FORT SMITH -- The University of the Ozarks in Clarksville has entered into an affiliation with Greystone Preparatory School in which the university's campus will house the latter's military programs beginning this summer.
University of the Ozarks President Richard Dunsworth said Monday the parties entered into the agreement Nov. 20, with a full signing of the necessary paperwork taking place today.
Greystone has a one-year and a new four-year program for students who plan a career in military leadership, according to a news release from the college. The one-year program is a college-level academy preparatory school that instructs candidates for one of the five U.S. service academies: the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.; the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.; and the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.
The four-year program is for University of the Ozarks students who are veterans or enrolled in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, Navy Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program, U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class, Coast Guard Scholars Program or Officer Candidate School.
Greystone is leaving Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, and it will remain the only academy prep school in the nation affiliated with a four-year, fully accredited university, the release said.
David Bailey, founder and executive director of Greystone Preparatory School and a retired Navy commander, said Monday that Greystone's board of directors began a nationwide search for the new affiliation in October 2018. That included establishing a set of criteria, which was put into the U.S. News & World Report and SAT databases.
"The first iteration gave us 134 schools, and then, since then, we've continued to expand the criteria," Bailey said. "The last run gave us 18 finalists."
Greystone officials reached out to those 18 schools and six responded positively, including the University of the Ozarks. Affordability was among the criteria that worked in favor of the Clarksville school.
Bailey said Greystone noticed a marked decline in its student population, which officials attributed to students' inability to afford some universities.
"What we were doing was trying to find a more affordable school, but at the same time, we were starting to increase the standard," Bailey said. "What are the things that we're looking for? Did it have ROTC? Did it have the athletic facilities that we need? Did it have the academic program that we actually need, because we have a core curriculum for our students? These were all criteria that we were looking for in a new home."
Dunsworth said Greystone contacted the University of the Ozarks in August to ask if it would be interested in an affiliation. Officials responded with information about the university and the surrounding area, and Greystone officials visited the campus.
The opportunity to enter into an affiliation with the preparatory school will add to an already diverse campus, Dunsworth said, adding that it will attract the caliber of students sought by the university.
"They're bright, they're articulate. They're committed, driven young people, and we thought they would fit nicely on our campus," the university president said. "We thought that they would have a positive impact on other students that are here, and we knew that we could serve them both academically and physically."
University officials expect about 20 Greystone freshmen to be on campus when the fall 2020 semester begins and as many as 50 students in the program within two to three years, according to the news release.
Greystone academy-bound students will be full-time university freshmen and can earn up to 38 transferable college credits, according to the release. All university courses will be in sync with military academy first-year courses, which will enable students to test out of academy courses. That provides students with an advantage over other students entering the academies directly from high school or another academy prep school, the release states.
All Greystone students will be required each year to put in more than 100 hours of community service, the release said, and the program will be housed in one of the university's apartment-style residence halls.
Dunsworth said in the release that additional faculty may be hired, particularly in the fields of mathematics and science, to accommodate the curriculum needs of Greystone students.
State Desk on 12/03/2019