Student Life, Feature Story

A Celebration 175 Years in the Making

March 7, 2017 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan celebrates the 175th anniversary of receiving its charter March 7 with a Charter Day event that includes a balloon drop inside Hamilton-Williams Campus Center. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Ohio Wesleyan Holds ‘Charter Day’ Event to Mark OWU’s Founding

On March 7, 1842, the State of Ohio issued a charter establishing Ohio Wesleyan University. Exactly 175 years later – on March 7, 2017 – the campus community came together for a special program to recognize OWU’s founding.

“We are celebrating Charter Day,” Ares Harper ’19 told the crowd assembled in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, “by dropping 600 red and black balloons on our heads.”

Before the balloon drop – and the firework-frenzy of sound as students popped them – President Rock Jones spoke about Charter Day, reminding everyone that OWU’s founding fathers created a University that is “forever to be conducted on the most liberal principles, accessible to all religious denominations, and designed for the benefit of our citizens in general.”

He also shared a list of other noteworthy events from 1842, including the marriage of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, the debut concert by the New York Philharmonic, and the patenting of the first sewing machine.

Courtney Dunne ’17 told the crowd that 16 of the balloons to be dropped had been marked with the name of one of Ohio Wesleyan’s 16 presidents. All of the presidential balloons, she said, would earn prizes for the people who caught them, prompting Jones to remark that he hoped his balloon contained the grand prize – a $175 gift card to the OWU Bookstore. “Just sayin’,” Jones told the crowd.

President Rock Jones shares OWU and 1842 history during the Charter Day celebration. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

The grand prize – indeed, linked to the “Jones” balloon – was claimed by Jenna Fannin ’20.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Charter Day also included commemorative wrist bands and generous platters of red and black frosted cookies. The campus will light the candles on OWU’s 175th birthday cake during Homecoming and Family Weekend, set for Oct. 19-22.

In a separate email to alumni, parents, friends, and the campus community, Jones praised the University’s founders and the breadth and depth of Ohio Wesleyan’s impact on the world since 1842.

“Their vision led to the growth and flourishing of an institution whose graduates would include a vice president of the United States, members of Congress, winners of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize, leaders of multinational corporations, entrepreneurs, ground-breaking scientists, architects of grand social change, educators, religious leaders, and thousands of ordinary citizens who every day would make a difference in their communities and the organizations to which they devoted their lives,” Jones stated.