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

 

 



Running in the Family

Posted by cservaes on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

It wasn’t much of a surprise to her family when Macy Harsch chose Ottawa University. After all, Harsch’s mom, Wendy Wawrzewski, ran cross country at OU and her grandfather, Mike Wawrzewski, was on the men’s soccer team in the 60s. And Harsch knows how they both feel about their...

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Mabee Challenge Grant Puts Library/Student Center Within Reach

Posted by cservaes on September 17, 2012 in "Academic Programs", Alumni, Arizona, Athletics, Community, "Current Students", Events, Faculty/Staff, Indiana, "Kansas City", Music, "News and Notes", Online, "Other News", "School of Arts and Sciences", "School of Business", "School of Education", "The College", "Upcoming Events", Wisconsin

On July 10, 2012, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation awarded Ottawa University a $750,000 challenge grant toward the University’s new Gangwish Library and Gibson Student Center slated as part of its $24.3 million Advancing the Vision Campaign. Having currently raised approximately $6...

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Of Art and Autism

Posted by cservaes on September 17, 2012 in "Academic Programs", Arizona, Faculty/Staff, "School of Arts and Sciences"

Traci Brown believes it was divine intervention that led her to her career path in behavioral health. “When I was 15 years old, I started working in a church preschool where one little guy didn’t develop along with the others. He opened the door for me to explore how to reach him, and...

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A Graduation Tradition

Posted by cservaes on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

The first time Kelli Munsterman and Mary Melton graduated together, they were 14. It was eighth grade graduation at East Middle School in Leavenworth, Kansas, and the pair had met just the year before. Mary was new at school, transferring from a private school in town to the local public school...

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Passing the Tassel

Posted by cservaes on September 17, 2012 in "Academic Programs", Alumni, Arizona

Traditions have to start somewhere, and Joann Moore thought she might just as well be the source of this one. After all, as the matriarch of the family, it was her right. And though it had symbolically been done for her, she was adding a physical representation to it and setting it in stone.

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