Ohio Wesleyan Receives $500,000 Gift to Enhance Educational Opportunities

Graduate’s Anonymous Commitment Creates Endowed Fund for ‘OWU Connection’ Curricular Initiative

As part of a travel-learning experience, Ohio Wesleyan students visited Oaxaca, Mexico, in March to study ethnobotany. Travel-learning is part of the ‘OWU Connection’ curricular initiative. (Photo by Abby Dockter ’12)

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University has received a $500,000 gift commitment from an international businessman and alumnus to create an endowed fund that will support the faculty’s new “OWU Connection” curricular initiative.

The donor, a longtime Ohio Wesleyan supporter and volunteer, also hopes his gift will motivate and challenge others to support the OWU Connection, said Colleen Garland, vice president of University Relations.

“Ohio Wesleyan is grateful for this generous and visionary gift,” Garland said. “It is especially meaningful because it comes from an alumnus whose business takes him across the globe, and so he recognizes the importance of an education that crosses traditional boundaries and helps students to translate theory into practice in a global context.”

The OWU Connection curricular initiative, begun as a pilot project in fall 2010, includes four components:

•           A first-year seminar to help students take ownership of their educations and get the most out of their time at Ohio Wesleyan right from the start.

•           Course Connection networks that encourage students to explore topics of interest from multiple academic disciplines.

•           Expanded travel-learning courses to provide students with additional international experiences and opportunities, as well as the ability to incorporate travel into their coursework.

•           Theory-to-Practice grants that enable students to write proposals and secure university funds to support research and learning opportunities that enhance their understanding of important issues.

The OWU Connection initiative already has earned a two-year, $100,000 Officer’s Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in recognition of Ohio Wesleyan’s effort to create a model liberal arts curriculum for the 21st century.

“This faculty initiative is making a profound difference in the education of Ohio Wesleyan students,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “Our students, for example, have traveled to Vietnam to study its politics and culture, to Bangladesh to search for solutions to global poverty, and to Japan to study international space exploration. These types of experiences are more than eye-opening; they are life-changing. Ohio Wesleyan strives to prepare our students to become global leaders, and the OWU Connection is a very tangible example of how we are fulfilling that mission.”

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is 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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