Sharing Parent Gratitude 

Steve and Hope Heaney P'19 sought to give back to Ohio Wesleyan University in gratitude for the education, leadership, and support their student had received, hoping that future students would similarly benefit. The Heaneys met with Doug Koyle, Associate Dean for Student Success, who helped identify mental health as an area that needed enhancement on the OWU campus. As a result of their contribution, the University reinforced the importance of health, wellness, and mental health as an essential component of each student's overall health, well-being, and performance. The resources provided to OWU have made several programs possible, including:

  • OWU's participation in the Jed Campus Program, which provides guidance, support, and resources to over 400 colleges and universities throughout the country to ensure that they have comprehensive systems in place to prioritize student mental health and suicide prevention. By committing to this initiative, OWU successfully established a team of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of our campus community. Some of the specific efforts within the OWU strategic plan include:

    • In-person training to help faculty, staff, and students develop a greater awareness of the mental health needs of the student body, the signs of distress, a community response to student mental health issues, and the available resources to allow students to receive the support they need. The Jed Campus Advisors provided these training presentations. 

    • A Peer Educator program was developed and implemented in 2022-23, and a credit-bearing course will begin in Spring 2024 to help participants better understand how to inform and support other students. Peer Educators will assist with the development and implementation of programs in addition to serving as resources for the campus community.

  • The Bishop Way program includes programming for mental health and wellness efforts, resulting in more in-depth and frequent programs. OWU has also funded two student interns to assist with these programming and promotional efforts.

  • Enhancements to the Counseling Services office during the relocation to its new space in the Corns Building, including furnishings, equipment, and supplies, will provide a more welcoming and interactive space.

Nationwide, the need for mental health awareness and care exceeds available resources. The generous gift from Steve and Hope Heaney reinforces its commitment to mental health and wellness initiatives for our students. By giving back to Ohio Wesleyan University, the Heaneys hope others will be inspired to do the same. No gift is an empty gesture: every contribution creates opportunities for students to grow and thrive in college and beyond.