It was a memorable year at Ohio Wesleyan filled with both excitement and achievement.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve opened the Simpson Querrey Fitness Center, reopened Merrick Hall and Edwards Gymnasium, begun construction on new student housing, published books, competed for athletics titles, earned grants and scholarships, and much, much more.
As we get ready to usher in 2016, here is a look back at the highlights of 2015:
- Ohio Wesleyan is listed among the nation’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” in MONEY Magazine, determined by analyzing OWU’s “educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings.” The Time Inc. publication also ranks Ohio Wesleyan as one of the nation’s “20 Best Colleges for Merit Aid.”
- Don ’56 and Dannielle Hudler make an estate commitment to Ohio Wesleyan with a potential value of up to $10 million. The gift creates the Hudler Family Endowed Fund in Support of Student Scholarship.
- Four OWU students compete in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Championships in Florida. The team of Katherine Berger ’16 and Rhiannon Herbert ’16 finishes 17th in the nation, with Berger being named the ninth best individual orator. Lidia Mowad ’15 and Jordan Bernstein ’15 also square off against 160 other students representing the best of the best future lawyers nationwide.
- Botany-microbiology professor Chris Wolverton, Ph.D., is selected by NASA to have research conducted on the International Space Station. Wolverton examines how plants sense and respond to gravity. NASA will use the research to develop “the resources and measures necessary to ensure astronauts remain healthy as we venture beyond low-Earth orbit and head out to study an asteroid and eventually Mars.”
- Ohio Wesleyan receives a $10,000 grant from the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow Joint Solid Waste District to support efforts to recycle furniture, small appliances, clothing, and other materials when students leave campus for the summer. The resulting “May Move Out” program ultimately helps divert 9.5 tons of materials from landfills and earns OWU the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition.
- Men’s soccer coach and health and human kinetics professor Jay Martin, Ph.D., receives a $10,000 grant from the 2015 NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program to study hazing. Martin—the winningest collegiate men’s soccer coach in all divisions—collaborates with Simon Clements of the Chicago-based EXACT Sports research group to develop a psychometrically validated method to assess an athletic team’s culture and potential for hazing behavior.
- Ohio Wesleyan announces $2.2 million in new gift commitments from five donor couples to support the leadership phase of the “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” capital campaign. Making gift commitments are Kevin ’70 and Nancy McGinty; Larry and Charlotte Patterson Hill, both OWU Class of 1957; Thomas ’88 and Lorraine McCann ’90 Simons; Richard ’82 and Kim Alexander; and Kenneth and Judy White Sternad, both OWU Class of 1977.
- OWU’s “Spring Senior Project Productions” features an original performance piece, “Hi, Are You Single?” by Ryan Haddad ’15, earning him the University’s 2015 Excellence in Performance Award. In November, Haddad performs his one-man show on stage in New York City with The Huffington Post calling the piece “a stirring work of theater, replete with both heartrending and deliberately hilarious moments.”
- The OWU men’s basketball team wins the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championship, giving the team its first NCAC title since the 1987-88 season and marking its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament. Claude Gray ’16 is voted Great Lakes District Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and is a first-team All-American selection for the NABC All-America team. Head coach Mike DeWitt shares the NABC’s Great Lakes District Coach of the Year honors.
- The OWU women’s track & field team wins its ninth consecutive NCAC indoor title and, in May, its seventh consecutive NCAC outdoor title. In addition, Sara Johnson ’16 is named Great Lakes Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, Kris Boey is named Great Lakes Region Women’s Coach of the Year, and Andrew Bloom is named Great Lakes Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
- Ohio Wesleyan receives a $50,000 Exploration Grant from The Henry Luce Foundation to collaborate with universities in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to study differing conceptions of waste and how Asian countries are working to reduce waste within their distinct economic and cultural environments. OWU faculty members John Krygier, Ph.D., director of environmental studies, and Jim Peoples, Ph.D., director of East Asian studies, serve as campus coordinators for the grant-funded exploration.
- OWU alumnus Greg Moore ’76 is inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) Hall of Excellence. Moore is the editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Denver Post and the 10th Ohio Wesleyan graduate to be inducted into the Hall of Excellence. Prior to joining The Denver Post, Moore worked at The Boston Globe, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, and The (Dayton) Journal Herald.
- Award-winning author and OWU assistant professor of English Amy Butcher, M.F.A., publishes “Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder.” The book centers on the tragedy of a college friend who fatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend. An excerpt of her book, “Reenacting,” received the 2014 Iowa Review Award in nonfiction from guest judge David Shields, a New-York-Times-bestselling author of 16 books.
- Politics and government professor Sean Kay, Ph.D., publishes the third edition of his influential book, “Global Security in the Twenty-first Century: The Quest for Power and the Search for Peace.” Issues addressed in the new edition include how the global economic crisis has impacted international security and how attitudes about power and peace have evolved in response to major flashpoints including incidents in the Middle East, Asia, and Eurasia.
- Ohio Wesleyan receives a $1 million gift from the estate of Beatrice Knapp McDowell ’40 to create an endowed faculty chair in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. McDowell, a mathematics and education double major, previously had created the Beatrice Knapp McDowell Legacy Scholarship.
- Daisy Glaeser ’16 earns a Microscopy Society of America (MSA) Undergraduate Research Scholarship to study the evolution of parasitic pinworms. As part of her award, Glaeser will write an abstract of her completed research for publication in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Microscopy and Microanalysis. Under the guidance of Ramon Carreno, Ph.D., OWU associate professor of zoology, Glaeser will study the “Characterization of a Diverse Nematode Parasite Community from Millipedes using Scanning Electron Microscopy.”
- Madeline “Maddie” Vroom ’16 becomes the fifth student in OWU history to earn an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Vroom will use the fellowship, which includes a $4,000 research stipend, to support her ongoing research into how preen oil and bacteria affect the degradation of bird feathers. Vroom also received a $1,000 travel stipend to attend the 2016 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) general meeting, where she will participate in an ASM Research Capstone Institute and present her findings.
- OWU’s Perkins Observatory comes in at No. 15 on College Rank’s new list of the nation’s 35 Best College Astronomy Observatories. “Students that attend these colleges and universities are making fascinating discoveries and providing great resource information to the casual stargazer,” according to College Rank. “These facilities also often put on public stargazing and astronomy programming, making them under recognized assets to their communities.”
- Ohio Wesleyan announces nearly $4.6 million in gift commitments, including a $1.59 million commitment from Doug Dittrick ’55 to support construction of new student housing, a $1.5 million commitment from Frank Quinn ’78 to benefit the Jon E. Sanger Endowment for Faculty Support, and a $1.5 million commitment from Eugenia Davis Mills ’63 and her husband, Bob, to establish the Eugenia Davis Mills ’63 Endowed Fund for Faculty Support.
- The OWU men’s lacrosse team advances to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament, marking its first national quarterfinal appearance since 2000. Overall, the Battling Bishop team has made 28 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, ranking second among all Division III institutions.
- Ohio Wesleyan ranks among the top 50 schools on a list of Best Colleges for Female Athletes compiled by niche.com. The list ranked 703 schools based on NCAA championship appearances, percentage of female students competing in varsity sports, and more than 200,000 student opinions from nearly 75,000 students. Ohio Wesleyan is the highest-ranked school from both the North Coast Athletic Conference and the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
- The OWU Department of Health and Human Kinetics (HHK) shares in a $355,600 grant to battle hunger in Delaware County. The funds are awarded by United Way of Delaware County in partnership with the Delaware General Health District. HHK will receive $12,600 to support its student-taught Cooking Matters classes, which teach people how to more effectively shop for budget for food, shop for groceries, and meet nutrition needs.
- Ohio Wesleyan associate professor of religion David Eastman, Ph.D., publishes “The Ancient Martyrdom Accounts of Peter and Paul (Writings from the Greco-Roman World).” His book collects, translates, and analyzes traditions associated with the deaths of Apostles Peter and Paul and includes new translations from the original Greek, Latin, and Syriac sources.
- Ohio Wesleyan rededicates Merrick Hall on Aug. 20, following a yearlong, $8-million, donor-funded restoration. The fully renovated, three-story building serves as the home of The OWU Connection (which helps students connect classroom learning with real-world experience), includes innovative teaching space, and features a ballroom with a soaring 22-foot ceiling.
- Forbes Magazine ranks Ohio Wesleyan at No. 1 in Ohio and No. 17 nationwide among “America’s Most Entrepreneurial Colleges 2015” for graduating high numbers of business founders and owners. Along with its entrepreneurial ranking, OWU also is included on Forbes’ 2015 list of “America’s Top Colleges.”
- Memme Onwudiwe ’15 is selected as the 2015 Wilkinson Award winner from among 142 Phi Gamma Delta (“Fiji”) chapters in the United States and Canada. The annual award, first presented in 1961, honors the young man deemed by the fraternity to be its “most outstanding senior” in the two countries. Onwudiwe is the second OWU student to earn the prestigious award, named for Cecil “Scoop” Wilkinson, OWU Class of 1917.
- Nathan Chaffee ’15, an astrophysics and music double-major, is selected as a 2015 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellow. As part of his fellowship, Chaffee receives a $30,000 stipend to attend Indiana’s Ball State University, where he will participate in a specially designed one-year master’s program.
- The Princeton Review includes Ohio Wesleyan in its new guidebook, “The Best 380 Colleges: 2016 Edition.” In the book, Ohio Wesleyan is recognized as one of the nation’s best undergraduate colleges as well as one of the “Best Midwestern” schools. Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and only four non-U.S. colleges are profiled in the book, which lists, but does not rank, the 380 featured schools.
- Ohio Wesleyan is named one of the “best and most interesting” four-year colleges in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2016,” which proclaims OWU to be “a small school with a big commitment to providing its students with a well-rounded education.” Compiled by former New York Times education editor Edward B. Fiske, the yearly guidebook features “colleges and universities that offer the best academic experience for an affordable price.”
- OWU’s Department of Economics announces plans to add a business administration major in fall 2016 with concentrations available in management and marketing. The new major will emphasize internships and externships, and also include exposure to management theory, human resources management and behavior, accounting and other quantitative methods, logistics, organization and production, marketing, and strategic decision-making.
- Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D., chair of OWU’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages, releases “Santuarios desierto mar / Sanctuaries Desert Sea,” his sixth book of poetry. Publisher Artepoética Press notes: “This book is homage to Mexican-American indigenous peoples, their mythologies and their transcultural experiences. Undoubtedly, ‘Santuarios desierto mar / Sanctuaries Desert Sea’ is bound to become a classic in contemporary trans-border poetry.”
- Ohio Wesleyan associate professor of fine arts Frank Hobbs, M.F.A., earns an Individual Excellence Award and $5,000 grant from the Ohio Arts Council for a portfolio of paintings that reflect his interpretation of the contemporary landscape. According to the Ohio Arts Council, award winners are selected following a “competitive application process focusing solely on evidence and merit of past artistic work and an open panel review conducted by nationally recognized professionals [designed] to ensure that only the most exceptional individuals receive funding.”
- OWU assistant professor of music Jennifer Jolley, D.M.A., is commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra to compose a piece inspired by a sonic stream of ferry boats conveying passengers back and forth across the water. Her 11-minute piece, “The Ferry Crossing,” premieres in the 2015 “Made in Vermont” statewide tour.
- Ohio Wesleyan is ranked No. 45 in the nation among liberal arts colleges and universities for its “contribution to the public good,” according to Washington Monthly’s 2015 College Rankings guide. OWU moves up four spots in the newly released guide and is one of only two Ohio-based liberal arts colleges included among the magazine’s top 50.
- Ohio Wesleyan breaks ground on a $1.5-million donor-funded Small Living Unit (SLU), the university’s first new student housing construction in 50 years. In fall 2016, students will move into the duplex-style “SLUplex” building that will house two SLU communities.
- Ohio Wesleyan celebrates the opening of the new Simpson Querrey Fitness Center and renovated Edwards Gymnasium with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 1. Lou Simpson ’58, and his wife, Kimberly Querrey, contributed $8 million to transform the former Pfeiffer Natatorium into the state-of-the-art fitness center. The couple’s gift also enabled Ohio Wesleyan to finish ongoing renovations at historic Edwards Gym, home of the OWU athletics program. OWU also celebrates the opening of the modern, spacious Jannuzi Dance Studio, located inside the fitness center.
- Ohio Wesleyan dedicates its new donor-funded labyrinth, a 47-foot-diameter brick walkway inspired by one of the world’s oldest walkable labyrinths – an 800-year-old path at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France. Ohio Wesleyan’s labyrinth, located in a grove of trees between Merrick Hall and the Delaware Run, is a gift from the family of Kathe Law Rhinesmith ’64 in her honor.
- Ohio Wesleyan is named a top-five national finalist during the President’s Interfaith Community Service Campus Challenge Conference in Washington, D.C. Ohio Wesleyan has been participating in Interfaith Community Service Campus Challenges since 2010, when President Obama invited every institution in higher education to get involved. More than 80 percent of OWU’s student body regularly participates in service projects, completing more than 40,000 hours of service each year.
- OWU students Lonnie Barnes ’16 and Hayden Knisley ’17 earn Best Undergraduate Poster and Best Undergraduate Paper awards, respectively, at the annual conference of the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers. The conference featured presentations from faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, and professionals from all fields of study in human geography, physical geography, and cartography.
- The OWU volleyball team is ranked No. 25 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III poll, marking Ohio Wesleyan’s first-ever appearance in AVCA rankings. (The team goes on to be ranked as high as No. 22.) In November, Iris Anderson ’18 becomes the Bishops’ first All-America selection in volleyball.
- Reilly Reynolds ’16 is named one of 14 finalists in the international Project Green Challenge, a 30-day eco lifestyle competition that seeks to inspire high school and college students to transition from conventional to conscious living. A total of 3,864 students, representing all 50 states, 29 countries, and 422 college campuses worldwide, participated in the competition.
- OWU professor of botany-microbiology Laurie Anderson, Ph.D., is named the 2015 Ohio Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The award recognizes Anderson among “the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students.”
- English professor Robert Olmstead’s book “Far Bright Star” will be made into a movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, directed by Casey Affleck, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Olmstead, M.F.A., serves as director of OWU’s Creative Writing Program. His “Far Bright Star,” released in 2009, tells the story of a cavalry’s search for Pancho Villa. The book previously was named one of the Top Ten Westerns of the Decade by Booklist.
- Two OWU teams qualify for the 2016 American Collegiate Moot Court Association national tournament: Katherine Berger ’16 and Rhiannon Herbert ’16 will make their second appearance in national competition and will be joined in California in January by the team of Chloe Dyer ’17 and Forest Dearing ’17.
- Ohio Wesleyan men’s soccer players Nick Norman ’17, Brian Schaefer ’16, and Matt DiCesare ’16 are voted to the Academic All-America men’s soccer teams. Norman and Schaefer are second-team selections, and DiCesare is a third-team pick. During the season, the men’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs, marking Ohio Wesleyan’s NCAA-record 38th Division III tournament appearance.
- Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Education is one of 35 colleges and universities across the nation recognized for “effectiveness in preparing future teachers for knowledge in their anticipated subject areas.” The honor comes from the Washington, D.C.-based National Council on Teacher Quality.
- Sarah Fowler ’17 is named the Ohio Women’s Division III Runner of the Year by the Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association. She also wins All-America honors at the NCAA Division III championship meet, making her the third OWU athlete named an All-American in women’s cross country. During her successful season, Fowler participates in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional championship, earning all-region honors. She also wins both North Coast Athletic Conference Runner of the Year honors at the NCAC championship meet and All-Ohio honors at the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championship.
- Christian Fink, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience and of physics and astronomy, earns National Institutes of Health funding to support his epilepsy research. Fink will collaborate with neurologist William C. Stacey, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, to investigate an abnormal brain rhythm often observed in people with epilepsy.
- Michael ’66 and Elizabeth “Buffie” McNaughton ’64 Wise pledge $2 million to create an endowed faculty chair in chemistry as a part of Ohio Wesleyan’s “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” capital campaign. Michael Wise majored in chemistry and economics – later earning his medical degree and becoming a successful psychiatrist. Elizabeth “Buffie” McNaughton was a clothing and business major. Their gift comes as they prepare to celebrate both five decades of marriage and Michael Wise’s 50-year class reunion.
- Football player Cameron Pappa ’16 is voted to the Academic All-America football teams. To be considered for the teams, student-athletes must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or better and be a starter or important reserve. Pappa, a defensive end, is named a second-team Academic All-America selection.
- Ohio Wesleyan University’s OWjL Camp earns a three-year $11,250 grant from the Ingram-White Castle Foundation to provide scholarships for talented and gifted middle school students to attend the weeklong academic camp.
- Lee Fratantuono, Ph.D., chair of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Classics Program, closes out 2015 having published two new books – his sixth, “A Reading of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura,” and seventh, “Virgil, Aeneid 5” – as well as 10 scholarly papers in peer-reviewed journals in a half dozen countries. In 2016, he will publish his eighth book, “War for the World: What Happened at Actium.”