Ohio Wesleyan University 2013 Year in Review

2013 a Lucky Year for OWU
In August, OWU’s Class of 2017 arrived on campus, representing Ohio Wesleyan’s largest class in recent history and the most diverse class ever. The students represent 34 states and 18 countries. (Photo by Paul Molitor)

In August, OWU’s Class of 2017 arrived on campus, representing Ohio Wesleyan’s largest class in recent history and the most diverse class ever. The students represent 34 states and 18 countries. (Photo by Paul Molitor)

In 2013, Ohio Wesleyan University received the largest donation in its history; refurbished the Rexford Keller Memorial Organ; and saw its students, faculty, and staff continue to achieve great things.

As the year comes to an end, here’s a look at some of the highlights of OWU’s lucky 2013:


  • Restoration begins on Ohio Wesleyan’s 33-year-old Rexford Keller Memorial Organ. The $525,000 donor-funded project adds the “Blanchard Memorial Bombarde Division,” increasing the number of pipes from 4,522 to 4,644. During five-month restoration, nearly every pipe is removed by a crew of Johannes Klais Orgelbau experts from Bonn, Germany. Afterward, the pipes – old and new – are placed back into the organ stop-by-stop to customize the sound for Gray Chapel’s acoustics.
  • Emeka Aniagolu, M.A., assistant professor of Black World Studies, is one of five Ohio individuals and organizations recognized for their efforts to advance social change, by Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor at Ohio’s 28th annual commemorative celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • Ohio Wesleyan alumnus and retired Harvard University professor Ezra F. Vogel, Ph.D., establishes a permanent endowment to support students engaged in research and travel in East Asia. The 1950 OWU alumnus gives Ohio Wesleyan all proceeds from the mainland China printing of his critically acclaimed book, “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China.”
  • Ohio Wesleyan holds its inaugural Robert Kragalott Lecture on Genocide, Mass Atrocity, and Human Rights. The series is endowed with a gift from 1969 OWU alumnus Carroll P. “Pete” Kakel III, Ph.D. The lecture series honors Kragalott, an OWU faculty member from 1964 to 1991.


  • The C-SPAN Bus, a 45-foot interactive multimedia learning center, visits Ohio Wesleyan to highlight OWU’s ties to former first lady Lucy Webb Hayes and the cable television network’s original series, “First Ladies: Influence and Image.”
  • Ohio Wesleyan receives a $269,000 contribution from the estate of Lois K. DiLorenzo of Dedham, Mass. The bequest supports student scholarships awarded through the university’s Mark DiLorenzo Memorial Scholarship Fund.
  • A team of OWU students wins the 2013 “Four College Mathematics Competition” held in Springfield, Ohio. Members of the winning team are Ethan Chapman ’13 of Little Falls, N.J.; Zijie Poh ’13 of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Ian Skoch ’13 of Rocky River, Ohio.
  • The Ohio Newspaper Association recognizes The Transcript, Ohio Wesleyan’s independent student newspaper, with awards for “aggressive coverage” in newswriting and for providing a “great blend of creativity and news” in headline writing.
  • Ohio Wesleyan hosts Natasha Trethewey, America’s current poet laureate and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Trethewey reads selections of her poetry.


  • For the fifth consecutive year, the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes Ohio Wesleyan’s civic-minded students for their positive contributions to society. OWU students routinely perform more than 40,000 hours of community service each year.
  • Ohio Wesleyan’s men’s basketball team wins the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament and advances to the NCAA Division III tournament, marking the first time the Bishops have competed in the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons. Head coach Mike DeWitt and guard Andy Winters ’13 are named Great Lakes District Coach and Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
  • The OWU men’s track & field team places seventh at the NCAA Division III indoor championship meet, the Bishops’ highest national finish ever.
  • Ohio Wesleyan student Tyler Sheetz ’13 is awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Only 174 postgraduate scholarships are given nationwide each year. A linebacker on the Battling Bishop football team, Sheetz is the eleventh Ohio Wesleyan student to win one of the awards since 2000.
  • OWU’s Campus Programming Board and Kassidy Spring ’15 create a Day on the JAY video that is selected by the National Association of Campus Activities as one of three national video contest finalists for schools with up to 5,000 undergraduate, full-time students.


  • Ohio Wesleyan is chosen as one of three universities in the United States to host a weeklong visit from “College Hunt, USA,” a reality television show produced jointly by the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai and Channel V. Two students visit campus, with one, Shashank Sharma ’17, choosing to enroll in the fall.
  • Ohio Wesleyan is named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada by The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 322 Green Colleges.”
  • Ohio Wesleyan celebrates the release of the national feature film “42” with a series of campus and community events commemorating the legacy of 1904 alumnus Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. Their collaboration ended racial segregation in Major League Baseball in the 1940s and helped set the stage for the U.S. Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
  • OWU student Mary Ann Lee ’13 of Decatur, Ga., is named a 2013-2014 Goldwater Scholar by the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
  • Ohio Wesleyan music major Justin Giarrusso ’13 is selected as one of three winners in the Manhattan Choral Ensemble’s Choral Composition Contest. The Ensemble later performs his winning composition, “Central Park at Dusk,” at New York’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music.
  • Ohio Wesleyan receives a significant gift to create an endowed fund to support students planning to pursue post-graduate fellowships after earning their OWU diplomas. The gift comes from Washington, D.C., lawyer Jan W. Baran, a 1970 OWU graduate, and his wife, Kathryn K. Baran.


  • OWU student Brad Turnwald ’13 earns a three-year Stanford University Graduate Fellowship in the California-based college’s biomedical science doctoral program. The fellowship is valued at more than $220,000 and is one of only 100 awarded by Stanford annually to incoming doctoral students across all disciplines.
  • The Ohio Wesleyan men’s lacrosse team wins the inaugural NCAC tournament, giving the Bishops an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament.
  • The OWU women’s track & field team completes a sweep of the NCAC indoor and outdoor championships, extending the Bishops’ streaks to seven straight indoor titles and five consecutive outdoor crowns.
  • Ohio Wesleyan faculty members Harry P. Bahrick, Ph.D., and Lynda K. Hall, Ph.D., and former faculty member Melinda K. Baker, Ph.D., publish “Life-Span Maintenance of Knowledge,” which describes their years of research into how well people maintain knowledge acquired throughout life. Hall says, “146 former student research assistants are acknowledged in the book. Of those, 60 have gone on to earn doctoral degrees, 30 have master’s degrees, and four have J.D.s. We’re aware of nine more who are currently pursuing graduate or professional degrees. We’re so proud of all of them and the contributions they’re making.”
  • Following a decade of research, OWU zoology professor Edward H. “Jed” Burtt Jr., Ph.D., and William E. Davis Jr., professor emeritus at Boston University, publish a new book “Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology.” The 464-page book was hailed by one reviewer as a “richly illustrated, very special book [that brings Wilson] back to life as an engaging and influential character whose passion for birds primed ours.”
  • Alumnus Louis A. Simpson contributes $2 million to Ohio Wesleyan to benefit the school’s Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. Simpson, a 1958 OWU alumnus, managed the portfolio for GEICO, a subsidiary of Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., for more than 30 years.


  • Ohio Wesleyan receives an $8 million gift from an alumni couple to fund the full restoration of Merrick Hall, a historic building closed more than 25 years ago. The contribution represents the largest single outright gift in OWU history.
  • Ohio Wesleyan announces a five-year, $100,000 gift from Stephen Ollendorff, president of the Ollendorff Center for Human and Religious Understanding, to create the Dr. Guy Sarvis Endowed Travel/Research Grant. Sarvis, Ph.D., a sociology professor, devoted much of his life to promoting the value of cross-cultural understanding and sensitivity to racial and religious diversity. As a child, Ollendorff lived with the Sarvis family for a year after fleeing Nazi Germany.


  • Ohio Wesleyan is ranked No. 2 in the state among public and private colleges for providing graduates the highest lifetime financial returns on their academic investments, according to information released by Affordable Colleges Online (ACO).


  • OWU is included among the best of the best in three new college search guides: The “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014,” The Princeton Review’s “The Best 378 Colleges: 2014 Edition,” and Forbes magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges.”
  • The OWU Class of 2017 arrives on campus, representing Ohio Wesleyan’s largest class in recent history and the most diverse class ever. The students represent 34 states and 18 countries.


  • OWU’s Robert Olmstead, M.A., professor of English and director of the creative writing program, earns his second Ohioana Prize for Fiction – this time for “The Coldest Night,” the last in his trilogy featuring the Childs family of soldiers. The first book in the series, “Coal Black Horse,” was selected as the Ohioana Fiction winner in 2008.
  • The Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society recognizes Ohio Wesleyan with a 2013 Preservation Merit Award for excellence in the restoration of Stuyvesant Hall. The building also earns OWU its second LEED Silver Certification for its environmentally conscious rebirth. (The Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center previously earned LEED Silver Certification.)
  • The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), one of the nation’s largest advocacy organizations for women, recognizes Ohio Wesleyan’s College Panhellenic organization for meeting and excelling in at least five of seven core competencies.


  • The OWU Department of Theatre & Dance opens its 2013-2014 season with the world premiere of “The Secret War of Emma Edmonds,” a play written by professor Bonnie Milne Gardner, Ph.D., and based on a true story of a woman who disguises herself as a man to serve in the Army during the American Civil War.
  • Acclaimed concert organist Alan Morrison performs two celebratory concerts to debut Ohio Wesleyan’s newly refurbished and expanded Rexford Keller Memorial Organ to the community. OWU’s pipe organ is one of 12 instruments in the United States built by Johannes Klais Orgelbau and the largest of these with mechanical-action.
  • Ohio Wesleyan ranks 39th in the nation for liberal arts colleges “acting on behalf of the true public interest,” according to Washington Monthly’s 2013 College Guide and Rankings.
  • Members of the Ohio Wesleyan University Greek community joined together to participate in the first “Greek Day of Service” on “National Make a Difference Day.” More than 250 OWU fraternity men and sorority women participate in the day of service volunteering in the Delaware community for more than 1,000 hours.


  • A team of four OWU students advance to the semi-finals of the national 2013 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Accounting Competition. The “Dream Chasers” team includes Steven Uhler ’15 of Brunswick, Ohio; Joshua Townsend ’15 of Fort Worth, Texas; Eleanor “Elli” Creigh ’14 of Winnetka, Ill.; and Roger Skidmore ’16 of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
  • Ohio Wesleyan’s 14-member Moot Court Team competes in the Midwest Regional Tournament with two students advancing to nationals and a third earning an individual orator ranking. Memme Onwudiwe ’15 of Centerville, Ohio, and Liam Dennigan ’15 of Norwell, Mass., receive an at-large bid to compete in the upcoming national tournament, and Andrew Paik ’14 of Columbus, Ohio, earns 13th place among individual orators.
  • The Battling Bishops men’s soccer team wins the NCAC championship, earning an NCAA-record 36th Division III playoff appearance. The Battling Bishops won the NCAA Division III national championship in 1998 and 2011 and have made nine appearances in the national semifinals.
  • The Ohio Wesleyan women’s cross country team advances to the NCAA Division III championship meet, the Bishops’ second team appearance in the national championship.


  • Ohio Wesleyan’s eight fine art studio professors debut their latest creations in clay, metal, photography, printmaking, sculpture, painting and drawing, and graphic design at the “FA8” faculty biennial art showcase. The exhibit runs through Feb. 2, 2014, at OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum.
  • OWU will host its seventh annual Bishop Classic/“Hoops for Hope” women’s basketball tournament Dec. 29-30 to raise money for breast cancer awareness, education, and research. To date, the Ohio Wesleyan annual tournament has raised more than $5,000.
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