Convocations and Forums

Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly
visits in October 2013

Former First Lady Laura Bush
Former First Lady Laura Bush
visits in November 2012

Former President George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush
visits in April 2011

Community Convocations

The Leonard B. and Edith Gittinger Community Convocation Series hosts internationally-renowned speakers, recognized for their character and leadership. Speakers provide a keynote address reinforcing institutional values, and often assist the College with honoring others who through their own good citizenship, character, and success serve as role models. Bill O'Reilly, best-selling author and host of The O'Reilly Factor, spoke October 10, 2013 at the Leonar B. and Edith Gittinger Convocation.
 
The College hosted pediatric neurosurgeon and best-selling author Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson was the featured speaker at a special convocation on August 29, 2013.
 
In 1999, Dr. and Mrs. Leonard B. Gittinger endowed the Community Convocation Series, which enabled speakers such as Franklin Graham, Colin Powell, James Baker, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Brokaw, Sarah Palin, Dave Ramsey, and Laura Bush to share their life experiences with the College of the Ozarks family and friends. Many of the speakers have risen from humble beginnings and inspire College of the Ozarks students to pursue high goals.

Spring Forums

Spring ForumThe Center hosts a forum each spring. In this gathering, prominent national leaders discuss important issues. Forum themes rotate among the topics of character, citizenship, and the work ethic, which are core values of College of the Ozarks. Occassionally, there are special topics featured. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors participate in the exchange of ideas during lectures and small group discussions. Thanks to a generous endowment from the Thoreson Foundation, the Center hosts cadets from each of the nation’s U.S. Military Academies at the annual forum. Along with College of the Ozarks students, their discussions focus on the importance of character in developing leadership skills.
The College hosted Stephen Moore, Chief Economist, The Heritage Foundation, at the 2014 Free Enterprise Forum. Other former forum speakers include President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, Ben Stein, Harris Faulkner, and Louis Zamperini.
 
 
 
FREE ENTERPRISE FORUM
“In all sincerity, in the eight or ten years that I've been doing this--speaking at some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, such as Yale, Princeton, Harvard, UCLA, and Duke--I've never experienced what I have experienced at this truly great institution [Hard Work U].”
~Stephen Moore
Economist and Author
GITTINGER COMMUNITY CONVOCATION
"The college has a structure whereby you come in here and you... earn your way which is part of the value system of College of the Ozarks, and that's one of the reasons I'm standing here because I believe in [those values]."
~Bill O'Reilly
Author and Host of The O'Reilly Factor
Bill O'Reilly
GITTINGER COMMUNITY SPECIAL CONVOCATION
"If all of our colleges were like this one, we would straighten our country out in two seconds."
~Dr. Ben Carson
Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Author
Dr. Ben Carson
WORK ETHIC FORUM
"You have a fantastic university. The nation is watching as we are all focused on how do we do this thing without debt. Right on time, the story of 'Hard Work U.'"
~Harris Faulkner
FOX News Channel Anchor
Harris Faulkner
GITTINGER COMMUNITY CONVOCATION
"The outstanding teachers and professors at the College of the Ozarks are developing servant leaders who will contribute to their communities."
~Laura Bush
Former First Lady
Former First Lady Laura Bush
PATRIOTIC FORUM
"I could have become bitter about what happened to me, but if I've learned one thing in life, it's 'All things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose'"
~Louis Zamperini
World War II Prisoner of War and former Olympian
Louis Zamperini
GITTINGER COMMUNITY CONVOCATION
"I've been blessed to walk around this campus since early this morning... [and] meet some really sharp young people who... have the confidence that comes with the dignity of having actually worked and accomplished something already."
~Dave Ramsey
Financial Expert and Author
Dave Ramsey
LEADERSHIP AND CHARACTER FORUM
"This is an impressive university. It is unique, and I have concluded it is necessary..."
~George W. Bush
Former President of the United States
Former President George W. Bush
GITTINGER COMMUNITY CONVOCATION
"Students here [at College of the Ozarks] understand the meaning of work ethic and patriotism, and I just pray to God that more Americans will capture this, will feel it, will taste it—will know what this school exemplifies"
~Sarah Palin
11th Governor of Alaska
Governor Sarah Palin
CITIZENSHIP FORUM
"If every campus in this country were run with the efficiency, the work orientation, and the student involvement that this college is run with, higher education in America would be 50 percent less expensive, and the students would be 50 percent better educated."
~Newt Gingrich
58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Candidate for President 2012
Mr. Newt Gingrich
CULTURAL FORUM
"You know, you call it Hard Work University here, and I would say you’ve got just about everything right.  It’s Good Values University.  It’s Character Development University.  It’s Respect for God University."
~Ben Stein
Economist, Journalist & Actor
Mr. Ben Stein
WORK ETHIC FORUM
"I grew up knowing the importance of a good work ethic. My mother always said, 'Hard work never hurt anybody.'"
~Zell Miller
Former United States Senator, Georgia
SHAPING THE FUTURE BY HONORING THE PAST CONVOCATION
"You have a wonderful foundation here. You have a wonderful beginning...learning how to work and support each other."
~Tom Brokaw
NBC News Special Correspondent and Author
The Greatest Generation
LEADERSHIP CONVOCATION
"This is my first time here (at College of the Ozarks). I am absolutely blown away. I can see there is a lot of care here."
~Mike Krzyzewski
Head Basketball Coach, Duke University
LEADERSHIP CONVOCATION
"I am proud to see a university that embraces the values that make this nation great."
~James Baker, III
Former Secretary of State
COMMUNITY SERVICE CONVOCATION
"I feel a different spirit on this college campus, a Christian spirit where students gain a knowledge about each other."
~Elizabeth Dole
United States Senator, North Carolina
Former President of the American Red Cross
CHRISTIANITY ON CAMPUS CONVOCATION
"The challenge before us of proclaiming and preaching the Gospel is greater today than ever: the opportunities we have today are unparalleled in history."
~Franklin Graham
President of Samaritan's Purse
LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE CONVOCATION
"Character is...[T]he ability to have a set of convictions that you are willing to fight for and even lose for or even die for- this is the essence of character. I think this place builds character, and you should be commended for it."
~Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
PATRIOTISM CONVOCATION
"To you young people, I have just one bit of advice for you.  As you go through your education here and start thinking about the future, do what you're going to love doing."
~Colin Powell
Secretary of State
CHARACTER AND LEADERSHIP CONVOCATION
"All you need for successful leadership in the 21st century are two rules...When placed in command, take charge; and do what's right."
~Norman Schwarzkopf
Retired General, U.S. Army
Character Forum
"All of you young people will get experience here at College of the Ozarks. You will learn a good work ethic that is invaluable."
~Tommy Franks
Retired General, U.S. Army
Honor Teachers Convocation
"Today the College of the Ozarks is a nationally recognized school that provides an opportunity for an education to any student willing to work hard enough to earn it."
~Barbara Bush
Former First Lady
Free Enterprise and The Work Ethic Convocation
"The education that you get at College of the Ozarks is not only an education or a qualification for a degree; it is an education for life."
~Lady Margaret Thatcher
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain
 

 


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