Connect Today, Create Tomorrow

Ohio Wesleyan University Launches Public Phase of $200 Million Comprehensive Campaign

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Since beginning the quiet phase of its Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign in July 2014, Ohio Wesleyan University has received more than 32,600 gifts totaling $140 million. 

Officials announced the total as part of OWU’s 2017 homecoming and family weekend and 175th birthday celebration. The Oct. 20 announcement also kicked off the public phase of the comprehensive campaign, set to conclude in 2021. 

“This is a milestone moment in Ohio Wesleyan history,” said campaign co-chairs Kathryn Bradford Milligan and John Milligan of Hillsborough, California. 

“Ohio Wesleyan prides itself on educating leaders,” said the Milligans, both members of the OWU Class of 1983, “and so it’s very inspiring to have already received $140 million in leadership gifts from over 10,000 OWU graduates, parents, current students, employees, and friends.” 

Added campaign co-chairs Kevin McGinty, OWU Class of 1970, and Nancy Collinson McGinty, of Moreland Hills, Ohio, “We are grateful for the generosity, and faith in Ohio Wesleyan’s future, shown by donors during the leadership phase of the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign – the largest fundraising initiative in university history. 

“We also are excited to begin the public phase,” the McGintys said, “and we welcome the OWU community to join us in strengthening Ohio Wesleyan’s place as a top-tier liberal arts institution.” 

President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said Ohio Wesleyan already has made great strides forward because of the support shown by the thousands of generous and visionary campaign donors. 

“The Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign advances Ohio Wesleyan’s historic mission to educate students for leadership and service in every sector of our society and to ensure that all qualified students have access to this opportunity,” Jones said. 

“Gifts to the campaign are supporting student scholarships, faculty development and innovation, capital improvements, the expansion of The OWU Connection initiative, and much more,” he said. “I personally wish to thank everyone who is supporting our noble mission. This weekend, we celebrate 175 remarkable years. Ohio Wesleyan is one of America’s great liberal arts universities and, thanks to you, our future is even brighter.” 

To date, $14.8 million in campaign funds has been designated to expand The OWU Connection, the university’s unique approach to experiential student learning that links academic theory with real-world practice; crosses disciplinary boundaries to support deeper, interconnected learning; and prepares students for global citizenship and leadership. 

An additional $31.7 million has been earmarked for student scholarships and financial aid; $14.6 million for faculty development; $16.8 million for the Ohio Wesleyan Fund (annual giving); and $26.1 million for capital improvements. 

The capital improvements have included the donor-funded construction of Ohio Wesleyan’s first new student housing in more than 50 years. Three new Small Living Unit (SLU) duplex-style houses have opened since fall 2016, including The Dittrick House and The Jim and Eilleen Dicke House. In addition, the 27-bed Gillespie Honors House opened in August, and plans are well underway to build a new House of Black Culture. 

Additional campus improvements funded with Connect Today, Create Tomorrow gifts include the $8 million restoration of Merrick Hall and $9 million creation of the Simpson Querrey Fitness Center and restoration of Edwards Gymnasium. 

Colleen Garland, OWU’s vice president for university advancement, said future plans include renovating Slocum Hall to create an OWU Career Connections Center and refurbishing Branch Rickey Arena – home of the Battling Bishop women’s and men’s basketball teams, women’s volleyball team, and (beginning in fall 2018) men’s wrestling team. 

The 1,450-seat athletic Rickey Arena opened during the 1976-1977 season. It is named in memory of Rickey, OWU Class of 1904, who integrated Major League Baseball while president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

“With the help of our donors, we truly are creating tomorrow,” Garland said. “By supporting our students and faculty, by enhancing our curriculum, and by improving our campus facilities, we are creating an Ohio Wesleyan ready to educate students for another 175 years – and beyond.” 

To learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign or make a gift to the university, visit

Ohio Wesleyan University celebrates the launch of the public phase of its $200 million Connect Today, Create Tomorrow fundraising campaign. The campaign raised $140 million in its quiet phase, which began in 2014. (Photo by Sara Blake)

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 than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at