From the Chancellor
Summer 2018

Dear Friends:

This letter is written to you in mid-summer, just after finishing our most recent fiscal year.  Long gone (if they ever existed) are the days when most folks at universities relaxed and took it easy until the students returned in the fall. For those of us at OU, the last year ended and the new one has opened with a crescendo of events and activities. OU has been a year-round educational institution for decades, so this is not exactly new here.
 
While our audit work is just beginning, it appears that we will have completed the 2017-2018 year with a new record in total revenues, eclipsing the $52 million mark for the first time in our history—nearly 40% above the prior year. This was driven by significant growth in our total student enrollments, particularly at our campus in Kansas and in Arizona with the launch of our OUAZ Surprise site.
 
Another major factor contributing to this growth was the best year in our history for donations, including in any capital campaign year. Friends like you contributed over $10 million, quite a remarkable sum for an institution that just ten years ago had seen only two gifts in its history over a million dollars.
 
As you might imagine, results like these buoy the spirit and lift our people. More importantly, they make an enormous difference in the lives of our students as they enhance talent, programs and facilities and the quality of the student experience.  We are grateful for this on many levels.
 
We are also grateful that we have completed our search for a new president for our Ottawa campus location. Dr. Reggies Wenyika began his work on July 16 to help lead our 153-year-old original campus to new heights and new outcomes. You can read about him and his family extensively in this issue of Spirit Magazine, but I will just say that myself and our team here, as well as the Board, feel very blessed to be welcoming someone of his stature and capability to our leadership team. He will be a game changer and most capable of continuing to build on the tremendous work done by his predecessors, Dr. Dennis Tyner and Dr. Terry Haines, both of whom have contributed mightily to bringing our home campus to outcomes not enjoyed since the early 1970s.
 
You will enjoy Reggies and his equally impressive spouse Bongi, and will appreciate their intellect, energy, creativity, and heart. I am already enjoying the process of introducing him to this wonderful institution that is Ottawa University and the broader Ottawa constituencies and look forward to welcoming him as a key member of our leadership team for years to come.
 
There is great energy and excitement about this new year on so many fronts: academically, in the athletic world, in the development of some wonderful new facilities, and so much more.  You, our friends and alumni, are central to making that happen as you always have. Thank you for that and so much more.

In the OU Spirit,

Kevin C. Eichner
’73, MBA, LLD ’08
 

 



Engaging History Professor TALKs Books with Prison Inmates

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 17, 2016 in book, discussion, foulke, geography, humanities, KHC, Larned, library

Ottawa University’s professor of history Dr. Steven Foulke has been a part of the Kansas Humanities Council TALK Program (Talking About Literature in Kansas) for more than a decade. He travels around the state, leading book discussions with various reading groups and book clubs in small town...

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Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle in the Corporate World

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 17, 2016 in country, cross, field, health, overland, park, Sprint, track, wellness

There are multiple avenues a person can take in their career path. The direction of a career is rarely set in stone when a student arrives on a college campus, the chance the direction remains unchanged is rare. Such is the story of Mike Finch.

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2015 Homecoming Wrap-Up

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 17, 2016 in 150th, alumni, BAHOF, banquet, Gangwish, Homecoming, sesquicentennial

Ottawa University hosted its annual Homecoming festivities October 15 – 18 at The College. The highlight of the weekend was the dedication of the new Gangwish Library and Gibson Student Center and then the Sesquicentennial Convocation, the culmination of the University’s year-long celebration of...

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Leaving a Legacy: The DeFries Society for the Performing Arts

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 17, 2016 in arts, choir, concert, DeFries, Eichner, Performing

In 2015, Ottawa University established the DeFries Society for the Performing Arts through a generous family gift from alumni Dr. Stanley ’50 and Alice Jo (Hostetter) ’51 DeFries of Lawrence, KS, as well as their children, Lucky ’75 and his wife, Pam ’75, of Topeka, KS; and Paula Nauman ’77 and...

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Helping Students “Plug In” to their Faith

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 16, 2016 in Bible, Braving, Briley, Christian, Discipleship, Ministries, Rivers

If you’re looking for Director of Christian Ministries Briley Rivers ’01, his office would be the last place to check. Since returning to Ottawa University and assuming the role of DCM in July, Rivers has been on the move around campus. He has meetings to get to, Bible studies to attend and lives...

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