Ohio Wesleyan University’s “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” fundraising campaign has reached $100 million in gifts and commitments – marking the halfway point toward its $200 million goal.
The seven-year campaign, launched in its “leadership phase” in July 2014, is the largest single fundraising initiative in Ohio Wesleyan’s history, university officials said. The effort includes emphasis on advancing “The OWU Connection,” an approach to student learning that links academic theory with real-world practice; crosses academic department boundaries to support interconnected learning; and prepares students for global citizenship and leadership, they said.
“We have described The OWU Connection as liberal arts for the 21st century,” said President Rock Jones, “and we are honored that our alumni, parents, and friends have responded so quickly and powerfully with philanthropic support for the initiative with their gifts to the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign.”
In addition to providing support for The OWU Connection, supporters of the campaign have helped grow the university endowment with an emphasis on scholarship and faculty support, underwrite new curricular initiatives, and fund important building projects.
To reach the $100 million milestone, the university has received some of the largest gifts and commitments in its history, including several valued at more than $5 million. These include:
• $10 million from Louis A. Simpson, OWU Class of 1958, and his wife, Kimberly K. Querrey, including $8 million to help renovate Edwards Gymnasium and build the new Simpson Querrey Fitness Center; and $2 million to create the Louis A. Simpson ’58 Endowed Faculty Director for The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship.
• $8 million from an anonymous alumni couple to fund the full restoration of Merrick Hall, previously closed for nearly 30 years. The contribution, which at the time represented the largest single outright gift in Ohio Wesleyan history, allowed the historic building to be transformed into the high-tech home of The OWU Connection.
• $5 million from the Kathryn Bradford Milligan and John Milligan to create the John and Kathryn Bradford Milligan ’83/’83 Endowed Fund for The OWU Connection.
Ohio Wesleyan will launch the public phase of its campaign in September 2017, in conjunction with the 175th anniversary celebration of its 1842 founding.