Northark Foundation to Honor Cathy Brandt with 2024 Ozarks Ambassador Award
Posted Date: 3/18/24

Cathy Brandt will receive the 2024 Ozark Ambassador award presented by the Northark Foundation. She will be honored during the Foundation’s annual Evening on the Plaza dinner on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. in the Signature Bank Community Room. The dinner will be preceded by a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the atrium. The special event celebrates the 50th Anniversary of North Arkansas College which was founded in 1974. 

Established in 1990, the Ozarks Ambassador Award is presented annually to someone who has represented northern Arkansas with distinction nationwide in one or more of the following fields: agriculture, finance, medicine, education, the arts, politics, law, business, social services, the ministry, or industry. 

Cathy was surprised when she attended the selection committee meeting. “When the selection committee met in late October to discuss and choose the nominees for the Ozark Ambassador and Pioneer Impact Award the members of the committee Charles Adair, Ken Reeves and Dan Bowers, Dr. Rick Massengale ambushed me that the recipient had already been chosen for the Ozark Ambassador Award and it was me. I tried to decline but there was no saying no to those guys.”

She was overwhelmed and did not feel worthy of the award. However, those who have relied on her leadership for years were steadfast in recognizing her many contributions locally, across the state and even to other countries. She has been president of Arkansas State Chapter of Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) and then served on the P.E.O. International Foundation Board for 6 years. She has also served on the Arkansas Baptist Foundation and Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. She traveled with church and Baptist state mission teams to Germany, Bali, Brazil, Canada with hand chime choirs and taught hand chimes to children and adults on those trips. Her local community service includes serving on the Harrison School Board for 20 years where upon her retirement she worked with Dr. Charles Adair to establish the Harrison Public School Foundation. Cathy says, “I take pride in that organization and what it’s done to provide money for grants for teachers for projects to benefit the school district.”
Cathy received a Presidential Citation from Northark in 2006 and the Pioneer Impact Award in 2019. She was selected as a Woman of Distinction in 2011 and went on to lead the Women of Distinction Alumna in support of scholarships at Northark. 
She taught Accounting and Economics at Northark as an adjunct faculty member for 24 years, retiring in 2006. “I loved my time in the classroom and my association with the faculty and staff and with the students during my years in the classroom,” she said. “It is rewarding to see the students that I had and how so many of them have become leaders in business and our community.”
Cathy’s mother, Wanda Coffman was on the Foundation board. After her death in 1988, Cathy was asked to serve. She has now been on the Foundation Board for 36 years and has served in all the offices, as chairman of the Evening on the Plaza event, chairman of the Investment committee and other board committees. “I was honored to be asked to serve as Chairman of the Ozark Ambassador Committee following the death of the original committee members, John Paul Hammerschmidt, Dr. Bill Baker, J. E. Dunlap, Richard Hudson and Frank Lee Coffman, Jr.” Following the death of John Paul Hammerschmidt, John Arthur Hammerschmidt asked her to serve on the JPH Lecture Series Committee. She has served three times on the Presidential Selection committee for the college president. 
Cathy and her husband, Larry have been an important part of the growth and advancement of the college. They support an endowed scholarship to give financial support to a non-traditional student and helped with funding for the Pioneer Villas residence hall. Her work with Boone County Economic Development Corporation allowed for a $700,000K donation for the college’s Center for Robotics and Manufacturing currently under construction.

Cathy and Larry have two sons. Dr. Jason Brandt and wife, Jana of Jonesboro and Jeff Brandt and wife, Wendi of Harrison. They enjoy five grandchildren: Will Brandt, Samantha Brandt Favre, Grace, Ella and J Henry Brandt.

Other awardees at the dinner are Bonnie Baker, wife of the late Bill Baker, founding President of Northark will receive the Pioneer Impact award. This award was established in 2018 to recognize individuals for their service to Northark and the community. NARMC Chief Nursing Officer, Donna Boehm will be presented with the 2024 North Arkansas College Distinguished Alumna award.

Evening on the Plaza tickets are $50 each or $250 for a table of six and can be purchased online at or by calling Micki Somers at (870) 391-3242. Please RSVP by April 8, 2024.

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