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Ottawa University Announces New Leadership Model and Search for New Ottawa Campus President

Ottawa, Kan. – In light of the University’s continued expansion generally and particularly with its new residential campus in Surprise, Ariz., the Board of Trustees is restructuring the existing Ottawa University leadership model in an effort to ensure that the University continues to be well-positioned to manage increased growth and complexity. After several months of careful planning and consideration, the Board has announced that current President Dr. Kevin C. Eichner will assume the title of Chancellor of Ottawa University. A nationwide search is underway to find a president for the residential campus in Ottawa. This new president will report to Eichner, but will be solely focused on the residential campus in Ottawa, which has been a strong and vital base for the University for more 153 years.

Eichner recently completed his 10th year as president of the University. In his new role as Chancellor, Eichner will be signing a new four-year contract and continuing as the chief executive of the institution. Eichner will be increasing his engagement in fundraising efforts, strategic institutional development, community relations, and continued implementation of the vision and mission of OU. He will divide his time between both the Ottawa and the Surprise residential campuses, while also overseeing the management of the adult education sites located in Phoenix and Queen Creek, Ariz., Overland Park, Kan., Brookfield, Wisc., and Jeffersonville, Ind.

Lucky DeFries, Chairman of the Ottawa Board of Trustees commented, “We have been blessed by Kevin’s leadership and that of this excellent team. Now, with a new campus in Arizona and the desire of the current Provost at the Ottawa campus, Dr. Terry Haines, to focus his energy and considerable intellect on the overall academic affairs of the University as University Provost and Chief Academic Officer, we felt this was the ideal time to open the door to recruit a full time, dedicated leader for the Ottawa campus while allowing Kevin to spend more of his time and energy on major institutional development, strategic initiatives such as our Surprise campus, and to further lay the foundation for OU’s future.”

Under Eichner’s 10 years of leadership, the University has experienced significant growth, both physically and financially. With his guidance, the most successful capital campaign in University history resulted in the financing and construction of Gangwish Library and Gibson Student Center, which opened in 2015 during OU’s Sesquicentennial celebration. In early 2017, the University announced plans for a new residential campus in Surprise, which subsequently opened with 434 students in Fall 2017, nearly double what was expected to enroll. In Ottawa, more than 700 students are on campus, the largest number in more than 40 years, and recently, the University announced a $6 million gift, the largest in University history.   

OU has retained the services of EFL Associates, an executive search firm out of Kansas City, Mo., to help find the new president for the Ottawa campus.  Interested candidates are encouraged to apply.

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About Ottawa University
Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity within a Christ-inspired community of grace and open inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution serving 3,000 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz., and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Phoenix, Queen Creek and Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; as well as online. For more information, visit www.ottawa.edu