This year marked the 10th year the Chris Waller Memorial Scholarship has been presented to a College of the Ozarks graduate in memory of Chris Waller. The deserving scholarship recipient was Ethan Davidson. Davidson graduated from College of the Ozarks on May 10, 2020. He is from Hollister, Missouri, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in engineering with minors in chemistry and mathematics.
This scholarship is given to College of the Ozarks graduates who possess outstanding character and want to further their education. The money for the scholarship comes from interest off the memorial endowment established in Chris’s memory.
“C of O strengthened the skills of time-management and work ethic in my life,” Davidson said. “These skills are not only useful in grad school but life after grad school as well.”
Davidson is currently enrolled at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and will begin his Master of Science in mechanical engineering this fall. He plans to work at an engineering firm performing HVAC analysis for industrial or commercial systems.
Al and Marty Waller established the Chris Waller Memorial Scholarship in memory of their son, Chris Waller. Chris graduated from Branson High School and attended College of the Ozarks from 1997-2001 as a mathematics major. Chris was a member of the C of O basketball team for four years, was named all-conference his senior year, and an NAIA Academic All-American his junior and senior years. He was also inducted into the College of the Ozarks Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. After his graduation, Chris went on to study at the University of Arkansas, majoring in civil engineering.
Al Waller began his career at College of the Ozarks in 1977 as a men’s basketball coach and physical education instructor. He has served in multiple roles throughout his tenure. His 25-year stint as the College’s head coach found him accumulating 458 wins, 12 conference championships, and six national tournament appearances. He was also named conference Coach of the Year on 12 occasions. In addition, he has been inducted into the College of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame, NAIA Hall of Fame, and Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Al Waller retired from C of O in 2015.
"When we select the recipient of the scholarship, we try to find someone who has mirrored Chris's life, and Ethan is probably the closest match we have ever had,” Waller said. “He is from the Branson area, played basketball at C of O, and is going to attend the University of Arkansas and major in mechanical engineering. Ethan is also the brother of Aaron Dalton, who not only played with Chris at C of O but was one of his best friends.”
Marty Waller served as administrator of the Child Development Center at the College for 21 years, where she also coached the Bobcat Cheerleaders and assisted with the Catholic Christian Newman Association. Prior to working for the College, she operated a daycare out of her home. Marty Waller retired from C of O in 2014.
"We are really delighted to give this year's scholarship to Ethan," Marty Waller said. “We have known Ethan since he was a preschooler at the C of O Child Development Center, and it has been a privilege to watch him grow into an outstanding young man of Christ-like character.”