State of the University


President Jane Wood

President Jane Wood shares the State of the University for 2023-24.

Bluffton president announces major gift during annual State of the University

BLUFFTON, Ohio—During the annual State of the University Forum, President Jane Wood announced a major gift from the estate of an alumnus, explained how the state of each student directly impacts the state of the university and shared successes from the past year. 

To a round of applause, President Wood revealed a $1.8 million unrestricted gift from the estate of John and Erma Stutzman. A 1950 graduate, John Stutzman was a urologist and lifelong Bluffton supporter. 

Connecting the announcement to the main theme, Wood shared the verse Luke 12:48 “To whom much is given, much is expected,” while reminding students how, just as it did for the Stutzman’s, their college education can inspire a lifetime of learning, serving and giving back.  

At the beginning of the presentation, Wood challenged the audience, comprised mostly of students, to take note of their own state of being—their mind, body and spirit. 

“The state of the university really is a reflection of the state of our students,” said Wood. “Those two things go together. How do we work together to be healthy, happy and whole?”

In answer, Wood referenced an article from Forbes magazine that broke down the two most common reasons students choose to attend college:

Higher earnings and increased job security (career).

Greater life satisfaction and better health outcomes (happier and healthier life).

While asking students to separate themselves by groups, she shared that a college education actually does both. The article referenced a 75 percent increase in lifetime earnings among college graduates versus high school graduates and that 75 percent of college graduates are satisfied with their life compared to 60 percent of high school graduates. She also discussed the correlation of faith and spirituality on a longer, happier life. 

As for the state of the university, Wood pointed to successful initiatives such as the opening of the Knowlton Science Center, the construction of the Kim Fischer Softball Press Box and the addition of stadium lights at Alumni Field. Looking forward, President Wood shared that the university will continue investing in projects and initiatives identified in the five-year strategic plan such as developing a “green major,” increasing retention and developing a student success center.

In closing, President Wood said, “We are very excited for the upcoming year and the future of Bluffton University.”


$1.8 Million Gift

$1.8 Million Gift Announced

Learn more about  supporter John and Erma Stutzman and their gift to Bluffton University.