OWU in Review 2019

By Ohio Wesleyan University

Shannon Agler ’20 (front) and Logan Rice ’20 complete summer science research with zoology professor Danielle Hamill. A 2019 study ranks OWU at No. 68 among all U.S. colleges for the percentage of STEM graduates who later earn doctoral degrees in STEM fields. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

As we prepare to usher in 2020, here are some of our favorite 2019 highlights, including ranking No. 68 among all U.S. colleges for the percentage of STEM graduates who go on to earn doctorates in STEM fields and earning our best U.S. News & World Report ranking in 15 years.

We’re also excited about receiving our largest single contribution in history, beginning the Residential Renewal project to create a first-year residence hall and senior student apartments, and celebrating the success of our four-time national high jump champion!


“Fody” Frentsos (left) receives congratulations from President Rock Jones as the newest STAR Award winner.
  • Janelle Valdinger ’20 is one of fewer than 20 undergraduate and graduate students across the country invited to participate in the first national Workshop on Community Geography.
  • Kyle Hogan ’20, defensive end for the OWU football team, caps off the season with a spot on D3football.com’s All-America teams. He is a first-team All-America selection as a special-teams player.
  • “Fody” Frentsos earns the 2018 Special Thanks and Recognition (STAR) Award from the University Staff Council in recognition of his outstanding commitment and contributions to the OWU community.
  • Ohio Wesleyan is honored by the Ohio College Personnel Association with its 2018-2019 Innovative Program and Equity & Inclusion awards for Camp Oh-Wooo and the Columbus Initiative, respectively.


Brayams Ayala Ramos ’20 (left) and Isabelle Rodriguez ’21 create LA CASA, OWU’s newest small living unit.
  • Princeton Review lists Ohio Wesleyan among 200 schools with “exceptional ROI for your tuition investment.”
  • Brayams Ayala Ramos ’20 and Isabelle Rodriguez ’21 spearhead creation of LA CASA, the first OWU housing option to support Latin American, Hispanic, and Latinx students. It opens in fall 2019.


Jack Hibbard ’19 smashes it with 100 career wins!
  • The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program lists Ohio Wesleyan among the nation’s “Greatest Growth Institutions” for providing students with opportunities to study abroad.
  • OWU men’s tennis player Jack Hibbard ’19 reaches his 100th career win, including both singles and doubles, when he posts singles and doubles wins in matches against Earlham College and Thomas More University.


Tom Burns teaches a course during the inaugural session of the Lifelong Learning Institute.
  • Ohio Wesleyan and the City of Delaware collaborate to create the first permanent student internship within the city’s Public Utilities Department.
  • Max Tennant ’19 breaks records for most career goals when the men’s lacrosse attacker earns four goals against DePauw. With four more goals against Oberlin, Tennant’s career total of 233 goals ranks 11th all-time in NCAA Division III.
  • Alexis Reichardt ’20 sets a pair of OWU women’s golf records in the Laura Bump Invitational with a round of 74 breaking the school record set in 2012 and her 36-hole total of 152 breaking the record set in 2015.
  • Ohio Wesleyan launches a new program to offer educational opportunities to older adults. The inaugural session of the Lifelong Learning Institute enrolls more than 250 area residents age 55 and older.


Cirrus Robinson ’20 raises the bar again on athletic success – winning her fourth national high jump title.
  • Ohio Wesleyan announces $23.56 million in new gifts, including the largest single contribution in its history – a $10-million anonymous contribution – to support the Residential Renewal project, including construction of senior student apartments, and the renovation and restoration of Slocum Hall.
  • Cirrus Robinson ’20 defends her national high jump championship when she competes in the NCAA Division III outdoor championship meet. She also is a two-time national champion in the indoor high jump.
  • Ohio Wesleyan is named one of the nation’s best schools for preparing elementary and secondary educators according to “Start Here to Become a Teacher” a book by the National Council on Teacher Quality.


Raissa Kanku ’19 is honored for outstanding leadership and service.
  • Raissa Kanku ’19 is honored with a 2019 Ping Student Service Award from the Ohio Campus Compact. The award recognizes undergraduate students for “outstanding leadership and contributions to community service or service-learning on their campus and within their community.”
  • Four OWU men’s lacrosse players are named to U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III All-America teams: attacker Steven Hildebrand ’19, midfielder Cole Jamieson ’19, midfielder Jack Jeschke ’19, and attacker Max Tennant ’19.
  • Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Education earns national accreditation for its educator preparation program from the Washington, D.C.-based Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
  • Ohio Wesleyan ranks No. 68 among all U.S. colleges (public and private) for the percentage of STEM graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees in STEM fields. OWU also ranks No. 46 for women who go on to earn doctorates and No. 21 for women who earn doctorates in either the life sciences or biological sciences. The rankings, issued by the Council of Independent Colleges, are based on 2007-2016 data from the National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and Survey of Earned Doctorates.


Jon Powers (left) retires after 31 years, and Chad Johns ’02 steps in as interim university chaplain.
  • Former men’s soccer standout Nick Norman ’17 earns a $10,000 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The OWU honors graduate is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs at Indiana University.
  • After a 31-year career, University Chaplain Jon Powers retires, and Associate Chaplain Chad Johns ’02 is appointed as OWU’s Interim Chaplain.


Becca Strider ’20 receives a scholarship to fund a semester away in Central America.
  • Becca Strider ’20 receives a full-tuition program scholarship from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to participate in its fall 2019 STEM + Society program in Costa Rica and Mexico.
  • The Princeton Review’s new guidebook, “The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition,” lists Ohio Wesleyan among the nation’s “Best,” “Best Midwestern,” and “Best Value” Colleges.
  • The Sagan National Colloquium kicks off its semester-long exploration of how Ohio Wesleyan graduates are making positive changes in society. This year’s Colloquium, titled “OWU – Our World Needs You,” marks the 35th anniversary of the lecture series.
  • Ohio Wesleyan welcomes the Class of 2023, celebrating the arrival of students from 28 states, Puerto Rico, and 19 countries.


Emily Cammeyer ’21 is honored for her hospice-related nonprofit organization.
  • Brianna Graber ’20 uses an OWU Connection grant to spearhead the installation of a storm drain in Delaware Run by Edgar Hall. The net captures waste from the water. Graber, and future students, will monitor the impact on the stream’s water quality.
  • Emily Cammeyer ’21 is one of 18 central Ohioans honored by the Columbus Jewish News with one of its inaugural “Difference Makers” awards. Cammeyer is recognized for her nonprofit organization, Love and Hugs, which comforts hospice patients.
  • OWU professor Amy Butcher, M.F.A., announces her upcoming book “Mothertrucker” will be made into a feature film coming out in 2022. Butcher helped to select the director, Primetime Emmy-winner Jill Soloway, and lead actress, Academy and Golden Globe-winner Julianne Moore.
  • Spearheaded by Erin Fletcher, M.A., director of the Ross Art Museum, and in collaboration with renowned artist Brett Cook, the Delaware Mural Project unveils public artworks at the Second Ward Community Center and at Andrews House.
  • OWU alumna and professor emerita Amy McClure, Ph.D., is honored with the 2019 International Literacy Association (ILA) Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Ohio Wesleyan at No. 92 among the nation’s “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges,” the University’s highest ranking in 15 years. The magazine also includes OWU at No. 58 among the National Liberal Arts “Best Value Schools,” at No. 132 among the “Top Schools on Social Mobility,” and as an “A+ School for B Students.”


It’s another groundbreaking year – this time for senior student apartments as part of OWU’s $60-million Residential Renewal project.
  • Anthony Padget-Gettys ’20 presents research at the 2019 North American Victorian Studies Association national conference. Only 20 undergraduates were selected to present at this year’s event.
  • OWU’s Theta Deuteron chapter of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) earns the national fraternity’s 2018 Jordan Bowl, recognizing the men for having the highest comparative scholarship among FIJI’s 147 U.S. chapters. For 2017, the OWU brothers earned FIJI’s Owen Cup for most improved scholarship.
  • OWU joins 16 other U.S. colleges and universities in being a part of India’s Next Genius Scholarship Program. The Mumbai-based organization works with more than 1,100 high schools across India to help provide full- and partial-tuition scholarships to seniors pursuing degrees in the United States.
  • The Ohio Wesleyan community comes together for a ceremonial groundbreaking celebrating OWU’s first on-campus senior student apartments, part of the University’s $60-million Residential Renewal project.


Kayla Adolph ’20 spearheads creation of OWU’s third rain garden.
  • Kayla Adolph ’20 oversees the installation of Ohio Wesleyan’s third rain garden outside Merrick Hall. Such gardens are able to reduce groundwater pollutants by up to 30 percent.
  • The OWU men’s soccer team advances to the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament, marking the 41st time the team has earned a playoff appearance – an NCAA record.
  • The OWU field hockey team makes its first NCAC tournament appearance since 2012 and earns its first conference title since 1995. Coach Brenda Semit earns NCAC Coach of the Year honors.


Nick Braydich ’20 is a winner in the national “ThisWayToCPA” student video competition. 
  • Nick Braydich ’20 is one of five students across the country selected as a $500 winner in the national “ThisWayToCPA” student video competition sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Sean Bolender joins Ohio Wesleyan as the University’s new director of public safety. He previously worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, earning an Office of the Directorate of National Intelligence award.
  • Three members of the OWU campus earn 2019 Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards: Brianna Graber ’20 for her work on the Delaware Run storm drain net; professor Sean Kay, Ph.D., for his volunteer work at the Northern Olentangy Watershed Festival, the Olentangy River Cleanup, and the Scioto River Clean Sweep; and Steve Flaherty, whose necoPlastics LLC is headquartered at the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at OWU, for the company’s work to convert non-recyclable plastics into asphalt paving.