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Ottawa University Celebrates 148 Years

Ottawa University’s roots and traditions can be traced back to the work of Baptist missionaries Jotham and Eleanor Meeker, who labored ceaselessly to improve the lives of the Ottawa Indian Tribe in Kansas. They served as ministers, nurse and doctor, business agents, marriage counselors, teachers, and of course, spiritual counselors. Their seminal work, the prophetic vision of tribal leaders, and the engagement of others, such as John Tecumseh (Tauy) Jones, led to an eventual agreement between the Kansas (American) Baptist denomination and the Ottawa Tribe to form a school, which would eventually be known as Ottawa University.

April 21, 1865

The University charter was granted April 21, 1865, by the probate court of Franklin County, Kansas. The petitioners named in the charter were I.S. Kalloch, C.C. Hutchinson, John G. Pratt, J.T. Jones, James Wind, William Hurr, and Joseph King.

April 21, 2013

Today, Ottawa University remains true to its heritage, asserting itself as “Steadfastly Christian; Proudly American Baptist; and Positively Open and Inclusive.” The University maintains its close ties to the Ottawa Tribe and continues to honor its agreement to provide a free education to any Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma member. Ottawa University currently serves more than 7,000 students through its residential campus in Ottawa, Kansas, and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kansas; Phoenix, Chandler and Surprise, Arizona; Brookfield and Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Jeffersonville, Indiana; as well as online.

Join the Celebration!

Whether you are an OU alumnus, a donor, a parent of a current student, or a loyal fan, we invite you to join us in celebrating Charter Day by showing your Ottawa University pride wherever you are.

• Join us for the annual performance of the Ottawa University Choir and Orchestra at 3:00 p.m. in the Fredrikson Chapel. A Charter Day Reception will follow. 

• Wear black and gold to church

• Share your favorite OU memory

• Contact an old OU friend, roommate, or professor

• Sport an OU sweatshirt, shorts, or water bottle as you exercise or enjoy the spring weather

• Post a comment on our Facebook page,

• Use your OU scarf and stocking cap if it is chilly outside

We would love for you to connect or re-connect with OU by emailing, visiting our website at, or calling us at 866-324-8788.