From the President - Fall 2014

Posted by Paula Paine on September 10, 2014 in Dear Friends,
At the beginning of this historic 150th academic year at Ottawa University, it has been an opportune time to reflect on many of the milestones that we have achieved in the past few years as we strive to extend the great legacy of this institution.
We recently achieved 10-year reaccreditation (no small feat in this day and age) from the Higher Learning Commission; we have realized five consecutive years of financial surplus; we are nearing the finish line of the largest capital campaign in University history at $23 million, with the most $1 million gifts ever received; the new Hetrick Dining Center component of the Gibson Student Center has just opened to rave reviews; the adjacent and beautiful new Gangwish Library is under construction; three distinctive schools have been established; many new academic and student activity programs have been introduced; great strides have been made with our athletic teams and our music programs; the Fredrikson Center was established and is providing valuable programming and increased university-wide impact in our faith community; our processes and systems are becoming increasingly more efficient and effective; and there is much more that could be listed.
We are proud of these achievements and feel blessed by them.  However, it was the recent student orientation experience at The College that served to once again put things in perspective for me about our core purpose.
Fall enrollment at the College topped 615 students, a 10% increase driven by a robust 22% increase in new students—our highest numbers in nearly two decades.  As I witnessed over 250 new students arrive on campus in great anticipation of what the next four or more years of their lives would bring; as I saw them interact with our faculty and staff and begin to learn about and appreciate our great history; as I interacted with them personally over dinner at Granger house and at several other meals in our new dining facility; and as they engaged in a variety of activities that began the bonding experience with their school and fellow classmates, I was humbled.  I was simply struck again by the awesome privilege that we at Ottawa University have in shaping and preparing these young people to prepare for their lives of significance.
So as we begin what will be a year-long celebration of Ottawa University’s Sesquicentennial—of 150 years of educating students for lives of significance—I am thankful and honored to be here at this time in this role.  And I am grateful for the more than 20,000 current students and alumni who have entrusted us with their education. They and you are central to our mission, and we never forget that mission.
With all of that in mind, I want to personally invite you to campus for Homecoming, October 17-19, to meet some of these great new students and those who are here to serve them, to check out the progress I described, and to personally celebrate your part in our legacy.  With all of our successes, there are many challenges, and we need your continued support in all forms to meet them.
I look forward to seeing you soon and to seeing your reaction to the new Gibson Student Center and to our progress in other ways as well.  I hope you will be pleased and proud, as we who live and work here every day are.
In the Ottawa spirit,
Kevin C. Eichner