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Polar Bear Club

This is an exciting time for ONU Athletics. For fans, alumni, students and student-athletes, athletics enhances the ONU experience. In addition to memories of late-night cram sessions before exams, meeting lifelong friends for the first time or hanging out on the Tundra on that first truly warm day after a frigid Ada winter, you remember cheering alongside an entire community in orange and black.

We don’t want you to forget what it’s like to be part of ONU athletics. By joining the Polar Bear Club, ONU’s annual fundraising program benefiting student-athletes and athletic programs, you won’t.

Give now

Watch the polar Bear Club launch video

About the Polar Bear Club

  • The Polar Bear Club is a network dedicated to people who support ONU athletics and appreciate the valuable contribution that sports has on the student experience.
  • Joining the Polar Bear Club is easy. Any gift made to the Polar Bear Club Fund or directly to one of ONU’s 23 varsity sports funds qualifies you for membership.
  • Contributions to the Polar Bear Club provide direct financial support to all 23 intercollegiate sports.
  • The Polar Bear Club will reward more than 700 student-athletes in the form of equipment, travel and accommodations,  improved facilities, and general operating support. A robust general fund for athletics is the surest way to grow ONU athletics both internally and externally.  
  • The Polar Bear Club will raise the profile of ONU athletics and attract future student-athletes and coaches to Ohio Northern University.


if not us, who? If not now, when?

There is an energy around ONU Athletics that every alumnus understands. We all remember game day in Ada, regardless of whether we played. At Homecoming last year, we were thrilled to see that the energy is still there! Sports are timeless in that way.

The players and coaches change over the years, but the Orange and Black remains. We met with some fellow alumni in the parking lot before the game, and in an instant, all the years since graduation were gone. It was as if we’d never left. That feeling stuck with us. We think it impacted us more than we realized because we found ourselves talking about it more and more. It felt really good to reconnect with ONU through sports.

We started to think about the different ways a university can engage alumni, and we kept coming back to athletics. We kept coming back to that energy. If we could harness it and deliver it to alumni, it would be amazing!

We believe the Polar Bear Club, organized around the common thread of athletics at Ohio Northern, will reunite alumni of all ages. Now, this is not a club where there is an exclusive membership – there’s no secret handshake or membership card. But there is a shared experience that brings us all together like nothing else at ONU.

Northern gave us so much. Now we want to give back with our thoughts, ideas and resources. If not us, who? If not now, when? It’s up to us, all of us, to take the energy that is already there, and to channel it – focus it – into the passion, love and pride that will lead Ohio Northern University into its next great era.

Please join us in becoming charter members of the ONU Polar Bear Club.

Dave, BSPh '86, and Melinda (Durbin) Hileman, BA '87, H of F '01


ONU’s 700-plus student-athletes are some of the highest achievers on campus. Annually, they maintain an average GPA of more than 3.0, and routinely produce Academic All-OAC selections. On the field of play, they are no less remarkable. Last year alone, ONU produced seven OAC players of the year, 26 individual OAC champions, four OAC team champions, five NCAA Division III All-Americans and even a three-time national champion.


Your contribution to the Polar Bear Club doesn’t have to end with a gift. Come back to campus and attend a game, meet or match. Share your story with us and use social media to spread the word about ONU athletics. Want to help even more? Become a Polar Bear Club Ambassador and we will train you how to advocate on behalf of ONU athletics and grow the program to new heights. Ask how you can learn more.


You could double or even triple the impact of your gift to Ohio Northern University if you or your spouse is employed by a company that matches the charitable contributions of its employees. Contact the human resources department at your workplace to learn more.

With your donation, you will help us meet our strategic goal of building a more robust athletic program. Won’t you become part of the team?