|Motto||Ex diversitate vires|
Motto in English
|Out of diversity strength|
|United Methodist Church|
|Endowment||$160.3 million (2019)|
|President||Melissa J. Baumann|
|Provost||Juliet K. Hurtig|
|Colors||Orange, Black, White|
|NCAA Division III – OAC|
Ohio Northern University (Ohio Northern or ONU) is a private college in Ada, Ohio. Founded by Henry Solomon Lehr in 1871, ONU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers over 60 programs to choose from across five colleges and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Henry Solomon Lehr founded the Northwestern Ohio Normal School in August 1871. When the college's curriculum grew to include pharmacy, engineering, law and business programs, its name was changed to Ohio Normal University and, eventually, in 1903, Ohio Northern University. In 1899, it became affiliated with the United Methodist Church to reduce debt.
Before the Great Depression, more than one thousand students were typically enrolled at Ohio Northern every year. Both the Great Depression and the following World War II plunged the school into low enrollment, and the possibility of closure was considered. During World War II, enrollment reached a low of 156 students. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, Ohio Northern was able to bring enrollment back up to nine hundred students by 1946.
Throughout the 1960s, a number of ONU students and faculty/staff participated in the American Civil Rights Movement. ONU hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 11, 1968, four days before his 39th birthday and just three months before his assassination. During his visit at ONU, King famously spoke regarding the myth that many immigrant and/or ethnic groups successfully pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, whereas African Americans were incapable of doing so. ONU honored King and his speech on campus with the unveiling of a statue in his likeness on April 17, 2018.
Growth continued under Dr. DeBow Freed through the 1980s and 1990s with additions to the Taggart Law Library, Presser Hall, Dukes Memorial, Wilson Art Building, Biggs Engineering, Heterick Memorial Library, and Meyer Hall of Science, and the construction of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts and a new president's on-campus home. Under Dr. Kendall Baker, campus additions include Dicke Hall, an expansion of the Robertson-Evans Pharmacy building, the Dial-Roberson Stadium and the Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences. In 2008, Ohio Northern University built and opened The Inn at Ohio Northern University. A new engineering building was opened in October 2019.
In 2010, ONU announced that its board of trustees approved the nomination of Daniel A. DiBiasio, president of Wilmington College to become the new president of Ohio Northern; he assumed his duties on August 1, 2011. He was succeeded in 2022 by Melissa J. Baumann.
The institution comprises five colleges:
Prior to 1973, the law school was known as "the Warren G. Harding College of Law". It was renamed in honor of Claude W. Pettit, a judge and former dean of the college.
ONU students participate in intercollegiate, intramural, and sports clubs in a variety of sports. The ONU Polar Bears compete in the NCAA Division III Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). The men's volleyball team participates in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association in the Great Midwest Men's Volleyball Conference.
NCAA Elite Eight appearance
NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances