For the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign, Ohio Wesleyan has established five principal areas of investment that will make the greatest impact in helping to create a better tomorrow for the University and our students.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Goal $50 million

At Ohio Wesleyan, everything we do is for the benefit of our students. From our cultivation of top-tier faculty and a rigorous, innovative curriculum, to the technology-equipped learning spaces of the future and diverse experiences that inspire intellectual and personal growth – we are uniquely focused on our students.

Together, with support from alumni and friends, we can ensure that Ohio Wesleyan remains a financially savvy, smart choice for students who will become our thoughtful, engaged, moral leaders of tomorrow.

Support for our students through an additional $50 million to the Ohio Wesleyan Endowment will expand financial aid and scholarships, enhance resources for student success that lead to improved retention and graduation rates, and strengthen opportunities for students to put theory into practice, on campus and around the world.

Need-Based Scholarships 

From the beginning, Ohio Wesleyan has served all academically deserving students, regardless of their financial circumstances. Investments in need-based scholarships are essential to our recruitment efforts, helping to attract and retain students from all walks of life who will reach their full potential with the individual attention given by our stellar faculty.

For students from families with modest resources, the need for scholarship aid is great. Of our 2017-2018 incoming class, 22 percent of students come from families earning less than $40,000 annually, another 15 percent come from households earning less than $70,000 a year – creating an enormous challenge for parents who still must pay an average of $9,521 in tuition and other expenses each academic year.

Need-based scholarships support helps connect these deserving students to OWU, and their dreams.

Merit Awards

The most academically talented students have their choice of undergraduate institutions. For Ohio Wesleyan to compete for those students who enhance the intellectual vitality of our campus and often become our most accomplished alumni, we must offer significant merit aid commensurate with our peer institutions.

Complemented by a first-rate Honors Program, our merit scholarships position Ohio Wesleyan to draw talented students who raise the bar for the entire academic program and bring distinction through their outstanding work. 

Aid for Returning Students

A student’s financial circumstances may change significantly throughout four years on campus. A parent may lose a job, another sibling may begin college – and suddenly, the financial aid package awarded the student’s freshman year no longer covers the gap between the cost of their education and what their family can afford.

Our student aid data indicates an upward trend in financial need between students’ freshman and senior years, as tuition, fee, and cost-of-living increases push the average family’s out-of-pocket costs up.

Your support for financial aid for returning students provides the flexibility we need to adapt to a student’s changing financial situation – allowing that student to continue at Ohio Wesleyan, uninterrupted, until graduation. 

The OWU Connection

Goal $35 million

Ohio Wesleyan launched The OWU Connection as an innovative curricular program to help students connect academic theory with real world practice in a global context. Significant expansion of global opportunities resulted with the creation of 54 Travel-Learning Courses in which students embark on trips to explore in-person the topics studied in class.

As part of The OWU Connection, students have the opportunity and stipend support to discover a variety of pathways to experience in practice what they have studied in the classroom. These paths may be traveled independently or in connection with an OWU faculty member, and all lead to deeper learning and better understanding of the complex problems today’s students will be challenged to solve.

We desire for every OWU student to have at least one opportunity to connect theory to practice — including undergraduate research, internships, volunteer service, cross-cultural experiences, study abroad, and leadership development — and it is our conviction that all students should have access to rigorous real-world learning experiences, regardless of their financial circumstances.

In addition, all students are encouraged to apply classroom learning in real-world experiences. Through the planned OWU Career Connection Center, we will significantly expand the career-related internships and theory-to-practice grants available. We look forward to sharing more with you about this as plans develop. 

Investing in our Professors

Total Goal $37 million

In the classroom and beyond, our professors are teachers in the complete sense of the word. They push students to recognize their full potential, to connect and engage with the world around them, to find their calling. As our students explore who and what they want to be, our faculty provide guideposts, both through their instruction and by modeling the character and commitment to helping others that are requisites for a life of meaning. In their every interaction, our faculty introduce students to new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing. Your support enables OWU to recruit, foster, and develop its greatest asset — the dedicated individuals who educate, shape, and inspire our leaders of tomorrow.

Recruit and Retain the Very Best

Goal $25 million

As one-third of our teacher-scholars near retirement in the next decade, it is imperative that we look ahead to attracting the most promising new educators to our academic tradition, as well as retaining our existing talent in an increasingly competitive professional market.

We seek to create new endowed professorships to celebrate and promote the work of our best, most innovative faculty members. The positions will be distributed across the disciplines and be among OWU’s most prestigious and competitive awards for teaching and scholarship. This new type of endowed position is itself innovative, creating opportunities and incentives for our brightest faculty that are both flexible and highly appealing.

Innovation: New and Enhanced Programs

Goal $12 million

Amazing things happen when great minds are given the resources to grow and create — our faculty have demonstrated this, with great passion and success, throughout OWU’s proud history. Members of Ohio Wesleyan's faculty also have worked diligently to create opportunities to go beyond standard interdisciplinary connections to enable students to think and learn in remarkable new ways. A gift to enhance the neuroscience program affirms this approach, and now we have students who point to that program as a reason to say “yes” to an Ohio Wesleyan education. Similar gift support could have an equally positive impact for other interdisciplinary programs.

Support for faculty development allows OWU to tap into and realize the full potential of its intellectual capital. We seek your support to create faculty venture funds that foster a culture of innovation and allow our teacher-scholars to turn game-changing ideas for interdisciplinary learning into reality. 

Investing in Our Campus: Capital Improvements

Building our community with living-learning environments

  • Residential Renewal Goal: $20 million 
  • Slocum Hall/Career Connection Center Goal: $12 million 
  • Innovative Spaces for Teaching & Learning Goal: $3 million 
  • Branch Rickey Arena Goal: $4 million
  • Merrick Hall: $8 million – fully funded!
  • Simpson Querrey Fitness Center and Edwards Gymnasium: $9 million – fully funded!

$60 million Residential Renewal

Proposed senior apartmentsA new residential renewal project was announced May 17, 2019. A multiple phase plan for construction is under development to build new senior student apartments (proposed design at right), renovate Smith Hall (below) to create a first-year student village, revitalize fraternity and adjacent houses, and improve Welch Hall and Hayes Hall.

This bold project to reimagine and reinvigorate our student housing will bring OWU in line with the attributes sought by incoming students while completely transforming the area of campus where the JAYwalk ends.


Slocum Hall/Career Connection Center

We aim to fully realize Ohio Wesleyan’s commitment to a practical liberal arts education by creating a center dedicated to fostering pathways from the classroom to meaningful employment after graduation. The OWU Career Connection Center would have a powerful physical presence on campus in Slocum Hall, where its location near the Office of Admission would send a clear signal to prospective students and their families that students, upon completion of their degree, will be ready for their first job and prepared for a lifetime of fulfilling work. 

Branch Rickey Arena

The eye-catching structure opened in 1976 and is currently home to the men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball teams, and soon to be home to men’s wrestling. Renovation of the iconic arena, named after the legendary alumnus who partnered with Jackie Robinson to break baseball’s color barrier, would give our student-athletes a new home court on which to shine. Plans call for a complete renovation of the arena, including bleachers, lights, floor, scoreboard, sound system and heating/cooling system. In addition, upgrades would be made to the lobby and restroom area, training room and locker rooms, for an overall update that would bring the arena into the 21st century. For more information about this project or to learn about individual and corporate naming opportunities, please contact Kelly Burns, Development Officer, at or 740.368.3996.

Residential Facilities

Our unique living-learning environments encourage interpersonal connections and help shape students into collaborative, socially aware citizens. Generous donor support has resulted in the creation of the newly opened Gillespie Honors House and three new small living unit (SLU) duplexes, including The Dittrick House and The Jim and Eilleen Dicke House. A new House of Black Culture is in the works in the existing location on Oak Hill, along with plans for additional residential renovations. 

Annual Giving

Gifts to the Ohio Wesleyan Fund help make up approximately 10% of our operating budget, covering everything from the recent conversion of 30 Williams Drive into the Panhellenic House for Greek women, to landscaping and sidewalk maintenance, from student scholarships and activities to programming and staff salaries. Annual giving affects each day at OWU. Click here to make a gift today. Thank you!