University of the Ozarks will confer bachelor degrees to her graduating seniors during the Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 11, on the campus mall.
The keynote Commencement speaker will be Dr. Rick Niece.
Dr. Niece has served as the 24th president of University of the Ozarks since 1997, and is the third-longest serving president in the history of Ozarks. The son of an educator, he has spent his entire career in education, starting as a high school English and speech teacher and subsequently holding a variety of administrative positions at the public school level. In 1988, he left the public school sector and became an assistant professor and special assistant to the dean at Kent State University in Ohio. He later went to Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, where he served several positions, including provost, executive vice president and interim president.
Dr. Niece has announced that he will retire from Ozarks in June of 2013. Under his tenure, Ozarks has seen unparalleled growth in several areas, including campus infrastructure, fund-raising, community relations and academic programs and services. Niece and his wife, Sherée, have hosted more than 40,000 students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends to the President's Home during their time at Ozarks. Niece is also an accomplished author, having written Side-Yard Superhero and The Band Plays On. A native of Ohio, Dr. Niece earned his bachelor's degree from Ohio State University and a master's of education degree and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Kent State University.