Ozarks' History: College of the Ozarks, 1920-1987
By 1920, sentiment to change the College's name had became fairly widespread since the College was no longer controlled by the Cumberland Church. In an effort to better associate the College with the Presbyterian Church, and because of outside pressure, Arkansas Cumberland College was renamed The College of the Ozarks.
Blessed with able, committed administrative and faculty leadership, The College of the Ozarks quickly began to evolve into a modern institution of higher learning. In 1924-25 the College was admitted to the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. By 1933 an enrollment of 350 had been reached, quite an increase from the 56 students enrolled at Cane Hill immediately following the Civil War.
In 1939, students could major in social science, religious education, chemistry, geology, English, music, mathematics, speech arts, history and foreign languages, and could obtain a secondary teaching degree.
During World War II, the College rendered conspicuous service, first in training pilots under the National Civil Aeronautics Program for the Army and Navy and later as a training school in electrical engineering and radio mechanics for the Navy. The College also established the state's first fully accredited, four-year pharmacy school in the late 1940s.
Long after the pioneering Cumberland Presbyterians met in Cane Hill, the College they founded continued with innovative spirit. In the late 1950s, it was the first college in Arkansas to desegregate athletics. In 1961 the Board of National Missions of the United Presbyterian Church USA, through its International Mission Outreach Program, established the Ozarks Area Mission at the College. OAM was an ongoing program working as a liaison among three facets of mission: the Church, the campus and the community. It remains one of the only programs of its kind in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and in higher education. An interim term, the first of its kind in Arkansas, was instituted at the College in 1969. In 1971, the College became the first four-year institution of higher education in the country to develop a program for college-age students with specific learning disabilities. Today, the Jones Learning Center is recognized as one of the country's top programs for learning disabled college students.
Enrollment levels at the College continued to increase in the late 1960s, consistently topping the 500 mark by the end of the decade. Enrollment neared 700 in the early 1980s.