Past to Present: OWU's Evolution

Gray Chapel auditorium Gray Chapel during the 2020 OWU Mock Convention

This exhibit, curated by the students of the ART 492: Exhibition Practice class, looks at the rich history and the modern stories of Ohio Wesleyan University. The students explore four aspects of the university experience—Academics, Student Life, Places, and Extra-Curricular Activities—and consider how they have changed or stayed the same over time. The university has gone through countless changes since it was founded in 1842. However, the spirit, values, and principles of OWU remain constant. For this reason, the school has been able to flourish and grow as it has evolved. 

Thinking about change and core values is especially relevant at this moment in the university’s existence. This online exhibit came about when in-person classes were suspended in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19. As a result, students were challenged to create an exhibit out of available digital collections. Working with the Beeghly Library Digital Collections and the Office of Communications, the class combed yearbooks, websites, newspapers, and books on OWU’s history, spanning from the late-1800s to today. 

Although the university has taught countless students throughout its over-175 years of existence, every student is connected through time by their experiences with the school. Despite its current challenges, many students will say that they find OWU to be a special place, and their pride in the university has not wavered. This exhibit celebrates the OWU Community and all those who have been a part of its ongoing evolution.


Olivia Anderson, Anna Burkhart, Sydney Hill, Rory Gleeson, Charlotte Gross, Maggie Myers, Kiersten Ross, Caroline Shaffer