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Capital Campaign Launched at OUKS, OUAZ


There have been some exciting developments in the University-wide “Advancing the Experience” capital campaign, which was announced in Fall 2018. Both of OU’s residential campuses have been and will be experiencing advancement as part of this multi-million dollar initiative. Phase 1 of the capital campaign kicked off in May 2019 at the Ottawa, Kan., residential campus. In Surprise, Ariz., progress continues on new construction that is part of the campaign.

“As our residential campuses continue to experience record growth in Kansas and Arizona, we find ourselves even more focused on the foundational aspects of the student experience: a robust education, high quality athletics and a vibrant residential life,” Dr. Kevin Eichner, chancellor at Ottawa University, said. “The University’s ‘Advancing the Experience’ capital campaign will give all of us who love this University the opportunity to express gratitude for their own success by giving back to OU and providing future students even more opportunities for growth and excellence.”

The “Advancing the Experience” capital campaign will include dramatic enhancements and additions to the 154-year-old original residential campus in Ottawa, Kan., as well the new two-year-old residential campus in Surprise, Ariz. What follows is an overview of capital campaign initiatives on each campus.

Kansas Campus (OUKS)

With a goal of $6.2 million, the Kansas campaign aims to provide much needed upgrades and updates to the campus as enrollment continues to grow. Money from the campaign will fund three major initiatives on campus with Phase 1 being upgrades to Braves Field seating, press box and Hall of Fame and a newly renovated Larry D. Peters Auditorium to serve as the home for the University’s new esports program.

Braves Field, which hosts football, soccer, lacrosse and track-and-field events, will include upgrades to the stands and press box and a new space for relocation of the Braves Hall of Fame. These $1.7-million enhancements will improve the experience for those who attend games, either as fans, coaches working in the press box or members of the media covering the events. The improvements to Peters Auditorium will have a price tag of $450,000, and will transform the space into a state-of-the-art facility for esports with adaptability to continue hosting theater productions and other staged events.

“The new stadium, press box and Hall of Fame are a significant step forward, and will provide a superior spectator experience for enjoying sporting events and seeing OU’s strong athletic history on display,” Paul Bean, senior vice president for university advancement, said. “The new esports complex will be a state-of-the-art facility, which will serve an entire new generation of varsity competition on campus.”

Bean said fundraising is still active for Phase 1 projects, as well as the remaining phases. These will include the construction of an indoor varsity performance center, improvements to the Mabee Center, renovating and repurposing the former Hall of Fame space at the Hull Center into Allied Health classrooms and labs, renovating and repurposing athletic performance center at the Myers building into a student recreation and wellness center, and installing new field turf at Dick Peters Sports Complex.

Visit to make a contribution to the OUKS “Advancing the Experience” campaign.

Arizona Campus (OUAZ)

The Arizona counterpart of the “Advancing the Experience” capital campaign has a goal of $12.5 million over three years. About 70 percent of the total, $8.7 million, was donated during the silent phase of the campaign.

The single-largest gift in the University’s history – a $8 million donation by alums, Jim ’57 and Jeanne ’56 O’Dell – is being put to use in part on the construction of the O’Dell Center for Athletics, which is nearing completion on the OUAZ campus. It is being built adjacent to the new multipurpose Spirit Field, completed in summer 2018, and will include a press box and luxury suites, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, training facilities, laboratory classrooms for biology, chemistry and engineering, and offices for student support services.

Dr. David Barnes, executive director of university advancement for OUAZ, said the silent phase has laid a great foundation for the public phase, which is now beginning.

“We have been blessed with a tremendous head start, and it is now time to begin doing everything we can to secure the success of the campaign, while laying the essential and sustainable foundation for philanthropy,” Barnes said. “Going into the public phase of the Campaign, we are looking for people and organizations to join with us in this great vision to prepare young people for life, while having a positive impact on the City of Surprise, the West Valley, and the Phoenix metropolitan area.”

The campaign will recruit additional donors to become part of the “OUAZ 1000” membership. Members of this prestigious group will have contributed $1,000 or more, will commit to donating an additional $1,000 or more annually and will recruit others to join the OUAZ 1000 family of donors in the future.

Additional new construction currently underway on the Arizona residential campus includes the OUAZ Student Union. It will house the dining complex with indoor and outdoor seating, gathering spaces, study rooms, offices and a conference center. OUAZ’s first residential hall is also being built. It will feature 83 suite-style rooms with a total of 332 beds that will offer students exceptional living spaces in the heart of campus.

Visit to make a contribution or to learn more about the “Advancing the Experience” campaign, including a variety of naming opportunities for OUAZ’s new structures, classrooms, labs, as well as facilities at the Hays Center on the Phoenix campus


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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