WESTERVILLE — Otterbein University is celebrating its 175th anniversary this homecoming weekend, and the public is invited.
“The Homecoming celebration begins on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. with OtterFest featuring live music from The British Invasion, food trucks, and a beer garden featuring Zaftig Brewing Company,” said a news release issued by the university.
OtterFest will resume from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot west of the Campus Center, 100 W. Home St., Westerville. Also in the lot is the Westerville Vendor Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. At the same time, kids can play at a Cardy Zone on nearby Grove Street.
Also on Saturday, there will be a “Celebration of Otterbein” at 9:30 a.m. at Cowan Hall, 27 S. Grove St. This will feature the Alumni Awards presentation and the State of the University address. It is followed by the annual Homecoming Parade at 11 a.m.
Then at 2 p.m., Otterbein will play Capital University in football at Memorial Stadium, 135 Center St.
Members of Otterbein’s incoming class moved into their Westerville campus homes in mid-August, with help from faculty and staff. They call it the students’ “first flight,” an expression which may sound familiar to those in the Big Walnut Local School District. In addition, the 550 new students got to spend time with therapy dogs if they wished and participated in a new class photo at the stadium. After the photo, they went to Cowan Hall for their first convocation as staff and faculty applauded them, a tradition which will be repeated at their commencement. It’s called the clap-in and clap-out.
Before starting their fall classes, the new students participated in a “Fall Community Service Plunge” by working at various locations in Westerville.
In a proclamation signed by President John L. Comerford and Board of Trustee Chair Cheryl L. Herbert, “Otterbein University’s influence and regard can be traced not only directly to its historic partnership with the City of Westerville but also to the state of Ohio, its capital city of Columbus, the nation, and the world, with thanks to the accomplishments, generosity and service of its alumni body, its donors, its partnerships, and its initiatives.”
Otterbein was founded in 1847. For more information, visit www.otterbein.edu.
A campus tradition at Otterbein University is the clap-in for new students and clap-out at commencement by faculty and staff. This photo was taken at the 2021 clap-in.
Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.