Happy Birthday, Ham-Wil!

Campus center celebrates #21

What’s a birthday without cake? Happy birthday, Ham-Wil! (Photo by Chris Henchey ’14)

A 21st birthday is a much-anticipated milestone, and this month the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center celebrated its own. The building, dedicated 21 years ago, is known as the heart of Ohio Wesleyan and a central meeting place for students. The occasion was marked with cake, balloons and a song.

The multimillion-dollar building was originally named for the primary donor, Dr. David Hamilton Smith ’53, and his mother, Mary Josephine Williams Smith ’17. It was dedicated on September 6, 1991; University Chaplain Jon Powers was there at the original dedication. The then-new center featured a chapel area that overlooked the town of Delaware; providing a serene view for worshipping students.

“I recall thinking that this will be a grand place for students of all faith, and no faith, who just want to come up to the chapel and have a quiet moment to gather their thoughts, re-collect themselves, and restore their sense of wonder and beauty,” Powers said. “When you walk into the chapel, you just want to lift your eyes upward and think elevated thoughts. It’s the most beautiful view in all of Delaware.”

The HWCC building acts as much more than a centerpiece. It is a gathering place where meetings are held and memories are made, and a gateway from OWU’s campus to the city of Delaware. Each year Hamilton-Williams Campus Center becomes even more important in the community and to the people who leave it, carrying with them memories of the building, and those fostered within it. The blessing from the Chaplin’s office at the birthday party summed up the hope that the foundation was built on—“that all may find their place beneath this green-roofed space.”

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