Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan University Receives $600,000 Alumni Gift Commitment

November 6, 2014 – by Cole Hatcher

A gift from Ohio Wesleyan graduates Nicholas E. and Lydia Keller Calio is helping to establish a new endowed scholarship to aid OWU students. (Photo by Michael Malone)

DELAWARE, Ohio – The first donation recorded in response to Ohio Wesleyan University’s new major-gift match program will transform a $600,000 gift commitment from OWU alumni Nicholas E. and Lydia Keller Calio into an $850,000 contribution that benefits the annual fund, supports the President’s Circle, and creates a new endowed student scholarship.

The five-year gift commitment from the Washington, D.C., couple designates $350,000 – plus an additional $250,000 in major-gift match funds – to create the Nicholas E. Calio ’75 and Lydia Keller Calio ’77 Endowed Scholarship. The new fund will be available to support any deserving Ohio Wesleyan student. The couple’s gift also will benefit both the Ohio Wesleyan Fund, an unrestricted account that supports campus operations, and the President’s Circle, a group of engaged alumni, parents, and friends who work with the president to implement strategic initiatives.

“Ohio Wesleyan is fortunate to count Nick and Lydia Calio among our alumni and Nick as a leader on our Board of Trustees,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “We are equally fortunate, and grateful, to receive their generous gift. By giving now, Nick and Lydia receive major-gift match funds to enhance their contribution and set a powerful example for others to follow. Their gift is especially meaningful as much of it supports student scholarships – the largest single funding priority of our ‘Connect Today, Create Tomorrow’ campaign.”

On Nov. 3, Ohio Wesleyan announced a $3 million anonymous gift to create the major-gift match program. The program will augment future contributions of $250,000 or more with a $250,000 match, generating up to 12 new gifts and pledges for strategic campaign objectives. The leadership phase of Ohio Wesleyan’s “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” campaign began in July and already has resulted in more than $50 million in gifts and commitments. The Calios both serve on the campaign leadership committee.

As an Ohio Wesleyan student, Nick Calio majored in English and served as president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He also benefited from scholarship assistance as a first-generation college student. Lydia Calio studied English and fine arts and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. The couple has three children.

After earning his OWU bachelor’s degree in 1975, Nick Calio went on to earn his law degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland. Today, he is president and chief executive officer of Airlines for America (A4A), an industry trade group advocating on behalf of the nation’s leading airlines. He previously served as Citigroup’s executive vice president for global government affairs and a member of its senior leadership committee. Prior to that, he served as President George W. Bush’s principal liaison to Congress. He held the same position – Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs – during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

“We are pleased to be able to support Ohio Wesleyan and its students,” the Calios said. “We know firsthand the power of a liberal arts education, and we are excited to contribute to the opportunities and successes of future generations of young people. We also are pleased that we were able to increase the impact of our gift through the major-gift match program, and we encourage others to consider giving during this important moment in Ohio Wesleyan history.”

Learn more about opportunities to support Ohio Wesleyan at

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