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 9,000 across all campuses.
From 1837 to 1855, Reverend Jotham and Elanor Meeker worked to improve the lives of the Ottawa Native Americans. Their work with the tribe inspired "a hunger for education and Christianity." Another missionary, John Tecumseh (Tauy) Jones continued the Meekers' commitment to the tribe after the Meeker's death. Jones worked and served as an interpreter and Baptist minister. Through his efforts, he was able to set up a meeting between the Baptists and the Ottawa Indians.
The meeting resulting in the Ottawa Tribe donated 20,000 acres (81 km2) for "a university to ensure the education of their children." The Baptists agreed to build and also to operate the school and promised "free education to the Ottawa Indians." Ottawa University offers tuition-free undergraduate education to any enrolled member of the Ottawa Tribe.
Ottawa University was officially established in 1865. The first building on campus was destroyed by fire in 1875 and was rebuilt in 1876. That building, Tauy Jones Hall, is still standing.
Ottawa University was one of the early schools promoting adult education in the United States and opened its first adult campus in Kansas City in 1974. Additional campuses centering on the demands of working adults have been established in Arizona (1977), Wisconsin (1992) and Indiana (2002). Degree-completion programs were also developed internationally beginning in 1986.
The agreement and land trade with the Ottawa tribe came under criticism in the 1800s. Critics argued that the tribe gave up its land and all its wealth, then was moved hundreds of miles away and the university was only used for the benefit of white people. A group of white men gained control of the board of trustees, sold some of the land, the proceeds of which were never accounted for.
Today, Ottawa University offers Bachelor 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:
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.
Research and cultural resources
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.
Ottawa University is the Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, 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.
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 eight intercollegiate sports for men, eight intercollegiate sports for women, and a varied intramural program. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball. The school is the home of recently-renovated Peoples Bank Field.
The main campus is located in Ottawa, Kansas and is referred to as the "Residential 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.
Ottawa views attending college as an opportunity to interact with people, learn new skills and discover new talents. The university offers over 30 student groups, clubs and organizations including a radio station and the oldest student-run newspaper in Kansas. Additionally, the school offers Drama, music, honor societies, campus ministry opportunities, and other activities.
Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are the Ottawa University Fight Song, O'er The Stands. O'er the stands of shining yellow OU banners fly; Cheer on cheer like volley'd thunder echoes through the sky. See, the OU tide is turning, gaining more and more. So fight, fight, fight, for a win tonight: OU forever more.