Johnsons help Ozarks put "best foot forward"

Release Date: 4/17/2001

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. ---Thanks to the generosity of Roy and Nancy Johnson, visitors to the University of the Ozarks should experience a much better first impression when they arrive on campus.

A donation to the university by the Johnsons helped fund a large new brick and limestone entryway sign on the corner of College Avenue and University Street, the university's primary entrance that sits on the southeast corner of the campus. The 10-by-72 foot lighted entryway is part of a larger $200,000 perimeter beautification and signage initiative to help prospective students and visitors identify buildings and find their way around the 30-acre campus.

"First impressions are so important, and we wanted to do something that would give visitors a very good first impression of the university," said Roy Johnson, a Clarksville businessman and the chair of U of O's Board of Trustees. "I think this entryway enhances the image of the university, and it allows us to put our best foot forward for people coming to the campus."

U of O President Dr. Rick Niece said one of his goals when he came to the university almost four years ago was to build a sign to welcome visitors.

"I wanted something dramatic that said, 'Here we are. You have arrived at Ozarks,'" Niece said. "Through the generosity of Roy and Nancy Johnson, we now have that entryway to the campus, and it is perfect."

More than 15 lighted brick and limestone signs identifying campus buildings have been erected, mostly on the perimeter of the university.
   
"Our buildings now have beautiful signs visible from the streets surrounding campus," Niece said. "We have also prominently identified each building from the interior of the campus and are adding a campus map, in front of the chapel, to identify all of our buildings from the mall area."
   
Niece added that the funds required for the project were gained through the generosity of numerous donors.
  
 "No tuition dollars or money from the annual operating budget were spent and that makes the projects even more beautiful," he said.