Students Work with CNN on Debate Night Program

As viewers across the United States watched the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, Otterbein was again in the national media spotlight as our students had the opportunity to lend their talents and opinions to a national news production.

CNN came to Otterbein to host a focus group of 14 undecided voters, which included three Otterbein students. Another small group of students helped with field technical support as crew members. Additionally, CNN professionals visited several classes giving students meaningful insight into the work of national media.

This was CNN’s second visit to Otterbein in less than a year. In October 2019, CNN hosted the fourth Democratic primary debate on a stage in Otterbein’s Rike Center. More than 120 students had internships with CNN for that production, while dozens of other students met with The New York Times reporters, participated on panels, assisted with related events, and represented Otterbein to viewers across the country.

Scholarship to Serve Military Families

Devyn Craner ’24

Otterbein is proud to support military families by offering the Otterbein Honoring Service Scholarship to Folds of Honor and Ohio War Orphans recipients. This scholarship will make an Otterbein education more affordable for the children of these families by providing $19,000 toward an undergraduate degree — a 58% discount off Otterbein’s 2020-21 tuition.

“It is truly an honor to provide the Otterbein Honoring Service Scholarship to students whose families have sacrificed so much. Supporting these students not only benefits them, but also the inclusive and diverse Otterbein community they will join,” said Otterbein President John Comerford. “This is one small way in which we can contribute to the common good and honor our own institutional values.”

The first recipient of the Otterbein Honoring Service Scholarship is Devyn Craner, a first-year pre-veterinary major from Navarre, Florida. “It means a lot to me that Otterbein is supporting military families like mine by offering this scholarship. It shows how the university realizes the importance of the role military plays and the sacrifices that they make for our country. It has been a huge blessing to receive it,” she said.

Learn more about the scholarship at Otterbein Honoring Service Scholarship.

Otterbein Students Contribute to Large Youth Voter Turnout

The Otterbein University Center for Community Engagement (CCE) partnered with groups across campus to encourage student voter registration, awareness, and electoral participation with its #otterbeinVOTES initiative. The kick-off for #otterbeinVOTES on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, brought in more than 100 people to learn more about voting in Ohio. “The #otterbeinVOTES campaign is a cross-campus, nonpartisan effort to mobilize our students to participate in the political process, educate themselves about the candidates and issues and vote,” said CCE Director Melissa Gilbert. According to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, 68.7% of Otterbein students were registered to vote and 16.9% voted in 2014. Just four years later, 79.4% were registered to vote and 45.2% voted in the 2018 midterm election.

Sophmore Lindsey Payton was among the student leaders who organized a number of events to generate voter awareness and engagement.

Otterbein Recognized for Excellence in Academics, Civic Engagement

Otterbein University has been collecting honors this fall, as it is recognized in national publications for its programs and values, including Washington Monthly, U.S. News & World Report, and Colleges of Distinction.

Otterbein was named by Washington Monthly as one of America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting 2020 for its high student voter registration and student voting rates, as well as its ongoing efforts. To make the list, schools must have submitted an ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge action plan in 2018 and 2020. Otterbein has received a gold seal from the Challenge for achieving a student voting rate between 40% and 49% in the 2018 Midterm Election.

In the U.S. News & World Report annual guide to “America’s Best Colleges,” Otterbein is ranked in the top 15% among 156 peers in the Regional Universities–Midwest category and 10th in its category for Best Undergraduate Teaching. Additionally, Otterbein was recognized as a Best College for Veterans, Best Value School and A+ School for B Students. See the complete guide at

Otterbein has once again been recognized as one of the nation’s Colleges of Distinction. Otterbein received program-specific recognition in Business, Education, Engineering, Nursing, and Career Development.

Additionally, the Otterbein University-OhioHealth Grant Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia program was named the top nurse anesthesia program in Ohio by, and the Promise House was named the Volunteer Corporate/Organization of the Year for 2019 by the City of Westerville.

Common Book Tackles Tough Topic of Opioid Addiction

Otterbein University’s 2020 Common Book is taking on the complex issue of the opioid epidemic through an interdisciplinary lens. This shared reading experience challenges students to look at all angles of the epidemic throughout the academic year.

This year’s Common Book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by journalist and author Sam Quinones, uses the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, OH, as an entry point to examine the opioid epidemic, which has devastated hundreds of small towns and cities across the country. He weaves together stories of Big Pharma, narcotics investigators, survivors, and more into an examination of the causes and repercussions of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction in America.

Quinones visited campus virtually for classroom discussions and a livestreamed lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 27.