Volume 6  Issue # 12
Monday, March 1, 2004

The President's Post
       When I first came to Ozarks, one of our Board of Trustee members made a statement that has stayed with me. He said that a large endowment is nice, but it doesn’t pay the monthly light bill. He was right. Endowments and generous donor gifts designated for specific purposes are not intended for daily operational costs like light bills, classroom upkeep, consumable supplies, and campus maintenance. And those are the costs that devour a budget.
   Within our new strategic plan, approved by the Board of Trustees and the North Central Association, we have developed mechanisms to remove expenses from the annual operating budget in order to create additional funding. There is no magic to this, and dollars of this nature are difficult to raise. Our goal is to increase our number of endowed scholarships, faculty chairs, and student-oriented programs. When the salary for a faculty member or an academic program is endowed, the funds come from a permanent source and not from the annual budget. The dollars saved from the annual budget can then be allocated for other prioritized needs and purposes.
   When we came to Ozarks seven years ago, one of our long-range goals was to make this campus financially stable and unaffected by outside economic factors that we cannot control or eliminate. We want to insulate the campus. That is a lofty goal, and I won’t rest until we accomplish it. But I need your help and your confidence. If we can conquer next year’s budget, we can conquer anything.
   Although we have suffered several recent economic challenges at Ozarks, challenges that are reflective of Arkansas and the nation, Ozarks is stronger and more stable that it was just five years ago. Those of you who are true veterans of this campus can attest to the damage these current economic factors would have brought upon us had we not strengthened ourselves through the PRIDE & PROMISE Campaign.
   We are experiencing a budget difficulty, no question about that, but we are weathering the storm and will continue to do so. Many of our higher education colleagues have not and will not survive their particular challenges. We are surviving, and we will emerge even stronger. Most of all, there is no other campus community I would choose to have at my back in times good and bad. Your belief in me and my vision for Ozarks means more than I can ever express.

Dr. Rick Niece

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