Ohio Wesleyan Concludes $172.6 Million Fundraising Campaign

University is ‘Better, Brighter, and Bolder’ Thanks to Donors, President Says
Ohio Wesleyan’s recently concluded fundraising campaign supported the renovation of the Stuyvesant Hall residential facility (shown here) as well as the opening of the Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, the implementation of the ‘OWU Connection’ curriculum, and much more. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Ohio Wesleyan’s recently concluded fundraising campaign supported the renovation of the Stuyvesant Hall residential facility (shown here) as well as the opening of the Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, the implementation of the ‘OWU Connection’ curriculum, and much more. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University today announced the conclusion of a seven-year fundraising campaign that raised $172.6 million and included such milestones as the opening of the Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, the renovation of the historic Stuyvesant Hall residential facility, and the implementation of the new “OWU Connection” curriculum.

“Today, Ohio Wesleyan is a better, brighter, and bolder institution than was the case seven years ago,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “Today, Ohio Wesleyan has a clear sense of direction as it prepares the next generation of moral leaders for a global society. Today, Ohio Wesleyan students benefit from a curriculum that has been enhanced, building on the hallmarks of excellence that always have characterized an OWU education with new opportunities for students whose ultimate leadership will occur in the middle of the 21st century. Today, our campus has been refreshed in important ways, and it will continue to be revitalized in exciting ways in the years to come. Today – thanks to our generous alumni, employees, parents, and friends – we have much to celebrate and much to anticipate.”

The fundraising campaign was led by alumni co-chairs Patricia Belt Conrades, Class of 1963, and Evan R. Corns, Class of 1959. It included 24,140 donors, with gifts from 23,157 individuals and 983 organizations. More than 44 percent of Ohio Wesleyan alumni contributed during the campaign, with 33 donors making gifts of $1 million or more and three donors making gifts of $10 million or more.

Fundraising totals included $27.1 million for student financial aid, $19.8 million for 14 endowed faculty positions, $40.6 million for improvements to campus facilities, $20.3 million for academic and co-curricular programs, and $2.6 million for the faculty-created OWU Connection curriculum.

The curricular initiative links academic theory and real-world experience in nearly every course of study at Ohio Wesleyan. The initiative includes the “OWU Experience,” a first-year course designed to help incoming students get the most out of their time at the university, as well as a unique “Course Connections” network that enables students to explore topics of interest from several academic disciplines, expanding their understanding and appreciation of complex and interrelated issues.

Funds raised during the campaign also have helped to support Ohio Wesleyan’s Travel-Learning Courses, which provide students with more off-campus and international experiences tied to their classroom learning. To date, more than 40 such courses have been developed. In addition, the funds have benefited the university’s Theory-to-Practice Grant program, enabling students and employees to write proposals for university-funded grants to support research and other projects in areas of special interest. Together, these initiatives have enabled students to travel across the country and around the world for internships, undergraduate research, service commitments, cross-cultural experiences, and other forms of off-campus study. In 2012 alone, Ohio Wesleyan students studied and traveled in more than 40 countries.

Student Anthony McGuire, a senior from Wellington, New Zealand, and president of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs, said the fundraising campaign has created invaluable opportunities and supported life-changing experiences for students.

“Vibrant opportunities afforded to Ohio Wesleyan students truly enrich the social and academic landscape of our school,” said McGuire, a double major in economics and in politics and government. “Thanks to immeasurable generosity, both local and global perspectives can flourish through venues such as Travel-Learning Courses. I know that many students look back on their international experiences in education as some of the most beneficial in their college career.”

The $172.6 million fundraising campaign included a multimillion-dollar gift from alumni Gordon V. Smith, Class of 1954, and his wife, Helen Crider Smith, Class of 1956, to support a planned giving initiative. The resulting “gift planning” program yielded $82 million in newly documented and newly realized planned gifts, accounting for 47 percent of the total campaign effort. “This is unprecedented at Ohio Wesleyan and highly unusual among liberal arts institutions,” President Jones said.

Plans for the university’s next fundraising campaign are under way, but have not been announced. “We look ahead with hopes and dreams for the work that is yet to be done,” Jones said. “In the coming year, we will continue preparations for the next effort, one that will focus on building an endowment worthy of the history and strength of Ohio Wesleyan, and continuing to renew our campus for future generations.”

Learn more about giving to Ohio Wesleyan at http://giving.owu.edu.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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