Feature Story

December 20, 2022 | By Marcos Crespo ’23 and Cole Hatcher

OWU in Review 2022

Ohio Wesleyan Celebrates Several Firsts During Exciting Year

Ohio Wesleyan held its first OWU Connection Conference in October. Here, Alex Goldenberg ’25 talks to a standing-room-only crowd about the nonprofit he founded with help from the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at OWU. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Before we turn the calendar page, let’s take a second look at some exciting firsts and other achievements during Ohio Wesleyan’s 180th year.

Milestone moments for 2022 include the faculty approving a new general education curriculum, the campus holding a three-day First-Gen Celebration, and more than 800 students participating in the inaugural OWU Connection Conference, enabling them to learn more about how to Think Big, Do Good, Go Global, and Get Real.

Other 2022 highlights include reopening a newly renovated Slocum Hall, earning a spot on the international Global 2000 universities list, being part of two newly announced Intel-funded educational collaboratives, and earning a Choose Ohio First grant of nearly $960,000 to support scholarships in STEM and STEM education.

With so much success to celebrate in 2022, we can’t wait to see what will be in 2023!


Sarah Kaka
  • OWU faculty members approve a new general education curriculum, marking the first major renovation of the curriculum in more than 50 years. As of fall 2023, all students will complete an OWU Connection experience before they graduate.
  • Chris Wolverton, professor of Biological Sciences, becomes co-chair of the national panel on Biological Sciences in Space. The group helps “NASA prioritize and plan its investments in fundamental biology and physics research for the next decade and beyond,” he says.
  • Sarah Kaka, assistant professor of Education, edits a new book designed to help middle and high school teachers provide standards-based lessons that address issues of historical inequity and inequality. The book is “Hollywood or History? An Inquiry-Based Strategy for Using Film to Teach About Inequality and Inequity Throughout History.”
  • Men’s soccer midfielder Hector Gomez ’22 is named a first-team All-America pick by D3soccer.com and repeats as NCAC Midfielder of the Year.


Discovery Engine
  • Ohio Wesleyan launches a new online Discovery Engine to allow prospective students to input their academic interests and explore examples of completed OWU Connection experiences.
  • Bishop linebacker Shane Quin ’22 is honored by the Columbus chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as Central Ohio’s top scholar-athlete based on athletic and academic excellence.
  • The OWU women’s cross country team receives Division III All-Academic Team honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
  • Ohio Wesleyan awards nearly $47,000 in new Theory-to-Practice Grants to support nine new OWU Connection signature experiences involving nearly 50 students.
  • The Department of World Languages and Cultures debuts “Bishops at the Movies,” a new film series designed to help students explore ideas and issues regarding families in different countries and cultures. The series debuts with Spanish and Japanese films.


Amy Downing
  • Amy Downing, professor of Biological Sciences, contributes to international research showing that government guidelines in North America and Europe are failing to protect lakes from road salt pollution.
  • Groundbreaking poet, editor, critic, and activist Charles Bernstein receives an honorary Doctor of Literature degree, OWU’s highest honor, during a reading and book signing.
  • The National Association of Basketball Coaches taps head men’s basketball coach Mike DeWitt for its Guardians of the Game Award for Advocacy. DeWitt has led the Bishops since 1999.
  • A group of OWU business students led by Kenny Streb ’22 is invited to pitch its solar energy concept as part of the first-ever national EnergyTech University Prize competition. Also participating in the competition are Katelyn Bischoff ’22, Cierra Joiner ’22, and Chloe Merritt ’22.
  • OWU faculty and staff Brian Granger, Sean Bolender, and Angel Tyler earn Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grants to support special projects to advance inclusion across the University.
  • Peyton Howell ’23 earns All-America honors in the high jump at the NCAA Division III indoor track & field championship meet. She’s the sixth Bishop to earn the honor in that event.


Princeton Vaughn ’22
  • Princeton Vaughn ’22 earns a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support research at Princeton University while he pursues his doctorate.
  • Anna Fender ’22 earns a 2022 Ping Award and mini-grant from the Ohio Campus Compact in recognition of her leadership and commitment to service.
  • OWU’s fraternity and sorority members earn Honor Roll recognition from the Gamma Sigma Alpha National Honor Society for their 2020 and 2021 academic success.
  • Bryce Wittman ’22 receives Scholar All-American recognition from the National Wrestling Coaches Association. This is his fourth consecutive recognition.
  • The Battling Bishop women’s lacrosse team opens its 2022 season with eight straight victories. The feat breaks the team record for longest season-opening winning streak.
  • Laurie Anderson, professor of Biological Sciences, is announced as the 2022 winner of the Ecological Society of America’s Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education.
  • President Rock Jones announces plans to retire after the 2022-2023 academic year. When he steps down as Ohio Wesleyan’s 16th president, Jones will have served 15 years in the office.


Amy Acton
  • OWU ranks among the top 8.3% of 19,788 universities worldwide, according to the 2022-2023 Global 2000 list. The rankings are based on quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, and research performance.
  • The University holds its 178th commencement ceremony with keynote speaker and public health expert Amy Acton, M.D., encouraging the OWU Class of 2022 to “get in some John Lewis good trouble … create the conditions in which all of us can lead flourishing lives … (and) lead with courage and compassion.”
  • OWU recognizes 2021-2022 teaching award-winners: Franchesca Nestor, assistant professor of Politics and Government, receives The Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for Encouragement of Teachers; Brad Trees, professor of Physics and Astronomy, receives the Libuse L. Reed Endowed Professorship; Kristina Bogdanov, associate professor of Fine Arts, receives the Welch Meritorious Teaching Award; and Michael Flamm, professor of History, receives the Welch Award for Scholarly or Artistic Achievement.
  • The OWU Board of Trustees passes a resolution pledging “that we strive to build a diverse community and an equitable and inclusive culture at Ohio Wesleyan University and view this ongoing call as an imperative to lift up all community members in an inclusive culture of inquiry and belonging.”
  • Ohio Wesleyan hosts a double Reunion Weekend – OWU’s first in-person Reunion Weekend since 2019. Approximately 900 alumni come to campus to celebrate being Bishops.


Jada Respress ’23
  • Money magazine ranks Ohio Wesleyan among its top value schools for 2022 based on a review of 24 quality, affordability, and outcomes data points.
  • Amy Butcher, OWU’s director of Creative Writing, is named a finalist for the 2022 Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction for her best-selling book, “Mothertrucker.”
  • Football standout Neil Ringers ’91 is on the 2023 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. He won nine All-America citations as part of four All-America teams at OWU.
  • Jada Respress ’23 earns a Gilman International Scholarship to study media markets in the United Kingdom and South Africa to prepare for a career in broadcast journalism.


Astrid Koek ’22
  • The National Science Foundation awards a five-year $499,750 grant to a consortium led by Laurie Anderson, professor of Biological Sciences. The group will create the Macrosystems Ecology For All (MEFA) Research Coordination Network.
  • The OWU women’s and men’s track & field teams earn All-Academic honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
  • Field hockey midfielder Astrid Koek ’22 is nominated for the NCAA 2022 Woman of the Year Award, recognizing her achievements in academics, athletics, service, and leadership.
  • A total of 108 Bishop varsity athletes are named to the North Coast Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll, signifying they hold a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 or higher.


Eric Gangloff
  • Ohio Wesleyan welcomes 485 first-year and transfer students at its 2022-2023 Convocation ceremony. The new Bishops represent 34 states and 16 countries.
  • Ohio Wesleyan receives a two-year $499,170 state education grant to provide intensive mathematics and literacy tutoring to pupils attending Buckeye Valley Local Schools, Delaware City Schools, and the Columbus Bilingual Academy North. Provided by the Ohio Department of Education in partnership with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the grant seeks to help youths get back on track academically following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Eric Gangloff, assistant professor of Biological Sciences, earns a three-year $476,342 National Science Foundation grant to support his ongoing research with students into how organisms are responding to changes in the world’s climate and ecosystems.
  • Davis Graham ’22 earns one of 42 spring NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, recognizing his academic and athletic (baseball) success and his plan to continue his higher education.
  • Ohio Wesleyan launches its inaugural season of varsity esports competition, competing for the 2022-2023 season in League of Legends, Overwatch, Valorant, Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Rocket League.
  • OWU creates a new Community Research Fellows program to link student-researchers with local businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations seeking expertise to complete special projects. The inaugural fellows are Joey DeRusso ’23, Jenna Norman ’25, and Yewoinhareg “Yoyo” Kebede ’24.


Steve Runge
  • Ohio Wesleyan is part of two new initiatives funded by Intel’s Semiconductor Education and Research Program: the Center for Advanced Semiconductor Fabrication Research and Education (CAFE) and the Ohio Partnership for a Diverse and Inclusive Semiconductor Ecosystem and Workforce. Intel is building a $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing site in central Ohio.
  • Ohio Wesleyan installs a 14-foot, donor-funded Chimney Swift tower to encourage mosquito-eating birds to nest on campus. The brick tower also supports student ornithological research.
  • Steve Runge, a former professional golfer and collegiate player at The Ohio State University, is named OWU’s director of golf and head coach of the men’s and women’s teams.


Slocum Hall’s Reading Room
  • OWU’s iconic Slocum Hall is rededicated following an $11.25-million, donor-funded renovation. First opened in 1898, the newly renovated building impacts the lives of all current and future students as the Admission Welcome Center and Home of the OWU Connection.
  • The first OWU Connection Conference takes place Oct. 6, with more than 1,600 sign-ins by over 800 students who present and participate in programming that explores all types of OWU Connection opportunities available to them. The day also includes the 30th annual Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium, with students presenting the results of their 10-week mentored research experiences.
  • In celebration of its 20th anniversary, OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum launches a free “Check Me Out” program that allows art lovers and instructors to borrow materials from the museum’s educational works collection.
  • The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship launches Pitch OWU, a student-entrepreneur competition. Twenty-two students pitch 16 business ideas, with Graci Semptimphelter ’26 earning the $1,000 first prize to support the development of her app to help people with special needs live more independently.
    Herbert DuPont ’61
  • Alumnus Herbert DuPont, M.D. ’61, is presented with an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, Ohio Wesleyan’s highest honor,  As a physician, medical researcher, educator, and investigator, DuPont has made numerous contributions to the fields of medicine and science, most notably in infectious diseases and travel medicine.
  • Ohio Wesleyan inducts seven former Battling Bishop standouts, including six All-America selections and a former coach, into its Athletics Hall of Fame and bestows the George Gauthier Award upon Diana Poos Roach ’72, field hockey, and Mark Shipps ’70, men’s lacrosse. The Hall of Fame inductees are:
    • Matt Apel ’96, football
    • Bob Barnes ’89, women’s soccer coach from 1997-2015
    • Tim Brady ’12, men’s basketball
    • Steve Brown ’10, men’s track & field
    • Virginia Fairhurst ’81, women’s swimming
    • Theron Foley ’94, men’s lacrosse
    • Deborah Lochner ’05, women’s soccer
    • Travis Wall ’12, men’s soccer
    • John MacIlwaine ’60, baseball (posthumously), and Kyle Martin ’09, men’s golf, also are selected as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022, but their induction is deferred until 2023.


Anni Liu ’13
  • Ohio Wesleyan announces plans to add a Public Health program and major in fall 2023 to help students prepare for careers that work to improve the wellness of the world.
  • OWU joins the nation in holding a First-Generation College Celebration. The three-day event is hosted by the OWU First-Gen Advisory Board. As it kicks off, Ohio Wesleyan announces a two-year $250,000 commitment from Trustee Thomas Palmer ’69 and his wife, Susan Palmer, to fund a staff position and office to support first-generation students.
  • Ohio Wesleyan announces plans to host an academic symposium on March 31 and April 1, 2023, to celebrate the legacy of groundbreaking Black filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles ’53.
  • Anni Liu ’13 visits campus to read from her award-winning book of poetry, “Border Vista.” In addition to winning the 2021 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize from Persea Books, Lui’s work also is celebrated in December by The New York Times as one of the top poetry books of 2022.
  • The men’s soccer team makes it to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament in a stellar season that sees goalkeeper Mason Taylor ’24 named the Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-NCAC selection. Coaches Jay Martin, Matt Weiss, Corey Kirk, and Chad Prickett earn the Coaching Staff of the Year award.
  • Field hockey forward Allie Crawford ’24 is named the NCAC Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-NCAC selection.
  • Women’s soccer goalkeeper Natalie Ryan ’26 is named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year and a second-team All-NCAC selection.
  • Field hockey midfielder Veronica Hardman ’23 is one of 60 players selected to compete in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III Senior Game.
  • Men’s cross country runner Wes Horton ’25 earns first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference honors after leading Ohio Wesleyan at the NCAC championship meet.
  • Volleyball setter Lily Bechina ’26 is named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year and a third-team all-conference choice.


Jack Clement ’23
  • Ohio Wesleyan receives a 2023 Choose Ohio First grant of nearly $960,000 to provide scholarships, academic support, and work-based learning experiences to Ohio students pursuing STEM or STEM education degrees.
  • Ohio Wesleyan is part of The Ohio Consortium for Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts, a consortium of 14 independent colleges and universities and 11 community colleges working to create new transfer pathways to enable Ohio community college students to earn their four-year bachelor’s degrees. The group formalizes its work with a December signing ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse.
  • Ohio Wesleyan awards nearly $58,000 in university-funded grants to support academic, research, and arts experiences for 40 students and five faculty through the OWU Connection program.
  • The OWU club sport women’s rugby team powers through 4 inches of snow in Indiana to win its second consecutive Ohio Valley Women’s Collegiate Rugby Conference championship.
  • OWU volleyball players Melissa Murray ’24, Kaitlyn Peters ’24, Eliza Richardson ’23, and Claire Solberg ’25 earn Academic All-District VII recognition and advance to the Academic All-America ballot.
  • Battling Bishop football players Seth Anderson ’25, Ethan Brooker ’23, Gabriel Chlebowski ’24, Nick Cianciola ’23, Trevar Meese ’23, Brandon Planey ’24, and Drew Thorton ’25 receive Academic All-District VII recognition in football and advance to the Academic All-America ballot.
  • Field hockey players Veronica Hardman ’23 and Allie Crawford ’24 are named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III All-Region VI field hockey teams. Hardman, a midfielder, is a first-team all-region selection, and Crawford, a forward, is a second-team all-region choice.
  • Jack Clement ’23 scores a team-high 25 points against Wittenberg, raising his career total to 1,017 points and making him the 33rd Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball player to surpass the 1,000-point mark.
  • Men’s soccer midfielder Cristian Gomez ’23 is named a second-team NCAA Division III Scholar All-America selection by United Soccer Coaches.