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Character Education

The Keeter Center for Character Education

Three students sit together and smile for the cameraThe purpose of The Keeter Center for Character Education is to provide programs and activities which enhance the development of character and good citizenship.

In so doing, the Center reflects the principle upon which College of the Ozarks was established--that character in young people is best developed from an education which includes the head, the heart, and the hands.

The Keeter Center for Character Education was endowed by a gift from the James P. Keeter family of Atlanta, Georgia, in honor of Mr. Keeter's parents, Vester and Ruby Keeter of Bradleyville, Missouri.

Goals of The Keeter Center for Character Education

1 To reflect the College's five-fold mission emphasizing academic, Christian, vocational, cultural, and patriotic growth, and to provide society with productive, responsible citizens.
2 To promote basic Christian values such as honesty, respect for and service to others, good citizenship, generosity, honor, courage, sound use of time and talents, and the work ethic.
3 To serve as a resource for administrators, teachers, and parents as they seek to fulfill their responsibilities as partners in the character-building process.
4 To publish information about and foster interest in character education.
5 To serve as a model for others who have the desire to establish similar centers.

Relationship to College of the Ozarks

The Keeter Center is an integral part of the total program at College of the Ozarks.

Called "Hard Work U." by The Wall Street Journal, this unusual American college provides a liberal arts education to deserving young people who pay no tuition; rather, they work to defray the cost of education.  The balance is covered by scholarships and grants.

The work ethic--an education of the hands--is integrated into its operating philosophy and complements a solid liberal arts-based academic program--the head--within a strong Christian tradition--the heart. Debt is openly discouraged at College of the Ozarks--the College does not participate in any federal or state student loan programs.

The Keeter Report

The Keeter Report has become a section in the College’s quarterly publication the Ozark Visitor. Please click here to read the Ozark Visitor online or to register to receive a copy by mail.

First PLACE!

College of the Ozarks has taken a leadership role in establishing a character education and leadership initiative for the schools and communities in Stone and Taney Counties.  There are 12 school districts and 500 First PLACE! partnering organizations, businesses, and individuals who are committed to supporting this effort through visibly demonstrating the trait of the month each month.  First PLACE! is focused on decreasing disciplinary issues, increasing standardized test scores, and increasing attendance, as well as creating a more positive climate in the area schools, and is being used as a model throughout the State of Missouri.

Stone and Taney Counties Character Traits
(click on each trait to see the pdf file of the First PLACE! artwork for that trait)

September Respect - treating others with courtesy and honor
October Responsibility - taking ownership of what you say and do
November Citizenship - being loyal to your country
December Compassion/Kindness - caring for others
January Commitment - being true to your word
February Honesty - being truthful in what you say and do
March Cooperation - working together toward a common goal
April Perseverance - demonstrating persistent determination
May Self-discipline - training and control of yourself
June Patience - waiting calmly
July Patriotism - showing love for one’s country
August Courage - facing difficulty with bravery

S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit

Four women at the S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit pose with each other and smileThe Poverty Summit provides programming for teachers, ministry leaders, church staff members, and government officials who want to be more effective in helping struggling individuals by revealing the "hidden rules" of class and by providing practical tools for reaching those in need.  The Summit is named in honor of Mr. Truett Cathy, who was the founder of Chick-fil-A and friend of College of the Ozarks.


Previous Poverty Summits Topics:

  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty (Karen Best)
  • The Hidden Rules of Classes at Work (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • Learning Structures for Classroom Teachers (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • Bridges Out of Povery (Jody Pfarr)
  • Applying Bridges Concepts (Jody Pfarr)
  • Bridges Out of Poverty, and Applying Bridges Concepts for Individual, Organizational and Community Change (Terie Dreussi-Smith)
  • Under-Resourced Learner Workshop and Research Based Strategies Workshop (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • Working with Parents (Dr. Bethanie Tucker)




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