Otterbein and Community Partners Officially Launch as Ohio’s First Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center.

Westerville, OH—As Ohio celebrates Black History Month, Otterbein University has been designated as a valuable community resource in starting conversations about race and social justice in central Ohio and changing the way community members think and talk about race-related issues.

Otterbein has been selected by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) as one of 23 universities to host Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers across the United States. Otterbein is the first institution in Ohio to receive this recognition.

Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at Otterbein

As a Truth, Racial Health and Transformation Campus Center, Otterbein will work with its own campus community as well as the Columbus City and Westerville City school districts to create positive narrative change about race; promote racial healing activities; and erase structural barriers to equal treatment and opportunity. Otterbein believes a deliberate, systematic and public effort of inclusion and healing is possible when everyone works together.

Otterbein President John Comerford stated that diversity and inclusion have been strong pillars at Otterbein since its founding in 1847, but that the university recognizes that there is still work to do. “We believe that higher education should be the great equalizer in our society, so we are grateful to partner with the Association of American Colleges and Universities in this capacity,” said Comerford.

According to Angel Banks ’21, an Otterbein student and president of Otterbein African American Student Union, “Healing from racial traumas is empowering and allows civil engagement with people that have real or perceived differences from you.”

For inquiries, please contact:

Jenny Hill ’05
Director of Communications 

Meet our Speakers

John L. Comerford

President of Otterbein University

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Elizabeth Brown

President Pro Tempore, Columbus City Council

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Valerie Cumming

Vice Mayor, Westerville City Council

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Cheryl Ward

Director, Social-Emotional and Student Support Services, Columbus City Schools

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Rev. Vaughn Bell

Board Member, Board of Education, Westerville City School District

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About Otterbein University

Otterbein University is a private university nationally recognized for its intentional blending of liberal arts and professional studies through its renowned Integrative Studies curriculum and its commitments to experiential learning and community engagement. Otterbein is recognized by Colleges of Distinction, with additional Field of Study recognition in business, education, engineering, nursing and career development. Otterbein is a recipient of the 2015 Carnegie Community Service Classification; a finalist for the 2014 President’s Award for Economic Opportunity Community Service; and has been honored With Distinction by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since the list’s inception in 2006. It stands in its category’s top 20 in U.S. News & World Report’s guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” It also is recognized in national rankings by Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. Otterbein has 2,400 undergraduate and 500 graduate students enrolled in its more than 70 undergraduate majors; six master’s programs; and doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). Its picturesque campus is perfectly situated in Westerville, Ohio, America’s fifth friendliest town (Forbes), just minutes from Columbus, the 14th largest city in the country.

Otterbein Fast Facts:

Location: Westerville, Ohio
Founded: 1847
Control: Private not-for-profit
Carnegie Classification: Master’s Colleges & Universities
Size & Setting: Four-year, small, highly residential
Enrollment: 3,000
President: John Comerford, Ph.D.
Colors: Tan and Cardinal
Mascot: Cardinal

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

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