From the Chancellor
Spring 2018

Dear Friends:

Greetings to all of you from all of us from OU in Kansas, Arizona, Wisconsin, Indiana, and across the nation where Ottawa University continues to pursue its most worthy mission.

In this issue of Spirit Magazine, you will learn why your president now has a new title and how the Board of Trustees is looking to further undergird the long-term growth and impact of our 153-year-old institution.  You will learn of some incredible generosity thanks to Jim ‘57 and Jeanne ‘56 O’Dell who have made a transformational gift to secure the future of our new OUAZ campus in Surprise, Arizona.  You will discover yet another example of how OU is living out its Christian faith commitment.  You will read of many examples of the vibrant life of a school that was once a small, one campus operation on the plains of Kansas and has grown now into a full and comprehensive university system serving over 4000 students and with revenues expected to grow by nearly 50% this year alone.  And, sadly, you will learn of the passing of some wonderful people who, each in their own special ways, helped to contribute to and shape the Ottawa University of today.

At the time you read this, Marylin and I will mark the tenth year of our service here.  The decision to accept the invitation of the Board back then was very difficult for us, as we were firmly rooted in St. Louis with family, friends, and leadership of company that we co-founded. Life there had become very successful and fulfilling for us.  Marylin had literally lived her entire life in that community.  The very thought of uprooting and moving to Ottawa, Kansas, to take on the multi-faceted challenges of a beloved but struggling school was daunting to say the least.  For both of us.

Now, those ten years have gone by seemingly in the blink of an eye.  With the help of five Board chairs who managed to completely surprise us with their individual retrospectives at our board dinner in Arizona at the end of February, we were reminded of all that we have faced at OU in that time—the struggles and the wonderful victories.  When one tries to put it all in perspective, it can feel overwhelming and breath taking.  But the net residual take-away from all of it is that we both feel that we have been very blessed to be a part of this portion of the Ottawa story.

So, now we look together to the future.  Our plan is to continue in our newly revised structure to lead into and through Vision 2020.  Continued growth, albeit more muted, for our OUKS Ottawa campus is the intent and the challenge for a new president for that campus.  Further stabilization and modest growth of our Adult, Professional, and Graduate studies programs is the plan there.  And the more rapid growth and expansion of our new campus in Surprise, Arizona must all be brought together in a way that delivers on our commitments to all of our constituencies wherever they reside and whatever role they play.  As a friend of mine says, “you have a lot of plate spinning to do.”

And so we mark another year in the journey of a fine institution.  Grateful for so much support and many blessings in so many configurations.  Challenged to do what we do but to do more of it and better.  Building lives and communities and organizations of significance.  These are fine things to get to spend one’s life doing, and so we do it gladly and with reverence.

We thank you for who you are, what you do for OU, and what you have meant to us.

In the OU Spirit,

Kevin C. Eichner
’73, MBA, LLD ’08

 

 



Legendary Coach Retires

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 16, 2016 in and, country, cross, field, KCAC, Kirk, NAIA, track, Wren

Legendary Ottawa University cross country and track coach Kirk Wren announced his retirement from coaching at the conclusion of the track season. Luckily, Wren is not leaving OU; he has accepted a new opportunity to teach full-time as an associate professor in the School of Education and liberal...

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Jordan Calderwood Runs Away with Cross Country Honors

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 16, 2016 in and, calderwood, championships, country, cross, field, jordan, marathon, NAIA, track

Junior Jordan Calderwood left her mark on the conference this season, capturing the KCAC Cross Country Championship title for the Braves. She finished the race with a winning time of 18:46.6, a victory earned her a spot in her third straight NAIA National Cross Country Meet. It’s the first women...

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OU Receives Lilly Endowment Grant to Help Engage Future Faith Leaders

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 16, 2016 in Center, Endowment, Faith, Fredrikson, grant, Lilly

In December, Ottawa University received notification that it had been awarded a grant of $593,623 to establish the Theology, Action, and Understanding (TAU) Institute as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to...

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Braves to Kentucky: A Trip to Remember

Posted by Janae Melvin on November 10, 2015 in Basketball, Braves, Kentucky

It was the experience of a lifetime for all who made the trip. On Monday, Nov. 2, the Ottawa University men’s basketball team traveled to Lexington, Ky., to face the No. 2 ranked Wildcats at famed Rupp Arena. The Braves lost the exhibition game 117-58, but left Kentucky with plenty of memories...

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Collaborating in the Classroom

Posted by Janae Melvin on October 15, 2015 in Arts, education, Festival, Fine, Ottawa, SWAN, Teaching

When Meg Dickinson moved to Ottawa with her husband in 2008, they purchased a home near Ottawa University. She didn’t know what opportunities might be available that would allow her to get involved with the University, but she was intrigued by the thought of working on campus.

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