Headshot of Kevin C. Eichner

Kevin C. Eichner

Chancellor Emeritus
Ottawa University
Award Winner
2021 District VI Chief Executive Leadership Award


Chancellor Kevin C. Eichner was named as the 21st president of Ottawa University in March 2008, and in 2018 became the University’s first chancellor. Eichner has been a member of the OU Board of Trustees since 1982, having led it as Chairman for five of those years. During 13 years of leadership, he and his executive team have engaged the University in a major transformational strategy known as Vision 2020, which was designed to position the institution for significant growth and exceptional student outcomes.

A former public company CEO and successful business leader, Eichner has guided the institution to new growth horizons, built three new schools in business, arts & sciences, and education, and has overseen the largest capital campaign in the University’s history. Online educational programs have been dramatically expanded; innovative new models for supporting student success have been implemented, and the University has renewed its historical relationships with the Ottawa Tribe and the American Baptists.

Under Eichner's leadership, Ottawa University built a residential campus in Surprise, which today has grown to more than 800 students since opening in 2017. Eichner was also instrumental in raising more than $70 million since taking beginning his leadership tenure in 2008. Before that time, the University had raised just two $1 million gifts since it was founded in 1865 in Ottawa, Kansas.

Prior to his appointment to lead Ottawa University, Eichner served as president, CEO, and vice-chairman of Enterprise Financial Services Corporation, the parent company of Enterprise Bank & Trust, a $3.7 billion banking and wealth management company headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., and with operations in Greater Kansas City and Phoenix, Ariz. A co-founder of Enterprise, Eichner served as its CEO for six years and oversaw its emergence as a NASDAQ-traded company recognized for its high growth and performance in the financial services industry. Prior to his work at Enterprise, Eichner served as executive vice president and then CEO of General American/MetLife for five years. In 1983, he founded a successful consulting company, Collaborative Strategies, Inc., which provided consultation to a large number of management and strategic for-profit and not-for-profit organizations during his 14-year tenure prior to its acquisition by General American in 1997.

Eichner is a 1973 graduate of Ottawa University with a B.A. in Social Change. He went on to earn an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1977, with concentrations in Marketing and Organization Development. Firmly committed to lifelong learning, Eichner designed and launched Enterprise University for Enterprise Bank and Trust, which has enrolled more than 20,000 executives and non-profit leaders in workshops aimed at enhancing their knowledge and skill sets. He has led workshops on numerous business and organizational topics over the past 25 years, written extensively on leadership and organizational change, and is known as an accomplished strategic planning facilitator and change agent.