Olivet The Magazine; Strength & Hope - Autumn '23

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Dear Friends,

There is a wonderful predictability to university life. As students return from summer travels, internships and jobs, they are joined by an enthusiastic group of new students — all eager to explore the possibilities endemic in the Olivet experience. And the cadence of a new academic year begins. It is as if a master campus light switch is once again turned on, and the energy of Olivet is renewed through the spirit of our students.

It is also in this moment that the Olivet community renews the calling and happy privilege to provide and support an “Education With a Christian Purpose”’ for this generation and for generations to come.

In this autumn Strength and Hope issue, we begin by centering our thoughts on one of the greatest verses in all of hymnody, taken from “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Chisholm:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

But even as Chisholm so beautifully captures the essence of the theme of strength and hope, his life was not without challenges.

“My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now,” he wrote. “But I must not fail to record the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness.”

These words remind us of the supernatural strength and the abundant blessings we can find even in the face of adversity. There is a confidence — or, more accurately, an assurance — that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ and the ministry of His blessed Holy Spirit. Throughout the pages of this magazine, you will discover stories of individuals who demonstrate perseverance, resilience and unwavering hope, serving as testimonies to the transformative power of our Christian faith.

We invite you to immerse yourself in the stories of students pursuing their dreams, faculty members making a profound impact, and alumni who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to serving God and their communities.

Thank you for joining us on this journey of strength and hope. Our hope is that your hearts will be enlarged and your spirits encouraged through the pages that follow.

Blessings to you this fall!

The Editorial Team

Olivet has fans in every corner of the globe. A great way to stay connected is through a variety of outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, YouTube and X (Twitter). We even have a special Facebook group dedicated to parents.


Olivet students kicked off the school year with a full slate of first-week campus activities designed to build community among the student body. More than 780 new traditional undergraduate students joined the festivities.

OLIVET THE MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Office of Marketing and Engagement under the direction of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

VOLUME 92 ISSUE 4 (USPS 407-880) (ISSN 2325-7334)

Copyright ©2023

Olivet Nazarene University One University Avenue Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2345


PRESIDENT Dr. Gregg Chenoweth ’90/M.A./Ph.D.


Matt Foor ’95 CPA/MSA


Rob Lalumendre ’12/’14 MBA


Mark Reddy ’95/’08 M.O.L.


Dr. Jason Stephens M.A./Ph.D.


Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 Litt.D.


Dr. Stephen Lowe ’88/M.A./Ph.D.


Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 Litt.D.

Dr. Brian W. Parker ’93/’11 Ed.D. for 989 Group

George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group

Erinn Proehl ’13/’19 MBA


George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group


Matt Moore ’96 for 989 Group

Donnie Johnson

Rebecca Huber


Jones Foto, Image Group, Mark Ballogg

Joe Mantarian ’16, Noah Sears ’24

Kyle Petersen ’24, Skyler Blanton ’23

Additional photography submitted


Adam Asher ’01/’07 M.O.L. for 989 Group

Alicia (Gallagher) Guertin ’14, Rebecca Huber

Andrew Perabeau ’20, Jackson Thornhill ’20

Heather (Kinzinger) Shaner ’98

Lauren Beatty ’13, Hannah Priest ’21

Laura Warfel


Kyle Petersen ’24, Olivia Leid ’23

Raquel Gonzalez ’24

Periodicals postage paid at the Bourbonnais, Illinois, Post Office and at additional mailing offices.

Postmaster, send address changes to:

Editor, Olivet The Magazine

Olivet Nazarene University

One University Avenue

Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2345

Reproduction of material without written permission is prohibited. News, events and announcements are printed at the discretion of the editorial board. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent Olivet Nazarene University policy.



Friends of Olivet, I want something for you. Badly. I sometimes even imagine reaching inside a person to deposit it.

It is hope.

I am a “hope-er” and feel quite at home at Olivet because we are a hope factory. Thousands seek it from us. We happily dispense it. In fact, lately, we emphasize strength and hope as God’s gift to others through us.

I’m not talking about dropping an Alka-Seltzer tablet into a person’s spirit — a quick fizz then fade. I mean something durable.

Hope is more substantial than sunny positivity or optimism dependent on a piece of evidence. Hope goes deeper. It survives tough odds and dead ends. It rises when there’s a mountain to climb.

Hope is even catalytic — a substance received, somehow changing you without itself succumbing to opposing forces. Hope converts your setback into comeback, very quickly.

Austin Channing Brown describes this dynamic in her book Black Dignity. Fatigue with recurring race-related conflicts means “hope dies a thousand deaths,” yet this “forces me to find my center. … There always rises a new clarity about the world, the Church, about myself, about God, and in this I’ve learned to rest even in the shadow of hope.”

You know what she means, right? In this way, hope is intangible yet relatable. Emily Dickenson called it that thing in your soul, with feathers, humming a tune with no words. The poet Lisel Muller describes it as the substance running through a dog from eyes to wagging tail.

In my work, I see hope — and the need for it.

This fall we welcomed around 1,000 new students to campus of all ages, degree levels and circumstances. Some fulfill, and others defy, predictable success. Hope beams from a degree-seeker because the University opens doors of opportunity, expands personal capacity and can even break generational poverty.

But Olivet’s brand of hope is even deeper. Theologian R.C. Sproul said hope is not a wish but an anchor of the soul latched to the promises of God and a future He provides.

The German pastor and martyr under Nazism, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote about real-time hope as an inmate in his book Letters from Prison. He exhorts a reader to dispense petty thoughts that irritate us and instead find great thoughts that strengthen us.

“Though it is not conventional wisdom, we cannot live without hope,” he wrote. “Those who lose that become wild and wicked.” But “there must be hope based on firm foundation.”

Here is that foundation: No matter the severity or duration of your trouble, proceed under the awareness and love of a sovereign God. Are you in need of Godward hope?

First, if life wounded you, ask yourself, “Is it from a scalpel or dagger?” T.D Jakes writes in Crushing that both injure, but only one hurts you to heal you. A loving God permits trouble, perhaps didn’t cause trouble, always holding a scalpel. What He permits prunes us, so we flourish (John 15:2). The trial makes us more complete (James 1:4).

Second, when in doubt, just … keep … going. God’s instruction to a people in long-term pain was, in essence, “You feel exile. You see enemies. It’s gone on for decades. But persist. Build houses. Plant gardens. Marry. Have sons and daughters. Pray to the Lord for the prosperity of your city because if it prospers, you will too” (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

Third, if you already possess adequate hope, share it. Our God of Hope actually floods us with joy and peace while we trust Him and can actually overflow us with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Overflow means it can splash on to others.

Now you understand our hope factory. This is why my final words of welcome to the new students were “Welcome to hope. Welcome to Olivet.”


Gregg Chenoweth ’90, Ph.D., has been president of Olivet Nazarene University since 2021. As an Olivet alumnus, former faculty member, former dean, former vice president for academic affairs and parent of an alumnus, Dr. Chenoweth implicitly understands the value of Christian higher education. He has published works in more than 30 media outlets and is the author of the book, Everyday Discernment: The Art of Cultivating SpiritLed Leadership, through The Foundry Press.




Each autumn the entire Olivet community combines their talent and skill to compete in Ollies Follies. Classes unite and work together not only in athletic and games competitions but in talent shows as well. Even faculty and staff join in on some of the fun.



A Summer of Meaningful Impact

Celebrating Two Major Denominational Events: General Assembly and Nazarene Youth Conference

General Assembly | Indianapolis | June 9–14

Olivet administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni joined more than 10,000 members of the Church of the Nazarene from around the world this past summer for the 30th General Assembly and Conventions in Indianapolis. The event included a weekend full of worship services, exhibits, workshops and service projects and provided an opportunity for University representatives to connect with other Olivet constituents.

Olivet hosted a luncheon on June 10 for nearly 1,000 alumni and friends. The event included special music and the sharing of inspirational stories, creating a memorable experience for guests in attendance.

“Olivet always looks forward to being involved in the life of the Church and our denomination through General Assembly,” said Susan (Hendley) Wolff ’94/’06 MBA, executive director of university relations. “The luncheon proved to be a special time to hear more about how the Lord is using His people. We were able to celebrate many stories of strength and hope while also hearing from President Chenoweth about the current University priorities. The Lord is blessing our campus in beautiful ways.”

Nazarene Youth Conference | Tampa, Fla. | July 5–9

Hosted every four years, Nazarene Youth Conference (NYC) is an international gathering of high school youth groups for an intentional event full of worldclass speakers, engaging events, worship services and new friends — all for the purpose of youth growing in their relationships with Christ.

“NYC is such a powerful event that brings people together from across the globe to provide a space for youth to experience the love of Christ,” said Mackenzie (Mehaffey) Brown ’19/’23 MBA, director of recruitment at Olivet. “Seeing thousands of students worshiping Jesus loudly and proudly was a beautiful glimpse of Heaven.”

To build connections with the students at the conference, each Nazarene college creates a booth for students to learn more about the school and connect with the admissions staff. Olivet’s booth included a creative 16-foot video board and headphones for students to enjoy a silent disco while exploring more of what life at Olivet might look like for them. Additionally, the admissions team hosted more than 1,600 students from the Olivet region at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa for an evening of food, fellowship and exciting giveaways.

“We had a blast meeting students from across the country and introducing them to Olivet,” Brown said. “There’s something so special about seeing a student’s eyes light up as they realize Olivet has everything they are looking for, and their future becomes clearer. We are already looking forward to reconnecting with the students we met when they come to visit campus.”



With the Band

This summer adjunct music professor JaKobe Henry spent a week participating in the Diversity Fellowship with the United States Air Force Band. Professor Henry is a crossover trumpet player, educator and composer based out of Urbana, Illinois.

“My favorite thing about playing trumpet is the limitless colors that the instrument can produce,” he said. “Much like the voice, the trumpet has the potential to produce sounds that can really touch the soul and transcend ink on a piece of paper.”

The Diversity Fellowship is an annual opportunity for talented musicians in the early stages of their professional careers to hone their skills and build relationships with members of a premier band. The fellowship experience encourages participants to explore the artistry within their music while collaborating to produce unified sounds within the group.

“It was an amazing educational opportunity to see how one of the top concert bands in the world operates,” Henry said. “We participated in a few rehearsals, took lessons and ended the week with a concert, but my favorite moments from the experience were with the other fellows.”

Olivet Alumna Chef Cooks Her Way to the Top

Elizabeth (Garcia) Barrick ’00 was crowned a Food Network champion after putting her culinary skills to the test this summer in an episode of the cooking competition show Guy’s Grocery Games

In the educator-focused episode, teachers partnered up with all-star chefs in hopes of schooling the competition.

As a kindergarten teacher and regular guest chef for her local news station, Barrick was able to combine two of her passions for one exciting event. The three rounds of competition included a math and geography challenge to decipher the required ingredients for an upscale school lunch and, later, using only ingredients that began with the letters “B” and “C” to make a spectacular graduation dinner. The show debuted on June 12. Barrick celebrated the winning moment at a watch party surrounded by family, friends and colleagues.


Dr. Chenoweth and Tammy Host Annual President’s Dinner for Faculty, Staff and Retirees

On Aug. 24, Dr. Gregg Chenoweth ’90 and his wife, Tammy (Salyer) Chenoweth ’89, hosted the annual President’s Dinner for Faculty and Staff in Chalfant Hall. Esther (Thomas) Tueck ’97, director of the Shalom Project, served as the host for the evening, recognizing special guests and providing the invocation and benediction.

In his address, Dr. Chenoweth called on the community to be a “sent and scented people,” referencing the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth in which he mentions believers having the “pleasing aroma of Christ.” He called for faculty and staff to embrace the student body “sent” to Olivet, while recognizing the “scented aroma” of the Holy Spirit at work.

“We are a gathering and sending institution,” Chenoweth said. “Students come under our care, get equipped for careers and, ideally, are also stamped with God’s call upon their lives. Then they scatter into every imaginable community — professional,

residential, hobby, neighborhood and church communities. If the Spirit of God is in them, they become a remedy to the needs of the world. They join 50,000 alumni sent from this place to do every imaginable good.”

The event featured faculty musicians Dr. Neal Woodruff ’91 and Dr. Don Reddick ’79 as well as student ministry team The Narrow. All attendees were given a candle from Daisy Hill Fragrances, a studentowned business. Tom Ascher ’08/’17 MBA, director of human resources, acknowledged milestone accomplishments of faculty and staff during the event, and Dr. Lance Kilpatrick ’02, associate dean of the School of Education, and Stacey Moore ’09/’18 MBA, associate dean of academic systems and communication, were honored as the 2023 Faculty Member of the Year and 2023 Staff Member of the Year, respectively.

‘Sent and Scented’


Olivet Welcomes Students Back for 116th School Year

The 2023–2024 academic year had a strong start when classes began for Olivet’s undergraduate students on Aug. 30. The first day also included the school year’s first chapel service, featuring a message from Tone Marshall ’13/’16 M.A. /’19 M.Div., University chaplain, and worship led by Upper Room, a campus ministry team.

In his first message of the semester, Marshall explained the theme for the semester, “Together,” based on Ephesians 2:4–5, and gave everyone the opportunity to read a guided prayer:

Father, we thank You for making us in Your image. Jesus, we thank You for coming down to earth to get her, your bride, the Church. Spirit, we ask that You would bring us together and help us to be of one accord. May we, together, embody the oneness of You, God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Your name, three-in-one God, pattern of community, amen.

During the first weeks of school, students are encouraged to enjoy a robust social environment. Campus activities range from the annual Ollies Follies class competitions to outdoor movies to intramural athletic contests, and students have opportunities to get involved in spiritual life, student social committees and so much more.

Money Recognizes Olivet as a ‘Best College’

This fall Money magazine released a new rating system for American colleges and universities and included Olivet Nazarene University among the best in Illinois.

The magazine’s latest report of “Best College” distinctions analyzed data points such as quality, affordability and student outcomes. The list recognized only 736 institutions out of more than 2,400 four-year U.S. colleges and universities. The key priorities for status and ranking included institutions with at least 500 undergraduate students, a graduation rate at or above the median for each school’s category, and/or those which possess a significant “value-added” graduation rate. Money also analyzed alumni salaries.

“Olivet has a rich heritage of providing an ‘Education With a Christian Purpose’ and is known for that key distinction” said Luke Franklin ’11, executive director of enrollment. “It’s exciting that we can now say we provide that education in a way that is not only affordable but worthy of continued national recognition.”


Conway Returns as Head Football Coach

Mike Conway ’83 has temporarily set aside his director of athletics responsibilities to become Olivet’s interim head football coach. It marks his second stint at that helm, having previously served as head coach from 1996 to 2000.

“The players and program have always been and continue to be a top priority,” Conway said. “I have coached college football for a long time and have been through many challenges, so stepping back into this role here at Olivet after 20-plus years is a blessing that I am fully embracing.”

Conway brings over 38 years of college football coaching experience at all levels of the profession. In four seasons as head coach at Olivet, he led the Tigers to a 31-14 record. His successes on the field include leading the program to an MSFA CoChampionship in 1999 and to the NAIA Playoff Championship game in 1998, when he was named the National Christian Colleges Athletic Association (NCCAA) Coach of the Year.

Over his illustrious coaching career, Conway coordinated the top-ranked defense in the country five times at three different collegiate levels while

also coaching in four national championship games. Conway has also seen several of his student-athletes go on to play in the NFL and CFL. As a coach, Conway has cultivated a career record of 253-122-2.

Conway himself was an NAIA All-American player, twice earning first-team honors as an offensive lineman for the Tigers in 1982 and 1983. He then went on to play professionally, making stops in the CFL, USFL and NFL before getting his start in coaching.

“Mike Conway loves Olivet, ONU athletics and our student-athletes,” said Dr. Jason Stephens, vice president of student development. “Our goal through this football coach transition was to provide as much stability for the current coaching staff, returning student-athletes and incoming students as possible. Coach Conway is uniquely positioned to create stability for our program. Above all, his passion for developing disciples through athletics allows him to continue the athletic mission of developing champions and winning championships.”



When I arrived at Olivet in 1977, everything was new to me. As a music education major, I needed to sing in a choir, so I signed up for an audition with Dr. George Dunbar. I hadn’t heard Orpheus Choir myself, but I knew some former members. A couple days later, I was in the choir, and that first rehearsal in Chalfant Hall began a life-changing journey. Former members of the choir often describe it as a “family,” and in any family, you learn some things along the way.

Dr. Jeff Bell 10 Lessons I Learned From Singing in Orpheus Choir

1. I learned right away from Dr. Dunbar that decibels do not equal leadership. In the years I knew him, I never heard him raise his voice to get or maintain attention. He was not loud, but there was never any question that he was in charge.

2. Preparation is important. Of course, a choir conductor — or any leader — should be prepared, but group members also contribute and receive more when they are prepared. I was always expected to have some things practiced for the next rehearsal.

3. Share the vision. I didn’t always know all the details for the upcoming performances or tours, but Dr. D made sure we knew his expectation of quality.

4. Remember to laugh. Sometimes funny things happen, and it denies our humanity to pretend otherwise. It’s possible to avoid chaos while still having a good time learning music or anything else!

5. There is value to conformity. Certainly, God sees us as individuals. But singing high-quality choral music requires that members put aside a portion of their individuality to blend with other singers, producing something extraordinary that none of us could do on our own. (I think there’s a decent “body of Christ” metaphor there.)

6. Listening is important. In Orpheus Choir, I was encouraged to listen to parts other than just the one I was singing. It helped us stay in tune and get a better idea of the total sound. Today, I have Orpheus Choir perform much of the time in a “mixed” standing arrangement so that each singer is constantly aware of the other parts. It can be challenging, but it’s worth it.

7. As a student, I was impressed that Dr. Dunbar did not try to do everything himself. He trusted choir members to lead in areas where they had particular skills, and that helped foster a feeling of ownership among the choir. I have learned over the years that it’s difficult to delegate, but doing so can develop leadership skills in others. (Note: One of those fellow student leaders would later become my wife.)

8. I had a wonderful high school choir experience, yet being in Orpheus Choir exposed me to new musical styles. Though not every piece became my favorite, I learned to appreciate the variety. Actually, some of those pieces that I didn’t like at first began to grow on me. One time Dr. Dunbar advised me to be a little wary of pieces that I liked instantly — they might turn out to be flashy but shallow.

9. Although Orpheus Choir was — and is — a huge part of my life, it shouldn’t be the most important part. I saw modeled in my conductor an order of priorities: God first, then family, then other things. What I do is not who I am.

10. Being in Orpheus Choir helped me see that what we do with our talents (God’s gift to us) can be a part of our worship (our gift to God). Performing music with excellence can truly be an offering of praise.

Dr. Jeff Bell ’81 has served as a professor of music at Olivet Nazarene University since 1997 and is the conductor of Orpheus Choir. Other teaching responsibilities include beginning conducting; voice literature and pedagogy; 20th century American popular music; senior seminar; and sharing responsibilities conducting the annual performances of Handel’s Messiah. He previously served for 13 years as a member of the music faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Dr. Bell has produced and conducted three albums of sacred music with Orpheus Choir: A Mighty Fortress, Great Is Thy Faithfulness and the a cappella Christmas album Love Came Gently. In addition, he is the organist for College Church of the Nazarene in Bourbonnais and is a frequent adjudicator and clinician for choral and instrumental clinics and competitions. A published composer and arranger, he has performed in recitals, operas and oratorios. Dr. Bell and his wife, Carole (King) ‘81, have two daughters and two grandchildren.

A couple days later, I was in the choir, and that first rehearsal in Chalfant Hall began a life-changing journey.


My story is one of pain and hope and everything in between. Losing is never fun. Yet, loss is an unavoidable part of our earthly experience. I wish I could say there were ways to get an exemption and escape its cruel reality, but, unfortunately, there aren’t. We will lose something valuable or someone we love at some point in life and will be faced with the decision of whether we will allow pain to weaken us or strengthen us.

Dr. Simone Twibell ’06/’07 M.A.

Life brings unexpected surprises, some of which are exciting and some which are difficult to welcome. That’s why we should remember that life does not have to be about the losses we face but about the possibilities that can emerge if we allow pain to change us. Truly, some life occurrences cannot be fully eroded from the soil of our memory. They are to be accepted as part of our present human condition. This acceptance is what enables us to surrender our pain as we offer it back to God, Who alone can redeem it, bring healing and use our pain to grow us.

When my husband of 12 years passed away in 2020 after a long battle with brain cancer, I had a choice to make. I could either let my pain take over, or I could try to take over my pain. At first, the pain was unbearable, but it subsided little by little and eventually became more manageable.

Looking back to that first year of unimaginable loss, I am grateful for the community of faith who surrounded me with their support and care. I am also grateful for my neighbors, whose kindness was shown through their deeds. They mowed my lawn, brought meals and helped me with the kids when I needed to run errands. And, of course, more than any other community, I am thankful for Olivet and the people who were willing to lend support and remained faithful to walk alongside my family during such difficult days.

Remaining in this community during these years of healing was crucial for several reasons. First, the culture that Dr. Chenoweth has been creating on campus, one built on the foundations of prayer and the direction of God, served as a source of inspiration and encouragement to me. Second, I wanted to provide stability for my children, who faced great loss. Their pastors and their teachers at school were incredibly supportive and provided a solid foundation that has helped them grow. Finally, my colleagues and confidants encouraged me in my scholarly pursuits, which helped me focus on something lifegiving and productive.

I am pleased to say that I have published two books this year. I began writing my first book on prayer during the last months of my husband’s life as a reflection of a journey that was bathed in prayer from beginning to end. The second book is about sharing the Gospel in the contemporary world. Completing this book has truly been a sign of God’s grace. I often wondered if I would be able to finish it at all. But the continual encouragement that my community offered along the way and the subtle voice of the Spirit propelling me forward enabled me to cross the finish line. The reassurances offered by my community were never interpreted as mere acts of kindness. Rather, they became God’s own invitation to pause and reflect on His love as expressed through the love of His people.

The transient ground between the reality of our present difficulties and our coming victory should compel us to live a life of greater dependence on God. The recognition that life is temporary reminds us not to set our hearts on material things that cannot be kept but to set our hearts on that which can never be lost. The transience of our momentary experience on earth ebbs back and forth between what once was, what is and what is yet to come. Hope is the bridge between all these. Hope is the engine of life and has the capacity to defeat our fears and conquer our doubts — because Jesus is this hope.

Dr. Twibell is a regular contributor to Holiness Today and has authored several book chapters and scholarly academic articles. Selected as the Waybright Scholar, she received her Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies at Trinity International University and was awarded the Kenneth Kentzer Memorial Award for academic excellence and Christian character in 2019. She is a member of several professional societies and a member of the International Course of Study Advisory Committee in the Church of the Nazarene. Dr. Twibell resides in Bourbonnais with her two children, Lucas and Sofia. Her recreational interests include triathlons, reading and travel.

The recognition that life is temporary reminds us not to set our hearts on material things that cannot be kept but to set our hearts on that which can never be lost.


“As chaplain for Olivet Nazarene University, I’m now leading programs that I never participated in as a student,” says Antonio “Tone” Marshall ’13/’16 M.A./’19 M.Div. “God has brought me full circle from someone who didn’t believe in Him to someone who is helping effect the change and transformation of others.”


A native of Spencer, Indiana, Antonio entered Olivet as a freshman with a basketball scholarship. He played point guard for the Tigers throughout his undergraduate years while earning a degree in elementary education. As an athlete, he was led by coaches who modeled Christian leadership for him. As a student, he participated in education with a Christian purpose. But he was not a believer of God’s Word or a follower of Jesus.

Going into his senior year, Antonio acknowledged Jesus as his Savior and Lord. As he began to understand more about who God is and what God’s Word says, God changed the trajectory of his life.

Finding God’s way

After graduation, Antonio continued with the men’s basketball team as a volunteer assistant coach while serving as athletic director for St. George Community Consolidated School District in Bourbonnais and teaching seventh grade language arts at Bourbonnais Upper Grade Center. Just two years later, he began to sense God’s call on his life to enter full-time ministry.

As he worked toward earning both Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees at Olivet, he also moved into leadership positions. He served as the graduate assistant for the Tiger men’s basketball team and then accepted a position as family ministry pastor at Grand Rapids International Fellowship in Michigan.

In 2014 Antonio married O’Malley (King) ’12, a photography and graphic design major. They are now the parents of three sons, Daxton, Barrow and Haynes.

Returning and serving in new


“In 2021 former ONU Chaplain Mark Holcomb contacted me about returning to ONU and serving as associate chaplain,” Antonio recalls. “God provided that opportunity as a turning point for me. I worked alongside Mark for a year and then accepted the chaplain position in 2022.”

Today, Antonio leads the Office of Spiritual Development (Spiritual Life) and is fully committed to helping Olivet students find the life Jesus wants them to have. The Office of Spiritual Development exists to foster belonging in the life of every student and to equip spiritual leaders to partner with God in shalom. With the slogan of “Belong to Shalom,” Spiritual Life aims to encourage students to find a sense of belonging and to participate in the pursuit of holistic flourishing in their spiritual journeys.

One of Antonio’s first acts as chaplain was to establish “7 Abiding Habits” to guide students in setting up their lives so they can abide with God and allow God to transform them. He also continually encourages them to slow down, make mental health a priority, and steward their time and their mind.

“Asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.” Ephesians 1:17 NLT

“The enemy still wants to steal, kill and destroy,” Antonio says. “Jesus still wants us to have life to the full — a flourishing life. I want to help our students find out what flourishing really means, not what the world tells them it means.”

Leading a new team

Antonio’s team spirit continues to thrive, even off the basketball court. He currently leads a team of two paid staff plus seven student leaders.

“Watching them grow as leaders and use their leadership skills to effect change on this campus is a joy for me,” he says. “I love what we get to do together as a team.”

Together, they lead a variety of spiritual growth opportunities for students, faculty and staff across campus, including Belong Groups, Discipleship Huddles, chapel, Upper Room, student ministries, ministry trips and community engagement initiatives. They are providing ways for students to experience the flourishing life of following Jesus.

Focusing on chapel and campus

As students, faculty and staff gather in chapel during the 2023−2024 academic year, the theme for their focus is “Together.” They will look at the reality of Christ as He pursues His Church and what that means for all believers collectively as the bride of Christ. Togethering is especially important for students as they navigate the college experience.

“When we gather in chapel to hear the Word of God, I’m one person on the stage,” Antonio says. “Off the stage, I’m accessible to students so we can engage with the Word of God together.”

One of his highest priorities is meeting students where they are — dining room, gym, football stadium, athletic fields, tennis courts, concerts, presentations, social media — and being available to them.

Students are facing many mental, emotional and spiritual challenges coming at them from all sectors of our society. Antonio leads them in addressing and discussing hard topics that affect their lives — topics that could be divisive if they aren’t approached in a healthy, loving, grace-filled way. He helps them discover what will lead to flourishing and what will not. Antonio is the first to acknowledge the anxiety and other mental health issues many students deal with. College adds more busyness to their lives in a very busy world. He knows from his own life that it is important for them to slow down and set up their lives for what God wants to do, and he is committed to helping them learn how to do that.

“Students can come to ONU and get a great education and not be transformed by God,” he says. “I want to help them learn how to manage life in a way that allows God to transform them in every season of their lives.”

Mentoring and messaging in today’s world

Capturing students’ attention in a whirlwind world is only part of the chaplain’s assignment. Building relationships with students and being there for them wherever they are is another part. Enriching lives with the truth from God’s Word is another part of the job description. Wherever Antonio is leading, he dedicates his time and energy to accomplishing what God has called him to do. As a person who knows what it’s like to live without Jesus and with Jesus, he is making a difference in hundreds of lives every day.

“I’m grateful to the many people at ONU who have played a huge role in my development as a man, child of God, husband, father and chaplain,” Antonio says. “I am stewarding this position as chaplain to lead students into whatever God is calling them to do. What a blessing for me.”

One of Antonio’s first acts as chaplain was to establish “7 Abiding Habits” — Word, Prayer, Worship, Fellowship, Servanthood, Stewardship and Witness.

The 2023 ONU Viewbook

Each year Olivet releases a special promotional booklet created for prospective students and their families. The following pages provide a sneak peek into the latest edition. >>>




Everyone says you meet your best friends at college — friends for life. The Olivet experience is uniquely infused with activities that build a supportive, nurturing community. The beautiful, park-like campus provides a setting where students grow academically, spiritually and socially. Olivet has 24 intercollegiate athletic teams as well as a wide variety of intramural sports in which more than half of the student body participates. There are more than 90 student clubs, organizations and honor societies, including music ensembles, theatrical performances and volunteer opportunities. Numerous employment positions give students opportunities to engage in the community on and off campus.



Learning and growing go hand in hand at Olivet. Here, you’ll learn truth and gain wisdom as you’re stretched academically and spiritually. The entire campus gathers twice each week for chapel services, and there’s a freedom to openly discuss matters of faith. Professors and staff serve as mentors, and worship is a vital part of campus life. Many students take advantage of studyabroad and mission trip opportunities in more than 21 local and world areas to expand their global perspectives.


Olivet alumni are found in almost every career path. Graduates are NASA scientists and nature conservators, CEOs and CFOs, artists and performers, pastors and theologians, and engineers and educators. With more than 140 areas of study — offered through bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees — Olivet is widely recognized for academic diversity and global reach. U.S. News “Best Colleges” report recently ranked Olivet a “Top 10 Best Value Regional School” in the Midwest and distinguished Olivet with the special “Social Mobility” badge, recognizing the institution’s commitment to helping firstgeneration college students reach their academic goals.




From its earliest days, Olivet Nazarene University has had a sense of destiny. The grand, enduring mission of Olivet has stood the test of time and remains unchanged.

And even in the midst of challenging times, God has sustained and blessed Olivet in miraculous ways. We echo the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’” Lamentations 3:22–24

We are convinced that because of the power and goodness of our Jehovah Jireh God, there is ample, supernatural “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” to accomplish all that He has planned for us in the coming days.

In his work Experiencing the Spirit: The Power of Pentecost Every Day, Henry Blackaby put it this way:

Will God ever ask you to do something you are not able to do? The answer is yes — all the time! It must be that way, for God’s glory and Kingdom. If we function according to our ability alone, we get the glory; if we function according to the power of the Spirit within us, God gets the glory. He wants to reveal Himself to a watching world.

With this in mind, we launch this new campaign for Olivet in the weeks and months to come. Our hope is to illuminate hundreds of good news stories — Portraits of Strength & Hope — from all corners of the Olivet experience. Join us as we imagine the future and follow God’s lead in the years and decades to come.

Tell us about the ways that God has impacted your life through the people of Olivet: a professor, coach, mentor, staff member, roommate, classmate or friend. Share a present or past miracle moment from your Olivet journey.



After completing her freshman year of college in Michigan, Amanda (Wheeler) Choi ’07 transferred to Olivet to pursue a degree in family and consumer sciences education. Her boyfriend at the time was already an Olivet student. They got married, graduated and established their lives and careers in Kankakee County. Unfortunately, the relationship soon deteriorated.

When it became obvious that reconciliation would not happen, Amanda turned to Olivet connections for wisdom and advice. In addition to counseling, she got involved at College Church, where she connected with Kendra Schwada Kendra (Custer) Schwada ’97, who became an influential mentor during the season of marriage separation.

“I started meeting regularly with Kendra, and the Schwadas eventually invited me into their home,” Amanda says. “I got a front-row seat to see a much healthier marriage partnership than I had experienced. That season of life was a gift from the Lord. He really knows what we need in hard times.”

As Amanda recovered her sense of stability, she broadened her view of the world and her place in it. She had always been interested in traveling and serving abroad, having taken missions trips to Mexico and Ecuador in high school. The summer before coming to Olivet, she worked for Mercy Ships, living on a floating hospital yacht as it traveled throughout Europe to be serviced. Amanda anticipated continuing similar mission work with her ex-husband, but she let the dream fade as the marriage did. However, the Lord was faithful in honoring that dream.

“Because I was so broken at the time, I was constantly in the Scripture — it’s the only place to go when your life is falling apart,” she says. “For the first time, I took note of God’s relationship with Israel and became intrigued with how His love for the nation served as an example for the whole world. As I figured out the next steps to take in my own life, I asked the Lord to reveal a passion for a specific people and a place. He answered in one word: Israel.”

It was not long before Amanda traveled to Israel through the organization Bridges For Peace (BFP), a nonprofit that seeks to build relationships between

Amanda Choi

Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world. The experience was transformational.

“I saw how the Lord was restoring the land in Israel,” she recalls. “I witnessed the fulfillment of Scripture, and I was even playing a small role in that work. After seeing unfaithfulness in the worst way, God brought me to Israel to show me His faithfulness to His Word. I learned what faithfulness really looks like.”

The trip reignited a sense of purpose in Amanda’s life and reframed what she felt was an international calling. She returned to Israel the following summer break, eager to continue to support the mission of BFP. When she returned to the United States after the second trip, she was fairly confident that she would not be home for long.

In 2017 Amanda took a leap of faith and moved to Jerusalem to work in the Feed a Child program through BFP. Public schools in Israel do not provide many essential resources, including textbooks and lunches, and parents often face staggering school fees at the beginning of each year. One of every three Israeli children lives below the poverty line. Many Jewish families in Israel are immigrants or refugees, and the adults often struggle to establish careers and community connections because skilled jobs require a mastery of Hebrew and, in many cases, local licensure and certifications. The Feed a Child program matches Christian donors with Jewish children to bridge the economic gaps as families get resettled and assimilate into the local society or simply find themselves facing seemingly impossible financial difficulties.

“When I first came to Israel, I was amazed to see how the Lord places us and uses the skills He’s given us,” Amanda says. “Initially, I did a lot of food prep and worked in the school setting, so it was helpful that I had a background in education. My role has evolved, and now I get to be an advocate for the organization.”

In the six years she has lived in Israel, Amanda has experienced personal growth and restoration she never anticipated. She met her husband, Glory, at a Messianic synagogue they both attend in Jerusalem. Glory is a Ph.D. candidate who is studying Jewish thought at the time of the Second Temple Period. They married in 2020, have one daughter and are expecting their second in fall 2023.

The Choi family frequently travels back to America to visit family, provide updates about their work and studies, and raise support for Amanda’s work at BFP. Doing so has given her opportunities to encourage others in their faith journeys by sharing traditional feasts like Shabbat and Passover Seders.

“Living in Israel — and having an understanding of the Jewish people and culture — has helped me understand Jesus better,” Amanda says. “The concepts represented in those traditions are pictures that point to Christ. There’s so much hope in the future here, and that should be encouraging to our Christian faith.

“I believe the Lord brought me here to teach me what faithfulness is and to restore my heart. He was on a mission. In witnessing the restoration of Jerusalem, I have experienced His love on a level I never had before. God has used my time here to totally restore my heart and my life. I have an incredible family, and I am constantly blown away by the goodness of the Lord. He is so faithful to His Word.”

“There’s so much hope in the future here, and that should be encouraging to our Christian faith.”


I was born into difficult circumstances, but God, through His infinite wisdom and providence, opened doors in my life that were unexpected and undeserved. I was born in Nampa, Idaho, a short distance from Olivet’s sister school, Northwest Nazarene University. I grew up in a family of hardworking blue-collar individuals. My mother was one of these hardworking people, but I had no meaningful father figure in my life. I struggled to find my identity in the world.

Fortunately, when I was 15, I attended a winter retreat with Canyon Hill Church of the Nazarene in Caldwell, Idaho, and I was introduced to the Gospel. I accepted a call to follow Christ which impacted my future, my plans and my destiny.

During my junior year of high school, my youth pastor, Matt Saunders, piled a group of football players into a minivan and drove across the country to visit Olivet. He wanted to give us a glimpse of a different world so we could see purpose beyond sports. I wasn’t a great football player, but I thought I could earn some scholarship money on this “recruitment” trip. Matt knew I dreamed of going to medical school and, while I was on campus, he arranged for me to meet Dr. Richard Colling ’76, the chair of the biology department at the time.

I have been practicing medicine for 13 years, and I’ve found that sometimes a short conversation can have dramatic results. Maybe Dr. Colling saw something in me. Maybe God was working through him. But from that brief encounter, I came home with clarity of purpose for my future career.

In the months that followed, I received a solid financial aid package from Olivet, but I still needed to come up with a lot more money. That summer I worked at McDonald’s and some odd jobs to buy a plane ticket. But I had no help. I finally decided that going across the country was too far and expensive. I had no college graduates in my immediate family and no funding for school.

One day I was reading my Bible and doing a devotional when I felt a clear question from God: “Why aren’t you going to Olivet?”

I had several answers for God: Money, distance, money, money. Ultimately, I was just afraid. Maybe Olivet was too far. Maybe I wasn’t college material. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to measure up.

“If a man or woman is called of God, it does not matter how untoward circumstances are, every force that has been at work will tell for God’s purpose in the end. If you agree with God’s purpose He will bring not only your conscious life, but all the deeper regions of your life which you cannot get at, into harmony.”
Oswald Chambers

Dr. Joshua Adams

But I felt God respond, “No, this is the path I have for you. This is the place I want you to go.”

Throughout Scripture God gives His people opportunities to respond to His call. I think of Noah, Moses, David, Peter and Paul. I am nothing in relation to these giants of our faith, but each of us is called to something. We are required to be faithful to that call if we will be used of God. I called Olivet back, accepted the offer and got on a plane to Chicago carrying two bags of clothes, strong feelings of inadequacy and a firm conviction of God’s calling.

When I arrived at my Chapman Hall dorm room, everything changed. The campus environment was warm, inviting, fun — things I had rarely experienced. Even so, the transition wasn’t easy. I had so much to learn. I didn’t have many role models. My mom did her best, but she struggled. I didn’t have a father figure. My older brother had spent 10 years in prison due to poor choices.

At Olivet professional readiness began with academics but spread to character development. The biology department was crucial to my success: small class sizes, great relationships with professors, opportunities to teach labs (which is how I met my wife!). Beyond the classroom, the collective focus on Christian living also made a huge impact. Olivet is so different from the typical college environment. The promiscuity, the drunken benders, the experimenting with drugs — those things just weren’t appealing to my group of friends. We had committed to a higher calling in life.

The desire to connect in healthy ways led me to join a home group — a gathering of college students hosted by a local family. Barry and Gayle Huebner became second parents to me. Every week we’d go to their house, have faith-based discussions and enjoy dinner together. The Huebners started as mentors and ultimately became lifelong friends. To this day, our home group still meets up every summer at Barry and Gayle’s place.

I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have mature Christians who are invested in young people. It is spectacularly life-changing. Youth pastors, college professors and laypeople directly impacted my life. I started as a scared fatherless freshman kid. I have become a husband, father to three beautiful children, a physician, a military officer and, ultimately, a lifelong Christ-follower — an identity with true purpose based on a life of obedience to His call.

Dr. Joshua Adams ’04 completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, where he participated in the U.S. Army’s Health Professions Scholarship Program. He attended residency at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was selected as chief resident. He was subsequently assigned as brigade surgeon for the 10th Mountain Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team and deployed to Afghanistan. He currently works as a family medicine physician at Primary Health Medical Group. He and his wife, Sarah (Grogan) ’06, have three children: Rebekah, Josiah and Rachel.


Travis Smith

Travis Smith ’12 doesn’t know when he joined a gang — unbelievable as that may seem. He grew up inundated with the influence of gang activity in the Cabrini-Green housing projects of Chicago, where children under the age of 10 often get recruited.

He had a supportive mother and an extended family circle who did their best to encourage him toward a more positive life trajectory. But, as Travis remembers, his father actively avoided interacting with him — a significant relationship unraveling that had a profound impact on his self-worth and his concept of family.

Living the life of a gang member, he was on a path to ruin — until the day he randomly wandered into a building in his neighborhood. The building housed a new Christ-centered after-school organization, By The Hand Club. Upon entering, Travis was greeted by Donnita Travis, the club’s founder.

“I went to shake her hand, and she hugged me,” Travis recalls. “It was a pivotal moment in my life. On the other side of the building, drugs were being sold, but, here, people were serving Jesus. They gave me a tour of the facility, and I left with the realization that people who didn’t know me seemed to value me more than I believed in myself. They had a different life in Christ than I was used to, and I was compelled to find out more.”

Since its inception, By The Hand has provided services for children to address their needs from a holistic perspective — body, mind and soul — based on John

10:10. When Travis first discovered the club, activities were only available for children in the third through sixth grades, but he eventually joined as a junior leader.

Although he was surrounded by Christians who displayed the love of Jesus, his complete life transformation didn’t happen overnight.

“Before starting to live an abundant life, I was living a double life,” he says. “I was of two minds: the community life of a gang and the community life I saw modeled at the club.”

The choice to attend a By the Hand Teen Church service instead of a gang member party one Friday evening gave Travis the breakthrough he needed.

“I don’t remember the message from that night,” Travis says. “But I do remember God saying, ‘You’re watching people live for Christ on the sidelines; get in the game.’”

The following Monday, it was game time.

“I knew that if I was serious about Jesus, I needed to leave the gang immediately,” he remembers. “During a break between summer school classes, with my Bible in hand, I approached one of the gang leaders. I said with a confidence that could have only come from God, ‘I’m leaving the gang to follow Christ, and I invite you to join Team Jesus.’ He stared at me with such direct eye contact, it felt as though he searched my soul. Finally, he said, ‘Everybody, listen up.’ His words silenced the hallway. ‘Tray-Dog is living for Jesus. Don’t nobody mess with him.’”



That conversation gave Travis his first taste of his divine calling: to be a Christian encourager. Throughout the rest of high school, that same gang leader encouraged people to inquire about Travis’ life transformation. These conversations led to several people making their own decisions to follow Christ.

His new enthusiasm for life was infectious to the people around him, yet Travis still struggled to fully embrace the wholeness of God’s grace. It was a seemingly serendipitous interaction with a classmate that opened the door for a new phase of his personal and professional development.

“My friend Jesse brought an Olivet brochure to school on senior skip day,” he says. “We were two of the few seniors who didn’t skip. I had never heard of Olivet but was interested enough to call the admissions office. Before I got off the call, I told the admissions counselor, ‘I believe I belong at Olivet.’ I honestly had no idea that was a well-known Olivet phrase. I just firmly believed this was where God wanted me to be.”

Because of his active ministry at home, Travis almost didn’t go to Olivet. But God had made it clear that while Travis was pouring out himself to others, He wanted to pour into him. So, he enrolled to study graphic design and got involved in campus activities and ministries.

“Looking back, I see how God established so many relationships I didn’t know I needed to grow spiritually — but also mentally, physically and emotionally,” Travis says.

At Olivet Travis met faculty, staff and other students, including his wife, Karissa (Cantrall) ’15, who played a significant role in revising his view of the meaning

of family. They have now been married 10 years, and it has been 20 years since Travis made a public declaration to follow Christ. To commemorate God’s faithfulness in their lives, Travis and Karissa wrote a “Declaration of Dependence on Jesus,” inspired by Joshua 24:15, and have started to share it with others.

“God gave me the idea of a family document when I was dating Karissa, but I rejected it at the time,” Travis says. “I was afraid of the word legacy. I had welcomed God in my spiritual life, but I didn’t know how to depend on Him in other aspects. It took years to understand what God was asking of me, but I can see it now with greater clarity.”

What started as Travis’ private profession of faith in a teen church service evolved into restored images of self-worth and family dynamics, and it has paved the way for an unexpected movement of encouraging others to follow Christ.

“I can’t help but share Jesus with others,” Travis says.

Travis is a part-time resident director at Olivet. He also works for Life University and serves on the board of By The Hand Club for Kids. He and Karissa live in Bourbonnais with their four children: Zariah, Ezekiel, Hezekai and Hazel.

To read the Smith family’s “Declaration of Dependence on Jesus,” scan the QR code.



Lt. Col. Benjamin “Ben” Kayser ’02/’04 MBA had simple goals for college: Play sports, obtain a business degree and find a wife. Although he accomplished all of those goals, his time at Olivet yielded an even more significant life change.

“At the time, I was a Christian but not really walking with the Lord,” Ben reflects. “I knew I needed a positive campus environment — mostly, I wanted to stay out of trouble. Looking back, I am thankful for what Olivet meant for my faith. My heart for mission work really took shape because I experienced people loving me the way Jesus loved His disciples.”

As Ben tells it, the University was incredibly gracious during his time of spiritual formation. Even as a seeker of Christian values, he went to the dean’s office more than a few times for disciplinary reasons. But as he found his footing, he was impacted by people like Dr. Carol (Maxson) Summers ’88, who generously hosted him and other students over school breaks; the leadership of Dr. Glen Rewerts in the business department; and the wisdom of Dr. Kent Olney, whose course on marriage and family psychology furnished Ben with helpful notes that he still references.

However, the true game-changer came during a season when the Olivet baseball team experienced

a spiritual revival. Dan Heefner ’01, one of Ben’s teammates, had benefited from the mentorship of the Navigators organization, which trains and supports people for “life-to-life” discipleship. Dan transferred that training to the team and encouraged his teammates to seek purpose beyond the field. His intentional care for the other men provided the type of defining assist that can really win or lose the game of life, as most of the team made personal commitments to follow Christ because of how Dan loved on and mentored them.

Even after experiencing that transformation, Ben was uncertain what the sweet spot of his faith and career intersecting would look like. At the end of his undergraduate journey, he was encouraged to inquire about the relatively new Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Olivet. Ben received an ROTC scholarship to complete an MBA degree and embarked on a career journey that has repeatedly given him opportunities to share his faith.

After graduation he enlisted for active duty in the U.S. Army and was deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a 15-month tour of duty. Serving his country gave Ben a new perspective on the importance of Christ-centered relationships.

“Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.”
Isaiah 54:2–3

“There are so many opportunities to grow and mature through military service,” he says. “Practically speaking, I led a platoon in combat on multiple occasions, and we were assigned responsibility over millions of dollars of equipment. But that growth experience came at a high cost. The days of living free go out of the window when people are shooting at you. I saw firsthand the need to help lead others toward a redeemed life.”

Near the end of his deployment, Ben considered whether to remain an infantry officer or to transition to vocational ministry. He had maintained contact with the Navigators organization after his experience in college. In 2010 he officially joined the staff in Fort Liberty, North Carolina. He now oversees four Bible studies, each serving 50–60 military personnel and their families. The Kayser family has also opened their home for more than 60 people to live with them over the past 10 years.

“God laid on my heart that He wanted us to expand our local ministry by training and mobilizing disciples through community connection,” Ben says. “The people who live with us and other Navigator families in the neighborhood get to see the good, the bad and the occasionally ugly moments of our lives, which is not so different from what I observed in mentors at Olivet.”

As a reserve officer, Ben also serves military personnel at Langley Air Force base in Virginia for a few weeks each year to augment the work of a full-time chaplain. There is quite a difference between the established relational nature of his work at Fort Liberty and providing crisis counseling at Fort Langley for men and women whom he may not ever see again, but Ben values both long- and short-term ministry.

“People are coming to Christ, and soldiers are sharing their faith as they get deployed around the world,” he explains. “The reach of U.S. military personnel is remarkable. My hope is that, through it all, people see the ways we are trying to honor the Lord and that they are inspired to go and do the same. Our goal is to reach the nations, and it is incredible to witness that happening.”

Ben and his college sweetheart, Elizabeth “Betts” (Babcock) ’02, have seven children: Grace (who attends Olivet through the Veritas Program), Bella, Chole, Anna, Ruth, Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Kayser family live and work in Fort Liberty, North Carolina.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Kayser

Dr. Brian ’82 and Dr. Lynda (Bradford) Allen ’82/’88 MBA

Enjoying each other’s company and the company of others is the connection that Brian and Lynda Allen share. From the first day they met as teenagers at church in Plymouth, Michigan, to this day, they’ve found joy in relationships and building community.

Brian and Lynda met when Brian’s father came to pastor the church where Lynda and her family attended.

“I was 14, and he was 16,” Lynda recalls. “We were fast friends.”

They married while they were students at Olivet Nazarene University.

“For the first year of our marriage, we were resident directors in LeVasseur Apartments,” Brian recalls. “That was a fun and unique way to start our marriage.”

Both have served in a variety of positions at Olivet. Lynda’s first full-time job was working with Dr. Jim Knight in the registrar’s office. Brian began as a member of the admissions team.

Today, Lynda is a professor in Olivet’s McGraw School of Business, teaching the freshman-level Principles of Marketing course and a capstone leadership and ethics course for seniors. She also facilitates and leads students in projects to help local community businesses grow.

“Developing relationships with students and continuing friendships with them after they graduate makes my work so meaningful,” she says. “I’m an introvert, but relating with students, praying with them, hosting them as guests in our home gives me great joy. Every contact and conversation I have with my students helps me understand them at a different level. I still go home each day grateful for the work I’m privileged to do.”

Brian serves as vice president for institutional advancement at Olivet. He remembers walking across campus on the day Kelley Prayer Chapel was dedicated.

“That day, I sensed from God that my ministry would be on the campus of Olivet,” he says. “I’ve been a fulltime employee here for 40 years.”

One of Brian’s greatest joys is being part of how Olivet shows up in the world.

“We love seeing people thrive at Olivet,” he says. “Wherever our students go, a part of Lynda and me goes with them.”

Their commitment to building community is the thread that weaves young adults, campus faculty and staff, local residents, and the worldwide Olivet alumni network into their lives.

“Lynda has the gift of hospitality,” Brian says. “We believe that God gave us our house for sharing. One of our delights is entertaining students in our home. I believe some of Lynda’s best teaching happens around our kitchen table.”

“We often talk and pray together about ONU, our concerns, our work,” Lynda says. “We both care about this university in the same way but from different perspectives. When I attend fundraising events with Brian, I meet people who are donating to my work. When he welcomes my students into our home, he connects his work with current students.”

The Allens are the parents of three adult children: Kyle ’09/’18 MBA, who lives in Kankakee and works for a Chicago-based brokerage company; Shelby ’13 and her husband, Adam Guest, who are elementary school teachers at the same school in Louisville, Kentucky; and Spencer ’17, who is a project engineer for Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. Brian and Lynda are also the grandparents of Kyle’s daughters, Ainsley, 8, and Dylan, 5.

Brian and Lynda intentionally plan their hectic schedules so they have time to spend together. Every morning they walk and share coffee and devotions together. They enjoy being spontaneous — an impromptu date to their favorite restaurant in Oak Brook or a fun road trip to a new destination.

“We are debtors,” Brian says. “We have received more than we’ve given. We care about all of Olivet, not just the jobs we have individually. God called us to this place, not these positions. It’s a great time to invest in work that matters. This work matters.”

Right: The Allens with their two granddaughters, Dylan and Ainsley


“We are debtors. We’ve received more than we’ve given. We care about all of ONU, not just the jobs we have individually. God called us to this place, not these positions. It’s a great time to invest in work that matters. This work matters.”


The $64 million comprehensive campaign is designed to support Olivet’s mission and priorities for the benefit of current students and for generations to come.


In the life of every organization, there is an inner core of men and women who provide necessary leadership and support.

At Olivet we have a strong constituency of alumni and friends — those who lead, serve and provide generously to advance the cause of an “Education With a Christian Purpose.”

In this season, we are extending an invitation to that very core of individuals to partner with us in creating a “redeeming abundance” for a new generation of transformational leaders.

This is the Strength & Hope Campaign for Olivet. We seek to rally uncommon support and advocacy for our worthy mission. We believe God has positioned us for such a time as this.

“The fate of institutions can hinge on a few people, on their personal character, and even one person can tip the balance from devastating conditions to redeeming abundance.”
Andy Crouch

Did You Know?

Olivet offers more than 140 areas of study, leading to more than 500 combinations of possible academic tracks.

The Strength & Hope Campaign for Olivet will provide much-needed financial support and fund the growth and success of numerous initiatives.

New and Enhanced Programs

The mission of Olivet is lived out across many aspects of the Olivet experience that support academic excellence, build community, develop Christian character, equip leaders and foster spiritual formation — preparing students for success in careers and sending them out to lead lives of significance and consequence.

Hope Scholarships

We aim to provide hope through critical financial assistance to families with great need and students with significant promise, giving them the additional help they need to both enroll and graduate from Olivet.

Spaces and Places of Promise

Our goal for campus is to create the best learning, living and communitybuilding environments possible, knowing that environment matters and God works in spaces and places.

Faculty and Staff

We believe God works through people. A distinctive characteristic of the Olivet ethos is our faculty and staff, who are on the front lines of our mission through their teaching and mentoring experience.



Together, the Strength & Hope Campaign will fuel Olivet’s mission, fund excellence in programming and campus enhancements beyond the budget, and support our key priorities.

Persistence: Support Student Success

We purpose to not merely attract new students but produce faithintegrated graduates.

Affordability: Increase Student Access

We aim to ensure that financial need does not prevent a deserving student from attending Olivet.

Virtue: Prepare Thought Leaders

We seek to prepare and graduate the next generation of leaders who possess both knowledge and wisdom — men and women who will lead strategic public and private institutions and advance the cause of Christ.

Effective Stewardship: Secure Olivet’s Future

We are resolved in our commitment that Olivet continues to be a premier Christian university with all the requisite commitments to quality and excellence in academics, campus environment, athletics, the arts and the student experience for generations to come.

Recruitment: Expand Olivet’s Influence

We believe the world is a better place with more Olivet graduates in it. To that end, we will develop new niche markets through high-touch and innovative recruitment strategies to attract students and families who are looking for a distinctively Christian and personally transformative college experience.

Did You Know?

Totaling more than 50,000, Olivet alumni are in nearly every corner of the globe. This year’s students studying on campus or online come from 49 states. Traditional undergraduate candidates represent more than 23 countries or world areas.




Address the hurdles, especially for at-risk students. We want to see at least 7 in 10 students complete their degree.

Partner Opportunity:

Contribute toward the goal of $17.5 million designated for Strategic Programs, Endowments and Sponsorships, and Scholarship Support for returning students.

$17.5M $12.5M



Ensure that financial need does not prevent deserving students from attending Olivet.

Partner Opportunity:

Give toward the goal of $12.5 million designated for Strategic Programs and Scholarship Support for students with high financial need.

Did You Know?

Olivet recently launched a special initiative called Aspira to recruit new students from Spanish-speaking families. The Office of Admissions even hosts special Aspira visit days. ¡Estas Invitado! Ven a visitar a Olivet por un día mientras ponemos el enfoque en lo académico.


Did You Know?

Olivet offers personalized financial aid and affordability counseling. Our committed team of financial aid and new student financial assistance professionals work to create custom packages for each student and family.


Focus: Strengthen students’ capacity to think Biblically and become thought leaders and influencers on moral issues in our culture..

Partner Opportunity: Give toward the goal of $11.5 million, designated for Strategic Initiatives, Endowments and Sponsorships.


Did You Know?

In November 2021

Olivet completed the installation of 3,124 solar panels on two campus buildings. The panels, provided through a partnership with SunVest Solar, produce a maximum of 1 million watts (megawatts) of electricity during peak sunlight and are estimated to produce about 1,25 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Focus: Keep the cost of education as affordable as possible while ensuring students are equipped to serve and lead.

Partner Opportunity: Contribute toward the goal of $10 million, designated for Program Sustainability, Campus Efficiency Projects and Capital Enhancements.


$11.5M $10M $12.5M


Focus: Recruit quality students for quality Christian education.

Partner Opportunity: Give toward the goal of $12.5 million, designated for Scholarship Support for first-generation freshmen and transfer students and Capital Enhancements in freshman student housing.


Did You Know?

In addition to a full schedule of Purple & Gold Days and academicfocused visit days, Olivet offers personalized, campus visits each weekday. Our exceptional admissions team will plan a special day on campus, tailor-made for each student’s interests and needs.

“At Olivet I enjoyed the different theological perspectives which helped me discover and defend my own beliefs. I look forward to diving deeper. I am excited to solidify my calling and use what I’ve learned to give back to people.
Building personal relationships with my professors taught me the importance of seeing education as a part of my call to ministry.
All the time I invested at Olivet learning, studying, reading and articulating the Scriptures has shaped my life and future service.”

We invite you to continue the conversation with us to discover how you might best join us in creating a “redeeming abundance” as we step into these next five years.


There are limitless ways you can partner with Olivet in this initiative. Below are examples of ways friends are currently supporting Olivet:

Learn more about how you can become part of Olivet’s mission for many years to come. Contact campaign director Susan Wolff at swolff@olivet.edu or call 815-928-5776 to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.

· Cash Gifts · Multi-Year Pledge Commitments · Gifts of Appreciated Assets · Estate Gifts · Gifts in Kind · Donor-Advised Funds · IRA Required Minimum Distribution · Real Estate
Tangible Personal Property
Life Insurance
Retirement Plan Assets
Closely Held Stock
The Strength & Hope Campaign is a bold step of faith to equip the next generation of Christian leaders.

Did You Know?

Every year hundreds of Olivet students travel throughout the U.S. and around the world over their spring or summer breaks through the Shalom Project. Led by faculty and staff sponsors, these trips are lifechanging experiences for students as well as the people they reach. Students at Olivet are going to the far corners of the earth, spreading the love of Jesus Christ.

Join the Strength & Hope Campaign today and participate in all that God is doing at Olivet! For more information, snap the QR code above.

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known. ...” Habakkuk 3:2


The Olivet Nazarene University curriculum presents the liberal arts in such a way that students find numerous areas of interest — sometimes well beyond their initial scope of area of study. Many students add minors, specializations, certificates and concentrations, and even collaborate with faculty in meaningful research and study.

Higher Education Higher Purpose

Earning a bachelor’s degree at Olivet Nazarene University can be the first step into a life filled with promise and success. Many students take the next step of earning a master’s or doctorate degree, while others head straight into a job to start their careers.

Olivet The Magazine recently spoke with six outstanding young alumni who are continuing to pursue a higher purpose as they build on the experiences of their higher education.

Stories by Hannah Priest & Lauren Beatty

Tate Walters ’23

Major: Psychology; Minor: English

Currently: Master of Arts-Educational Specialist, School of Psychology, Lewis & Clark College

Like many college students, Tate Walters knew that he wanted to attend graduate school. He just wasn’t sure what he would study.

“As a freshman, I thought I might want to go to law school,” he says. “However, as time went on, I felt called more towards the field of psychology. Through many meetings and classes with Dr. John Adams, I refined that interest even more to be school psychology. Dr. Lisa Gassin and Dr. Kristian Veit were also incredibly supportive and helpful as mentors throughout this process, especially through the supervised practicum class. I was able to work under a local school counselor and get valuable experience in a school environment.”

When Tate considered graduate school options, Lewis & Clark College stood out for its emphasis on counseling, unlike the majority of psychology programs which focus on testing and statistics. He also found that professors were involved in the application and interview processes and the cohort sizes were very small, indicating that the students receive personal, face-to-face time with the professors. Although Oregon is rather far from Tate’s hometown in Iowa, he chose to take a leap, move west and embrace new academic adventures.

“My experience at Olivet was essentially to realize my passion for the field of school psychology, and my positive relationships with professors helped me learn how encouraging it is to have good mentors in my life,” Tate says. “I would love to be able to provide that same support and mentorship to other students.”

Katie Bishop ’23

Major: Zoology; Minor: Chemistry

Currently: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Katie Bishop has been passionate about caring for animals since before she was in high school. As a young girl, she anticipated going to veterinary school in hopes of one day establishing a small animal general practice that would focus on serving cats and dogs. She chose to study zoology at Olivet to gain a broad understanding of animal medicine.

A summer internship at a local animal shelter further solidified her decision to pursue a graduate degree in veterinary medicine. She practiced basic medical skills, including performing physical exams and administering vaccines and oral medications. That experience and the education she received at Olivet provided a strong foundation for her success in graduate school at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“One Olivet class that I feel prepared me well was biochemistry,” Katie explains. “One of the first things we are learning at the University of Illinois is the fundamentals of biochemistry, and almost all of it has been review for me, which has made my transition to vet school a little easier. The pace is definitely an adjustment, but I feel like I was prepared to make this jump in my academic career.”

The four-year veterinary medicine doctoral program gives students plenty of hands-on learning opportunities, including chances to shadow established doctors at the Univeristy of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital as well as research and clinical experiences.

“I feel that Olivet prepared me well for the academic rigor of this program,” Katie says. “I have dreamed about being a vet for so long. I’m just really excited to be able to learn things that I will use in my day-to-day life after I graduate.”

Jacie Wolfe ’22

Major: Social Work; Minor: Criminal Justice

Currently: Master of Social Work, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois Chicago

Early in her college experience at Olivet, Jacie Wolfe quickly developed the desire to attend graduate school. This desire, born from the idea of career enhancement, turned into a realistic goal that she could achieve during her upper-division courses in the social work program. Dr. Rachel Guimond, former chair of the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice, played an instrumental role by helping her understand the many possibilities and opportunities that a graduate degree offered. Beyond this, Jacie credits her decision to continue her education to her experiences in her undergrad program

“My time at Olivet led to an opportunity to pursue an internship with the Kankakee [County] state’s attorney office, which allowed me to delve into work in both social work and criminal justice,” she says. “The experience confirmed the desire to further my education.”

After graduating from Olivet, Jacie went on to the University of Illinois Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work to pursue a Master of Social Work degree specializing in justice systems. The program is one of the only graduate tracks in the United States that focuses on social work and the criminal legal system.

“My academic experiences at Olivet aided me in developing a higher purpose in my professional pursuits by anchoring everything I do to glorify the Lord,” Jacie reflects. “Through my studies at ONU, I learned how our careers and faith do not have to be separate. They co-exist into your calling and work together to serve the Kingdom. I am excited to see how the Lord will continue to use me in this field.”

Brock Kant ’23

Major: Business Administration

Currently: Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Olivet Nazarene University

Coming into Olivet as a freshman, Brock Kant didn’t know what to anticipate for his future, but he quickly realized that the place and the people would be transformative. During a pivotal conversation with his supervisor, Matt Smith ’00, director of recreational services, the two talked about what it would look like for Brock to serve as a graduate assistant and help run the intramural program for students across campus after completing his undergraduate degree.

“There are two main reasons that I decided to continue my education at Olivet: the people and the education that comes with it,” Brock explains. “I have also been able to see firsthand how professors and faculty truly believe in the things they teach in the classroom. Stepping into this new degree, I have peace knowing the people I will get to learn from are the best out there.”

Over the next two years during his Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program, Brock is anticipating more opportunities to step out of his comfort zone to learn new things and allow the Lord to work in and through him as part of the greater Olivet community.

“To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what the Lord has in store for me, but I am confident that God will be both teaching me and equipping me for whatever career path He calls me to,” he says. “The graduate program is allowing me to take that first step in the door to a potential life in vocational ministry.”


Sierra Harris ’23

Major: Studio Art

Currently: Masters of Arts in Counseling: Art Therapy, Adler University

Sierra Harris has always enjoyed the symbolism of cogs and gears in a machine — seeing the small things work together in the background contributing to something bigger. She had always thought of herself as a cog: someone who would never be seen but would find ways that her calling fit into God’s greater mission. She quickly realized that God’s mission and calling for her life would bring her out of the background and into the unknown of exciting opportunities.

In her senior year at Olivet, Sierra was challenged to step out of her comfort zone. During her Personal Visions class, she was tasked with creating a series of works for her senior art show, and Sierra decided to create a children’s book, Lucy’s Anxiety, which allowed her to share about the difficult topic of anxiety and mental health in an illustrative and age-appropriate way. The creation of this book led to incredible professional opportunities for Sierra. She presented her work to former second lady Karen Pence, winner of Olivet’s 2023 Maggie Sloan Crawford Award, and also competed in the University’s inaugural CREATEUR conference and pitch competition.

“Overall, my time at Olivet was spent preparing — slowly building confidence, community and faith,” she says. “How do I begin to express my gratitude? I am blessed to be here. I learned that I am not just a cog. I can also be a machine.”

Sierra will continue to highlight mental health awareness among children through her business, KMH Series, LLC. Over the next few years, she will attend graduate school at Adler University to pursue a master’s degree in counseling focused on art therapy.

Lily Jarzabkowski ’21

Majors: Political Science and Philosophy

Minor: Legal Studies

Currently: Juris Doctor (J.D.), College of Law, DePaul University

Lily Jarzabkowski always knew she wanted to attend a graduate program after her time at Olivet, but her coursework helped her realize her passion and interest in the legal field. In her time at Olivet, Dr. David Van Heemest ’96 M.P.C./’98 M.A. and Dr. Kevin Twain Lowery were especially influential on her learning philosophy and served as voices of encouragement in her pursuit of continuing her education.

“My time at Olivet helped me to realize volunteerism and service do not need to be separate from my professional career,” she says. “The opportunities that I had at Olivet were instrumental in guiding my understanding of using the gifts God has given me in leading and serving others professionally.”

Following her Olivet experience, Lily decided to attend DePaul University after learning about the school’s strong commitment to pro bono work and public interest service in Chicago. As part of the school’s international law program, Lily completed a study-abroad experience in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was able to meet with intergovernmental leaders at the United Nations and many nongovernmental organizations throughout the city.

“I have been impressed with the quality of not just my academic education but DePaul’s holistic approach to education,” she says. “Through their rigorous programming and coursework, students are stretched to expand their legal knowledge and professional development skills. I look forward to my career as a lawyer, which will provide me with the opportunity to help others through difficult conversations and stages of life.”


More than 600 student-athletes participate in Tiger intercollegiate athletic teams across 24 sports, and nearly 1,900 students participated in intramural athletics last year. Winning championships and developing champions is the Olivet way, and the ONU Tigers are celebrated by the entire Olivet community.


SUBMIT YOUR CLASS NOTE to OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes


On March 1, 2023, Merideth (Densford) Spriggs ’00 was awarded Las Vegas Citizen of the Month, marking the first time in the city’s history for someone to be awarded the honor twice. She also has been named a finalist for television station KLAS’s Remarkable Women in Las Vegas.


Allison (Bridget) Paradise ’01 was named the 2023 Battey National Educator of the Year. A teacher at Cascade High School in Clayton, Indiana, since 2004, she was nominated for the award by a former student.


Nathan and Laura (Banks) Goble ’05, along with big sister, Trevi, welcomed a girl, Emersyn Natalie Goble, to their family on Nov. 3, 2022.


Hannah (Hugenin) ’06 married Jason Wantz on Sept. 24, 2022. They had a small outdoor wedding ceremony and reception in a friend’s yard in Maryland. Some fun features of the wedding included a unity tree ceremony, cat toss (stuffed, not real), bonfire and an LED balloon light sendoff. The couple reside in Westminster, Maryland.


Dr. Airica Steed ’11 Ed.D. has been named the new CEO of MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Among other honors, she has been named one of the “Top 25 Healthcare Innovators” and “Top 25 Minority Leaders” by Modern Healthcare and was listed among the “130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders To Know” and “75 Black Healthcare Leaders To Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review.


Layna Magdolena Wilson was born Jan. 25, 2023, to Nicole (Merry) ’12 and Matt Wilson ’13. She joins a big brother, Lincoln, and big sisters Luciana and Leighton. The Wilsons reside in Omaha, Nebraska. Matt is a security operations analyst for Traveler’s Insurance, and Nicole stays home with their four kids.


Hannah (Rowen) Fry ’13/’15 M.A. recently released her first devotional book, The Way of Gratitude: 21 Devotions on Goodness, Gratitude, and Wonder. The book is available as a paperback or an e-book on Amazon. She credits her Olivet experiences as a preaching ambassador and as a class chaplain for preparing her for the endeavor.





June 24, 1930–June 21, 2023

Huntley, Illinois


Cassidy (Lancaster) ’13 and Nolberto Vera welcomed Anthony Matías to their family Oct. 13, 2022. Anthony joins big sister, Evelyn Nicole, born March 12, 2020. The Veras live in Bourbonnais, where Cassidy teaches Spanish at Bourbonnais Upper Grade Center.


Candace (Baird) ’15 and Ryan Frazier are serving in Southeast Asia with their two girls, Luna, 3, and Ruby, 1. They landed in 2021 and have recently moved to their long-term location.

Jessica (Morey) ’15 and David Gardner Jr. ’17/ ’19 M.A./’21 M.Div. welcomed a daughter, Madison Lorraine, on March 23, 2023. She joins her proud big brother, Walter, 1. They reside in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Lindsay (Miller) Gordon ’15 and Lex Gordon were married on Nov. 6, 2022. Lindsay studied English education at Olivet and is now a family ministry director at Highpoint Church in Romeoville, Illinois.


Kendon and Karissa (Harrell) Berg ’19 were married Sept. 17, 2022, in Bronson, Michigan. Karissa is a first grade teacher at Jennings Elementary School, and Kendon is a Michigan state trooper. They reside in Homer, Michigan, and were expecting their first child in August 2023.


Nov. 22, 1931–May 16, 2023

Riley, Kansas


Dec. 12, 1932–July 15, 2023

Bradenton, Florida


March 20, 1934–Aug. 16, 2022

Orland Park, Illinois


Jan. 10, 1934–June 13, 2023

Hamilton, Ohio



July 27, 1934–May 16, 2023

Kettering, Ohio


Oct. 23, 1933–Aug. 13, 2023

Council Bluffs, Iowa


July 31, 1933–June 4, 2023

Howell, Michigan


Jan. 18, 1938–Feb. 21, 2023

The Villages, Florida


April 23, 1940–April 30, 2022

Green Valley, Arizona


March 27, 1937–Jan. 5, 2023 Homewood, Illinois


March 1, 1946–April 22, 2023

Sierra Vista, Arizona


June 23, 1947–June 29, 2023

Soldotna, Alaska


Jan. 9, 1935–Aug. 8, 2022 Overland Park, Kansas


Aug. 12, 1938–May 2, 2023 North Aurora, Illinois


Aug. 3, 1944–Dec. 16, 2022

Bradley, Illinois


March 6, 1944–Oct. 16, 2021

Effingham, Illinois


Nov. 4, 1945–Dec. 13, 2022

Lebanon, Indiana


June 21, 1937–May 18, 2023

Ontario, Ohio


Dec. 11, 1950–April 13, 2023

Anderson, Indiana


May 3, 1947–May 2, 2023

Kalamazoo, Michigan


May 14, 1940–March 14, 2023

Noblesville, Indiana





March 18, 1948–Dec. 23, 2022

St. Anne, Illinois


Sept. 21, 1953–Oct. 11, 2022

Bourbonnais, Illinois


Sept. 20, 1993–Dec. 6, 2022

Mason, Michigan


Oct. 13, 1983–Aug. 18, 2023

Alton, Illinois



April 9, 1935–June 19, 2023

La Verne, California

Department of Music


March 9, 1960–July 14, 2023

Leland, Illinois


April 22, 1969–April 2, 2023

Wheeling, Illinois


April 9, 1957–June 6, 2023

Cary, Illinois


Jan. 22, 1918–March 15, 2023

Florissant, Missouri


Oct. 21, 1940–May 1, 2022

Quincy, Illinois


Feb. 2, 1928–Aug. 19, 2022

Lakeland, Florida


July 31, 1963–June 24, 2023

Lenexa, Kansas



Aug. 19, 1941–Dec. 11, 2022

Los Gatos, California


Dec. 20, 1966–April 13, 2023

Hale, Michigan

SUBMIT YOUR CLASS NOTE OR OBITUARY to OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes


The Olivet Nazarene University graduate degrees and certificates offer more than advancement; they offer real career development. Areas of study include business, education, nursing, ministry and ethical leadership — all of which keep Olivet students centered on purpose.

We offer more than 20 convenient and affordable programs and degree opportunities. Students can choose from the online M.O.L., M.S.N., RN-BSN, RN-MSN, Ed.D., M.A.E., F.N.P., M.Div. or the M.A. — and some can be completed in as little as one year. Learn more at Olivet.edu

$12K MBA in ONE YEAR on purpose.




Art – Drawing/Painting

Art – Graphic Design

Art – Media Arts

Art – Photography

Art Education

Communication Studies

Corporate Communication


English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language


English Education



Leadership Studies

Legal Studies


Multimedia Communication

Multimedia Communication – Film Studies

Multimedia Communication –Journalism

Multimedia Communication –Live Event Media Management

Multimedia Communication –Ministry Media

Multimedia Communication –Radio/Audio Media


Multimedia Communication –

TV/Video Production

Musical Theatre


Political Science

Pre-Art Therapy


Political Science – Public Policy


Public Relations & Strategic Communication

Social Science

Social Science Education



Spanish Education

Theatre Production & Performance




Music – Composition

Music Education

Music – Jazz Studies

Music Ministry

Music – Performance

Music – Recording Arts



Actuarial Science



Chemistry – Biochemistry

Chemistry – Earth/Environmental


Chemistry – Forensics

Computer Science –Networking & Data


Computer Science –

Software Development

Computer Science –Software Entrepreneurship


Data Science

Earth & Space Science

Engineering – Architectural

Engineering – Chemical & Biochemical

Engineering – Civil

Engineering – Computer

Engineering – Electrical

Engineering – Mechanical

Environmental Science

Geological Science

Geological Science – Geochemistry

Geological Science – Geotechnical

Geological Science – Life Science


Mathematics Education


Physical Sciences





Pre-Physician’s Assistant


Science Education – Biology

Science Education – Chemistry

Science Education – Earth/Space




Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice – Criminology

Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement


Family & Consumer Sciences –Hospitality

Health Education

Interior Design


Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology

Kinesiology – Pre-Athletic Training

Kinesiology – Pre-Occupational Therapy

Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy

Military Affairs

Military Science

Physical Education

Recreation & Sport Studies

Social Work

Sport Management


Child Development

Early Childhood Education

Elementary Education

Special Education

Master of Arts in Education:

Curriculum and Instruction

Master of Arts in Education:

Educational Leadership

Master of Arts in Education:

Reading Specialist

Doctor of Education:

Ethical Leadership



Business – Human Resource Management

Business – Management

Business – Philanthropy/Not-forProfit

Business – Operations Management

Business – Public Administration

Business Administration


Economics & Finance –Applied Economics

Economics & Finance –Certified Financial Planning

Economics & Finance –Corporate Finance



International Business Leadership Management

Management Information Systems


Marketing – Commercial Graphics

Marketing – Corporate Relations

Marketing – International

Marketing – Management

Master of Business Administration

Master of Organizational Leadership



Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Master of Science in Nursing: Education

Master of Science in Nursing: Transformational Leadership

RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

RN to Master of Science in Nursing


Biblical Languages

Biblical Studies

Children’s Ministry

Christian Education

Christian Ministry

Christian Studies


Hebrew Intercultural Studies

Ministerial Missions

Pastoral Ministry


Philosophy & Religion



Youth Ministry

Master of Arts: Christian Ministry

Master of Arts: Family Ministry

Master of Arts: Ministerial Studies

Master of Arts:

Missional Multiplication

Master of Arts: Pastoral Leadership

Master of Arts: Pastoral Ministry

Master of Arts: Religion

Master of Arts: Urban Ministry

Master of Divinity

Master of Ministry

Master of Ministry: Spanish


More than 3,700 (2,500 undergraduates) from nearly every U.S. state, 25 countries and more than 35 religious denominations.


Olivet Nazarene University has graduated many notable alumni who have given back to the University, the Olivet region, the Church and the world in so many ways. There are more than 40,000 living alumni making a worldwide impact.


More than 140 areas of undergraduate study and graduate degrees, including the Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership, offered on campus and online through the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and the School of Theology and Christian Ministry. Study-abroad opportunities have included Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Japan, Uganda, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.


The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Specialized accreditation includes the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council on Social Work Education, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. In addition, the Teacher Education program is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education as an education preparation provider.


Home of the ONU Tigers, Olivet studentathletes compete on 24 intercollegiate teams. Olivet provides competitive athletic awards and scholarships for qualifying candidates. Varsity teams for men include basketball, baseball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Varsity teams for women include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. In addition to varsity sports, more than half the student body participate in Olivet’s thriving intramural and club sports programs.


More than 90 clubs and organizations representing diverse interests, including a campus yearbook and literary magazine; Enactus business club; Student Philanthropy Council; ROTC; radio broadcasting (Shine.FM); numerous choral and instrumental ensembles (including the ONU Tiger Marching Band and the University Orchestra); drama and musical theatre performances; intramural athletics; and community volunteer and spiritual life organizations.


“We seek the strongest scholarship and the deepest piety, knowing that they are thoroughly compatible... and a Christian environment where not only knowledge but character is sought.” From the University Catalog, 1915.


Olivet Nazarene University has a beautiful, park-like campus featuring 35 major buildings on 275 acres. Located in the Village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, just 45 miles south of Chicago’s Loop, the campus is situated on what was once tallgrass prairie. While not much of the original habitat remains, caretakers of the University have spent the past few decades intentionally planting trees native to the area as well as diversifying the flora. In spring 2022, Olivet joined the ranks of 508 internationally accredited arboreta with a Level I Certification through the Morton Arboretum’s interactive community, ArbNet.


This Christian community is committed to making worship of God the central focus of our lives. Our faith in Jesus Christ cannot be separated from the educational experience, and we seek to honor God in all we learn, say and do. Through chapel services, each segment of the University community has the opportunity to join with others in worship and receive instruction in the Word and encouragement to serve. Notable and world-renowned speakers regularly address the Olivet community during chapel.



Olivet’s campus is full of spaces for students to study, meet and fellowship. From the quad to Benner Library to the Student Life and Recreation Center to the on-campus Starbucks, there are plenty of places to connect.

ONE UNIVERSITY AVENUE BOURBONNAIS, IL 60914 We Believe. You Belong Here. We have a variety of specialized, custom visit days for high school seniors and their parents. Visit us on any Purple & Gold Friday! Upcoming: Nov. 3, 10; Dec. 1, 8 SCHEDULE YOUR CAMPUS VISIT TODAY!

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