BRANSON, Mo. and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Champions Tour announced today the College of the Ozarks, the main charitable beneficiary of the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, is the 2014 Champions Tour Charity of the Year.
Champions Tour President Greg McLaughlin presented the award to Jerry C. Davis, President of the College of the Ozarks, during a ceremony at the college affectionately known as “Hard Work U.” Also present for the announcement was Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops and owner of Big Cedar Lodge. (CLICK HERE to download photos from today’s announcement. Photo credit: Clayton Dodwell/Bass Pro Shops.)
More than $1 million was raised by the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge which has been distributed between the College of the Ozarks and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
“We are honored to receive this important accolade from the Champions Tour,” said Jerry C. Davis, President of the College of the Ozarks. “This award recognizes our ongoing mission to continue developing the character of our students and provide a solid education without the stress of debt.”
The privately funded Christian school in Point Lookout, Missouri is one of only a handful of work-study schools in the country. In lieu of tuition, all full-time students work campus jobs to defray the cost of education. After successfully completing the work study program, the College guarantees to meet the entire cost of education for students, allowing them the opportunity to graduate debt-free.
“We are grateful that the College of the Ozarks is being recognized as the Champions Tour Charity of the Year for 2014,” said Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris. “This honor, in many ways, will let the rest of the world discover what we in the Ozarks know and cherish about College of the Ozarks.”
While in town for the 2014 Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, Champions Tour players Fred Funk and Mark Calcavecchia took some time to visit the College of the Ozarks. During the visit, Funk and Calcavecchia had the opportunity to try some of the school’s many unique work stations including the campus dairy farm where they milked calves, the vegetable garden where they picked broccoli, and the school’s acclaimed farm-to-table public restaurant, Dobyns Dining Room, inside The Keeter Center where Calcavecchia served lunch to guests.
“College of the Ozarks recognition as our Charity of the Year is well deserved in light of their efforts in providing the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U” experience for students,” said Champions Tour President Greg McLaughlin. “Students working a campus job in return for their education is a good example of one of our core values – giving back. The Champions Tour is thrilled to recognize an organization that provides this opportunity to the young people of America."
As recipient of the 2014 Champions Tour Charity of the Year, the College of the Ozarks will receive $30,000 which will go towards the Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial being constructed on campus. The Missouri Legislators made this memorial the official Vietnam War Memorial for the state of Missouri which is expected to be unveiled in April, 2015 during the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge.