A New Chapter

Ohio Wesleyan Announces $11.25 Million Renovation of Iconic Slocum Hall

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, OHIO – On June 20, 1898, Ohio Wesleyan University dedicated Slocum Hall as its new campus library – a spacious, modern building with a leaded glass ceiling that still draws gasps of wonder and delight from first-time visitors.

One hundred and twenty-three years later, Slocum Hall is beginning a new chapter as it undergoes an $11.25 million, donor-funded renovation to add modern amenities and redefine its future.

“This is a momentous project for Ohio Wesleyan, and I am grateful to our donors for helping us fully renovate and preserve a building beloved by generations of OWU alumni,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D.

“When it reopens in fall 2022, Slocum Hall will become the home of the Career Connection, which works with students throughout their time at the university to secure internships, build resumes, and develop the career-readiness skills that will set them apart,” Jones said. “Slocum Hall also will continue to house our Offices of Admission and Financial Aid, helping prospective students and families explore Ohio Wesleyan and learn more about our impressive educational outcomes all in one place.”

The renovated building also will house the Department of Africana, Gender, and Identity Studies as well as the university’s Honors and Scholars programs, classroom space, and a lounge/study area in its iconic Reading Room.

When the 29,076-square-foot building reopens, it will feature modern amenities including air-conditioning, an elevator, second- and third-floor restrooms, and updated mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology systems.

The work will include making the building fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, adding a sprinkler system, and cleaning and repairing Slocum Hall’s iconic 70-foot-by-20-foot leaded glass ceiling. Schooley Caldwell of Columbus is serving as the project architect and Setterlin Building Co. of Columbus is overseeing the renovation.

Slocum Hall is named in recognition of its original donor, Charles Elihu Slocum, M.D., of Defiance, Ohio. Before the building was designed and constructed, Dr. Slocum and then-Ohio Wesleyan President James W. Bashford, Ph.D., visited more than 40 college libraries in the United States and Canada to help plan the three-story, white Bedford limestone structure.

Slocum Hall’s 21st-century restoration and renovation is being supported by several donor gifts including a $10 million contribution from an anonymous alumni couple. Their contribution, announced previously, is the largest single outright gift in Ohio Wesleyan history.

Additional gifts supporting Slocum Hall include $1 million pledged in May by OWU Board of Trustees Chair John F. Milligan, Ph.D., and Kathryn Bradford Milligan, both members of the Class of 1983, and $500,000 from Robert W. Gillespie and Ann L. Wible Gillespie, who graduated from the university in 1966 and 1967, respectively.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at owu.edu.