What is Ovation anyway?


The 12th year of Baldwin Wallace University’s Ovation Festival is set to once again showcase and celebrate student achievements from across campus.

The Ovation Festival will take place April 11-30 and feature more than a dozen performances, presentations, and other events highlighting the accomplishments of students from all disciplines within BW, said Associate Director of University Relations Sue Searcy.

“Ovation is a celebration of student achievement, and that achievement can take many forms,” Searcy said. “It can be research and scholarship, it can be performance, it can be different kinds of presentations, it can be creative projects. It’s really about recognizing the best work our students do.”

Initially, said Searcy, Ovation was born from the Science Poster Session, an event held to allow science students to get experience in presenting
research results as they would at a conference.

There was a desire to open up this opportunity to present and share to students across all disciplines, though, she said. “When we started talking about that, one of the things that became obvious was that we do a lot of different kinds of learning on this campus, and it doesn’t all fit neatly into the model of that science poster,” said Searcy. “So we started developing an event that embraced all of it… The goal was to pull everybody into the event.”

Initially, Ovation was one day of project and poster presentations, said Lynn Hulthen, academic project coordinator.

Over time, she said, more and more events were added to that day. The expansion to multiple days, Hulthen said, was meant to better show the full picture of “the good work that’s being done on campus” and allow for more events and participation.

“This is our third year of doing [several days],” said Hulthen. “We started it on our 10year anniversary of Ovation to do the Ovation Festival.

That was expanding it from a single day to include activities across campus around the two-week period around that single day.”

Events planned for this year include the release party for BW’s student literary and arts magazine The Mill, the 2019 Student Art Exhibition, a production of the play Marisol, a Conservatory recital, the Jacket Philanthropy Program Grant Award Ceremony, choir and dance performances, an open rehearsal of the BW Symphony Orchestra, the 2018 Summer Scholars “Passing the Torch” Ceremony, and the BW 10-Minute Play Festival, among others.

The Day of Excellence, held on April 25, was originally the entirety of Ovation and remains a full and diverse day of presentations and events, said Hulthen.

It will kick off with a welcome from President Robert Helmer and Provost Stephen Stahl, who will later compete against BW’s National Championship cornhole team prior to the evening’s Honors Award Ceremony.

After that, Hulthen said, approximately 220 students will present 135 projects in the Boesel Musical Arts Center and Marting Hall.

Also in Marting will be the Coffee Shop featuring student poetry and music, the Sophomore Celebration, and an event showcasing BW’s Service Learning.

Outside, students can take a stand on the Soapbox to speak about issues they are passionate about and present possible solutions.

The Boca Loca food truck and BW Dining Service’s American Grill will provide food for attendees. All students can receive a voucher for a free lunch and ice cream, said Hulthen. Searcy said that Ovation presents a great opportunity for students to learn in new ways, be exposed to new disciplines and experiences, and show support for their peers and the incredible things they do.

It “lets us think about achievement a little differently,” she said, and creates space to share and honor accomplishments of all kinds from all parts of BW.

“That’s the thing that’s great about Ovation,” said Hulthen, “that you get to hear about all the great work that’s going on on campus. Because the work is being done on various pockets across campus throughout the year, but this day brings it all together under one celebration of research and achievement.”

Editor’s note: This article was first published in the March 29 issue of The Exponent.