Ottawa University Announces New Residential Campus in Surprise

City of Surprise to become university town with classes beginning August 2017


Ottawa University and the City of Surprise today announced that Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ), a new residential university campus, will be opening Fall 2017 in Surprise, Ariz., expanding upon the university’s 40-year presence in the Valley of the Sun, making Surprise a university town, and bringing intercollegiate athletic programs to the West Valley.

OUAZ Surprise, 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza, will offer a full complement of academic, athletic and student activity programs primarily for traditional-age college students, including multiple undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university will be home to 19 varsity men’s and women’s sports teams, and will be working toward a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) designation. Upon award of the designation, OUAZ would be one of only four NAIA programs in Arizona. The school mascot is a grey wolf and the sports teams are called the Spirit.

At a dedication event this morning, Ottawa University President Kevin C. Eichner announced the university aims to enroll 250 students for its first semester of classes at the new campus, with a target of up to 3,000 residential students over 10 years, adding to its current 8,300 alumni roll in the Arizona market.

“Ottawa University has expanded strategically during the last 151 years and we are poised for significant growth and exceptional student outcomes here in Surprise,” said Eichner. “We are grateful the City of Surprise shares our vision for delivering a new model for education with an emphasis on educating and developing the whole person, and creating work-ready graduates who are prepared to be successful on the job from day one.”

Ottawa University is a private, non-profit, Christian university that was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1865. The university has been operating in Arizona since 1977 with campuses in Phoenix and Queen Creek, and has been serving the Surprise community for eight years at its current location as part of the Communiversity at Surprise, a partnership of higher education institutions. Historically, the Surprise campus has primarily served adult learners, which it will continue to do; the traditional-age student is a new market for OUAZ.

The future 35-acre OUAZ campus will be embedded within the Surprise City Center, integrating with the existing 250-acre City of Surprise Civic Center and Recreation campus. The school will also launch out of existing space within the Civic Center, allowing students to avail themselves of the surrounding city amenities, including the Surprise Aquatic Center, Dream Catcher Park, the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, and Surprise Stadium, as well as robust shopping and dining amenities.

“Surprise is a college town! Our graduating high school seniors now have the option to pursue a college degree in their hometown,” said Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “This partnership keeps our promise to residents; after all, university campus development is part of the City Council’s Strategic Plan and we could not ask for a better partner than Ottawa University. This is a storied educational institution with more than 150 years of success and a 40-year foothold in the Phoenix market. They know us and we know them!”

Expansion plans for the Surprise campus include development of residential housing, an indoor activity center, dining and conference space, and new athletic fields, including a stadium with artificial turf for football and soccer.

OUAZ innovates a unique approach to education. In addition to traditional academic degree and athletics programs, the University places significant emphasis on evolving all dimensions of the student: intellectual, spiritual, physical, artistic, financial, familial and vocational. A key delivery vehicle for this approach is OUAZ’s Adawe Center, which pairs a life coach with each student upon registration who will remain with the student throughout their enrollment at the university, helping them identify and pursue their degree and life paths, and preparing them to pursue their desired vocation upon graduation. Another distinctive element of OUAZ is “personal growth days.” No classes are held on Wednesdays so students may take part in chapel, attend the numerous personal and professional skills development conferences and workshops offered throughout the year, take part in volunteer or service activities, and share a meal together with faculty and staff.

OUAZ’s unique FlexTerm academic calendar offers a 21st century approach to enable students to learn how and when they want to learn. Courses are offered in formats that run for four weeks, eight weeks, or in more traditional semester-length time frames. With this format, students will typically take just two courses at a time, allowing them the benefit of concentration vs. fragmentation (when trying to balance four or five courses in a traditional semester system). The OUAZ FlexTerm calendar encourages students to tailor their educational experience and investment to go deeper into their studies while also interspersing their classroom learning with internships, service learning, international and cross-cultural study programs. It also allows students to accelerate toward graduation in less than four years and even to combine master’s degree studies within their educational plan, enabling OUAZ graduates to enter the job market with a combination of degrees.

OUAZ will be introducing the Ottawa Alliance for Quality Christian Education, a network of not-for-profit mission-based organizations that are interested in supporting a Christ-inspired community of grace throughout their educational institutions and the world. The Alliance aims to reduce the cost of Christian education, increase enrollment at Christ-focused schools and encourage enrollment at Ottawa University. Scholarships for students; faculty, staff and board members; and, faculty spouses and student parents will be available.

Of particular interest for strong academic and service-minded students will be the prestigious Founders and Pioneer Scholarships targeted for well-qualified and motivated students who will serve with OUAZ to shape student culture at the new campus. A limited number of these scholars can begin serving the institution this spring by working with prospective students and their families.

“We are a steadfastly Christian, positively open and inclusive university empowering students from around the world and every background to become ‘whole’ people, to develop their passions and abilities, and be ready to face the world when they graduate from OUAZ,” said Eichner. “We are proud to be bringing a full-fledged residential university experience to Surprise and to our future students.”

The OUAZ leadership team includes: Dr. Dennis J. Tyner, Provost; Keith Johnson, Chief Operating Officer; Dr. Amy Hogan, Dean of Instruction; Brandon Fowler, Dean of Student Experience; Dr. David Barnes, Executive Director of University Advancement, Arizona; and Kevin Steele, Director of Athletics.

Additional faculty hires are underway, with a number of key athletic coaching positions already filled. Student recruitment for August enrollment has begun.

For enrollment information and to learn more about OUAZ Surprise, visit www.ottawa.edu/Surprise.


About Ottawa University

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and opening inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution serving more than 4,000 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz. (opening Fall 2017), and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Phoenix, Queen Creek and Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; and online. For more information, visit www.ottawa.edu.

February 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all my friends in District One and the entire city of Surprise! I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying this adventure we call life.

January has proved to be a busy beginning to what is going to be a great year for Surprise. I started the month with a couple of meetings with a few residents near Saguaro Acres who were concerned about their roads and trash pick-up. I am confident we can help them; in fact, our Public Works Department is already working on an action plan based on the residents’ feedback.

I hosted my monthly meeting on Friday, January 13. If you have not attended any of my meetings, please feel free to attend for some conversation and refreshments. My meetings are held at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby on the second Friday of every month. Everyone is invited.

On Saturday morning, January 14, the city hosted its first Martin Luther King Day of Celebration in the courtyard of City Hall. What a great day for the city and the residents! Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor of ABC 15 News, Steve Irvin, emceed the event and retired USAF Colonel Richard Toliver provided the uplifting keynote address. Mr. Toliver told us about his service in Vietnam and the important work Dr. King did in his short life. After the celebration, folks divided into groups and went out into the community to serve through projects at schools, parks, nursing homes and more. Approximately 350 people attended the celebration, and an additional 300 volunteered, for a total of 600 unduplicated participants in the day’s events. I want to thank the Human Service and Community Vitality Department, led by Director Seth Dyson, for supporting this great event that should have been celebrated in our city way before this! Great job!

WESTMARC hosted a State of the State Luncheon on Tuesday, January 17. Governor Ducey provided an overview of his intentions this year. I was honored to attend the event, and I am encouraged that this year he promised to raise our teachers’ salaries. I was able to speak to him for a few minutes prior to his speech!

I was privileged to attend our neighboring city’s grand opening of their new city hall. El Mirage hosted the event on Thursday, January 19. Mayor Lana Mook, the El Mirage City Council Members and City Manager Spencer Isom were overjoyed. In addition to the new city hall, the Tohono O’odham Nation donated funds to build a beautiful veterans memorial in front of the new building.

Valley Partnership hosted their Friday morning breakfast meeting on January 20 at Phoenix Country Club. The meeting focused on Arizona’s real estate development and our infrastructure, specifically transportation. Discussion was led by Former US Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.

On Sunday, January 22, the Surprise Pops Band performed the first concert of their season at the Performing Arts Center at Valley Vista High School. If you have never seen our great Pops Band, it is well worth a couple of hours of your time, and it is free with the donation of a canned food item. They are truly a talented group of people.

I attended a black tie fundraiser, Campaign ASU 2020, for Arizona State University at Chase Field on January 26. It was a very impressive sight with the tables on the field. Dr. Crow was the key note speaker with many donors and educators in the audience. ASU does a great job ensuring our youth are prepared for a good job.

I went for the Tohono O’odham Nation’s 79th Annual O’odham Wapkail Ha-Tas Rodeo and Parade on Saturday, January 28. I was met with a great reception despite the cold weather. The community and people are quite proud and very generous, and I was honored to attend.

Now a special note to my friends in Surprise Farms, as some of you know, I have been talking to residents about the chain link green fence, and we all agree it needs to come down. It has been there long enough! I am doing my best to get that issue on the agenda for the February 21 Council meeting. I can’t make any promises, but I will let you know if I am successful. We will see what happens, and it will take the majority of Council to agree.

One more thing, I am working on getting the Vietnam Moving Wall to our city with the tremendous help of Jodi Tas, and much support from our City Manager Bob Wingenroth that it may happen. I will let you know when we have a date confirmed.

Lastly, another friendly reminder that I host my meetings on the second Friday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Retreat Club House in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby. I’d be remiss if I did not thank AZ Traditions for allowing me to host my meetings. Thank you!

Until next month, remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1