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Otterbein Names New STEAM Innovation Center and Announces Major Gift

October 01, 2016
Otterbein University

New center will be called The Point at Otterbein University; $1 million gift from the Clements Foundation helps Otterbein surpass $31 million in campaign.

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University has announced the official name and a major gift at the grand opening of its STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Innovation Center.

At a wire cutting ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 1, officials announced the STEAM Innovation Center would be named The Point at Otterbein University. 

“The point has meaning in mathematics, engineering, technology and science, as well as art,” said Executive Director Erin Bender. “We thought of how this space is also a starting point, a launching point and a point of innovation. We thought of the design of this space and the peak that points the way to the entrance to this space, while also suggesting a convergence of numerous elements meeting to form a point.”

“This building is a purposeful intersection of the best principles and strengths that education, industry, business, research and government each bring to the mix. The work that happens here will offer students, corporations and community partners alike new points of view about how things can and should work,” said Otterbein President Kathy Krendl.

Seventy-five members of the Otterbein and extended community submitted names to the naming contest for the building. New Albany resident Jill McCullough, Otterbein class of 1989 and assistant director of wellness education and summer conferences in Otterbein’s Division of Student Affairs, submitted the idea that inspired the new name.

In addition to the new name, officials announced a major gift to the University’s “Where We STAND Matters” campaign. The Vida S. Clements Foundation is giving $1 million to support The Point. With this gift, Otterbein has surpassed the $31 million part in the campaign. 

Combined with a Turf and Track gift of $800,000, the Clements Foundation has provided the largest foundation gift to the campaign to date — over $1.8 million. Westerville residents Dr. William “Doc” Freeman, class of 1957, and Elmer “Bud” Yoest, class of 1953 and foundation board member, represented the foundation at grand opening ceremony and at half-time during the University’s Homecoming game that afternoon.

“This $1 million leadership gift will support the development of the facility and the innovative concept we are here to celebrate today,” said Krendl. “It is yet one more powerful example of the legacy that Frank Clements established as an innovator ahead of his time and the philanthropic vision Vida Clements established.” 

The Clements Foundation has supported numerous projects at Otterbein over the years, including the Clements Recreation Center and Roush Hall. The foundation has also made gifts in support of the Music Department, Chemistry Department, Physics Department, tours of the Concert Choir and Otterbein Marching Band and the band uniform drive. With its gifts to the current campaign, the Clements Foundation’s total giving to Otterbein exceeds $7 million.

Otterbein’s students and faculty will with businesses and industry experts in the center to explore, test, invent and create new ideas for the future while getting hands-on experience that will lead to job creation and economic development for the state of Ohio. The center’s programming will engage the K-12 and two-year public education communities in developing a pipeline of students to help fill the region’s workforce needs. 

“The Point represents an opportunity to engage in experiential learning in a way that students simply cannot do at any other institution — working side by with faculty and business partners. It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Bender.

At the ceremony, President Krendl took time to thank the many partners, including the City of Westerville, for their support, which allowed the center to open in a timeline that is responsive to the market. 

“We are opening the doors to this place within one year of its approval. A feat like that is ONLY possible when you have the right partners, in the right position at the right time,” she said. 

For more information, visit The Point’s new website at See updates about the event at #otterbeinsteam. Visit Otterbein’s Flickr gallery for photos from the day’s events.

About the Campaign

Seeking to change the culture of philanthropy in support of the University’s future, Otterbein launched the largest campaign in the University’s history, the “Where We STAND Matters” campaign, to the public in September 2014. It has raised more than $31 million to date. The campaign will support three funding priorities: campus renewal; access and affordability; and building a model community. Campus renewal supports master planning and facilities updates and additions. Building a model community provides resources for departments, programs, faculty and students with funds for research, internships, travel and more. Access and affordability provides funds for new scholarships to make it possible for students — regardless of their financial circumstances — to receive a quality Otterbein education.

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