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News Feature

April 18, 2023

O’Rileys investing in Martindale Hall renovation project to assist future students in health science, wellness fields

Northwest Missouri State University alumni Seann and Christi Apple O’Riley have deep connections to the city of Maryville and the University that – like generations of families similar to them – have instilled lifelong bonds and pride in the community. But it’s their shared interest in helping Northwest better prepare students and strengthen regional partnerships that recently inspired them to give back to the University.

The O’Rileys recently provided a gift of $25,000 in support of a renovation of Martindale Hall, joining a growing list of donors who are contributing to Northwest and its School of Health Science and Wellness to better align academic programs with industry needs and workforce demands.

When complete, Northwest expects the remodeled Martindale Hall to enhance its competitive edge in recruiting quality students interested in careers in the health care field while enhancing regional partnerships related to health science and wellness.

We both have a passion for our hometown of Maryville and the important collaboration between the University and the city itself,” Seann said. “The vibrancy of the University translates to the vibrancy of Maryville, so there’s always going to be an undercurrent for us to invest back in our community.

Seann and Christi O’Riley (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Seann and Christi O’Riley (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Christi completed her bachelor’s degree at Northwest in marketing in 1992, and Seann earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at the University in 1993. Today, Seann is the chief lending officer at Nodaway Valley Bank, an institution that was founded in Maryville 155 years ago and now has banking locations throughout north Missouri in addition to a recent expansion into the Kansas City market. Christi was employed for several years with Hallmark in Kansas City before staying home to raise the couple’s children.

As students in business programs at Northwest, neither of them spent much time in Martindale Hall, which opened in 1926 and has a long history of serving health and recreation programs as well as Bearcat athletics. Today, it is the home of the University’s School of Health Science and Wellness in addition to occupying a prominent location along College Avenue between Lamkin Activity Center and the Joyce and Harvey White International Plaza.

“It’s eye-opening when you fast forward 30 years since we were there, and you realize it’s a facility that’s got a great location that could serve the University well,” Seann said. “This is a big endeavor that we feel is worth the time, the energy and the money to dedicate and for alumni and people that have ties to Northwest to get behind and help take a step forward.”

As a member of the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors, Seann has been a witness to new construction and upgrades at the University in recent years that coincided with the highly successful Forever Green campaign, which raised more than $55 million for a variety of initiatives.

During a recent tour of Martindale Hall with the Foundation Board, however, Seann was struck by how little the building – which was last renovated in the 1970s – had changed since his childhood. While growing up in Maryville, he was among the numerous youth who enjoyed pickup basketball games and other activities in the building’s gymnasium.

At a deeper level, the O’Rileys were inspired to support the renovation project and students like their daughter, Kenna, who is a junior applied health sciences major. After completing her bachelor’s degree at Northwest, Kenna has aspirations of advancing her education in occupational therapy.

“I was shocked at how little had been done to that facility,” Seann said. “The building needs a lot of TLC and a lot of upgrades. Compound that with the fact that our daughter has spent the better part of two and a half years in that facility. There’s a lot of interest in the field of health science and exercise science and dietary science at the undergrad level with kids like my daughter who have aspirations of moving on to a PT program or an OT program. We felt like it was an opportunity to give back.”

Northwest is raising funds for a renovation of Martindale Hall that will transform the face of the building and better align academic programs with industry needs and workforce demands.

Northwest is raising funds for a renovation of Martindale Hall that will transform the face of the building and better align academic programs with industry needs and workforce demands.

A $1.3 million renovation of Martindale Hall’s third floor, a 4,260-square-foot section, is now complete and includes academic laboratory spaces to support nursing, human services and school counseling programs as well as faculty offices.

However, the third-floor renovation of Martindale Hall is just the first phase of long-term plans to update the entire building. The Missouri General Assembly approved $8.5 million, and Northwest is raising funds to match the state grant and fund the $17 million project total by December 2024.

In making their decision to support the renovation project, the O’Rileys also reflected on their own experiences at Northwest.

Christi was active in Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and American Marketing Association, while Seann was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Their son, Garrett, also earned a bachelor’s degree at Northwest in accounting in 2021 and completed a Master of Business Administration at the University last year. Garrett also was a member Phi Sigma Kappa, and Kenna is a member of Phi Mu sorority.

The O’Rileys have forged lifelong friendships through their Northwest experiences and are appreciative of the positive relationships they established with faculty and other mentors who helped them build the skills needed to be successful after graduation.

“You get more of that personal connection with your professors, and they take an interest in what it is you’re doing,” Seann said. “They really focus on that profession-based learning and trying to get people acclimated in their field of interest so they have a good sense of purpose when they leave (Northwest).”

He added, “I, being on the Foundation Board, hear these stories every meeting. Students get up and speak to us about their relationships with their professors and the successes and friendships. It’s a culture that has lasted and withstood the test of time, but it’s one that continues to grow and is really strong. So investments like this are a small way to make sure that culture continues.”

The Northwest Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, develops and stewards philanthropic resources for the benefit of Northwest Missouri State University and its students. It is governed by a volunteer board and staffed by members of Northwest’s Office of University Advancement.

To make a gift to support Northwest, including Martindale Hall, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215