OTC Annual Report
Robert W. Plaster
The generous donation the Robert W. Plaster Foundation made last fall to Ozarks Technical Community College is a reflection of Mr. Plaster's desire to expand the educational opportunities for students.
Mr. Plaster was an accounting student in the 1950s at then-Joplin Junior College where he attended three semesters before he could no longer afford tuition. He went on to work full time to improve his standard of living and that of his family.
Mr. Plaster knew that the key to success is hard work, but the effectiveness of hard work is multiplied by having a good education.
As his fortunes grew and his Foundation was established, Mr. Plaster made it his goal to help students get the tools needed to have successful futures.
Today, the Plaster Foundation continues to carry out Mr. Plaster's important work, which included a seven-figure donation to OTC for the construction of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center at the OTC Table Rock Campus in Hollister.
"We are grateful for the generosity of the Plaster Foundation, and we appreciate the investment that they have chosen to make in OTC," said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College. "This gift will make it possible for OTC to open a new campus with a four-story, state-of-the-art facility. The Table Rock Campus will be fully equipped to train and educate the citizens of Stone and Taney Counties from day one."
Dolly Plaster Clement, Mr. Plaster's daughter and executive director of the Plaster Foundation, said the Foundation wanted to be a part of the OTC Table Rock Campus project.
"The OTC project in Hollister is just perfect for the Foundation. Dad would be very pleased to have been able to help OTC accomplish their mission in this region," she said.
Dolly Clement said her father simply wanted to help students, not so much through individual scholarships, but through the construction of facilities that could be used by thousands of students over a long period of time.
"He wanted to open up educational opportunities for others. He wanted to build buildings to broaden the impact for more students," she said.
Mr. Plaster had a very positive outlook on achieving goals that was distilled into one of his favorite sayings, according to his daughter.
"Can't never could," Dolly Clement recalls her father repeating many times. "According to Dad, 'can't' is the worst four-letter word in the English language. If he saw something that had to be done, he did it."
The Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center will be located at 10698 Historic Highway 165 in Hollister. The OTC Table Rock campus will open its doors to students in the fall of 2013.
Dolly Clement said that when the center is complete, her father will be there in spirit.
"He will be there, proud to be able to help and glad to see people benefiting from it," she said.