Ozark Christian College says
Ozark Bible College was established in Bentonville, Arkansas, on June 12, 1942. The school was committed to training men and women for Christian service by teaching the Word of Christ in the Spirit of Christ. An earlier OZARK CHRISTIAN COLLEGE was established in St. Joe, Arkansas, in 1938. It moved to Harrison, Arkansas, in 1939, and then to Bentonville in 1940. This school was to provide both occupational training and Bible teaching. Ozark Bible College was founded to be a Bible college training full-time and part-time Christian workers. Workers were prepared to be ministers, missionaries, evangelistic singers, church secretaries, educational directors and assistant ministers, as well as elders, deacons and volunteer workers in the local church. The trustees elected F. W. Strong as president and Seth Wilson as dean, positions they held in the former college.
Many churches in the four state area of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma were closed and hundreds were without preachers. Ozark Bible College desired to provide Biblical preachers whose preaching would revive the churches.
In October of 1944, Ozark Bible College moved to Joplin, Missouri. A large house located at 516 N. Wall Street became the new home for the college. Joplin was chosen as the new location for the college because it was easily reached by car, bus, train or plane. Many churches surrounded Joplin, which provided opportunities for student ministries. Joplin also had job opportunities for students. In 1946, Edwin B. Strong succeeded his father as president of Ozark Bible College. The college grew from sixteen students in 1942 to 123 students in the fall of 1949. An addition to the building in 1948 provided a dining room, a small chapel and two classrooms. At this time most of the full-time faculty preached every weekend. Area ministers assisted as part-time instructors. Students were involved in service in the churches on weekends.
The curriculum has always stressed a knowledge of the Bible, gained through a direct study of the Biblical text, with every degree carrying a major in Bible. Strong emphasis has been placed on apologetics (knowing why we believe in God, Christ and the Bible) and hermeneutics (principles and methods for understanding the Bible). Skills for ministry were also taught at this time.
In 1952, Don Earl Boatman became the third president of Ozark Bible College, a post he held for 27 years. The college had a vision and desire to grow. In 1953 additions to the college provided a large chapel, a library and additional classrooms. This enabled the college to accommodate the 176 students who enrolled in the fall of 1954. In 1955, seventy-five churches were served by Ozark faculty, staff and students. Soon the college reached the maximum capacity in the 516 N. Wall building.
In 1959, forty acres were purchased on North Main Street, a mile north of downtown Joplin and less than a mile from the Wall Street location. The Missions Building and Alumni Hall were completed in 1963 providing classrooms and a dormitory for women. This enabled the college to move to the new campus to welcome 309 students in the fall of 1963. The Administration Building was completed a few weeks after the fall semester started. Under the direction of Walter Goodman, thirteen buildings were constructed on the new campus during its first two decades.