few weeks ago I attended a national meeting in Louisville, Kentucky
for the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities (APCU).
I am an elected official to the 12-member Board of Directors, a Board
that represents our nations sixty-seven Presbyterian campuses.
When I first started attending the APCU meetings in 1997, I thought
that those presidents on the Board of Directors were pretty big deals.
Now that Im on the Board myself, I realize its not such
a big deal, but I do learn a great deal as a Board member and enjoy
At my first APCU meeting in 1997, I had a difficult
time convincing the other presidents that I was the president at the
Ozarks campus in Arkansas and not the Ozarks campus in Missouri.
As it turned out, most of them had heard about the Missouri school,
while very few knew anything at all about this Arkansas one.
That was then, and this is now and, oh my goodness,
how things have changed. The other presidents now not only know who
we are, they also realize that the University of the Ozarks is a nationally
recognized, regionally ranked, Best Value designated, record-enrollment
growing, academically challenging, budget-balancing, debt-free, and
pretty amazing place to teach and learn.
Several presidents also asked me how this small campus
in this small town in this modest state of Arkansas raised over $60
million dollars? I simply told them that was our secret, kind of like
Colonel Sanders recipe for fried chicken: a secret well guarded
and highly prized.
Anyway, we are now on the map and officially recognized
by our peers as a premier university. My thanks to all of you for gaining
us that recognition. I kind of like being the president of a famous
campus. Lets promise to keep our recipe for success our secret
a little bit longer. I like knowing what others wish they knew.
Dr. Rick Niece