Volume 3   Issue # 10
Monday, February 12, 2001

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The President's Post

  
   The University of the Ozarks lost a good and loyal friend. Dr. J.T. Patterson, Business
Manager at Ozarks from 1943-1982, passed away after an extended illness. No one did more for this campus during his years of service than J.T. Patterson. Ozarks has been blessed with a number of legendary, influential administrators, and J.T. ranks with the best of them.
   I wish I had known J.T. better and had been able to work with him – to learn from him – during his prime. I know that he would have made me a better administrator. I was fortunate enough to have shared, with him and his family, one of his proudest moments, and that was the day we
named the business office in his honor: the J.T. Patterson Business Office. If ever a man deserved an area to be named for him, it is J.T. and the business office. Ask Darrell Williams, the current Business Manager, to share some of his J.T. stories with you. Be prepared for some good ones.
   My best memory of J.T. occurred a couple of years ago. Shereé and I were hosting our annual dinner for Ozark retirees in our home. J.T. and his beautiful wife, Lucile, were among the many guests. After the meal, I asked each of the retirees to stand and share a favorite memory about Ozarks.
   When J.T. rose to speak, I noticed that he looked tired. His shoulders were slumped, he was shaky and unsteady, and he balanced himself by gripping onto the back of his chair. As he initially spoke, his voice was soft and hesitant. Still, we all listened intently. Gradually, then suddenly, a transformation occurred, and I knew we were witnessing one of life’s amazing miracles. While he was reminiscing, J.T.’s voice grew strong and dynamic, his shoulders straightened, and he removed his hands from the chair. And there he stood: in youthful full height, voice booming, words smooth and assured, eyes dancing with each of us. He was confident as a colt. Best of all, as Lucile watched her husband, her smile radiated a lifetime of love and pride. I shall always remember her smile.
   The next time you go by the J.T. Patterson Business Office, be certain to pause, silently thank J.T., and smile. I know he will be standing tall and smiling back.

Dr. Rick Niece
President



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Unversity of the Ozarks, Clarksville, AR 72830.
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