Ottawa University

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Ottawa University
Ottawa University seal.svg
Former names
Roger Williams University
Veritas vos liberabit
Motto in English
The Truth Will Set You Free
Endowment$14.3 million (2016)[1]
ChancellorKevin Eichner
PresidentReggies Wenyika
ProvostTerry Haines
RectorJohn Holzhüter
Location, ,
United States

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
ColorsBlack and Gold
Sporting affiliations
Ottawa University wordmark.svg

Ottawa University (OU) is a private Baptist liberal arts university in Ottawa, Kansas and satellite campuses in several locations throughout the Unites States. It was founded in 1865 and is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA. Ottawa has approximately 700 students on its residential campus in Ottawa, 500 on its residential campus in Surprise, and about 4,000 students across all of its campuses and online.[2]


The origins of Ottawa University date back to the 1860s when Baptist missionaries established the First Baptist Church in the area that would eventually develop into Ottawa, which at the time was occupied by Native Americans. Elsewhere, Kansas Baptists had managed to charter an institute of higher learning that they were planning on calling the "Roger Williams University". In the early 1860s, they were looking for a place to establish it and at the 1860 Baptist State Convention in Atchison, Kansas, Rev. John Tecumseh "Tauy" Jones made a case for the university coming to Ottawa; he proposed that the Baptists work with the Native Americans in the area, who had land that they might be willing to sell for the purpose of creating a college. After discussions with the Native Americans—who were amenable to the idea—it was agreed that 20,000 acres of land would be set aside for the express purpose of constructing a college. On August 20, 1862, the first board of trustees (made up of four Native Americans and two white Baptists) met and decided to purchase 5,000 acres of the aforementioned land so as to establish a campus. In 1865, the name "Roger Williams University" was decommissioned in favor of "Ottawa University". Eventually, the campus was whittled down to about 640 acres.[3]


Aerial view of Ottawa University
Tauy Jones Hall is Ottawa University's oldest building, built in 1869.

The original campus is in Ottawa, Kansas and is referred to as OUKS.

A second residential campus opened in August 2017 in Surprise, Arizona, and is referred to OUAZ.

In addition to the residential college, OU has adult campuses in Overland Park, Kansas; Phoenix, Surprise and Queen Creek, Arizona; Brookfield, Wisconsin; and Jeffersonville, Indiana.[4]


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.[5]


Ottawa University offers bachelor's degree programs in more than 25 disciplines. Current graduate program offerings include Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Education (MAEd), Master of Arts in Human Resources (MAHR), and Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC).

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school as the 3rd-highest regional private college in Kansas; the site also ranked Ottawa University as 42 out of 150 in a ranking of Midwest Regional Colleges.[6]

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.[7]

Forensics, music, drama and other events[edit]

Ottawa University is the Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Delta,[8] the national speech and debate honorary. In 1913, Ottawa became the founding member and continues to invest in forensic activities over 100 years later.

The Music and Drama Departments offer productions for the community and serve as host for community related events.


OUKS 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 eleven intercollegiate sports for men, ten intercollegiate sports for women, and a varied intramural programs.[9] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling, while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, track & field, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

OUAZ teams are known as the Spirit. They are also a member of the NAIA and most of the athletic programs compete in the Golden State Athletics Conference (GSAC); football will compete in the Sooner Athletic Conference. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Women's sports include: basketball, beach volleyball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

Student life[edit]

Ottawa views attending college as an "opportunity to interact with people, learn new skills and discover new talents".[10] The campus in Ottawa offers over 30 student groups, clubs and organizations, including the oldest student-run newspaper in Kansas, The Campus. The school offers drama, music, honor societies, campus ministry opportunities, and other activities.[11]

The campus in Surprise offers music ensembles, academic and professional clubs, campus ministries, and club teams such as bowling, lacrosse and outdoor adventures.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ottawa University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Ottawa University History and Ottawa Tribe Heritage". Ottawa University. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Connelley, William (1919). A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. 2. Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 1041–2.
  4. ^ "Adult Education". Ottawa University. Retrieved October 4, 2017. Note: However over the tab reading "Locations" to see campus locations.
  5. ^ "University Accreditation". Ottawa University. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Best Regional Colleges Midwest Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2017. Archived from the original on October 4, 2017. Note: U.S. News & World Report ranks regional colleges and universities separately.
  7. ^ "Church Relations". Ottawa University. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009.
  8. ^ Norton, L. E. "The History of Pi Kappa Delta" (PDF). Speech and Debate. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "Ottawa Braves". Ottawa University Braves. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  10. ^ "Student Life". Ottawa University. Archived from the original on July 2, 2007.
  11. ^ "Fast Facts". Ottawa University. Archived from the original on July 2, 2007.

External links[edit]