Ottawa University Breaks Ground on Gangwish Library and Gibson Student Center
Ottawa University’s new Gangwish Library and Gibson Student Center was given the green light for construction following $10 million in donations/pledges and receipt of $750,000 in challenge funds from the Mabee Foundation. Groundbreaking on the new facility took place on May 10, at 11:00 a.m. in front of the Mowbray Union on The College campus, followed by a luncheon to honor the building’s namesakes.
Leland Gangwish spoke on behalf of the Carl and Carrie Gangwish family, for whom the Gangwish Library will be named. “Our parents were great advocates of education,” he said. “Their desire was to give their children an education. I’m sure they would be happy that we were able to do what we did for this project.”
Marguerite and the late Raymond Gibson are the namesakes of the Gibson Student Center. “If Raymond was here today, he would be very proud, as I am, for being able to help in a small way in the addition of these buildings to this campus,” said Marguerite. “And now – on with the vision!”
In addition to the Gangwishes and Gibsons, major donors to the new facility include Blackboard Inc.; the Sherman Family Foundation; Sunderland Foundation; Sodexo, Inc. and Affiliates; UMB Bank, NA; and numerous others. Nearly $2 million has been contributed from Ottawa University’s trustees.
“Our alumni and friends demonstrated a resounding affirmation of this project by committing the required $10 million several months ahead of the Mabee Challenge Grant deadline,” said Vice President for Advancement Paul Bean. “Their generosity now allows us to begin construction ahead of schedule and provide our students with the enhanced educational experience of this state-of-the-art facility even earlier than expected.
We are so grateful to the members of the Mabee Foundation and our loyal donors who have made this incredible project possible.” For a full listing of donors, please visit www.advancingthevision.com.
Notable features of the new facility will be Hetrick Hall, the dining hall and industrial kitchen; the Schendel multi-purpose and conference area that seats up to 500 on the second floor; the Blackboard Center for Academic Innovation and Technology; the Scherich Atrium in the Grand Hall entry area; Myers circulation desk; Mabee second floor reception area; Goppert, Hasty and Zook technology-enabled conference rooms; multiple classrooms; the Pelton Grill; a rear-access concession area; and an expanded bookstore. Outdoor elements will showcase an expansive dining area, including the Mowbray Plaza/Patio, and a distinctive fire and water fountain feature designed to honor OU’s connection with the Ottawa Tribe.
“As we close in on Ottawa University’s 150th anniversary, this signature facility demonstrates in a special way our commitment to providing a first-class education for our students,” says President Kevin C. Eichner. “As the largest single building project ever undertaken by the University, the Gangwish Library and Gibson Student Center is a significant mile marker in our advance to Vision 2020. Not only will this multi-functional facility serve the institution’s purposes, but also those of the larger Ottawa community as we continue to meld learning and culture, social activities and service.”
As part of the building project, alumni and friends of the University have the opportunity to purchase commemorative bricks that will comprise the exterior walkway surrounding the building. For more information on this and other giving/naming opportunities, as well as a photo gallery of building progress, visit
The contractor for the buildings is Ottawa-based Loyd Builders; consultants include Devore & Associates Architects, SFS Architecture, Bartlett and West Professional Engineering Consultants, Latimer Sommers & Associates, and GLMV Architecture.
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