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



Legacy - Fred Zook

Posted by Janae Melvin on April 26, 2018 in

Dr. Fred Zook passed away on November 6. Zook began his career at OU as Dean of Students at the College in Ottawa, hired by Peter Armacost. He served ably and amiably for several years, demonstrating even then a special affection for students and what Ottawa University stands for.

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Legacy - Wilbur Wheaton

Posted by Janae Melvin on April 26, 2018 in

Wilbur Wheaton ’54, President Emeritus of Ottawa University, passed away on August 19, 2017, at the age of 84. Wheaton was the first Ottawa University graduate to serve as University president and was the 14th person to lead the University, stepping into the role in 1983 He was awarded the rare...

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Legacy - Frank Lemp

Posted by Janae Melvin on April 26, 2018 in

On October 22, OU friend and long-time colleague, Frank Lemp passed away from the complications of cancer. Lemp joined the OU faculty in 1981, first working in and then leading the art department for many years while teaching in a variety of other roles. He was awarded tenure in 1987, and has...

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Living Faith Out Loud

Posted by Janae Melvin on April 26, 2018 in

LaMoine Tatum is a senior psychology major with a minor in Christian studies but there’s nothing minor about her faith. She is also licensed to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a fifteen-year-old, Tatum accepted God’s call on her life and began to preach the Gospel. Raised in...

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O’Dell Family Leaves Lasting Legacy

Posted by Janae Melvin on April 26, 2018 in

In December, Ottawa University received an early Christmas present when it was announced that alumni Jim ’57 and Jeanne ’56 O’Dell would be donating $6 million to the University, the single largest gift in the school’s 153-year history. This extraordinary gift helps to fund the O’Dell Center for...

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