Aug 17, 2021

College of the Ozarks announces Ryan Manion as featured speaker for The National Symposium on Patriotic Education

Registration open for live, digital event to take place Sept. 16-17

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — Ryan Manion, president of the Travis Manion Foundation, is the fifth and final featured speaker to be announced by College of the Ozarks as part of The National Symposium on Patriotic Education, to be held via livestream Sept. 16-17, 2021.

The purpose of the Symposium, which is hosted by The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education at College of the Ozarks, is to revive historic American values and virtue on the eve of the 250th anniversary of America’s founding. Manion joins other speakers, including Dr. Ben Carson, former United States Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary, Edward Graham, assistant to the vice president of Programs and Government Relations for Samaritan’s Purse, and Mike Pence, 48th Vice President of the United States.

Ryan Manion has dedicated her life to supporting our nation’s military, Veterans, and families of fallen heroes. She is inspired by the character, leadership, and sacrifice of her brother, First Lieutenant Travis Manion, USMC, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Al Anbar province of Iraq while drawing fire away from his wounded comrades on April 29, 2007. Serving as the President of Travis Manion Foundation since 2012, Ryan leads a national movement focused on assisting Veterans and families of the fallen to take the next step in their personal journeys and inspiring the next generation of leaders. As a highly regarded advocate for the military community, Ryan has been invited to address national audiences on numerous occasions.

Dr. Marci Linson serves as vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions at the College.

“The College was honored to work alongside Ryan to bring recognition to Missouri’s Gold Star families in 2017 when we installed The Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial at Patriots Park,” Linson said. “Ryan’s passion springs from a deep place of credibility, having lost her brother Travis who died while serving in Iraq. Yet, she tenaciously picked up the mantle of service with her brother’s ‘If not me, then who?’ attitude and works diligently to inspire others to lead courageously and boldly. I admire Ryan’s dedication and diligence in keeping Travis’s legacy alive, thereby impacting leaders for generations, especially those who have experienced the same pain and loss she has.”

During the Symposium, participants can expect to hear from nationally known speakers, experience patriotic education programs, connect with thought-leaders and practitioners, and access innovative patriotic education content and resources.

To learn more about this complimentary event, and to register, visit:

The Symposium will feature sessions centered around the following four pillars of patriotic education, as defined by The William S. Knight Center:

  • Liberty’s Lessons: Expand knowledge of American heritage, especially individual and religious freedom
  • Liberty’s Cost: Honor the sacrifices of Veterans and their families
  • Liberty’s Foundation: Strengthen free enterprise through hard work and entrepreneurship
  • Liberty’s Legacy: Promote public, civic, and military service

“There are many who talk about what is wrong with America,” said College President Jerry C. Davis. “At C of O, we believe there is much that is right with our country. We intend to take a leadership role in patriotic education by helping students of all ages learn about liberty, sacrifice, free enterprise, and service. Respect for these critical building blocks of our nation has eroded, and we intend to help restore that respect.”

“Our goal is to host numerous digital resources for concerned citizens to access as they engage in patriotic education endeavors,” Linson said. “We trust these offerings will make it easier for educators, parents, and grandparents alike to have important discussions with young people. Who are we as Americans? Why is our freedom worth fighting for? How can we honor the lives of our Veterans, those still living and those who made the ultimate sacrifice?

“The College has spent the last 50 years emphasizing patriotism and the last decade solidifying and amplifying the College’s focus on patriotic education. We hope to present ideas that have worked for us and inspire creativity in others to help young people learn our nation’s history from a standpoint of truth, respect, and awe.

Learning Liberty’s Legacy

Americans are increasingly willing to undermine historic American symbols like the national anthem. According to the Patriotism Poll, a third of Americans believe that it is alright to burn the American flag. Fifty percent of young Americans do not consider themselves American patriots. Two thirds of young Americans believe that America is headed in the wrong direction. Eighty three percent of Americans cannot identify the rights protected by the First Amendment. Only 44 percent of Gen Z thinks that the American flag most accurately represents freedom.

Dr. Andrew Bolger serves as the director of The Keeter Center for Character Education and The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education.

“Liberty’s Legacy requires us, as Americans, to revive service — public, civic, and military service — and to see our neighborhoods as our community,” Bolger said. “When we begin local, the nation will follow, because we will cultivate men and women of virtue and values who can revive our nation, strengthen its leadership, and challenge obstacles that may threaten us in the future.”

More about Ryan Manion

Carrying on the legacy of her brother Travis, Ryan Manion continues to lead a life of service to others. She serves on committees at Arlington National Cemetery and is a board member for the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO) as well as the Advisory Board for the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation.

Manion resides in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children, Maggie Rose, Honor Emma, and Travis Brendan. Manion continues to serve her local community by serving as a Township Supervisor since elected in 2011. While responsibilities of this position are focused on deciding issues of public safety, growth management, environment, etc., Manion most appreciates the personal connection with those within the community she is able to directly serve.

Manion graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Cabrini College in 2004 and went on to launch two very successful businesses. However, a calling to public service remained in her mind, and she began a new venture with the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development. This allowed Ryan to feel like she could give back to others, as her position focused on administering federal, state, and county community support for housing programs.

While this was rewarding, Manion saw her mother building up the Travis Manion Foundation, and knew that was where she belonged. She started with the Foundation as a board member, but as national recognition increased, her destiny was to become more involved.

She left her government position to dedicate herself full-time to the Foundation. She eventually followed in her late mother’s footsteps, where she remains to this day as the leader of the “If Not Me, Then Who…” movement of the Travis Manion Foundation.

For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman at (417) 690-2212.

About College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2021 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — earned a TripAdvisor® Traveler’s Choice Award for 2020. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.

The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education embodies the patriotic goal of the College: to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and the willingness to defend it. The Center will house patriotic education classes for both C of O and S of O students, the community, and all those across the nation who care about American heritage. The William S. Knight Foundation is named for Bill Knight, an ardent patriot who worked vigorously to protect Americans’ liberties and free enterprise system. In 2019, the William S. Knight Foundation granted College of the Ozarks funds to make The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education a reality.