
The campus of the College of the Ozarks is overlooking Lake Taneycomo, it has an area of 1,000 acres and beautifully located at Point Lookout near Hollister and Branson in Missouri. The college offers 30 academic majors and degrees in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. The student population of the college is about 1,500 with a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. The college offers free tuition fee for full-time students due to its donation programs. The college programs require each student to work 15 hours each week. It also offers students to work during summer time to cover costs for room and board.
The inspiration of Reverend Forsyth to start the foundation of the College of the Ozarks, happened one day after hunting out. A young boy named Benjy Cummings who was hunting for squirrels to help feed his family was noticed by the Reverend. They had a short conversation and the Reverend found out that the boy only finished fourth grade and could not continue schooling because his family could not afford to send him to school anymore.
After the Reverend saw the difficulty of some worthy youth in attaining a good education, he then organized a charter from the state of Missouri and helped worthy students needing support to pursue education. Initially, the school started as a high school named School of the Ozarks and remained until 1956. By 1964, the school board decided to offer college of liberal arts.
The College of the Ozarks is a perfect place for tourists who want to visit the school for picture taking and strolling around the campus. When the college has grown from high school to become college of liberal arts, its goals is unchanged, “to provide free education to youths found to be worthy but without sufficient means to pursue schooling.
The College of the Ozarks’ students milk cows in the dairy and process milk and serve guests in the Dobyns Dining Room and Keeter Center.
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