"We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." -Sir Winston Churchill

While Sir Winston Churchill's words ring true, they do not touch upon the needs of our great university buildings as they age or the importance of preserving and restoring these campus landmarks through the years.

Ohio Wesleyan's Billie Bower, retired assistant to the vice president of business affairs, has always had special reverence for OWU's buildings-especially for the 11 that are on the National Register of Historic Places, such as Merrick Hall.

Built in 1873 out of Delaware blue limestone, Merrick was devoted to the study of science and was in use until it fell into disrepair 25 years ago.

Preserving Its Beauty
"I always thought it would be possible for Merrick to someday regain its beauty and history-with enough support," Billie says. "I kept hoping that someone would come along and save Merrick."

Billie did her part by donating a portion of her estate for Merrick's future refurbishing, hoping that many others would follow her example. Imagine Billie's delight, then, when she heard about the anonymous OWU couple that recently donated $8 million-the University's largest single outright gift in its 171-year history-to fund the restoration of Merrick Hall.

"I was elated," Billie says. "Our last blue limestone treasure will be saved!"

A Place to Gather
Merrick Hall is one of several OWU building "treasures" whose life and luster are in need of improvement. Edwards Gymnasium and Pfeiffer Natatorium have long been places where community members have gathered to exercise and cheer on our athletic teams.

A more contemporary facility will provide:

  • Coaches and players with the top-notch facilities needed.
  • An improved learning environment for OWU's Health and Human Kinetics and Dance Program.
  • A fitness center on par with our peer universities.

Becoming a Tower Society Member
To make all this happen, OWU needs support from and partnerships with members of the University family, along with their willingness to understand the importance of preserving and restoring these precious historical buildings for learning in the 21st century and beyond.

"My reason for being a Tower Society member at OWU is definitely to support Ohio Wesleyan and the restoration of Merrick Hall," Billie says. "The original campus buildings from the 1800s represent, in my opinion, the rich history and heart of OWU, so I encourage others to join me in supporting them."

Join the Cause
For more information about how you can join Billie in protecting Ohio Wesleyan's historic buildings through a gift in your estate, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at (740) 368-3078.

Contact Info


University Advancement Office
Mowry Alumni Center
61 S. Sandusky Street
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3078
F 740-368-3328


Jenny Batchelder, JD
Director of Gift Planning
P  740-368-3043
F  740-368-3328