Longtime College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis is transitioning to chancellor, setting off an expected executive transition year.
Davis, the Point Lookout college's president since 1988, is scheduled to become chancellor on June 1, 2022, according to a news release.
"In this capacity, Dr. Davis will continue to serve the institution that he has grown and shepherded into a school of national prominence," said Gen. Terrence R. Dake, the school's board chair, in the release.
C of O spokesperson Valorie Coleman said an internal search committee has been formed – along with job advertisement placements – for a nationwide recruitment effort to fill the president role. The goal is to have a new president installed when Davis becomes chancellor, Coleman said.
“I initially intended to step aside in 2020 but, like everyone else, the pandemic crisis changed my plans," Davis said in the release. "My dedication to College of the Ozarks has never wavered, and I will stay actively engaged in my new role as chancellor while our next president builds upon the foundation and takes the helm of the day-to-day operations."
Davis indicated his new role, in part, would focus on fostering relationships with the college's donor base.
During Davis' tenure, C of O has conducted more than $50 million worth of construction, boosted the college's Hard Work U. focus on student workers and remained debt free, according to the release.
C of O ranked No. 6 this year on Springfield Business Journal's list of the area's largest higher learning institutions. The college reported local spring 2021 enrollment of 1,482 students, a 2.4% increase over 2020, and 376 local employees.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.