November 5, 2012
SUBJECT: S OF O ALUM/FORMER WWII POW RECEIVES SPECIAL HONOR DURING LAURA BUSH’S VISIT TO COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS
Drafted into WWII in 1943, School of the Ozarks student Roy F. Hopper, raised in Harrison, Ark., did not get the opportunity to finish school with his classmates. Instead, he faced off with the Nazis in Europe, was captured by the Germans, and remained imprisoned in a POW camp for nine and a half months until he and three other American soldiers made a harrowing escape. In 2001, 57 years later, PFC Hopper received an honorary high school diploma from his alma mater—now called College of the Ozarks. On November 8, 2012, Mr. Hopper will again be honored by College of the Ozarks.
Assisted by former First Lady Laura Bush, the College will dedicate the Roy F. Hopper Patriots Plaza, which serves as the entrance to the reborn School of the Ozarks, a college preparatory lab school for grades 9-12 operated by the College that opened this fall. Now, 70 years after Mr. Hopper attended high school at School of the Ozarks, a new generation of S of O students raises the American flag and sings a patriotic hymn at the Roy F. Hopper Patriots Plaza to start each school day.
“Because of great Americans such as Roy Hopper, we enjoy many freedoms that are too often taken for granted,” said C of O President Jerry C. Davis. “The College recognizes those freedoms came at a cost and will ensure future generations know that truth and are willing to continue safeguarding those freedoms.”
Current School of the Ozarks students will have the opportunity to meet Mr. Hopper earlier that week when he participates in a Q & A with them on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
During the private dedication of Patriots Plaza on November 8, the College also will honor four other S of O alumni—General Terrence R. Dake, Lieutenant General Gary H. Hughey, Major General Jerry W. Ragsdale, and the late Brigadier General Tommy I. Bell, who went on to earn the rank of one, two, three, and four-star general in the U. S. military.
The dedication is being held in conjunction with Mrs. Bush’s visit to College of the Ozarks. The former First Lady will speak later that evening at the Leonard B. and Edith Gittinger Community Convocation themed “Education Matters” for students, faculty/staff, and community members. No tickets remain for this event.