Letter from President Comerford, Spring 2024

​Dear Alumni and Friends,
I’ve discovered the spot where the first shoots of green appear on campus. It always gives me hope that we’re almost through another long, gray Ohio winter. It’s also a reminder of renewal. The flowers grow back every year in this spot. They may grow a little differently, but they come back every year.

This is a reminder to me about life at Otterbein. Some things are constant, like Towers Hall. It’s always standing there. But like flowers that grow differently, the things that happen around Towers are also changing and evolving. Much like the news you’ll read about in this issue of Towers — some things are constant, and some things are evolving.

Faculty excellence.

  • I know you’ll enjoy reading about some of our newest award winning professors who have been recognized by their peers and students. I often hear stories from you about how one of your professors made all the difference. These faculty members are creative and impressive in how they are challenging and guiding our students.
  • The tradition of sabbaticals is an idea rooted in renewal. Sabbaticals give faculty members time to focus their expertise and curiosity to test an idea, to create something new, to travel, or to enrich knowledge for their discipline or in new learning experiences for their students. News of this kind of work will remind you why learning is different at Otterbein.

Student opportunity.

  • Another Otterbein constant: our students. We’re always proud to recognize a small group of our graduating seniors. The Class of 2024 started here amidst a global pandemic, but they leave resilient and ready to do big things. Not only are they accomplished, they’ve benefitted from the scholarship support made possible by you. I know I’m biased, but if you want to invest in doing something good for the future — you’ll never go wrong by investing in Otterbein students.

A more just society.

  • Otterbein’s commitment to opportunity and equity was celebrated alongside the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at our annual convocation. Shawn Harper, a former NFL athlete and our keynote speaker, challenged students to show leadership and courage in building the kind of community we all want. As you’ll also read, Antioch University has joined Otterbein in the national work of serving as a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus. I’m proud that Otterbein was the first school in Ohio to earn this designation in 2020. You’ll also read about ways things are growing and changing that may look different than the past but are no less rooted in Otterbein values and traditions.

Renovations for the Campus Center.

  • Plans for more renovations to the Campus Center are underway as Phase Two shifts our attention to the student dining experience on the second floor. While that means the space you remember will look different — the vision driving this work is to create a refreshed space that still brings students together. It’s a new dining program, a new flow, a new kitchen, and a new layout — but memories of students around the table laughing with friends or studying for class are still on the menu.

The Coalition for the Common Good.

  • Finally, we’re answering questions we know you have about Otterbein’s co-founding of the Coalition for the Common Good. I’m eager to continue sharing more with you about why Otterbein is doing this, why Antioch University (not Antioch College) is the right partner, and how this allows us to focus on what Otterbein does best. We’ll keep on changing lives through a meaningful, residential undergraduate experience while our partner takes Otterbein graduate programs to a bigger audience of adult learners and professionals.

Spring is coming and I look forward to renewal and working together to grow all the possibilities that Otterbein inspires.


John L. Comerford, Ph.D.

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