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Otterbein Has Record-Breaking Fundraising Year

August 20, 2012

$1.5 million gift will name the Equine Center; Dedication to be held Sept. 22

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University begins the 2012-2013 school year after a summer of record-breaking fundraising results. The University exceeded its Annual Fund goal for the year and received two major gifts in June from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Inc. and the Pioneer Fund.

Otterbein closed the 2012 fiscal year with record-breaking Annual Fund totals: 4,150 donors gave a total of $827,679. The 2012 total represents an increase of 33 percent since President Kathy Krendl took office following the 2009 fiscal year. This year, Otterbein also boasts a 234 percent increase in donors among alumni who have graduated since 2010.

Students majoring in equine science at Otterbein University will be attending classes at the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science starting this fall. A $1.5 million gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Inc. in Cincinnati has secured the naming rights of the facility on behalf of its horse-loving founder, who died in 2003.

“We deeply appreciate this gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, which will allow us to ensure that our facility adheres to the highest standards in the industry for years to come,” said Sheri Birmingham, DVM, chair of the Department of Equine Science. “In addition to physical maintenance, this gift will allow us to grow and maintain our sustainability and community outreach programs, which have served as the foundation for meaningful partnerships with local citizens, schools and organizations over the past three years.”

Austin E. Knowlton was a trained architect and spent much of his career at the helm of a successful construction business in Ohio. He built more than 600 buildings and invested in commercial real estate. In Cincinnati, he was perhaps best known for his investments in professional sports. He was a minority owner of the Cincinnati Reds and was instrumental in building Riverfront Stadium, which opened in 1970. He was co-founder of the Cincinnati Bengals, which joined the NFL in 1970, and was the team’s largest shareholder and Chairman of the Board for 20 years.

The partnership between the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Inc. and the Otterbein Department of Equine Science program is a natural one. Mr. Knowlton raised champion American Saddlebred horses at his former horse farm, Emerald Farms, which was located 11 miles north of the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science. He also raced thoroughbreds and was a trustee of the Little Brown Jug Society, which runs one leg of the Triple Crown for Standardbred pacing horses in Delaware, Ohio.

Mr. Knowlton was a lifelong supporter of higher education. His company built, designed and financed more than 160 college and university buildings on every major college campus in Ohio and more than 200 elementary and secondary schools. His alma mater, The Ohio State University, renamed its School of Architecture the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture in 1994, following a significant contribution.

Otterbein has been a leader in equine science education for more than 30 years. The University’s $5.2 million equine complex opened to students in fall 2009. The world-class facility is the first of its kind — combining horses, stables, pastures, education, community outreach and best use practices in a suburban setting. The Department’s annual summer camps have educated dozens of students since 2009. In addition to its educational and community outreach activities, the facility hosts equine events in dressage, eventing and jumping with competitors from colleges across the country.

The gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Inc. has been placed into an endowment for the support and maintenance of the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science and its programs.

The Center will be dedicated during Otterbein’s Homecoming celebration at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Details are forthcoming.

The Pioneer Fund donated $1 million to Otterbein to establish the Lewis E. Myers Scholarship. The gift honors Myers, a 1907 graduate of Otterbein and father of the Fund’s founder, Helen Myers McLoraine. Myers was a champion of education throughout his life and established Lewis E. Myers & Company, which developed and produced educational books and equipment. The scholarship will further the charitable and educational mission of the University by establishing and endowing a permanent scholarship fund that will support students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in education. Longtime benefactors of higher education, the Colorado-based Fund has assets of more than $29 million and donates more than $6.5 million per year to worthy causes, including the Bowling Green State University Foundation, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, Special Olympics and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY is a private, co-educational, comprehensive liberal arts institution founded in 1847 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is located in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus that is ranked 15th on Money Magazine’s 2009 list of Best Places to Live. Otterbein enrolls approximately 3,000 students, including full and part-time undergraduates, adult learners, and students enrolled in The Graduate School. Otterbein offers over 70 majors, as well as individualized fields of study. Master’s degree programs are offered in allied health, business administration, education, mathematics and nursing, including courses in its newly-accredited nurse anesthesia program in conjunction with Grant Medical Center. Otterbein’s first doctorate program, doctor of nursing practice (DNP), began classes in spring 2011. Accredited since 1913 by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Otterbein has consistently placed high among peer institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges” for over a decade. Otterbein is ranked 14th among 146 schools in its category in the 2012 guide and was named a top 10 “Up and Comer” by its peers in the 2011 guide. Otterbein has also been recognized by Washington Monthly as a Top 50 school for contributions to the public good and by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its commitment to community service and service-learning.

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