Otterbein University

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Otterbein University
Otterbein University logo.png
Former names
Otterbein University
(1847–1917; 2010–present)
Otterbein College (1917–2010)
Type Private liberal arts college
Established 1847
Affiliation United Methodist
President Kathy Krendl
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2,342 (Fall 2014)[1]
Postgraduates 449 (Fall 2014)[1]
Location Westerville, Ohio, United States
Campus 140 acres (0.57 km2)[2]
Colors Tan and Cardinal          
Athletics NCAA Division III - OAC
Nickname Cardinals
Sports 16 varsity sports teams (8 men's and 8 women's)
Mascot Otto the Otter

Otterbein University is a small, highly residential,[3] private, four-year liberal arts college in Westerville, Ohio, United States. It offers 74 majors and 44 minors as well as eight graduate programs.[4] Featured programs include engineering, business management, education, and music, as well as programs and pre-professional advising that prepare students for study in law and medicine.

The university was founded in 1847 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. As a result of a division and two mergers involving the church, the university has since 1968 been associated with the United Methodist Church. The university is named for United Brethren founder the Rev. Philip William Otterbein. In 2010, its name reverted from Otterbein College to Otterbein University to reflect the increasing array of graduate and undergraduate programs offered.[5]

It is primarily an undergraduate institution with approximately 2,300 undergraduate and 450 graduate students on the campus.[1] Otterbein has over 100 student organizations and a popular Greek presence. The school's mascot is Cardy the Cardinal and the school is a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference in Division III athletics.[6]


Otterbein University was founded in 1847 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. As a result of a division and two mergers involving the Church, the university has since 1968 been associated with the United Methodist Church. The University is named for United Brethren founder the Rev. Philip William Otterbein.


The Otterbein campus is located in Westerville, Ohio. It sits between Alum Creek on the west and State Street (Ohio State Route 3) on the east. West Home Street, which runs through the center of campus, is the address of most of the college's homes and student residence halls (such as 25 [Suite Style Residence], Mayne Hall, Hanby Hall, and Clements Hall),[7] as well as the Campus Center. The north end of the campus is home to most underclassman housing, the health and physical education department, athletic facilities, as well as the Clements Recreation Center. Overall, the Campus occupies 140 acres (0.57 km2) [8]

Towers Hall[edit]

Towers Hall is the oldest building on campus and is designated as a national landmark. Towers Hall is a 55,619 square foot structure that was opened in 1871 and renovated in 1998. A gallery of portraits of former Otterbein presidents is located on the second floor. Towers Hall houses the Departments of English, History and Political Science, Religion and Philosophy, Foreign Language, Sociology, and Mathematical Sciences.

The Frank Museum of Art[edit]

The Frank Museum of Art houses Otterbein's collection of art from Africa, Japan and New Guinea. The museum is located in the former "Church House" (39 S. Vine St.) of Lillian Frank, who taught at Otterbein for 29 years in the areas of art, theology and philosophy. Upon her death, the structure was given for the purpose of creating a museum for the University's collection. The building was originally built in 1877, opened as a museum in the winter 2004, and is 2,170 square feet.

Rike Recreation Center[edit]

The Rike Recreation Center is an athletic complex containing a varsity basketball court, an in-door track and practice courts, a weight room, an all-purpose area, offices and classrooms. The complex also includes outdoor softball, baseball and soccer fields, along with tennis courts. The complex was completed in 1975 and has 72,500 square feet. The domed roof encloses an intercollegiate hardwood basketball floor with seating for 3,100.

Memorial Stadium[edit]

Memorial Stadium is Otterbein's football stadium. The stadium contains state-of-the-art locker rooms, a training room and an equipment room. The stadium also has a 400-meter outdoor track. The stadium was rebuilt in 2005 and has 32,000 square feet.


25 W. Home Street[edit]

Opened in the fall of 2008, 25 W. Home Street is one of Otterbein's recent renovation projects. It is home to 192 upperclass men and women, eight Resident Assistants, and one Hall Director. 25 W. Home Street features double rooms connected to another double room via a shared bathroom.

Clements Hall[edit]

Clements Hall houses 111 men and women, six Resident Assistants, and one Hall Director. Most of the rooms are doubles.

Commons Apartments on Home and Park Street[edit]

Both Commons buildings feature suite-style apartment housing for juniors and seniors that is conveniently located on campus. The Commons apartments are fully furnished and offer private bedrooms, a living room, dining room, full kitchen, full bath, and a half bath. There are 47 total units available in the two complexes including 41 four-person apartments, one one-person apartment, two two-person apartments, and three three-person apartments. ADA accessible apartments are available. Students may select Summer + Academic Year leases, which begin the second Monday after graduation, or Academic Year leases, which begin the day before classes begin in the fall, depending on which building they select. One building in each complex is off-line each summer for renovations.

Davis Hall and Davis Annex[edit]

This residence hall complex houses first-year and upperclass men and women. Most rooms are doubles. The Davis Complex consists of two separate buildings: Davis Hall, home of 110 first year and upperclass men and women as well as six Resident Assistants; and Davis Annex, which accommodates 56 women and two Resident Assistants. One Hall Director is in charge of the entire complex.

Devore Hall[edit]

DeVore Hall is one of Otterbein's newest residence halls. It is home to 168 upperclass men and women, six Resident Assistants, and one Hall Director. DeVore Hall features limited single rooms (with their own bath) and double rooms connected to another double room via a shared bathroom

Dunlap King Hall[edit]

Dunlap King Hall is dedicated to arts appreciation housing for first-year and upperclass men and women. Students choosing to live here should be interested in the arts but are not required to be art, music, or theatre majors. Four triple rooms are on the third floor and all other rooms are doubles. DK is the oldest residence hall on campus. It houses 96 first year and upperclass men and women, four Resident Assistants and one Hall Director.

Engle, Garst & Scott Halls (The Triad)[edit]

The Triad is a complex consisting of three buildings for first year and upperclass students: Scott Hall, home of 32 women and two Resident Assistants; Engle Hall, home of 44 men and two Resident Assistants; and Garst Hall, home of two Resident Assistants and 72 men. Other than two single rooms in Garst Hall, all rooms in the Triad buildings are doubles.

Hanby Hall[edit]

Hanby Hall accommodates 117 first year men and women, six Resident Assistants and one Assistant Director of Residence Life. Three triple rooms are available in Hanby Hall, in addition to double rooms.

Mayne Hall[edit]

Mayne Hall is the home for 149 first year and upperclass men and women, seven Resident Assistants and one Hall Director. Mayne Hall features double rooms and is home to the Honors housing program. First year and upperclass students enrolled in the Honors program are eligible to live in Mayne and attend special programs planned especially for Honors students.


University rankings
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[9] 14

Otterbein is a liberal arts college and requires students to take a broad variety of courses.[10] It offers B.A., B.S., B.F.A., B.Mus., B.M.E., B.S.E., B.S.N., MAE, MBA, or MSN degrees in 56 majors and 41 minors.[11] Since Fall 2011, the university has run on the semester calendar. Otterbein University's graduate school features programs in business administration (MBA), nursing, education, Educational mathematics, and science in allied health.

School of Art & Sciences[edit]

The School of Arts and Sciences houses departments and programs in: art, biological science, biochemistry & molecular biology, chemistry, communications, earth science, English, English as a second language, history, mathematical sciences, modern languages & cultures, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion, sociology & anthropology, and theatre & dance. Otterbein is strong in philosophy, physics, environmental studies, ecology, and evolution. Otterbein also has strong programs in theatre, dance, music, and film whereby students work closely with experienced professionals. Twenty-eight percent of Otterbein students study abroad. The University sponsors semester-long programs in four locations—London, England; Barbados; Paris, France; and Madrid, Spain—and several short-term summer programs in locations such as Nicaragua, all of which are staffed by Otterbein professors. Students can also choose to study in a variety of other countries through alternative providers. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1.

School of Professional Studies[edit]

The School of Professional Studies houses departments and programs in business, accounting & economics, education, equine science, health & sports sciences, and nursing.


Otterbein's Center for Community Engagement has been honored by the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor roll for five consecutive years. Every year, more than 50,000 hours are donated by Otterbein students through the Center for Community Engagement. Approximately 80% of the student body participated in community service in 2011-12. In addition, 60 service-learning courses enrolled over 1,000 students that same year.

Rankings and admission[edit]

In its 2012 edition of "America's Best Colleges", Otterbein was ranked 14th in the "Regional Universities (Midwest)" category by U.S. News & World Report.[12] U.S. News & World Report classifies its selectivity as "more selective."[13] Other awards include: President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 6 straight years,[14]

Theatre and art program[edit]

Professional training is offered in the areas of Acting, Design/Technology, and Musical Theatre with BFA degrees offered in all three programs and a dance concentration in the latter. A BA degree in Theatre is also available, which allows students to tailor the major to suit interests in directing, writing, and stage management among others. In addition the department offers a rigorous dance minor. Otterbein University Theatre and Otterbein Summer Theatre stage nine shows a year. Plays range from classical Shakespearean dramas and British comedies to full-scale musicals and experimental works. The department also presents an annual dance concert designed by many of the university's choreographers. Three galleries feature art by students, faculty and guest artists, as well as pieces from Otterbein's permanent collection. The Otterbein Signature Series has hosted notable visiting artists including acclaimed independent filmmaker Gus Van Sant and Joel Meyerowitz, whose photography of Ground Zero after September 11, 2001 has traveled the world.

Music program[edit]

The Department of Music at Otterbein offers the degrees of Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, and Bachelor of Arts in a number of majors including performance, music business, music history and literature, jazz studies, music education, and general music studies. The music program at Otterbein includes many diverse ensembles of different sizes, as well as an opera theatre program. The most prestigious touring ensembles are Concert Choir, Symphonic Band, and String Orchestra, which tour nationally and internationally. Other ensembles include Marching Band, Opus One vocal jazz, Six in the City, Women's Chorale, Camerata, Otterbein Singers, The Anticipations contemporary band, Jazz Combo, and Early Music. The music department is housed in Battelle Fine Arts Center.


The Otterbein Cardinals compete in NCAA Division III, as a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference. Otterbein's traditional opponents include: Baldwin Wallace University, Capital University, Heidelberg University, John Carroll University, Marietta College, University of Mount Union, Muskingum University, Ohio Northern University, and Wilmington College. They sponsor twelve men's and twelve women's varsity sports, including:

  • Baseball (men)
  • Basketball (men/women)
  • Cheerleading (coed)
  • Cross country (men/women)
  • Football (men)
  • Golf (men/women)
  • Hockey (men/women)
  • Lacrosse (men/women)
  • Soccer (men/women)
  • Softball (women)
  • Tennis (men/women)
  • Track and field (men/women)
  • Volleyball (women)
  • Wrestling (men)

Greek life[edit]

Otterbein's history of social Greek organization dates back 1908, when members of the debate society started Pi Beta Sigma Fraternity, with Sigma Alpha Tau Sorority founded in 1910. 12 of the 14 Greek chapters on campus are local, meaning they were founded and exist only at Otterbein. There are six sororities and eight fraternities at Otterbein, and all six sororities are local, while six fraternities are local and two are national. Within their Greek Life they have two of the oldest independent chapters in the U.S., Pi Beta Sigma and Pi Kappa Phi (not connected to the national Pi Kappa Phi).

Panhellenic Sororities at Otterbein:

Sigma Alpha Tau (ΣΑΤ), Tau Epsilon Mu (ΤΕΜ), Epsilon Kappa Tau (ΕΚΤ), Theta Nu (ΘΝ), Tau Delta (ΤΔ), and Kappa Phi Omega (ΚΦΩ)

IntraFraternity Council Fraternities at Otterbein:

Local: Pi Beta Sigma (ΠΒΣ), Pi Kappa Phi (ΠΚΦ), Sigma Delta Phi (ΣΔΦ), Eta Phi Mu (ΗΦΜ), Lambda Gamma Epsilon (ΛΓΕ), and Zeta Phi (ΖΦ)

National: Alpha Sigma Phi (ΑΣΦ) and Phi Delta Theta (ΦΔΘ)


WOBN, whose frequency 97.5 FM, is Otterbein's student-run radio station, playing college rock for Otterbein and surrounding Westerville. WOBN is the flagship of Otterbein Sports, covering many of the games for basketball, football, and baseball.

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]




External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°07′33″N 82°56′10″W / 40.12573°N 82.93613°W / 40.12573; -82.93613