When you visit The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks, you are also visiting one of the most unusual colleges in America. College of the Ozarks, founded in 1906, charges its students no tuition. Every full-time student works at a campus job to help defray his or her expenses.
Working for an education is a defining part of the C of O experience, and the students who work at The Keeter Center are continuing in that century-old tradition.
The Keeter Center itself, although new in 2004, is also part of history. Its design is based on the State of Maine Building from the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. After the Fair, a group of St. Louis sportsmen bought the huge log cabin and had it transported to Point Lookout for use as a weekend lodge. It was known as the Maine Hunting and Fishing Club.
As time passed, the sportsmen used the Lodge less frequently, and the building fell into disrepair. Then, in 1915, Mitchell Hall in nearby Forsyth, Missouri, which housed The School of the Ozarks, burned. Needing a new building, School officials looked for a large, unoccupied building. They were able to purchase the old Maine building with insurance money collected from Mitchell Hall. Providentially, the asking price for the building and land was identical to the amount the insurance company paid for Mitchell Hall.
Students lived, studied and worked in the Maine Building for the next 15 years. The structure was renamed Dobyns Hall, after Dr. W. R. Dobyns, who was then President of The School's Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, Dobyns Hall, which stood approximately where the Williams Memorial Chapel stands today, burned on February 1, 1930.
The Keeter Center houses the Program of Hotel/Restaurant Management. When you stay at the hotel or have a meal in the dining room, students from this program are involved in making your stay memorable and pleasant.
The College is home to The Keeter Center for Character Education. Numerous campus programs, such as the Community Convocation Series, Citizenship Forum, Character Forum and the Work Ethic Forum are sponsored by The Center. In cooperation with Characterplus® and all of the public schools in Taney County, The Keeter Center for Character Education is leading a county-wide character education initiative.
Perhaps the best-known and most visible Keeter Center program is the Community Convocation Series. Many prominent individuals, such as Lady Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senator Bob Dole, Senator Elizabeth Dole, General Norman Schwarzkopf, President Gerald Ford, Sarah Palin, President George W. Bush and numerous others have spoken at College of the Ozarks as part of this ongoing program.
College of the Ozarks and The Keeter Center are happy to welcome you to campus and to The Keeter Center.