The "Harma"ny of Giving

Posted by Paula Paine on June 4, 2014 in "Your OU" Harma-McKenzie.jpgEach year, over 95% of the students at the residential campus in Ottawa receive some form of financial aid, and endowed scholarships are an important resource for many of those students. Last year, Ottawa University awarded 176 endowed scholarships to students to assist with their tuition expenses. One of those students, Michael Harris, was a recipient of the Petersen/McKenzie Endowed Scholarship.
Harma (Petersen) McKenzie’s connection with Ottawa University is strong. She graduated from the University in 1945. Her late husband, Dr. Emory McKenzie, was also a 1945 graduate and an OU professor for 37 years. The couple received the OU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1993 for their work in ministry, as teachers, with the American Baptist Churches, in the community, and in the arts, as well as for their faithful contributions to the University and their ongoing connections with students and alumni. Harma continues to regularly attend Homecoming and other events, and loyally supports OU in word and deed.
As part of their legacy with Ottawa University, the couple established the Petersen/McKenzie endowed scholarship in 1987. On June 26, 2014, Harma will turn 90 years old. By way of celebration, First Baptist Church of Ottawa, of which she has been a member for more than 50 years, is holding an event on June 28 from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. in her honor, and guests are being encouraged to give to the Petersen/McKenzie Endowed Scholarship Fund. Appropriately, an amount of $90 is being suggested.
Even on her special day, Harma is thinking about how to give back to the University and its students and build her family’s endowed scholarship fund for future generations, which, according to FBC Pastor Joel Fredrikson ’75, is not at all unlike her.
“Harma McKenzie's life has been a demonstration of Christ's commandment to ‘love one another,’” he says. “Her faithful generosity of time, talent and leadership ability has blessed the Body of Christ locally, nationally and even internationally. Her joy and enthusiasm for faith and life are contagious to all whom she encounters.”
Generally set up in honor or in memory of a loved one, endowed scholarships require a minimum start-up gift of $10,000, with approximately 5% of the fund’s earnings awarded annually to students who meet the established criteria. Much of what Ottawa University is able to accomplish as an institution continues to happen because of the generous support of our alumni and friends, and gifts to endowed scholarships help us attract and retain strong students.
For information on how you can set up an endowed scholarship for OU students, or to contribute to the Petersen/McKenzie Endowed Scholarship in honor of Harma, you may contact Director of Development and Planned Giving Janet Peters at 785-248-2337, or