We all have our little favorite memories, moments, and places at Otterbein. One of mine is at the back of Towers Hall, on the southwest corner of the building. In the mulch by the building are daylilies and I have noticed these particular daylilies are Otterbein’s first sign of spring. Their green shoots are the first to appear in February and their flowers the first to bloom in March. Seeing those green shoots appear is a better predictor than any groundhog that spring is coming.
And now it is here! Spring on campus is a frantic schedule of celebrations, performances, honorary inductions, and countless other events designed to mark the end of another school year, and for the Class of 2023 the culmination of their Otterbein education. It is exhilarating and all builds up to graduation day.
You will find some of that same energy in the pages of this magazine. Otterbein has so much going on, it can seem a little dizzying at times. But, it is all an expansion and celebration of what has always made this place so special. You can read more about the remarkable Class of 2023 — those whose first year on campus was cut short by a pandemic.
You will learn about how our great faculty are working across departments and disciplines to create dynamic student learning experiences. And, of course, there are always campus leaders to highlight — past and present — who have transformed Otterbein and all the lives we touch.
Leadership has always mattered. Otterbein is leading again in higher education. We are meeting the full cost of tuition for lower income students — without loans. While other schools talk about affordability, we are walking the walk.
Our formation of an independent university system is also garnering a great deal of attention. I have been asked to speak at several higher education conferences and find colleagues across the country that know of Otterbein, know of our innovative spirit, and want to learn more. We have a growing list of other institutions interested in joining the effort to expand access for adult learners and so far, the Higher Learning Commission and other regulatory bodies have been supportive.
There is a lot going on and it can feel a little overwhelming at times. But, we can each do our part — starting with my favorite daylily telling me spring is coming. And nothing can stop Otterbein when we are all pulling together.
John L. Comerford, Ph.D.