Convocations and Forums

Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds up Hard Work U Sweatshirt   Tim Tebow holds up Hard Work U Sweatshirt

Former First Lady Laura Bush holds up a Hard Work U sweatshirt during a visit to the College of the Ozarks
Former President George W. Bush holds up Hard Work U sweatshirt during a visit to the College of the Ozarks

Community Convocations

The Leonard B. and Edith Gittinger Community Convocation Series hosts internationally-renowned speakers, recognized for their character and leadership. Speakers provide a keynote address reinforcing institutional values, and often assist the College with honoring others who through their own good citizenship, character, and success serve as role models.

In 1999, Dr. and Mrs. Leonard B. Gittinger endowed the Community Convocation Series, which enabled speakers such as Lady Margaret Thatcher, Franklin Graham, Benjamin Netanyahu, Dave Ramsey, Laura Bush, and Amy Grant to share their life experiences with the College of the Ozarks family and friends. Many of the speakers have risen from humble beginnings and inspire College of the Ozarks students to pursue high goals.

Spring Forums

Spring ForumThe Center hosts a forum each spring. In this gathering, prominent national leaders discuss important issues. Forum themes rotate among the topics of character, citizenship, and the work ethic, which are core values of College of the Ozarks. Occasionally, there are special topics featured. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors participate in the exchange of ideas during lectures and small group discussions. Thanks to a generous endowment from the Thoreson Foundation, the Center invites cadets from each of the nation’s U.S. Military Academies at the annual forum. Along with College of the Ozarks students, their discussions focus on the importance of character in developing leadership skills.

Former forum speakers include Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, Former President George W. Bush, Jeff Sessions, and Ambassador John Bolton.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Holding Hard Work U sweatshirt
"Don’t allow the noise and distractions of the world to define you. God’s already done that, and nobody can do it better. I think the most important thing you can do as a person of faith is own it. Don’t just own it    in church on Sunday but own it in the most public way that you possibly can."
~Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Former White House Press Secretary
Charles Krauthammer
"The primary value of America has always been liberty. In Europe they value solidarity over enterprise. They value government protection, regulation, taxation, and security. In America we value liberty, dynamism, social mobility, enterprise, innovation, risk — in a word, individualism."
~Charles Krauthammer
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Syndicated Columnist, Author, and Political Commentator
Dr. Ben Carson
"If all of our colleges were like this one, we would straighten our country out in two seconds."
~Dr. Ben Carson
Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Author
Harris Faulkner
"You have a fantastic university. The nation is watching as we are all focused on how do we do this thing without debt. Right on time, the story of 'Hard Work U.'"
~Harris Faulkner
FOX News Channel Anchor
Former First Lady Laura Bush
"The outstanding teachers and professors at the College of the Ozarks are developing servant leaders who will contribute to their communities."
~Laura Bush
Former First Lady
Louis Zamperini
"I could have become bitter about what happened to me, but if I've learned one thing in life, it's 'All things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose'"
~Louis Zamperini
World War II Prisoner of War and former Olympian
Dave Ramsey
"I've been blessed to walk around this campus since early this morning... [and] meet some really sharp young people who... have the confidence that comes with the dignity of having actually worked and accomplished something already."
~Dave Ramsey
Financial Expert and Author
Former President George W. Bush
"This is an impressive university. It is unique, and I have concluded it is necessary..."
~George W. Bush
Former President of the United States
Governor Sarah Palin
"Students here [at College of the Ozarks] understand the meaning of work ethic and patriotism, and I just pray to God that more Americans will capture this, will feel it, will taste it—will know what this school exemplifies"
~Sarah Palin
11th Governor of Alaska
Mr. Newt Gingrich
"If every campus in this country were run with the efficiency, the work orientation, and the student involvement that this college is run with, higher education in America would be 50 percent less expensive, and the students would be 50 percent better educated."
~Newt Gingrich
58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Candidate for President 2012
Mr. Ben Stein
"You know, you call it Hard Work University here, and I would say you’ve got just about everything right.  It’s Good Values University.  It’s Character Development University.  It’s Respect for God University."
~Ben Stein
Economist, Journalist & Actor
Zell Miller
"I grew up knowing the importance of a good work ethic. My mother always said, 'Hard work never hurt anybody.'"
~Zell Miller
Former United States Senator, Georgia
Tom Brokaw
"You have a wonderful foundation here. You have a wonderful beginning...learning how to work and support each other."
~Tom Brokaw
NBC News Special Correspondent and Author
The Greatest Generation
Mike Krzyzewski
"This is my first time here (at College of the Ozarks). I am absolutely blown away. I can see there is a lot of care here."
~Mike Krzyzewski
Head Basketball Coach, Duke University
James Baker, III
"I am proud to see a university that embraces the values that make this nation great."
~James Baker, III
Former Secretary of State
Elizabeth Dole
"I feel a different spirit on this college campus, a Christian spirit where students gain a knowledge about each other."
~Elizabeth Dole
United States Senator, North Carolina
Former President of the American Red Cross
Franklin Graham
"The challenge before us of proclaiming and preaching the Gospel is greater today than ever: the opportunities we have today are unparalleled in history."
~Franklin Graham
President of Samaritan's Purse
Benjamin Netanyahu
"Character is...[T]he ability to have a set of convictions that you are willing to fight for and even lose for or even die for- this is the essence of character. I think this place builds character, and you should be commended for it."
~Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
Colin Powell
"To you young people, I have just one bit of advice for you.  As you go through your education here and start thinking about the future, do what you're going to love doing."
~Colin Powell
Secretary of State
Norman Schwarzkopf
"All you need for successful leadership in the 21st century are two rules...When placed in command, take charge; and do what's right."
~Norman Schwarzkopf
Retired General, U.S. Army
Tommy Franks
Character Forum
"All of you young people will get experience here at College of the Ozarks. You will learn a good work ethic that is invaluable."
~Tommy Franks
Retired General, U.S. Army
Barbara Bush
Honor Teachers Convocation
"Today the College of the Ozarks is a nationally recognized school that provides an opportunity for an education to any student willing to work hard enough to earn it."
~Barbara Bush
Former First Lady
Lady Margaret Thatcher
Free Enterprise and The Work Ethic Convocation
"The education that you get at College of the Ozarks is not only an education or a qualification for a degree; it is an education for life."
~Lady Margaret Thatcher
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain


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