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Ottawa University Arizona Breaks Ground on New O’Dell Center for Athletics

Surprise, Ariz. – (February 16, 2018) – Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ) has broken ground on the O’Dell Center for Athletics at the University’s newest residential campus, made possible by a $6 million donation from alumni Jim ’57 and Jeanne ’56 O’Dell, the single largest gift in the school’s 152-year history.

Ottawa University Chancellor Kevin Eichner, Board of Trustees President Lucky DeFries, the O’Dells, OUAZ Athletic Director Kevin Steele and City of Surprise officials took part in the groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 16 during the Board of Trustees meeting at OUAZ.

“The O’Dells have given so much of themselves to Ottawa University through the years and now they are taking their stewardship to even greater heights. We could not be more grateful for their leadership, commitment, trust, and friendship,” said Kevin Eichner, OU President.

The O’Dell family, from Brighton, Colo., gave the first $1 million gift in OU history in 2000 and chaired the Touch the Future Capital campaign that same year, consistently demonstrating their support of all aspects of the University. Jim O’Dell also serves on OU’s Board of Trustees.

“We believe it is important to do our giving while we are living. We see incredible potential at OUAZ. We’ve been supporters of the new campus since OUAZ was in its early stages,” said Jim O’Dell. “OUAZ’s coaches, staff and athletes work hard each day to offer fellowship, team building experiences and exciting games for fans to enjoy. We hope the new O’Dell Center for Athletics will enhance their experiences.”
The addition of the O’Dell Center for Athletics comes at an important time for the Surprise campus, as well as the University as a whole, as OU’s presence continues to grow in the West Valley. The Surprise campus opened in the fall of 2017 with 434 students, nearly double the anticipated inaugural class when OU announced the new campus in February 2017.

OUAZ is fielding 21 varsity men’s and women’s athletic teams. Since opening the campus in fall 2017, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf and also track and field have all qualified for the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Nationals. OUAZ has had 11 NCCAA Player of the Week honors and three All-Americans. OUAZ has also been accepted into the Sooner Athletic Conference for Football, which will begin in the fall of 2018.
The 35,000-square-foot, three-story O’Dell Center for Athletics will be designed to house locker rooms, training facilities, coaches’ offices and student support services. The center will be immediately adjacent to the new Spirit multi-sport athletic field, near the Surprise Civic Center and Recreation Campus, and will include a new press box and entertainment area.
Officials expect construction on the O’Dell Center for Athletics to be finished in the fall 2018.

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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 as a Christ-inspired community of grace and open inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution serving more than 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.; and online. For more information, visit www.ottawa.edu