Founded in 1865, Ottawa University had its beginnings in a boarding school for children of the Ottawa tribe. Baptist missionaries to the American Indians had spent many years providing medical services and education to the Ottawa people before making a treaty and receiving land to form the school. Unfortunately, the vision for the Ottawa school was a casualty of post-Civil War instability, corrupt business dealings, and, ultimately, the removal of the Ottawa tribe to Oklahoma, then the “Indian Territory.” However, Ottawa University persisted, and today OU is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top 50 regional university for the Midwest, and the university has reestablished its historical connection to the Ottawa tribe.
Academic ProgramsThough it began as a traditional liberal arts college, Ottawa University has made its contemporary reputation on excellent professional and career-preparation education, especially its strong and growing programs for adult learners. Ottawa has two residential campuses – the original Ottawa, KS, campus, and a campus in Surprise, AZ – as well as extension centers in Kansas City, Phoenix, and Milwaukee. Ottawa has also become known nationally as an online educator, with 30 fully online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level spread across their four schools.
Ottawa University’s programs are divided into four schools: the Arts & Sciences school handles traditional liberal arts and sciences programs such as English, History, and Mathematics, while the highly regarded School of Education is one of the best teacher preparation programs in the state. In recent years, the Snyder School of Business has achieved AACSB accreditation (the most prestigious business accreditation in the world) and is building a well-earned reputation for excellence, while the School of Health and Applied Sciences has made Ottawa a nationally-known professional and pre-professional educator in areas like nursing, allied health, and computer programming.
Student LifeOttawa is a small college, with just over 600 residential students, though its enrollment is much higher with adult, extension, and online programs. One of the most exciting developments in the last decade is the renewal of Ottawa’s agreement with the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, which allows any member of the tribe to attend the university completely free of charge (tuition, room, and board included). This move has brought a new influx of Native American students to the already diverse college. Ottawa is growing quickly, and its online programs are making the university attractive to students around the nation.
As an American Baptist institution, Ottawa recruits students from Baptist churches and secondary schools across the US and internationally. Traditional-aged residential students on the Ottawa and Surprise campuses enjoy a conventional college life, with numerous student-led organizations and clubs, while each campus has its own distinct varsity sports – the Braves and Lady Braves in Ottawa, and the Spirit in Arizona. With a grounding in Christian values, community service is highly encouraged and woven into the curriculum and student life of both campuses, from missions trips to local charities.