Ottawa University

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For the university in Ottawa, Ontario, see University of Ottawa.
Ottawa University
Ottawa University Seal
Motto Veritas vos liberabit
Motto in English
The Truth Will Set You Free
Established 1865
Type Private
President Kevin Eichner
Vice-president Clark Ribordy
Provost Terry Haines
Rector Rev. Dr. Roger Fredrikson
Vice-Presidents Jack Maxwell
Nancy Wingert
(Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer)
Paul Bean
(University Advancement)
Students 630 (main)
Undergraduates 600 main
Postgraduates 30 main
Location 1001 S. Cedar Street
Ottawa, KS 66067

38°36′09″N 95°15′56″W / 38.602589°N 95.265542°W / 38.602589; -95.265542Coordinates: 38°36′09″N 95°15′56″W / 38.602589°N 95.265542°W / 38.602589; -95.265542
Colors      Gold
Athletics Ottawa Braves
Sports 18 Varsity Sports
Nickname Braves
Ottawa University (Kansas) Logo.png

Ottawa University (OU) is a private, non-profit, faith-based liberal arts college located in Ottawa, Kansas, United States. It was founded in 1865 and is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA. Ottawa has approximately 600 students on its main campus, with a total of about 7,000 students across all of its campuses and online.[1]


Tauy Jones Building is Ottawa University's oldest building, built in 1869.

The University's roots can be found in the work of Baptist missionaries in collaboration with the Tribe then located on the banks of the Marais des Cygnes ("river of swans") in what would become the town of Ottawa, Kansas, located approximately 40 miles southwest of Kansas City. Reverend Jotham Meeker and his wife, Eleanor, labored to improve the lives of the Ottawas, serving as ministers, nurse and doctor, business agents, marriage counselors, teachers, and as spiritual counselors in the mid-1800s. Their seminal work, the vision of tribal leaders, and the engagement of others such as John Tecumseh (Tauy) Jones led to an eventual agreement between the Kansas Baptist denomination and the Ottawa Tribe to form a school for the benefit of the children of the Ottawas.[1]

The original intent was to charter a boarding school for "the children of the Tribe between the ages of six and eighteen who shall be entitled to be received at such institution, and to be subsisted, clothed, educated, and attended in continue so long as any children of the tribe shall present themselves for their exercise." The Tribe endowed 20,000 acres of its land to be utilized in lieu of a cash endowment to support the fledgling institution, which had no other means of income. Operating funds were to be received through the sale of land subject to various terms and conditions. In exchange, the Baptists agreed to build and operate the school with a promise to provide the free education contemplated in the agreement. A board was formed, operations undertaken, and the idea of the initial school soon extended to the formation of a college, motivated by the desire for higher education for tribal members, the Baptists, and the recognition by townspeople that a college could act as an economic growth engine in a still emerging community with great ambitions. Similar institutions were seeded all over America in the same general timeframe by many different church denominations. This accounts for the relatively large number of smaller private colleges and universities which dot the landscape of our country to this day.[1]

While the purposes and aspirations of the new college were noble, not all of the actions of those initially involved were equally so. Though instructed by a treaty personally signed by President Abraham Lincoln, governance of the new board was at times loose and there were intimations of self-dealing related to some of the land sales. The new school struggled in the general environment of a still settling frontier, the aftermath of the Civil War, ongoing aggrandizement of Indian lands by whites (including some of that of the Ottawas, who later moved to Miami, Oklahoma where tribal headquarters remains today), and roving bands of marauders and partisans (Quantrill's raiders had killed 150 Lawrence citizens just three years earlier in an infamous raid just 20 miles to the north of Ottawa). Poor oversight and accounting practices led to the diminishment of some of the lands originally intended to support the school, but these and other difficulties were eventually overcome as new leadership was interjected into the governance of the institution allowing the nascent college to persevere.[1]


Aerial view of Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas

The main campus is located in Ottawa, Kansas and is referred to as the "Residential College" or "The College" by the staff.

In addition to the residential college, OU has adult campuses in Overland Park, Kansas; Phoenix and Chandler, Arizona; Brookfield, Wisconsin; and Jeffersonville, Indiana.[2]


Ottawa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Its education programs in Kansas are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Kansas State Department of Education.[3]

Academic profile[edit]

Today, Ottawa University offers bachelor's degree programs in over 25 disciplines. A Master of Business Administration as well as Master of Arts programs in Human Resources, Counseling and Education are also available.

The following bachelor's degree programs are offered at the school:[4]

  • Accounting
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English
  • History
  • Human Services
  • Individualized
  • Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Religion
  • Sociology

Research and cultural resources[edit]

Department of Church Relations[edit]

The Department of Church Relations maintains the university's long-standing relationship with the clergy and churches within the American Baptist Churches USA. Church Relations also works to recruit students from American Baptist Churches across the country.[5]

Forensics, Music, drama and other events[edit]

Ottawa University is the Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Delta,[6] the national speech and debate honorary. In 1913, Ottawa became the founding member and continues to invest in forensic activities 100 years later. The Music and Drama department offer productions for the community and serve as host for community related events.


Main article: Ottawa Braves
Official logo for athletics.

Ottawa University teams are known as the Braves, The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). The school provides nine intercollegiate sports for men, nine intercollegiate sports for women, and a varied intramural program.[7] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track & field, tennis, wrestling, and lacrosse; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, and lacrosse. The school is the home of recently renovated Peoples Bank Field.

Student life[edit]

Ottawa views attending college as an opportunity to interact with people, learn new skills and discover new talents.[8] The university offers over 30 student groups, clubs and organizations, including a radio station and the oldest student-run newspaper in Kansas, The Campus. Additionally, the school offers drama, music, honor societies, campus ministry opportunities, and other activities.[9]

Fight Song[edit]

O'er The Stands is the official fight song for Ottawa University.[10]


O’er the stands of shining yellow[10]
OU’s banners fly;[10]
Cheer on cheer like volley’d thunder[10]
Echoes to the sky.[10]
See, the OU tide is turning,[10]
Gaining more and more.[10]
Then fight, fight, fight,[10]
For we win tonight:[10]
OU forever more.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]