Joanne Van Sant Banner Image

The Joanne Van Sant Office of Student Affairs Initiative

There is a unique energy that each Otterbein University student brings to campus. This energy fosters creativity, discovery and endless possibilities for student learning and growth.

Joanne Van Sant brought her own energy to Otterbein in 1948. She passed away on May 21, 2012, but the energy she brought to campus is still here. Dean Van’s dynamism manifested in her commitment to Otterbein. Through her leadership and mentorship, she had a positive impact on countless students, graduates, faculty and staff, and community leaders.

Otterbein University has launched an initiative that matches Dean Van’s energy and her commitment to Otterbein students. The Joanne Van Sant Office of Student Affairs Initiative will raise at least $2.5 million to ensure what Dean Van always fostered - that learning is not limited to the classroom and that student experiences outside of the classroom are as valuable to students' growth and discovery as their formal studies. At least 60 percent of the funds raised will be used for funding to support student affairs programming and the remaining funds will be used to maintain a collaborative office environment, so that the Office of Student Affairs may continue to support, mentor and inspire students in ways that mirror Dean Van's legacy. Once completed, the office will be renamed the Joanne Van Sant Office of Student Affairs.

Though she was not a graduate of the institution, there is no question of Dean Van’s devotion to Otterbein University. In fact, that’s why Otterbein recognized her as an honorary alumna in 1970.

Dean Van began her career at Otterbein in 1948, serving as an instructor in the women’s physical education department and later as chair of the department from 1950-62. She paved the way for women leaders on campus. She served as the Dean of Women (1952-60; 1962-64), the Dean of Students (1964-68), and 25 years as the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students (1968-93) with an unwavering and unconditional commitment to students.

Your pledge of support to The Joanne Van Sant Office of Student Affairs Initiative will help us continue the legacy Dean Van established at Otterbein University – a heritage of dedication to and support of a positive Otterbein student experience. Please consider joining us in this powerful initiative.

0:00 / 0:00


The Office of Development is located in Hancock House at 111 West Park Street.

Office Hours
M-F: 8:30am - 5:00pm

Contact Development
Kathleen Bonte, Executive Director of Development for Organizational and Special Giving
p/ 614.823.2707