OWU receives gift to build student homes


For nearly four decades, the Dicke Family of New Bremen, Ohio, has been supporting the educational experience of Ohio Wesleyan University students.

The family’s longtime support includes the Carl H. Dicke Scholarship, created nearly 40 years ago by Irene Dicke in memory of her late husband. The scholarship still is supported today by their grandson James F. Dicke II and his wife, Janet S. Dicke. James and Janet Dicke also are members of the President’s Circle of donors and currently support six OWU students who are Horatio Alger Scholars.

The couple’s Ohio Wesleyan legacy continues to grow with their latest gift: a $1.5 million contribution to fully fund construction of the Jim and Eilleen Dicke House, a small living unit (SLU) student residence named in memory of James Dicke’s parents.

When it opens in the fall, the duplex-style building, or “SLUplex,” will house 24 students (12 per side) in themed living-and-learning environments that enable students to reside with others who share similar academic and civic interests.

“Ohio Wesleyan is honored by the generosity of the Dicke family, especially Jim and Janet,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “They embody the type of active, involved citizenship that we value and nurture in our students, and that we support through our unique small living units. Jim and Janet are wonderful role models for these students and, indeed, for everyone.”

James Dicke is chairman and chief executive officer of Crown Equipment Corp., one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of forklift trucks and materials-handling equipment. With its global headquarters in New Bremen, Crown Equipment has 18 manufacturing facilities worldwide, more than 13,000 employees, and more than 500 retail locations in 84 countries. It is one of the “Forbes 400” largest private companies.

Dicke also is the recipient of a national Horatio Alger Award, recognizing his “personal initiative and perseverance, leadership and commitment to excellence, belief in the free-enterprise system and the importance of higher education, community service, and the vision and determination to achieve a better future.”

In November, Ohio Wesleyan awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his exemplary leadership and contributions to the betterment of the world. An honorary degree is the highest award bestowed by the university.

Janet Dicke’s community involvement includes serving as a trustee for the couple’s alma mater, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Ohio Wesleyan Life Trustee Robert Gillespie, Class of 1966, lifelong friend of the Dicke family and chairman emeritus of KeyCorp, said the couple’s latest gift to OWU is typical of their vision and generosity.

“Jim and Janet are well-known for their support of higher education, the arts, and other civic causes,” Gillespie said. “When they talked with Ohio Wesleyan students and learned how integral the small living units were to the students’ OWU experiences, Jim and Janet immediately knew they wanted to support SLU construction.”

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