Gift from Douglas H. Dittrick, Class of 1955, to Fund Construction of a Small Living Unit
DELAWARE, Ohio – Ask Ohio Wesleyan University President Rock Jones to describe the school’s mission, and he will state that OWU seeks to educate “moral leaders for the global society.” Ask him for an example of such a leader, and Douglas H. Dittrick, Class of 1955, will be among the alumni at the top of that list.
Dittrick, an accounting and economics major at Ohio Wesleyan, has spent his life helping others. The Naples, Florida, resident has contributed his time and talent to the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and countless other nonprofit organizations. He also plays an integral role in operating Pwoje Espwa (Project Hope), a Haitian orphanage that houses more than 600 boys.
“Doug Dittrick is a leader in every sense of the word,” said Jones, Ph.D. “He understands the power of a liberal arts education as well as the responsibility to use that education to make the world a better place. We are grateful for the example he sets and for his lifelong support of Ohio Wesleyan’s mission to prepare future generations of leaders.”
Dittrick’s $1.59 million gift commitment includes $1.5 million to enhance student housing by funding construction of a small living unit (SLU) building. Ohio Wesleyan’s SLUs are intentional communities of students who share an interest in a specific topic, such as social justice or environmental rights. Collectively, the students explore relevant issues and work to increase awareness among the campus community.
Current SLUs include the Citizens of the World House, House of Black Culture, House of Spiritual Athletes, Inter-Faith House, Modern Foreign Languages House, Peace and Justice House, Tree House, and SAGE (Sexuality and Gender Equality) House. The new building is expected to house two SLUs, each with its own unique entrance and décor.
Dittrick’s latest gift also includes $50,000 to benefit the Ohio Wesleyan Fund, an unrestricted account that supports campus operations, and $40,000 to enhance the Mowry Alumni Center’s Dittrick Patio, which he built in honor of his father, Douglas, a 1931 OWU alumnus who later taught accounting at his alma mater.
“Ohio Wesleyan has had such a profound impact on my life,” Dittrick said. “I am happy to be able to give back to the university in a way that supports the residential campus and the vibrant living and learning environment that is a hallmark at OWU.”
At Ohio Wesleyan, Dittrick was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Circle K service group, Transcript student newspaper staff, and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society. He currently is a Life Trustee and previously has served as president of the OWU Alumni Board of Directors, chair of the Board of Trustees, a member of the steering committee for The Campaign for Ohio Wesleyan, and more. In 1993, he was recognized with an Alumni Award.
Dittrick has spent his career in the cable television industry and currently is president and CEO of Douglas Communications Corp. II. Previously, he has served as chairman of the National Cable Television Association, been named Executive of the Year by Cable Television Business magazine, received the Vanguard Award for outstanding contributions to the cable television industry, and been inducted into the prestigious Cable Hall of Fame.
Dittrick’s gift is in support of Ohio Wesleyan’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow capital campaign, launched in its leadership phase in July. The seven-year campaign already has received more than $72 million in gifts and commitments.
Campaign co-chairs John F. and Kathryn Bradford Milligan said Dittrick’s gift will make a lasting impact upon the Ohio Wesleyan campus.
“Doug is an inspiration to all of us with his steadfast commitment to serving others and to supporting the next generation of leaders being educated at Ohio Wesleyan,” said the Milligans, both members of OWU’s Class of 1983. “We are grateful for his support of the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign and hope that others follow his generous example.”
Priorities of the seven-year Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign include enhancing access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment; recognizing and rewarding faculty excellence and innovation; and improving the physical campus, including student housing. To learn more about contributing to the university, visit owu.edu/waystogive.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.