Welcome to Ottawa University! Ours is an institution with a proud 143 year heritage of educating adults and students of traditional ages for lifetimes of faith, service, leadership and significance. From our founding in 1865 in Ottawa, Kansas, we have grown to an institution today that serves over 7,000 students through our residential campus in Ottawa, our adult and professional studies campuses in Phoenix, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and the Louisville/Jeffersonville areas, and our burgeoning online programs. We offer a robust curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels which is constantly being updated and enhanced to make the greatest possible impact on the lives of our students.
We are student-centered, rooted firmly in teaching excellence, value-priced and technology-enabled. We expect to be an extraordinarily effective and distinctive institution of higher learning which is pursuing its mission within caring, Christ-inspired communities of grace characterized by collegiality, openness, and inclusiveness. Whether you are a prospective student, alumnus, donor, friend, trustee or associate of the University, you will find in this website a wealth of information. Enjoy navigating it, and let us know how we can be of service to you. It will be our pleasure and honor.
Ottawa University is proud of its heritage and rich history. Our roots stem from a desire to provide educational opportunities to under-served populations.
From 1837 to 1855, Baptist missionaries Reverend Jotham Meeker and his wife, Eleanor, devoted themselves to improving the lives of the Ottawa Indians and inspiring a hunger for education and Christianity. After the Meekers' deaths, John Tecumseh (Tauy) Jones carried on the Meekers' commitment to the tribe. Serving as an interpreter and Baptist minister, he was responsible for arranging a meeting between the Baptists and the Ottawa Indians, which led to the development of Ottawa University.
The Ottawa Indians donated 20,000 acres for a university to ensure the education of their children. In exchange, the Baptists agreed to build and operate the school with a promise to provide free education to the Ottawa Indians. In 2008, Ottawa University expanded the agreement with the Ottawa Tribe, wherein tribal members may attend any of OU's five campuses or OU-Online, in either the undergraduate or graduate program, free of charge - including room, board, and fees.
After delays due to the Civil War, Ottawa University was officially established in 1865. The first building, erected on campus in the spring of 1869, was destroyed by fire in 1875. However, through generous support of the community, it was rebuilt in 1876. It stands today, appropriately named Tauy Jones Hall. The first commencement was held in 1886, with the graduation of one student. Throughout it's over 140-year history, the original campus in Ottawa, Kansas has enjoyed many changes and additions to become the beautiful campus it is today. The original college in Ottawa, Kansas serves as our residential campus offering a variety of programs, 14 varsity sports and 30 on-campus student organizations including the oldest student-run newspaper in Kansas.