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College of the Ozarks graduates receive the Chris Waller Memorial Scholarship

Chris Waller Memorial Scholarship Recipient #2, Kiley Counts, is from Winona, Missouri. She plans to pursue her career as a physical therapist at Southwest Baptist University.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — This year marked the 13th year the Chris Waller Memorial Scholarship has been presented to College of the Ozarks graduates in memory of Chris Waller. This year, two deserving recipients were awarded the scholarship: Jordan Wersinger, a human and molecular biology major, and Kiley Counts, an animal science major.

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 on the memorial endowment established in Chris’ memory.

“We are extremely honored to present this year’s Chris Waller scholarships to Kiley and Jordan. The scholarships go to C of O graduates that are going on to graduate school, and we try to find students that mirror Chris’ life,” said Al Waller, father of the late Chris Waller. “These two did that because they are of outstanding character, they were athletes at C of O, and they were both Academic All-Americans.”

Wersinger is from Springfield, Missouri, and she played at Kickapoo High School where she earned a spot in the Kickapoo High School Sports Hall of Fame. Wersinger transferred to the Lady Cats from the University of Central Missouri and started her career as a Lady Cat in 2019. Graduating from C of O with a degree in human and molecular biology, Wersinger will be going to physician assistant school at Harding University to further her education. She plans to then serve in the Navy as a physician’s assistant.

“I feel extremely honored to be a recipient of the Chris Waller Memorial scholarship and all that it represents,” said Wersinger. “The scholarship will help me immensely as I train to become the healthcare provider the Lord has called me to be.”

Counts is from Winona, Missouri, and has been a valuable contributor to the Lady Cat Volleyball Program. Counts plans to continue her education at Southwest Baptist University as she pursues her career as a physical therapist. 

“I am so grateful and honored to receive this scholarship in memory of Chris Waller.” said Counts. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the Waller’s help and encouragement as I begin graduate school. I loved hearing how hardworking Chris was, and my hope is to carry on his legacy of determination as I enroll at Southwest Baptist University.”

More about the Chris Waller Memorial Scholarship

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.

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.

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