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OUKS to Benefit from STEM Initiatives


Two Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) initiatives being steered by the Ottawa University Advancement office are nearing fruition. The initiatives are aimed at furthering the University’s commitment to STEM curriculum.

These important ventures are being made possible by the generous support of alumni benefactors, who have a strong conviction that sharpening the University’s STEM focus will have a direct effect on its future growth.

“We are incredibly grateful for alumni and friends who have the mindset of giving by paying it forward, and these two gifts will be powerful for recruiting, retention and re-invigorating our longstanding commitment to the sciences at Ottawa University,” Nori Hale, leadership gift officer of University Advancement, said.

The first of these initiatives is the establishment of the Dr. Lewis V. Spencer Scholarship for Outstanding STEM Performance. This endowed scholarship in honor of the late Dr. Spencer, a beloved math and physics teacher at OU from 1957 to 1969, is being actively funded by family, friends and former students. It was initiated by Dr. Spencer’s son, Carl ’75, and his wife, Dottie Underwood Spencer ’78. 

Spencer’s impact on STEM education went far beyond his classroom and students, as he was a leading international authority at the time on fallout radiation and shielding from nuclear disasters. Spencer also impacted others with his fierce determination to succeed and overcome the loss of an arm and leg in a tragic childhood accident.

STEM at OU will also be bolstered by the construction of a new greenhouse on campus, which will be used to enhance the science curriculum and offerings in areas such as biology, botany and green chemistry, as well as provide a culture and display area for the visual arts. Called a “Dreamhouse” by Dr. Steven Boese, professor of biology and chair of the division of math and sciences, the greenhouse project received a lead gift of $165,000 from the Don ’69 and Carolyn Creed Foundation.

The 30-by-72-foot structure to be built south of Ward Science Hall and north of Martin Hall has a price tag of $360,000. With the lead gift and subsequent donations, the project is more than half funded. To spark additional giving, the Creeds have committed to an additional $75,000 match. This will be centered around Homecoming 2019 and the Class of 1969’s 50th reunion. Any gifts or pledges Don’s classmates give to the greenhouse will be matched.

For information about how to help fund these STEM initiatives, contact Nori Hale at Ottawa University via email at nori.hale@ottawa.eduor by calling (785) 248-2336


About Ottawa University

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and opening inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution, serving more than 4,000 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz., and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Phoenix and Queen Creek, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; and online. Visit for more information.

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