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Gifts Boost Athletic Renovation Plan for Ohio Wesleyan University
Two Legacy Alumni Contribute $500,000 Toward Edwards Gymnasium Project

September 10, 2007

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University has received major gifts for the renovation of Edwards Gymnasium from two descendants of the building’s namesake. Harriet Edwards Gamper, a 1936 graduate of the university, and Bill Myers, a 1955 graduate of the university, have each given $250,000 toward the project. Their gifts boost the project’s total to nearly $840,000 in cash and pledges.

Gamper and Myers are granddaughter and great-grandson of John Edwards, an Ohio Wesleyan trustee and a Leipsic, Ohio, native who sent his four sons to Ohio Wesleyan in the late 19th and early 20th century. Edwards made an initial commitment of $10,000 to the University in the winter of 1903. After his death, Edwards’ widow, Mary Elizabeth, and his sons made an additional $20,000 gift to name a new gymnasium on campus in honor of their late husband and father. Additional pledges were received and on March 28, 1905, classes were dismissed at noon and Acting President William F. Whitlock guided the plow pulled by one hundred students, officially marking the start of construction. The structure was dedicated on February 22, 1906 by Herbert Welch, the university’s president at the time.

“Nearly 80 percent of our students participate in one or more organized athletic programs on campus, giving these gifts even more of an impact at Ohio Wesleyan,” said Mark Shipps, vice president for university relations and a 1970 alumnus of Ohio Wesleyan. “These contributions and the resulting renovation of Edwards Gymnasium will ensure that the Edwards family legacy lives on at Ohio Wesleyan.”

Plans for the Edwards Gymnasium renovation include a complete reconfiguration of the first floor, including a new lobby, athletic director suite, office space for all of the university’s athletic coaching staff, and renovated locker rooms. In addition to the weight room renovations and repairs to the outdoor skylight that occurred this summer, the structure’s second-floor basketball court also will be refurbished. Total cost of the renovation is estimated to surpass $4 million.

The Edwards renovation is part of the $22 million “Remembering Mr. Rickey” campaign, the university’s first-ever comprehensive athletic, recreation, physical education, and dance campaign. For more information on the campaign, visit mrrickey.owu.edu or contact Darrel Gibson in Ohio Wesleyan’s Development Office at (740) 368-3324.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 40 states and 45 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.