Marathon participants compete to benefit Jake Tull scholarship

Release Date: 3/12/2010

Clarksville, Ark. --- The University of the Ozarks is known for its family-like atmosphere, and nothing proves that description more than the campus' recent efforts to endow the Jake Tull Memorial Scholarship. As the Marines say, "We take care of our own."

Jake Tull was an Ozarks student who died unexpectedly last year while pursuing one of his passions, studying the environment in Africa.

Associate Professor of Life Science Education Dr. Kim Van Scoy said, “Jake was a really special student for me. His memory reminds us that we all have great potential to do things that sound impossible, like marathons or half marathons or even climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro.”

Almost immediately after his death, Jake’s friends and family started the Jake Tull Memorial Fund with the goal of creating a scholarship for Jones Learning Center students with financial need.

Last semester, Ozarks professors Dr. Kim Van Scoy and Dr. Heather McFarland invited the Ozarks campus to join them in the March 7 Little Rock Half Marathon.

It all began with a few people who wanted to create healthier lifestyles, but it turned into something much greater. “We knew that we wanted our work to go toward some type of charitable cause. We discussed several local charities, and then we thought about Jake’s scholarship,” said McFarland.

The Ozarks Striders marathon team.

Which of these things is not like the others? -- The marathon team (left to right): Susan Edens, Donna Wake, Debbie Mooney, Susan Rummel, Brian Hardman (in suit), Heather McFarland, Vanessa Hollowell, Ben Eakin, Doty Pelts, Julie Frost, and Kim Van Scoy.

Jake had been a student in both of the professors’ classes, and he had touched the lives of many of the people who were running the marathon, so the decision was easy. As time went by, the cause continued to grow.

Julia Frost, a first-time marathon participant, said, “The race really brought the scholarship to people’s attention. Just recently, we reached our goal of raising $20,000 so that it could be endowed.”

Racing in Jake's Memory

The story of the fund and the race was covered by KARK Channel 4 News and can be seen online at ArkansasMatters.com.

The race on March 7 brought in over $9,000 more to the fund.

“We’re all benefitting from this,” said Dr. Van Scoy. “We’ve improved our health and fitness, made new friends, and improved our self-confidence.”

As runner Zach Doty put it, “It’s inspiring to have campus members cheering you on during the race. It reminds you of why you are running.”

The following Tuesday, members of the marathon team gathered on the university campus mall to announce the winner of the "Super Chicken" competition. Students had voted by donation the week before to choose which marathon team member would lead the team around the campus mall in the bright yellow chicken suit.

The winner was Associate Professor of English Dr. Steve Hardman.

Those wishing to donate to the Jake Tull Memorial Scholarship should contact the University of the Ozarks Advancement Office at 479-979-1230.

Portions of this story by Andrea Dankert, Communiqué Editor, originally appeared in the March 1, 2010 issue of the Communiqué.