Otterbein Receives $1.5 million for Equine Science Program

Otterbein University dedicated the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science on Sept. 22. The event will included demonstrations and tours in addition to the official dedication ceremony.

A $1.5 million gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Inc. earlier this year secured the naming rights of the facility on behalf of its horse-loving founder, who died in 2003.

"We deeply appreciate this gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, which will allow us to ensure that our facility adheres to the highest standards in the industry for years to come," said Sheri Birmingham, DVM, assistant professor in the Department of Equine Science at the Westerville, Ohio university. "In addition to physical maintenance, this gift will allow us to grow and maintain our sustainability and community outreach programs, which have served as the foundation for meaningful partnerships with local citizens, schools and organizations over the past three years."

Knowlton was a trained architect and spent much of his career at the helm of a successful construction business in Ohio. In Cincinnati, he was perhaps best known for his investments in professional sports. He was a minority owner of the Cincinnati Reds and was instrumental in building Riverfront Stadium, which opened in 1970. He was co-founder of the Cincinnati Bengals, which joined the NFL in 1970, and was the team's largest shareholder and chairman of the board for 20 years.

Knowlton raised American Saddlebred horses at his Emerald Farms, which was located 11 miles north of the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science. He also raced Thoroughbreds and was a trustee of the Little Brown Jug Society, which runs the Triple Crown for Standardbred pacing horses in Delaware, Ohio.

Otterbein has been a leader in equine science education for more than 30 years. The university's $5.2 million equine complex opened to students in fall 2009. The world-class facility is the first of its kind, combining horses, stables, pastures, education, community outreach, and best use practices in a suburban setting. The Department's annual summer camps have educated dozens of students since 2009. In addition to its educational and community outreach activities, the facility hosts equine events in dressage, eventing and jumping with competitors from colleges across the country.

The gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Inc. has been placed into an endowment for the support and maintenance of the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science and its programs.

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