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OTC’s history kept in library vault

Here’s a pop quiz. What’s the name of the OTC mascot (yes, there is one) and what other mascots were considered?

The answer: OTC’s mascot is the eagle. The other nominees were rhinoceros and porpoise because, as the staff member reportedly recommended, the ocean-looking mascot would allow the college to boast: “OTC offers an education with a ‘porpoise.’”

That’s the story that Todd Wilkinson, OTC archivist and service desk manager in the Learning Resource Center, recalls.

As the college moves into its 25th year since voters approved the tax district that created OTC, Wilkinson has been spending a lot of time researching the college’s history in the archive room in the resource center.

“Being a college for 25 years is not a lot of time. We’re such a fluid campus, so we’re very lucky to have what we’ve got,” he said.

Items that have been collected and saved range from giveaway trinkets and lapel pins to the first commencement program and original campus signage.

One piece that Wilkinson considers the college’s most revered keepsake is a large, framed poster signed by students, faculty, trustees and staff from the first year the college was open.

It is called the Founders Scroll and is usually hanging in the resource center on the OTC Springfield Campus.

One of the files found in a drawer among more than a half-dozen file cabinets contains all of the names suggested for the college when it was being organized in 1990.

The names came from faculty and staff at Graff Vocational Technical Center and area citizens.

The suggestions included:

Ozark Prairie Community College, George Washington Carver Community College, Lincoln Community College, Show-Me Community College, Mountain Country Community College, Lake Country Community, Ozarks Empire Community College, Southwest Technical College and Harry S. Truman Regional.

Eventually, the name Heart of the Ozarks Technical Community College was selected but later was shortened to Ozarks Technical Community College.

Wilkinson said if others have keepsake items they thing the college may want, they can contact Wilkinson at 447-8174 or wilkinst@otc.edu.

“It’s important to have these milestones,” Wilkinson said. “We’re always looking for items related to the college’s history. We’d be happy to take a look at what people have.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.

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