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University of Findlay and Bluffton University to join together in historic partnership 

FINDLAY, Ohio — At a press conference today on University of Findlay’s campus, Dr. Katherine Fell, University of Findlay president, and Dr. Jane Wood, Bluffton University president, announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) declaring the intention to pursue a merger of Bluffton University operations with University of Findlay. Findlay and Bluffton would become one higher education community on two campuses. The decision was made by votes of each institution’s Board of Trustees. Pending all regulatory approvals, the merger is anticipated to be completed by Fall 2025. 

“We’re all aware that higher education is facing significant changes and challenges,” said Dr. Fell. “These times call upon us to be innovative and forward-thinking. From a vantage point in the future, we will look back at this moment in the history of higher education as one that required new approaches and bold actions. I believe this merger will prove to be both.” 

Through this merger, the universities would position themselves to provide increased educational opportunities that prepare current and future students to lead and serve in their local communities and beyond. Students and employees would benefit from access to expanded resources on both campuses located 20 miles apart in Northwest Ohio. A goal of the proposed merger is to innovate in response to the changing climate of higher education while honoring individual campus traditions.  

Both University of Findlay and Bluffton University are dedicated to preparing students of diverse backgrounds for meaningful lives, productive careers, responsible citizenship, and service to all peoples. The decision to pursue a merger signals the universities’ ongoing commitment to faith and intellect, the sciences, and the humanities. 

“Our early interactions have made clear that we share a commitment to preparing generations of students to find and live out their callings,” said Dr. Wood. “By combining the best of pre-professional and liberal arts programs, our institutions will become even better at equipping future students to discover and to research what will ultimately bring meaning and purpose to their lives. We are stronger together.”  

Pending NCAA approval, after the merger is complete, Findlay would continue to participate in NCAA Division II as the Oilers, while Bluffton would continue competing in Division III as the Beavers. This is a model that other schools are following successfully.  

University of Findlay intends to remain affiliated with the Churches of God, General Conference, while Bluffton University intends to remain affiliated with Mennonite Church USA.  

“We are pleased to have received funding from the Transformational Partnerships Fund, which provides support for institutions of higher education to explore student-centric partnerships,” said Dr. Fell. “This grant was used to support a third-party due diligence report assessing the benefits and risks of a merger.” 

Required regulatory approvals for the merger are estimated to take 12-15 months. During that time, both University of Findlay and Bluffton University will continue to operate independently. 

“All year, Findlay has been talking about our strong roots and bright future,” said Dr. Fell. “Both Findlay and Bluffton have immensely strong roots, and together we can have a brighter future. Together, we can establish an even stronger premier institution of higher education in Northwest Ohio.”  

For more information visit our joint website: www.FindlayBlufftonFuture.com  

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About University of Findlay: 

Established in 1882 through a partnership between the Churches of God, General Conference and the city of Findlay, University of Findlay is known for excellence in its science, health professions, animal science, and equestrian studies programs, but also for cultivating the next generation of business leaders, educators and innovative thinkers through a dedication to experiential learning in and outside of the classroom. With a mission to equip students for meaningful lives and productive careers, University of Findlay offers more than 88 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees, and five doctorate-level degree programs. The University has an average annual enrollment of 3,500 students, which includes nearly 400 international students. The 403-acre campus includes an Animal Science and Western Equestrian Riding Complex, English Equestrian Riding Farm, All Hazards Training Center and a 55-acre wetland to offer hands-on learning opportunities for all students. A proud member of the NCAA Division II Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), University of Findlay students compete as the Oilers on 22 men’s and women’s teams.  

About Bluffton University: 

Founded in 1899 and affiliated with Mennonite Church USA, Bluffton’s legacy is expressed in its enduring values of discovery, community, respect and service which are woven into the academic program and campus community. Located on a 65-acre residential campus in northwest Ohio and lined with abundant natural beauty, Bluffton University offers more than 90 majors, minors and interdisciplinary programs for undergraduate students to explore as well as graduate programs in business administration (MBA), education (MAEd), nutrition and dietetics (MND), organizational management (MAOM) and social work (MSW). Bluffton University has an average annual enrollment of 700 students. Student-athletes compete as the Beavers through 18 NCAA DIII athletic teams and a co-ed esports team.