DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s progress and priorities resonated with donors during the 2014 fundraising year, with alumni, parents, and friends making $30.2 million in new gifts and commitments to OWU between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014.
The total represents one of the best fundraising years in Ohio Wesleyan’s 172-year history, said Colleen C. Garland, vice president for university advancement. Highlights of the 12-month period include an $8-million gift to support construction of a new fitness center and a $5-million endowment to support The OWU Connection curricular initiative.
The $30.2-million total also includes $3.8 million for the Ohio Wesleyan Fund, exceeding the fund goal by more than $65,000, and $462,754 for Team OWU initiatives, exceeding the goal by $85,000. The Ohio Wesleyan Fund is an unrestricted account that supports campus operations, including infrastructure improvements and student scholarships. Team OWU supports the university’s 23 men’s and women’s Battling Bishop varsity sports.
Ohio Wesleyan’s 2014 gifts also include $22.2 million in cash, Garland said, a 55-percent increase over the latest three-year average of $14.2 million. “While we celebrate every gift commitment, we are especially gratified to have been able to deliver such a substantial amount of cash to put to work right away to address some of the university’s highest priorities,” Garland said.
These priorities included unplanned renovations of Ohio Wesleyan’s oldest building, Elliott Hall, built in 1833. When January’s “polar vortex” caused a water line to freeze and burst in the attic of the historic building, Elliott Hall had to be vacated and closed for top-to-bottom repairs.
Using a $1.1-million estate gift, Ohio Wesleyan supplemented the insurance-funded work to upgrade Elliott Hall’s infrastructure and to transform former offices into comfortable, accessible classrooms. The project, combined with ongoing work to renovate both Merrick Hall and Edwards Gymnasium, represents a major renewal of Ohio Wesleyan’s academic campus utilizing more than $19 million in philanthropic support.
Additional 2014 fundraising highlights include adding $5.4 million to The OWU Connection endowment, led by a $5-million gift from 1983 OWU alumni John F. and Kathryn Bradford Milligan; $2.3 million in support of OWU’s faculty; and $8 million from 1958 graduate Louis A. Simpson and his wife and business partner, Kimberly K. Querrey, to complete fundraising for the $10-million renovation of Edwards Gymnasium and the former Pfeiffer Natatorium. When completed in fall 2015, the new Simpson Querrey Fitness Center will include a fitness area, dance studio, classroom space, and offices for coaches and members of the Department of Health and Human Kinetics.
President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said the generosity and vision of Ohio Wesleyan’s many donors indicate their strong commitment to the university’s educational mission, students, and faculty.
“Ohio Wesleyan’s faculty have created a rigorous curriculum that prepares OWU students for global citizenship, leadership, and accomplishment,” Jones said. “With the support of our donors, Ohio Wesleyan is creating a model liberal arts program that helps students to link classroom theory with real-world experience; complete meaningful internship, research, and travel-learning programs; and move confidently and successfully into the next chapters of their lives.
“Our donors also are helping us to refresh and reimagine the Ohio Wesleyan campus, providing funds to create contemporary fitness and athletics facilities, as well as innovative classroom areas,” Jones said. “We are grateful for the partnership of our alumni, parents, and friends as we work together to realize the potential of our students and our university.”
Thomas R. Tritton, Ph.D., chair of the Ohio Wesleyan Board of Trustees, echoed Jones’ comments.
“As the university nears its 175th anniversary, it is exciting to see an Ohio Wesleyan that is so vital and vibrant,” said Tritton, a 1969 OWU graduate. “It is exciting to see the collaboration of the campus community and the enthusiastic support of donors as we work together to build a university that is a leader in liberal arts education today and long into the future.”
Learn more about giving to the university at 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, coed university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, 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 practice. OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 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.