Feature Story, Student Life

Making a House a Home

August 30, 2017 – by Katie Kuckelheim ’19

Ohio Wesleyan celebrates the opening of its newest Small Living Unit, a gift from James F. 'Jim' Dicke II and his wife, Janet S. Dicke. The house, named in honor of James Dicke's parents, is the new home of the Tree House and the House of Spiritual Athletes. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

OWU Celebrates the Opening of The Jim and Eilleen Dicke House

“A chair is still a chair, even if no one is sitting there,” said Ohio Wesleyan University Trustee Aaron L. Granger ’93, quoting from the popular song “A House Is Not a Home” during the Aug. 29 dedication of the new Jim and Eilleen Dicke House.

“And,” Granger continued, “the song goes on to make the point that, a house is just a house, but when you put love into it, that house turns into a home.”

Members of two OWU Small Living Units (SLUs) – the Tree House and the House of Spiritual Athletes – are quickly turning the new duplex-style dwelling, or “SLUplex,” into a home after moving in last week.

The newly completed Dicke House enables 24 students (12 per side) to reside in themed living-and-learning environments with other students who share similar academic and civic interests.

“Living together in community is an essential part of the liberal arts experience,” said Kristin Weyman, associate dean for student success. “It allows students to let their guard down, to strike up a conversation while brushing their teeth. That conversation could become a lively debate … that continues long into the night.”

Construction of the dwelling was fully funded by James F. “Jim” Dicke II and his wife, Janet S. Dicke, in memory of James Dicke’s parents.

For nearly 40 years, the Dicke Family has been supporting the educational experiences of Ohio Wesleyan students. Their support includes the Carl H. Dicke Scholarship, created by Irene Dicke in memory of her late husband. James and Janet Dicke also are members of the President’s Circle of donors and currently support six OWU students who are Horatio Alger Scholars.

President Rock Jones thanked the couple for their generosity and for their “understanding of what makes a difference in the lives of students, whether it’s a scholarship that gives opportunity or a building that becomes a home.”

Eva Blockstein ’19, moderator of the Tree House, said, “Thank you so much to Mr. and Mrs. Dicke for donating this wonderful building to our community, and allowing us to build and spread our mission of environmentalism.”

Blockstein, who is studying zoology and sculpture, added that the existence of the SLUs not only helped her decide to come to Ohio Wesleyan but also has enriched her OWU experience beyond anything she could have imagined.

“I’ve made some of my best friends and memories through the SLU community,” said Blockstein of Tacoma Park, Maryland. “I’m always amazed by the amount of incredible, passionate, and beautiful souls that fill these houses, and the ideas and actions they take.”

The Dicke House is the third donor-funded SLUplex to open on Rowland Avenue since fall 2016, when The Dittrick House became OWU’s first new student housing built in 50 years.

On Oct. 19, Ohio Wesleyan also will dedicate its new 27-bed Gillespie Honors House, which opened this month on Oak Hill Avenue. In addition, the University also has announced plans to rebuild its House of Black Culture in its current location, also on Oak Hill Avenue. Fundraising is underway for that project.