University of Findlay and Bluffton University to Merge

In March, the University of Findlay‘s president Dr. Katherine Fell and Bluffton University‘s president Dr. Jane Wood sat down and signed a memorandum of understanding to merge the two colleges. The schools will become one community while remaining on two separate campuses.

“We are encouraging each other rather than competing against each other,” Wood said during an interview with Fell and Jeff Fitzgerald.

Both universities will retain their names, campuses and athletic teams. Bluffton will continue to play in Division III as the Beavers and Findlay will continue to play in Division II as the Oilers.

The merger gives students at each university access to more programs and opportunities while maintaining the individual culture and traditions of each school. Findlay will remain affiliated with the Churches of God, General Conference and Bluffton will remain affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA.

With the number of college-age students declining the universities hope that this merger will help keep enrollment up for both schools. “Both of [the universities] will be recruiting retaining and graduating more students,” Fell said.

The goal of this merger is to find a way to adapt to the changing environment of higher education and ensure that each school has the resources it needs to be successful. With the universities’ combined resources they will now be better equipped to help students find their path in life.


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The universities will share resources like their IT system and food services and will combine their Board of Trustees. Representatives of Bluffton will join Findlay’s Board of Trustees including alumni and members of Mennonite Church.

There have been no talks of large cuts of faculty and staff from either of the universities. The boards hope to come together and figure out how to best utilize the staff they have.

There are mixed feelings about the merger from faculty, staff and alumni of Bluffton University. Many are unsure of what this merger could mean for Bluffton and are afraid it will no longer be the school they remember.

During the interview with Fitzgerald, Wood explains that the school has constantly been changing since it opened in 1899 and this is just the next step for the school to move forward.

Both the University of Findlay and Bluffton University have strong roots in their communities and are looking forward to working toward a brighter future together.

The merger should be completed by the fall of 2025 pending all regulatory approval. While the universities wait for approval they will continue to operate independently.

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