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College of the Ozarks: Impressive in Every Way. . . and so delicious!

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

According to College of the Ozarks' website: College of the Ozarks is a fully accredited, Christian, liberal arts college located just outside Branson, Missouri. . . . The institution provides the opportunity for full-time students to work at one of more than 100 campus jobs or industries to help pay for part of their tuition. The remaining portion of the students’ expenses is covered through scholarships provided by gifts and contributions from donors who believe in and support the programs and policies of the College. These student work programs and donor contributions allow C of O students to graduate debt-free.

Did you catch the key words? Christian, work, debt-free. Imagine that. Through their extensive on-campus work opportunities, students get their four-year degrees without paying a cent of tuition, and through their full-time summer work programs, room and board expenses can be covered. Amazing.

A few weeks ago when Steve and I were in Branson with our teenage grandchildren Luke and Margaret, we enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the Dobyns Dining Room inside the Keeter Center. A large number of students work at this center -- serving, prepping, baking, washing dishes, and cleaning rooms of guests who stay there. The menu included some delectable choices that we declared to be our best meal of the trip. We were completely impressed with the students taking our orders, the attractive room, and the beautiful presentation of our meals.

A large portion of the ingredients included in the dishes are produced on campus -- milk, beef, vegetables, breads, ice cream, even the mints served at the end of the meal. So, SO good.

After lunch, we were treated to a tour of the campus and got to see students engaged in various jobs -- on the grounds, pouring candles, making stained glass pieces, weaving baskets, etc. Every student we met was exceptionally polite and happy to answer our questions. Margaret, in particular, could really "see herself there in a few years."

Only 1500 students are accepted for enrollment, so you can't just arrive on campus and expect to get a "free ride." Students are carefully chosen based on evidence of a strong work ethic and commitment to the high standards of the college.

When you visit Branson in the future, I would highly recommend a visit to the campus and a wonderful meal at the Keeter Center. This place will renew your faith in the young people of America.

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