Choosing the Ideal College
An Education With a Christian Purpose
Understanding Financial Aid
Choosing the Ideal College
An Education With a Christian Purpose
Understanding Financial Aid
Welcome to the 2023 Parent Guide, a special issue of Olivet The Magazine published by Olivet Nazarene University. It wasn’t too many years ago that my wife and I were helping our own son gain insight into his Olivet future. I am not just a president; I am a parent. I know what you’re going through.
This magazine is designed specifically to assist you in navigating the college search process alongside your student and to provide information that will help you evaluate all aspects of university life.
Choosing the right college or university is a very important decision. The college search process can be vast, complicated, time-consuming and even stressful at times, so we hope you find this issue informative, useful, inspiring and reassuring. We also hope you embark on this journey with a sense of excitement for what you will soon encounter.
We believe Olivet can partner with the good work of parents not only in the logistics of admission but in shaping a student toward a worthy life. Our hope is to provide more than a professional credential. We also created an ecosystem for students to encounter God while at Olivet and discern His calling on their lives. While we don’t require a profession of faith to enroll, and not all students have fully sorted out their faith, you and they will discover a winsome message and environment to make eternal choices while preparing for temporal professional ones. I pray for you — along with a dedicated team of faculty, staff and administrators — every Tuesday, for an hour, in Kelley Prayer Chapel.
I hope you schedule a time to visit our campus this summer or fall for either a personalized campus visit or for one of the many Purple & Gold Days events.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of any assistance. No matter where you are in the process, the entire Olivet community is with you in spirit and available to you should you have questions at any point.
Sincerely,Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D. University President
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.
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 3 (USPS 407-880) (ISSN 2325-7334)
Olivet Nazarene University One University Avenue
Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2345
PRESIDENT Dr. Gregg Chenoweth ’90/M.A./Ph.D.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Matt Foor ’95 CPA/MSA
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS
Rob Lalumendre ’12/’14 MBA
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT
Mark Reddy ’95/’08 M.O.L.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Jason Stephens M.A./Ph.D.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT
Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 Litt.D.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
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
Jones Foto, Image Group, Mark Ballogg, Joe Mantarian ’16, Noah Sears ’24
Kyle Petersen ’24, Skyler Blanton ’23
Additional photography submitted
EDITORIAL SUPPORT AND DESIGN
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
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.OLIVET NAZARENE UNIVERSITY SUMMER 2023
Olivet has fans in every corner of the globe. A great way to stay connected is through Olivet social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. We even have a special Facebook group devoted to parents.
To kickstart the new entrepreneurship program, Olivet hosted its inaugural Createur Conference and Pitch Competition in April, funded and supported by alumni. More than 500 attendees, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members, attended the event to pitch their products and ideas. Among the speakers was Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and founder of the Museum of the Bible. During the two-day conference, attendees gleaned insight and inspiration from more than 20 entrepreneurs and business experts in breakout sessions and a currated panel.
“We want to awaken this generation to the redemptive call of entrepreneurship and activate them to solve the world’s problems,” said professor Chris Perez, director of the University’s new entrepreneurship program.
Winners of the competition included Sierra Harris ’23, who was awarded $4,000 for KMH Series; Lextin Willis, a Taylor University student awarded $3,000 for CordPuck; junior Faith Markley, who won $2,000 for Daisy Hill Fragrances; Wade Frances, a Taylor University student who received $1,000 for Godspeed Supplements; and RW Rienow ‘20, who received $500 for Tribal.
This past spring, more than 97 women from the senior class, along with campus faculty and staff leaders, gathered in Centennial Chapel for Women in the Word: An Evening with She Reads Truth, an event aimed at providing inspiration, encouragement and fellowship. Attendees heard from Tammy (Salyer) Chenoweth ’89, Olivet’s first lady, and Raechel (Pennington) Myers ’05 (pictured left), co-founder and CEO of She Reads Truth, a worldwide community of women who read God’s Word together every day.
The event gave students a chance to connect with others wanting to grow in their own faith journeys. Raechel shared her insights on how to cultivate a daily practice of reading and reflecting on God’s Word, and how the practice changed her life and those of the She Reads Truth community.
This spring Olivet announced the Zero Tuition initiative for qualified Illinois students. The program will cover the cost of tuition for those students. Based on recent data, nearly 37% of all Illinois households will meet the financial criteria for the Zero Tuition initiative.
“The future at Olivet looks bright,” said Kimberly Strickland, director of new student financial aid. “We are thrilled to offer an ‘Education With a Christian Purpose’ to some who thought a degree was out of reach.”
Pricilla Carmona ’23 was named one of the 50 Most Promising Multicultural Students in the nation by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). The honorees, representing 28 schools and 18 states, were invited to participate in a four-day industry immersion program in New York.
“I’m looking forward to gathering with the other recipients and meeting leaders in our chosen industry,” she said. “It will be a welcome addition to my professional résumé as well as an outstanding networking opportunity.”
From the land to the sky, Olivet students have exciting new opportunities to explore creation. In January, Dale and Tracy Swanberg donated 100 acres of land along the Kankakee River to Olivet for research and conservation purposes. This property will offer biology, zoology and environmental studies students the chance to study the four distinct ecosystems of marsh, prairie, woodland and river.
“[It] is an invaluable outdoor laboratory for teaching students about conservation planning, biodiversity and creation care,” said Dr. Stephen Case ’05, professor of geosciences. “[It has] already become a focal point for student clubs and organizations gaining experience in conservation initiatives.”
This fall, students also can take their studies to the sky. Those who take the Stellar and Galactic Astronomy course for their physical science general education credit not only learn about the universe and the life cycle of stars, but they also use a variety of telescopes to capture those wonders. From Olivet’s campus, students are trained on a fleet of telescopes they take into the field, including locations like Illinois’s only dark-sky park just an hour from campus. To expand their view, students are also now able to use new technology through the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network to make observations from telescopes around the world — from northern Canada to mountaintops in Chile.
A generous gift of riverfront land offers students unique hands-on experiences
“The land is an invaluable outdoor laboratory for teaching students about conservation planning, biodiversity and creation care.”
Olivet Nazarene University and Shine.FM announced on May 1 the expansion of the Shine.FM brand. The Christian radio station now broadcasts on the 50,000-watt, north central Indiana station WSHW-FM 99.7. Olivet currently owns and operates seven radio stations throughout Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. With this new addition, Shine.FM is able to expand its ministry to share the hope of Jesus to a new geographic area.
The Bradley-Bourbonnais Chick-fil-A awarded a total of $13,500 in leadership scholarships to six team members who attend Olivet. These awards recognize employees who demonstrate care and service, have maintained a minimum GPA and have been recommended by an operator. The store is owned and operated by alumni Jon ’90 and Michelle (King) Klavohn ’88.
Dr. Simone (Mulieri) Twibell ’06/’07 M.A., invites readers to step into a deeper relationship with God by considering different aspects of prayer in her new book, Intimacy with God. She stresses that prayer is a way to receive the grace of God. “Prayer seems intimidating to many Christians,” Dr. Twibell said. “We wonder if we are doing it right or saying the right things or praying often enough or in the right way.”
Dr. Kent Olney, dean of Olivet’s College of Arts and Sciences, explores sociology and Scripture in his new book, Sixty-Six: A Sociologist Reflects on Scripture, Its Themes, and Their Relevance. Inspired by his own study and conversations with his students, Sixty-Six combines Biblical truth, sociological insights, personal stories and reflection questions for personal or group consideration.
Thousands of families visit Olivet Nazarene University each year as they navigate their college selection. Throughout their planning, each family works closely with Teresa Mathews, director of guest experiences in the Office of Admissions.
Recently honored as Student Employee Supervisor of the Year, Teresa (and her husband Dane) are proud parents of: one ONU grad, two curent ONU sudents, and one incoming freshman student. Teresa has experienced every angle of the enrollment process.
“[Teresa] has deep compassion and empathy for the stories of the students who walk through our doors and for every individual employed under her,” wrote Aimee Nana ’23, the student who nominated Teresa. “Whether it is a coffee invitation during a hard time or consistent prayer throughout the week, she has a huge heart for her students.”
“Teresa has deep compassion and empathy for the stories of the students who walk through our doors ...”
Celebrating the Class of 2023 was top priority at Olivet Nazarene University during the first week of May. On the evening of Friday, May 5, the Baccalaureate service in Hawkins Centennial Chapel was an opportunity for the campus community to worship together for a final time. Special music was provided by the Wind Ensemble, Orpheus Choir and School of Music faculty. Terry Bate, parent of graduate Sutton Bate, read a passage of Scripture.
Two outstanding graduates, Sierra Harris and Erik Beal, shared their testimonies of the impact of an Olivet education on their lives. Sierra majored in studio art, and Erik majored in elementary education.
Brock Kant, co-chair of the Student Development Advisory Group, introduced University President Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D., who delivered a message of inspiration and encouragement for the graduates. He reminded them that their degrees provide credentials for the workplace, but their faith journey is a commissioning.
“There’s a capital ‘C’ Calling for all of us to come to Christ for salvation,” Dr. Chenoweth said. “Then there’s the lowercase “c” callings. Those are plural: equipped by God for every good work through every domain. … You know you’re getting close to your calling in that while you’re seeking God, He’s also seeking you. … We’re going to commission you not to a job or to a career … but to a calling. … Class of 2023, we hope you maintain this vital dedication of your calling to endure — and you can — under the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit.”
The 110th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday morning in Centennial Chapel marked the academic achievements of this class with the conferral of 549 bachelor’s degrees.
Following the processional of the faculty, the national anthem was sung by graduate Mikayla Tackaberry.
Guest speakers included Don Wilson ’20 M.P.L., father of graduate Sydnie Ellise Wilson, who gave the invocation; Amy Williams ’91, mother of Kevin Matthew Williams, who read Matthew 6:19-33; and Dr. Scott Sherwood ’92, president of Nazarene Bible College, who gave the commencement address.
“So much has changed in only four years, but you don’t need me to tell you that,” Dr. Sherwood said. “During your college journey, you had every reason to drop out, to melt down, to slow your pace, to run away, to give up, but you persevered, and you are here today against all odds, ready to walk across this stage and enter into your calling. …
“Your generation is facing what are known to be some massive challenges. As followers of Jesus, how do we engage this world? … God is sending you into this world to be a source of exactly what this world desperately needs: … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol. But the world needs more of these than you have to give. … The real thing is only available
through the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life. If you don’t see those, don’t be discouraged. You know where to find them in abundant supply.”
Next in the ceremony, Stephen Lowe, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, recognized Jay Height with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for his contributions as a gifted, exemplary churchman.
Mel Sayes, J.D., representative of the Class of 1973, charged the graduating class to seek, know and live Biblical truth.
“Here, at Olivet, you learned to know the truth,” he said. “The truth is there is a God. The truth is there is a heaven for the saved and a hell for the sinner. The truth is we can be saved through Jesus Christ. The truth is God the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers us. The truth is that the Bible is truth. … The truth is that Jesus Christ is coming again as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The truth is that you will need all of these truths in your life now and in the next 50 years of your life. … May God speak truth into your life daily, I pray. May God richly bless you!”
Dr. Lowe then presented Beth Schurman ’03/’05 M.A., Ph.D., with the Richard M. Jones Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and Kristian Veit, Ph.D., with the Samuel L. Mayhugh Award for Scholarly Excellence.
Jason Stephens, Ph.D., vice president for student development, recognized Courtney Hall and Noah Finney as the respective recipients of the Maggie Sloan Crawford and Robert Milner awards for outstanding female and male graduates. Courtney double-majored in social science education and history, and Noah double-majored in zoology and geological science.
The ceremony concluded with the singing of the alma mater led by Dr. Neal Woodruff and a benediction given by Edie MacPherson, mother of graduate Katherine MacPherson.
Additional highlights of the 2023 graduation week included:
Military Commissioning Ceremony for six new U.S. Army Second Lieutenants: Ezekiel Amposta (biology), Aja Gentry (criminal justice), Brennen Herr (criminal justice), Connor Pinney (social work), Chance Stark (criminal justice) and Paul Limentato (nursing)
Social Work Pinning Ceremony, which honored 22 Bachelor of Social Work degree graduates
Senior Pinning Ceremony welcomed 46 new nurses into the profession
Teacher Education Sending Service celebrating 64 teachers ready for their first year of teaching
Reception honoring the 15 Honors Program graduates
Graduate and Continuing Studies Commencement, during which 35 continuing studies bachelor’s degrees, 291 master’s degrees and 11 doctoral degrees were conferred, and the Willis E. Snowbarger Award for Teaching Excellence was presented to Kathleen Meleskie-Lippert, Ed.D.
“During your college journey, you had every reason to drop out, to melt down, to slow your pace, to run away, to give up, but you persevered, and you are here today against all odds, ready to walk across this stage and enter into your calling…”
Each summer Olivet students, faculty and staff travel the world through different academic- and mission-based programs. Exploring varied cultures and connecting with new people not only enriches participants’ Olivet experience but enhances their view of the Kingdom.
From shadowing and working alongside missionary doctors at the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital to assisting in surgeries and procedures and from visiting local off-station churches and clinics to worshiping and fellowshipping with people in the community, this trip provided a unique and memorable experience for graduating seniors Maggie Esparza, Andrew Wolfe, McKenna Snyder, Carsten Slaby, Kevin Williams and Chloe Nagi.
Led by Dr. Mike Pyle and his wife, Nancy Pyle, both retired professors; Dr. Nicole Vander Schaaf, assistant professor of biological sciences; and June Kalemkarian, a friend of the university, the trip gave these young alumni opportunities to serve and connect with the people of Papua New Guinea while learning and getting a glimpse of medical mission work.
“I had never witnessed a doctor pray before interacting with patients here in the U.S.,” Chloe says. “This trip has influenced the way I will practice as a future physician assistant. I had never considered that God might put certain patients in my life so that I can reflect Jesus’ compassion and wisdom to them as I treat and care for them.”
“I had never considered that God might put certain patients in my life so that I can reflect Jesus’ compassion and wisdom to them as I treat and care for them.”
Summer vacation started out a little bit on the chilly side for this Olivet group as they headed to Alaska to study different ecosystems. From hiking to boating, and visiting national parks and conservation centers, this trip proved to be a memorable hands-on experience for all.
“This trip really taught me about God’s faithfulness. He had his hand on the entire trip and it was so obvious in the way he showed up in creation and taught us more about the natural world,” says Grace Beatty, a junior at Olivet. “It was amazing to watch my friends get really excited about an insect, bird, or mammal and join in on their love for nature!”
Grace joined with Dr. David Hoekman, associate professor in biological sciences, Dr. Derek Rosenberger, associate professor of biological sciences, and his wife Ashely Rosenberger who is also a faculty professor, Laura Geissinger, Jared Brewer, Yolanda Dorado-Cooremans, Austin Duwve, Ryan Feyen, Devin Hart, Sarah Johnson, Karly Kiogima, Haley Llyod, Henry Lopez, Daniel Love, Lexi Marshall, Marcail McBride, Meghan Peterson, Anthony Riportella, Anna Shoup, and Joel Witzig.
“It was amazing to watch my friends get really excited about an insect, bird, or mammal and join in on their love for nature!”
This particular mission trip was unlike anything sophomore Dharmik Owen had ever experienced before. Dr. Leon Blanchette, professor and director of the Center for Faith & Family, and his wife, Teri, who works in the University’s Office of Student Development, served as trip leaders for the team, which included Dharmik, Braden Sackett, Elizabeth Stebbins, John Elleson, Juliana Hallbreiter and Roman Schwartz.
Simply put, the team served as the hands and feet of Jesus in Africa, joining the work that was already being done there. They focused on pastoral, youth and children’s ministry training. They sang songs, played games and even got to witness the baptisms of over 30 people during a Sunday service.
“The one thing throughout this trip that stands out to me is the power of Godly community,” Dharmik explains. “By coming together, pooling our resources and supporting one another, we were able to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others, and they in turn left an impact on us. Reflecting on this continues to inspire me to be a more compassionate and active participant in bringing the Kingdom here on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
“By coming together, pooling our resources and supporting one another, we were able to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others, and they in turn left an impact on us.”
Technology can connect people across the world through photos, videos and storytelling. It can also be a powerful tool for sharing the Gospel. Led by Brian Utter ’81, Shine.FM station manager, and Shine.FM graduate assistant, Sarah Roberts ’22, a team of Olivet students and young alumni including Maori Brown, Reed Schroeder, Caislyn Hummel, Katie DeVries and Abby Bennet ’23 had the opportunity to teach students in Paraguay how to create media content as a way to tell others about Jesus.
“The experience was beyond what I ever could have imagined,” senior Maori Brown says. “I enjoyed seeing the students at the media camp practice what they learned after each class. I also really enjoyed playing fútbol and sharing meals with everyone, because it brought us closer and gave us time to learn each other’s language and showed that we really care to learn from and help each other.”
Dr. Charles Carrigan ’96, associate professor of chemistry and geoscience, loves a good excuse to give his students memorable learning experiences off campus. What better way to explore God’s creation and the formation, modification and destruction of ocean island volcanoes than to spend some time touring the Hawaiian Islands? For Dr. Carrigan and his students, Bre Gifford ’21, Sam Turner, Ryan Feyen, Michael Yerge ’23, Jacob Baker ’23, Brooke DuFresne and Alexander Blair, this trip was an immersive, handson experience in which the group was able to observe different geological processes across different volcanoes and see different environments surrounding each one.
“Surrounded by these majestic sights, you can’t help but see how everything is connected, from stone to star to sand and sea,” Dr. Carrigan says. “Moving progressively from the youngest to older and older volcanoes, you can’t help but realize how time plays an important role in shaping the Earth’s surface.
“I think students feel what they are learning in ways that don’t occur in a traditional classroom. There’s a whole pedagogy surrounding learning in the field that shows how our minds open when taking it all in: people from all over the world working, playing, living and learning how to live together in harmony with each other and with God’s created order. Students won’t miss seeing themselves in new ways after visiting this place.”
“There is a whole pedagogy surrounding learning in the field that shows how our minds open when taking it all in.”
“The liberal arts are the arts of communication and thinking. They are the arts indispensable to further learning, for they are the arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening, figuring.”Oliver DeMille
There is no shortage of options when you’re trying to help your child choose where to pursue higher education. The real challenge is finding the right place — the college or university where your student will thrive.
Our 2023 Parent Guide serves as a handy guidebook, providing specifics about the Olivet Nazarene University experience, and the distinctions of an Education With a Christian Purpose.
Relationships are central to making works of art. Consider the construction of a lifelike pencil portrait, a serene landscape photograph or an attention-grabbing package design. The relationship of parts to the whole matters whether working traditionally or with a new media piece; the formal and informal arrangements of elements and principles of art often make the difference between a work of significance versus the result of a weekend hobbyist. Of course, it is the relationships beyond the canvas or the screen that are of the most consequence.
The world of art thrives on the symbiotic relationship between seasoned artists and their apprentices. Throughout history, from Renaissance workshops to contemporary ateliers, mentorship has played a pivotal role in shaping artistic careers and nurturing creativity. In today’s ever-evolving world, this tradition remains relevant as artists not only excel in their craft but also embrace the role of mentor to guide the next generation.
At Olivet students have the opportunity to discover mentors who dedicate their lives to serving God and their community through the Department of Art and Digital Media. The faculty occupy a unique position: They value a liberal arts education and how it can enhance artistic pursuits by fostering an environment of mentorship; they also hold advanced art degrees from a variety of public and private institutions. Profesor Koszut studied at the University of Denver and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; professor Dombrowski in Georgia at the Savannah School of Art and Design; and Bill Greiner, professor emeritus, studied at the University of South Dakota. These diverse backgrounds offer unique perspectives in the classroom and aid in helping students prepare for and reach varied artistic goals beyond Olivet.
Artistic apprenticeship has a rich history dating back centuries, when young artists learned from established masters in an intimate setting. The apprentices
observed, imitated and gradually developed their own style under the guidance of their mentors. This traditional approach allowed aspiring artists to acquire technical skills, learn about artistic principles and gain exposure to the art world.
Today, while the structure of apprenticeships may have evolved, the essence of mentorship remains intact at Olivet. Established artists understand the importance of sharing their knowledge and experiences to inspire and guide young artists.
Through mentorship, they provide valuable feedback, critique and practical advice that help budding artists navigate the complexities of the art industry and find their unique voice.
Olivet is a Christian liberal arts university that provides fertile ground for nurturing artistic talent, regardless of whether students are formally studying art. The interdisciplinary nature of liberal arts encourages students to explore various subjects, fostering creativity and critical thinking skills that greatly enhance their artistic pursuits.
By studying a broad range of disciplines such as literature, philosophy, history and science, students gain a multifaceted understanding of the world. This knowledge informs their art, allowing them to develop unique perspectives and create work that is meaningful. The ability to draw inspiration from diverse sources contributes to the richness and depth of their artistic expression. Professors at Olivet walk alongside students, sharing their wisdom to help them apply new technical skills and knowledge rooted in a Christian worldview.
Moreover, a liberal arts education fosters collaboration and the exchange of ideas among students from different majors. Artists benefit from interacting with individuals pursuing various disciplines, gaining fresh insights and broadening their creative horizons. This cross-pollination of ideas often leads to innovative and thought-provoking artistic endeavors.
At Olivet, where the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1, the intimate class setting provides a conducive environment for mentorship to thrive. The term
pracademic aptly describes the professors at Olivet who blend practical experience with academic expertise. This combination enables them to mentor students effectively, fostering a close relationship that goes beyond the traditional student-teacher dynamic.
The benefits of a small class setting extend beyond formal art instruction. Students from various majors can access close mentorship from professors who possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in their respective fields. These pracademic professors serve as valuable guides, helping students navigate their chosen paths and providing insights into the practical aspects of pursuing their artistic passions.
As chairman of the Department of Art and Digital Media, I have a unique view of this process as it unfolds at Olivet. Having graduated from Olivet’s art program as an undergraduate, I can attest that the mentorship I received changed the course of my life. Working as an art educator with both high school and college-aged students over the past 20 years while simultaneously pursuing advanced degrees in art, I oscillated between being a student and a teacher, and between mentee and mentor, and I am immensely grateful for the experiences of both. Today a great joy in my life comes from instructing and mentoring college art students!
Good mentors invite others to join in the creation process. Motivated artists and educators, driven by their passion for creating, inspire others to create as well. The best mentors provoke creativity in others and challenge students to take measured and spontaneous risks. Both academia and making art involve calculated risks and the willingness to embrace one’s calling.
The art professors at Olivet encourage students to challenge the status quo, to imagine new and exciting ways to respond to the world around them, and to bring others along in the discovery. That is the kind of art education we can all learn from.
Jon Seals ’03 is a conceptual artist, teacher and curator. He holds a Master of Arts in Religion degree from Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design. His essays, reviews and works of art have been published in ArtPulse Magazine, Letters Literary Art Journal, Palimpsest Magazine and Reflections Magazine. Professor Seals has exhibited his artwork in solo and group art exhibitions in galleries and at colleges throughout the United States. He curates exhibitions at Victorian House Gallery and for Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music. His artistic practice is organized around exploring the ways in which identity relates to memory, loss and redemption in visual culture. He joined Olivet in 2018 and serves as chairman of the Department of Art and Digital Media and as galleries director.
When I started coaching, I strongly believed I was a transformational coach. I did what was best for my players and told myself winning was not the most important thing. The problem is, I’m very competitive. Anyone who has played, coached, watched or is emotionally invested in sports knows that winning and losing can create visceral reactions that send us into momentary highs and lows. Sports can bring out the best of us and the worst of us. Ultimately, I came to ask myself, “How do I
In this world, we’re surrounded by a culture that defines us by our wins and losses. This is only amplified in athletics, where records and stats are put out for the entire world to evaluate you. But it’s also true for a student and businessperson, engineer or teacher. It’s displayed when someone asks you how you did on an exam or a presentation. These measurements can be a helpful evaluation tool in their rightful place, but the world can define us by these physical measurements — which can become scary if we put our identity in these things.
Fortunately, that isn’t how Jesus defines us. It’s not what we do that defines us but what He has done for us. When we put our identity in Him, we can experience a freeing joy. This foundation of JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself) helps us keep things in perspective in athletics and life. When we can rely on and put Jesus first as our rock and Savior through all highs and lows, put others second by serving and caring for their needs, and then take care of our own needs, we can experience true joy.
Now, 16 years after starting my coaching stint here at Olivet Nazarene University, I’m still just as competitive. I strive daily after the athletics mantra that you can see hanging in McHie Arena: “Winning Championships. Developing Champions.” But I have a renewed perspective on success that’s developed over time. In our program, success is now defined by these core values: Team first. Talk it out. Integrity. Grit. Go the extra mile. Enthusiasm. Respect. Responsibility. These values aren’t just lived out in our program. You’ll experience some version of these demonstrated across campus because they are Biblically based.
I’ve seen our admissions team serving prospective students with a team-first mentality. I’ve seen resident directors and assistants talk out difficult situations with students who came out stronger on the other side. I’ve seen integrity from a student-athlete who admitted the ball went out of bounds, and that changed an official’s call. I’ve seen the grounds crew gritting it out at 4 a.m. after a snowstorm so the campus is clear for the first student who goes to class that morning. I’ve seen professors go the extra mile setting up a lab for a student who had to miss due to an athletics contest. I’ve seen the enthusiasm of our Sodexo dining team passing out cookies on “Warm Cookie Wednesday.” I’ve seen the respect between departments across campus as we try to leave both people and things better than we found them. I’ve seen the responsibility
our counseling services office has taken to care for the mental health of our students — so much so that they’ve proactively reached out to be a resource for students and coaches. The best part is there is an underlying joy you’ll experience in these interactions with others around campus at Olivet.
In athletics and across campus, our success is defined by how we invest in and develop people. In 20 years, we’ll know we’ve been successful when these men and women are people of grace and integrity who are loving husbands, wives, dads and moms; professionals; and leaders in their community. That’s what it means to be a Tiger.
“There is something special about being a part of a community that loves what you love, does what you do and pushes you to be better than you are.”
Music has always been an integral part of my life. Especially choir. I was made to sing in choir beginning in the sixth grade by my mom. When the music teacher sent my mom a notice that they would be auditioning students for sixth grade choir, I vehemently opposed the idea. I mean, boys didn’t sing in choirs. My mom had other ideas.
After joining, I discovered that I liked it — not only at school, but I even joined the church choir at Saint James Baptist Church called The Voices of Hope. What a great experience. Not only did we sing at our church, but we also traveled to other churches to sing. Our director, George Taylor, made sure we had a good time and that we had a great repertoire of music to sing. I continued singing in choirs through high school, and I am still in touch with some of the friends that were made back then. That was 50 years ago. Wow! Fifty years.
It seemed only natural for me to continue in music as a career path. Though there were many detours along the way, music remained at the forefront of everything I did. Especially directing choirs. At one of the churches I served, we were able to grow the choir from 15 singers to over 60 singers and a 25-piece orchestra. While at that church, I began directing a gospel choir at a local university. At that point, choir took on a whole new dimension for me. We had the opportunity to sing with Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans and LeAnne Rimes at the Country Music Association (CMA) and the CMA Christmas show. The students loved it. I didn’t mind it either.
Eventually my path led me to Olivet. I’d heard about Proclamation Gospel Choir before I ever arrived here. I’d actually heard them several times before arriving at Olivet, and I was always blown away with their energy and sound.
Coming in as the new director was intimidating to say the least, but I quickly found out this group was a special group, and we began a great journey together. I fell in love with the students and was overwhelmed with the thought of becoming a faculty member at Olivet.
Proclamation Gospel Choir has also had several privileges over the past few years. We were awarded the Kingdom Image Award in Columbus, Ohio, for the best large choir in the country; we were privileged to sing with the incomparable CeCe Winans in concert; and we were selected to be a light in the darkness by singing at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
All of that is wonderful, but nothing takes the place of singing together as a choir family and sharing the Gospel through song, together, wherever we go. The School of Music at Olivet, in my opinion, set a standard for excellence in music that has stood the test of time. Being a faculty member of such an outstanding school of music was way beyond anything I could have ever imagined for myself.
There is something special about being a part of a community that loves what you love, does what you do and pushes you to be better than you are. That has been special for me as a part of the faculty at Olivet.
When I arrived at Olivet, I was in a dark place. To be honest, I was ready to throw in the towel on everything, including my faith. God had other things in mind. He put me in a department with a group of ladies and guys who loved Jesus and, over time, loved me back to a right standing with Jesus. They displayed love for the Lord in everything they did, and they loved one another. I could not have asked for a better environment.
My colleagues and students have stretched me musically and spiritually, and I am better for it. Being a part of something that is bigger than yourself is a blessing, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I thank God for the School of Music at Olivet Nazarene University.
“At Olivet, the English Department belongs to readers, writers, and thinkers. Faculty and students alike love the literature that connects us to the perspectives and experiences of people across diverse times, cultures, and places. We acknowledge and endeavor to harness the transformative power of language in its myriad forms. And, in all our many pursuits, we strive to expand and deepen our capacity to understand, analyze, and explore…”
So starts the Department of English mission statement at Olivet and, I’d imagine, the essence of countless liberal arts programs across the country — an intentional emphasis more on who we hope to create than what we hope to do. When we sit as a group and discuss our purpose and our goals, the overarching theme is this: We hope to feed our students’ souls. Simply put, we hope to take our students’ passions for reading, writing and language and help them find ways to share these God-given talents and abilities to make the world a better place. A bit lofty, yes, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved stories. As a child, my dad read us the Dr. Seuss books so many times that my three younger sisters and I would chant the lines of his verse by memory. When we were little, Theodor Geisel taught us the simple truths of the consequences of hate and persistence in the face of adversity, and those truths became more complex, nuanced and contextualized when I later engaged with Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Hurston, Alexie and many others. These authors and stories were my companions, my mentors and my friends. They challenged my thinking on things like power and greed, love and forgiveness, mercy and justice, and helped me make meaning of the world in which I lived. But, stories aren’t only important in the world of fiction and make believe — they make us who we are. They influence our perspectives, our actions and even what we spend our hard-earned money on. Want a practical example? Disney World sells stories to the tune of $10,000 for a weeklong vacation, and it’s not because their rides are bigger or better; it’s because each ride tells a story.
Even in tech fields, it’s the humanities folks who help create meaning and purpose for products. Michael Litt, co-founder and CEO of a tech startup, says that the “funny thing” is that he is “still hiring more humanities majors than STEM grads,” noting that developers only make up 15-25% their workforce. He explains that the “making part was relatively easy” but that it was “figuring out what people want part that was hard” (Litt). He emphasizes the A, for arts, in their company’s “STEAM” focus because of the need for “instinct, critical thinking, and a deeply contextualized understanding of human nature.” This is exactly what our majors do and what the humanities offer — an understanding of people and places, needs and desires.
Stories also tell us how to feel and what to value. Jayson Stark, an award-winning sports writer, summed it up well when he commented in response to a compliment from Joe Maddon on his craft, “Information is important. Writing, period, is important. ...There is always going to be a need, in our world — I hope — for unique thinking, perspective and information.” Stark doesn’t just write about sports; he makes us feel, understand and hope.
As the chair of the English department here at Olivet, I should also tell you some other stories — true stories about the reality of English majors who are employed and fulfilled in their jobs. This is good news for us and our students for sure. We certainly do care about our students being employed, happy and successful, which is why we have made some major changes to our program over the last five years such as an internship option, the addition of a writing major, and a reduction of hours to allow for double majoring, to help create a clearer pathway between students’ interests and abilities and their future careers.
However, our students are not simply data points, which is why we work closely with each of our majors to help guide them to courses and programs to best prepare them for the future and why I’d like to leave you with two final stories of recent graduates. The first is of Kiley, one of our students who started at Olivet with an English major and, through a trip to Burkina Faso, Africa, and a summer internship with the Rafiki Foundation, realized that she was being called to teach English overseas. She currently serves
in Ghana. The other, Michaela, who started at Olivet as an engineering major with the hope of being a Disney “Imagineer,” but whose love of literature and writing soon landed her with an English major, which she used to prepare for a law program that she will be completing next year.
Make that three final stories: Like me, my daughter Faith loves stories. At 11, she hopes to be a writer someday. I don’t know yet what God has in store for her life — if her writing will take her in the direction of novels and poems, sports writing or marketing. I do know, however, the type of person she will become with a humanities degree — someone who doesn’t just think well but thinks carefully, critically and creatively; someone who is aware of the complexities of life and the intersection of history, culture and politics; and someone whose heart is keenly attuned to the lives of others. Whether she is called into the literary world, a library, a classroom or the boardroom, I know she will be equipped. And I hope that the stories she will tell, real or imagined, just might feed people’s souls.
With more than 4,000 universities in America, does it really matter which one a student chooses to attend? Preparation, development and pursuit of one’s life passion can occur regardless of where one earns his or her degree, right? These questions are worth careful consideration. At Olivet, an education flows from three pillars, or central ideas, that lie at the heart of our educational mission.Dr. Kent R. Olney
Professional preparation at Olivet consists of (1) classroom and book learning; (2) practical application through real-life experience; and (3) opportunities to encounter the God of all creation through knowing His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who embrace these three emphases leave Olivet professionally ready to enter the world.
Employers are looking for young people who have a first-rate education that has prepared them to adapt to a marketplace that is rapidly changing. Of course, all universities promise such an education.
What makes us unique at Olivet is that our professional readiness includes that third element wherein we prepare students to represent God in their world. Stated another way, our students are prepared to be “interpreters” for God. This is not new. Long ago, God used Joseph to interpret for the Pharaoh in Egypt. He used Daniel to interpret for King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. God still seeks qualified interpreters who are strategically placed and used for His purposes among world leaders. Today He finds many of those interpreters at Olivet — individuals professionally prepared to represent both their discipline and God.
Having grown up between two deaf siblings, I worked for 20 years as a professionally certified sign language interpreter. In that role, I interpreted in classrooms, courtrooms, hospitals and churches. I have interpreted for Billy Graham, four state governors and even at the White House.
Those experiences taught me that the most fundamental principle to becoming an effective interpreter is to know two languages well. In a sense, that is our mission at Olivet: We strive to teach two languages. Our students leave us competent in the language of their chosen field of study and versed in the language of God. Professional readiness at Olivet means knowing both languages, or both worlds, well.
A fair question, then, is this: How are we doing? Are we having success in professionally preparing our students? The following alumni have returned to speak on campus in recent months. Each illustrates Olivet’s remarkable track record:
Suzanne Bell ’98 is the lead researcher for NASA’s Behavioral Health and Performance Laboratory.
David Horton ’84 enjoyed a long career with the IRS overseeing a $225 million budget and providing tax assistance to nations around the world.
Our students leave us competent in the language of their chosen field of study and versed in the language of God.
Teresa Woodruff ’85 was named interim president of Michigan State University.
Angel Colón ’90 served as the senior director of diversity and multicultural development at Kroger, our nation’s largest chain of supermarkets.
Jessica Swanson ’06 is a senior research fellow at Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab in Washington, D.C., exploring how finance decisions impact our nation’s schools.
All are professionally prepared interpreters, and there are many others like them.
Jesus had this to say on the topic of interpreters in Luke 12:56: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky [i.e., you have mastered arts and sciences]. [But] how is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?” Our mission stretches beyond mastering the arts and sciences. We point to the Creator of those arts and sciences and seek to interpret Him through every academic discipline, in every corner of the world.
Corporate offices, educational institutions, performance stages, research laboratories, churches and mission fields, professional athletic teams, medical facilities, political offices and civic organizations have all welcomed professionals who received their foundational preparation while at Olivet. Individuals with an Olivet education serve as God’s interpreters in this world.
Olivet’s second pillar is personal development. As a Christian university, we intentionally seek to foster deep piety along with strong scholarship.
Making such a statement begs the question: What is a Christian university? Extremes exist across the higher education landscape. An overemphasis in one direction — Christian — implies more interest in pursuing halos than academic excellence. That approach too often produces firm beliefs but minimal influence in the marketplace. Emphasis in the other direction — university — risks developing shallow Christians who are conversant in the latest educational buzzwords but who know little of God’s enduring Word.
Olivet seeks to avoid these extremes. When we speak of a Christian university, we value what each distinct word emphasizes. Consequently, we believe the following:
We believe all truth is God’s truth; He is the Source of all knowledge.
We believe we can pursue devotion to God and practice excellence in our academic disciplines.
We believe a relationship with the Creator enhances rather than diminishes intellectual development. It is God Who kindles inquisitive and creative minds.
We believe with the Apostle Paul that Christ, not culture, is our Master. Therefore, “Whatever [we] do, [we] work at it with all [our] heart … working for the Lord, not for men” (Col. 3:23).
We believe learning entails lifelong development with eternal consequences.
The best in higher education is always shaped by faith. That is how we define a Christian university.
Such a university is committed to personal development. Let me illustrate with an unusual phone call that came to Olivet in August 2022.
Jim (not his real name) called the University, said he was dying and asked to talk to a dean. The call was transferred to my office. I quickly learned four things:
(1) Jim was in poor health with a bad medical prognosis; (2) over 40 years ago, he had been an Olivet student; (3) he had been kicked out of the college twice for his behavior — the last time permanently; and (4) he now wanted to apologize and set things right. His language was rough, and his emotions were raw as he wept into the phone; his voice was filled with regret. I prayed with Jim and assured him of our and, more importantly, God’s forgiveness. Jim expressed his thanks and then wistfully said, “I loved my professors at Olivet. They were so good to me, even though I was a rebel.”
That initial call has now become a weekly call between the “rebel” and the dean. If he doesn’t call me, I call him. Jim’s health has stabilized, and more of his story has unfolded. One poor decision after another resulted in years of heartache and misery. Yet Jim could never forget Olivet. Now that the end looms near, he is reaching out to her again. It may sound strange, but Jim and I — the rebel and the dean — continue to have mutually encouraging conversations. When life turned dark and the future looked bleak, Jim was drawn back to his alma mater, Olivet, to his professors who “were so good to [him], even though [he] was a rebel.”
What would cause a man to make such a phone call? Jim remembered the virtue that marked Olivet. He remembered Jesus was there, among his faculty and classmates. He remembered a place of love and forgiveness. Then he prayed that what he remembered had not changed over the years. Jim communicates two sentiments to me nearly every time we talk: first, how proud he is that Olivet continues to develop Godly students and, second, how amazed he is that a dean takes the time to talk to a rebel.
But that is who we are. Whether interacting with current students, distinguished alumni, outside constituents or a rebel from the past, our mission is the same. We are focused on professional readiness for a career and personal development for a life in this world and the next. As a Christian university, who we are and how we treat others matter.
Thomas Obadiah Chisholm, a Methodist hymnwriter from Kentucky, penned these well-known lyrics 100 years ago: “Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” Chisholm went on to note that the same faithful Lord gives “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” Our students — past, present and future — are counting on us to point them to the source of that strength and hope for their personal development. We dare not disappoint them.
The third and final pillar that distinguishes our work at Olivet is encouraging students to engage in lives of service. Our professionally prepared and personally developed students head out in search of more than just good jobs. They want to serve, knowing that is the ultimate measure of their success.
In some ways the task has never been more challenging. Our culture exhibits a curious mix of victimization, individual rights, fragile egos, anxiety, fear and depression. The CDC reports a sharp rise in “deaths of despair”: deaths due to suicide, drugs and alcohol. This trend is particularly seen among millennials and is contributing to the lowest U.S. life expectancy rates in the past 100 years.
What accounts for what we are witnessing? The late French sociologist, Émile Durkheim, in his 1897 classic, Suicide, pointed to the power of community life. Suicide rates, according to Durkheim, are elevated when social ties are weak. On the other hand, communities rich with vibrant social relationships tend to have lower suicide rates. Community life matters.
Ironically, social analysts tell us that today’s young adults are the most socially connected generation ever, with their iPhones and social media accounts creating stimulating, 24/7, online communities. We are discovering, however, that not just any community will do. Communities that make a difference are rooted in deep, meaningful, enduring and sacrificial relationships.
That elevates the value of a place like Olivet Nazarene University. Olivet provides more than geographical community on a campus, physical community in dorms, social community through organizations and athletic teams, and spiritual community via chapel and ministry programs. It also provides service opportunities that build and sustain another kind of community — that which is borne out of giving one’s life away for the benefit of others.
Jesus, the One Who “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life” (Matthew 20:28), is our model here. We encourage students to follow His example. Nothing lifts one’s sights and spirits more — nothing combats despair and discouragement more — than service to others. Genuine community, built on sacrificial service, gets formed in the process; such community is a defining feature common to Olivet graduates. Durkheim was right all along.
Following are some alumni from the past two decades who illustrate well what we mean by lives of service:
Nick Shelton ’02 and Anthony Deutsch ’17 both turned their dreams and hard work into careers with the U.S. Secret Service, where their lives of service protect the U.S. president, vice president and other dignitaries around the world.
Simone Twibell ’06 came to Olivet from South America, graduated, married and prepared for the ministry. After walking through “the valley of the shadow of death,” upon the loss of her husband due to brain cancer, she has embraced a life of service as an Olivet faculty member who influences students.
Ben Kayser ’02 went from being a top baseball prospect to a military officer to a life of service with the Navigators. He now disciples soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, modeling what it means to follow Christ and leading them in battle against the enemy of their souls.
Amanda Choi ’07 turned some dark days of pain and loss into a life of service in Jerusalem with Bridges for Peace, winsomely introducing Jews to their Messiah, Jesus.
LaMorris Crawford ’06 left Chicago’s South Side housing projects, poverty and violence to attend Olivet. Upon graduation he embarked on a life of service that has included being an NFL chaplain, pastor and speaker.
Grace Pelley ’18 has overcome physical challenges and entered a life of service that includes writing, editing and coaching others to do the same.
Josh Adams ’04 went on to medical school after Olivet and then joined the military, all in preparation for a life of service as a family doctor in Idaho.
Raechel Myers ’05 founded an organization known as She Reads Truth, adopting a life of service that encourages believers to open and read their Bibles in order to discover the truth and relevancy found there.
All of these — some overcoming pain, adversity and obstacles — have pursued lives of service and represent scores of other alumni. The result is twofold: Recipients of the service benefit, and strong community ties are formed that sustain and spread goodwill.
Yes, Olivet seeks to send out graduates who are professionally prepared, personally developed and committed to lives of service. These three pillars make up our mission. The motto engraved in stone at the entrance to our campus reads, “Education With a Christian Purpose.” We contend that this noble mission, and nothing less, is what it means to engage in higher education. The decision of where to pursue a college education really does matter after all.
Kent R. Olney, Ph.D., has served as the dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Olivet since 2021, following 26 years as a professor of sociology. Dr. Olney graduated from Asbury College in 1977, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts from Gallaudet University, and completed a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. Dr. Olney and his wife of 46 years, Beth, are the parents of Kyle and Luke ’10/’12 M.O.L., parents-in-law to Amber (McKean) ’08/’13 M.O.L. and Amber (Leffel) ’14, and the proud grandparents to five grandchildren.
Nothing lifts one’s sights and spirits more — nothing combats despair and discouragement more — than service to others. Genuine community, built on sacrificial service, gets formed in the process; such community is a defining feature common to Olivet graduates.
Collaborating on projects, work sessions and group research are all part of the ONU experience — regardless of area of study or major. Students have access to equipment, labs and meeting spaces, and the Center for Academic Excellence, which includes the university’s Writing Center and academic assistance.
In the Olivet community, students have access to quality campus dining including multiple locations, a campus Starbucks, as well as premium recreation and workout equipment dedicated for student use. The Perry Center includes and Olympic-sized pool, lazy river, climbing wall, billiards, pingpong and more, and the Student Life and Recreation team schedules and manages almost every imaginable intramural activity.
The best way for your student to prepare for college is to make the most of senior year. Your daughter or son should dig into classes. Good study habits, focused determination and solid grades are the best preparation. She or he should invest in extracurricular activities that highlight athleticism, musical talent, leadership or public service. It will be a busy year, and graduation will be here before you know it. These steps, written for your student, will help your family navigate the enrollment process and get a head start on the college experience.
Does the college offer your major? Are there ample areas of study (in case you change majors)? Are the professors accessible in and out of the classroom?
Are the professors renowned in their fields? Are the academic programs rigorous? After financial aid is awarded, how affordable is the school? How many students are in each class? Does the college have strong internship and study-abroad opportunities? What is the weather like? What defines the classroom experience?
Are there added-value opportunities and services? What is the campus city or town like? Does the college provide a multicultural experience? How important is
distance from home? Is the campus near additional internships, jobs and culture? Does the college have on- and off-campus guidelines for living? Do you value institutional policies regarding residential life? What arts opportunities are available? Are there sports teams to cheer for? What are all the on- and off-campus dining options? Are there fitness activities for students? Does the college offer off-campus living? What are some alumni success stories? Are academic tutoring and career counseling readily offered? What clubs, intramural sports, ministries and volunteer activities exist? Is the college a good fit for you?
Visit! Fall is a great time to look at the schools on your college list. The perfect time to connect with students and professors is when classes are in session. Even sit in on a class or two.
Olivet Nazarene University’s Purple & Gold Days events are ideal for experiencing campus firsthand or virtually. Finalize a short list and rank those colleges. Use information gathered from campus visits, interviews and research to determine where to apply. Stay on track with grades and activities.
Colleges look at senior year, so stay focused on classes and maintain commitments to extracurricular activities. Take standardized tests. Register for and take the ACT, SAT or SAT Subject Tests as necessary. The ACT code for Olivet is 1112 and the SAT code is 1596. Keep track of deadlines. It’s important to know what is due when. Make a calendar showing the application deadlines for admission, financial aid and scholarships. Connect with your guidance counselor.
Be sure the counselor knows where to send transcripts, score reports and letters of recommendation. Give the guidance counselor any necessary forms much earlier than the actual deadlines. Complete applications for colleges on your short list. Make sure the guidance office has sent all necessary materials, including test scores, recommendations, transcripts and application essays. Plan to get all this done before winter break so you won’t be rushed. Continue your scholarship search.
Apply for scholarships with approaching deadlines and keep searching for more scholarship and grant opportunities. Using free online scholarship search tools is a great way to find potential aid. Ask colleges about their scholarship opportunities. Be sure to take this information into account when making a short list. A college’s sticker price can fluctuate greatly after financial aid and scholarships are applied. Talk with a financial aid representative at Olivet to discover how scholarships and financial aid change your bottom line.
Follow up on applications. Verify with the guidance counselor that all forms are in order and have been sent. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (The FAFSA code for Olivet is 001741). Filing for
the following school year starts in December of the current year. File as soon as possible to ensure access to eligible state and federal aid as well as priority status for scholarships. Some state programs have limited resources and are first-come, first-served. Send mid-year grade reports. Ask your guidance counselor to send these reports to colleges on your short list. Remember, colleges will continue to keep track of grades, so it’s important to keep working hard throughout senior year. Review college financial aid packages. Though finances should never be the only factor in a decision, consider each package carefully, as not all colleges use the same format.
Prepare! Take any last standardized tests and ACT/SAT retakes (statistically, students improve their score on the second or third attempt). Take Advanced Placement tests or College-Level Examination Program tests to earn college credit as senior year winds down. Be sure to discuss these options with an enrollment adviser at each college on your short list, as every school awards college credit and academic scholarships differently.
Make the final college decision. Notify all schools of your intentions by May 1. If still undecided, schedule campus visits. Send the enrollment deposit and ask your guidance counselor to send a final transcript upon graduation. Submit any other required paperwork. Follow up on financial aid information. Be sure you have received a FAFSA confirmation and award letter. If necessary, explore and apply for loans. Maintain contact with the financial aid adviser to discuss the best options for paying for college. Interact with future classmates. Attend college events, check out class pages on social media and finalize roommate selection.
Attend new student summer orientation. Finalize course selections, choose a dorm room, meet freshman classmates, interact with faculty and staff, and begin the exciting experience of the next four years.
The college choice will be heavily influenced by how you and your student perceive cost and the financial aid process. Be sure to make decisions based on accurate information. You don’t want to rule out schools based on sticker shock when financial aid could bring those schools within reach.
What can we do to make college more affordable?
File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and file it as early as possible. The FAFSA is the gateway to state and federal financial aid, and universities use this information to determine your student’s offers. The FAFSA can give access to grants as well as loans that tend to have lower interest rates with the most advantageous payback schedules. Some state grants have limited resources, so it’s important to file as soon as possible.
When can we file the FAFSA?
You can file the FAFSA at fafsa.gov beginning in December for the following school year. You’re able to pull financial information directly from electronic tax documents into your FAFSA form.
After filing the FAFSA, what’s next?
The FAFSA allows your student to select up to 10 schools to automatically receive your family’s FAFSA information. Each school that has accepted your student for admission will then send a financial aid offer letter outlining the federal, state and institutional aid for which your student is eligible.
It’s important to find out how each admissions office handles test scores, as each school is different. If your student takes the ACT or SAT more than once (not required but permitted by both testing organizations), know that some universities take the highest score, while others take an average. A higher test score could improve an academic scholarship by thousands of dollars per year. Olivet is a test-preferred institution (standardized test scores not required as part of the admissions process).
Some schools offer only academic scholarships. Most have additional opportunities. Like academic scholarships, these opportunities are provided on the basis of merit and/or participation. At Olivet there are scholarships for athletics, music (including Tiger Marching Band and University Orchestra), art, ministry and ROTC.
YES! Students should seek out local and national scholarships. Consider organizations your student has been a part of, businesses you frequent and your employer. Many offer scholarships. For national scholarships, register at reputable websites such as scholarships.com, bigfuture.collegeboard.org or fastweb.com and begin applying as soon as possible. Never pay for scholarship searches. The reputable sources are always free.
The reality for most college students is that scholarships and government assistance alone do not fully cover tuition expenses. The remaining portion can be covered by parent loans, student loans or payment plans. There are many federal and private loan options. You should know that student loans require a cosigner. Payment plan options are unique to each institution. Financial aid isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” process, so work with your financial aid adviser to explore your best options.
This process can be overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to lean on financial aid advisers. They will work with you to find financial aid solutions based on your needs. Ask the tough questions and stay informed. The more involved you are, the easier it will be.
Olivet’s Office of Admissions is a great resource for families in every stage of the financial aid process.
Kimberly Strickland klstrickland@Olivet.edu
“It’s my pleasure each day to assist students and their families with their award packages. The options are almost limitless.”
Mark Reddy mwreddy@Olivet.edu
“One of my favorite moments is when families see their students awarded for their diverse, outstanding achievements.”
Luke Franklin lfrankl1@Olivet.edu
“From afar it seems like a puzzle. But when we get into it, the facts come alive and paint a pretty clear, affordable picture.”
Lexi Thill athill@Olivet.edu
“It is such an honor to play a part in so many stories of the amazing Olivet families, helping them find an affordable path to a life-changing university.”
Bri Bell bjbell@Olivet.edu
“I am so grateful to provide student-focused services that help guide our Olivet families through understanding all of our affordability options.”
Scot Kraemer skraemer@Olivet.edu
“I love being able to walk with students through their financial aid offers and see the excitement as the next adventure unfolds in their lives.”
Olivet’s Financial Aid team is available to answer your questions. Call 800-648-1463 and ask for a team member by name, or reach out via email.
Each year, more than 110 students transfer to Olivet to complete their college education. Last fall, the diverse group of incoming transfer students represented 13 states and five countries. The Office of Admissions has a dedicated team of professionals who work exclusively with prospective transfer students to provide a smooth transition from one college experience to the next. Olivet offers competitive transfer scholarships and students find that most of their credits transfer to the University.
Hometown: Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Major: Public Relations and Strategic
Communication; Minor: Graphic Design
“As a 2020 high school graduate, I began my college career at my local community college due to the pandemic. By making this decision, I knew that I would eventually have to transfer. I chose to transfer to Olivet because I wanted to attend a Christian school that was not too far from my hometown and that would provide a quality education.
“Because of the pandemic, my community college education was primarily online. Doing school online was difficult for me because I was constantly questioning my educational goals and didn’t have access to hands-on experiences to explore my interests. I was very nervous that I would be behind my peers since I was transferring as a rising junior.
“When I came to Olivet, I felt immersed in my education. I was able to have hands-on learning through many of my classes. This past year, I was able to help plan an event with a non-profit, gain experience with clients through Inspired Strategies Agency, the student-run public relations agency on campus, and complete multiple internships. I feel like I had tremendous growth professionally within this first year and I am excited for another year of opportunities at Olivet.
“I have met a ton of people at Olivet including several other transfer students who were in the same situation as me. We bonded over our experiences and have created community. Some of my favorite memories are attending school events like Ollies Follies, the Christmas party, line dancing, Mr. ONU and other social events.
“Considering transferring colleges is a difficult decision. It was not an easy decision, but I have grown so much through this journey. If transferring is the best decision for you, then do it. You will not regret it.”
Hometown: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
“I started my college career studying at Fox Valley Tech and was originally going for carpentry, but decided to pursue something new. I’m not sure what that is yet, but I heard about Olivet from my high school friend, Abby Eaton.
“Going into a transfer setting was surprising for me because I thought I would be put with the rowdy group in dorm life but found out they were actually firm believers and held Bible studies. I’ve been connecting with churches at Olivet and ministries they have here.
“One highlight is the friends I’ve made that really brought me out of my shell. Dorm life was so great. I can hop over to a friend’s dorm and play music or video games, or have heart-to-heart conversations at one in the morning. Events like Ollies Follies would be another highlight — finding new people to grow with Christ in is just one of Olivet’s best qualities as a college.
“My advice for other students considering transferring is to not let yourself feel separated from other people because of the title ‘transfer.’ You belong at Olivet just like everyone else. And by the way, Luddy food is actually underrated compared to other schools!”Justin Vetter
Hometown: New Lenox, Illinois
Major: Marketing with a Management Concentration
“I attended a different college before transferring to Olivet because it was close to home and I could commute. However, I decided to transfer after I felt that the school did not align with my values, and I did not feel a true sense of community.
“The transfer process to Olivet was extremely easy. I felt right at home from the first step I took in the Office of Admissions. Everyone thoroughly answered any questions I had. The professors have also been extremely helpful assisting me in my career goals now as they were when I first began the transfer process.
“Olivet is one big community. I met my roommate the first night of orientation, and he was the first of the many wonderful people I now know. One highlight from my time so far is being a three-time intramurals champion. I also went on a ski trip with some friends, and it was a memorable first-time skiing experience!
“For anyone considering transferring colleges, do not rush to make a decision! I spent several months sorting out the pros and cons of different universities. Each college is unique and connects to a person differently. You can also reach out to people who attend the university currently and ask them any questions you have.
“Most importantly, any transferring decision will never be perfect. Although there may be rough times wherever you choose to transfer to, trust that God is bringing you there to not only be successful, but to glorify Him in the biggest way!”
So you’re still exploring what to do with your life. You’re not alone. Each year about 17% of students entering college haven’t decided on a major. Also, nearly 50% of all college students change their major (at least once), so why worry? At Olivet higher education is focused on the liberal arts — where you get to explore all areas of knowledge and understanding: literature, science, religion, mathematics, health and the arts.
The Center for Academic Excellence strives to create a culture and a climate that encourage students to explore all their educational and academic interests and assists students in identifying their specific career or calling. Not every student has a simple answer when asked the unavoidable question “What’s your major?” Welcome to the perfect place to explore all the possibilities that question presents.
Get free access to four assessments that help you learn more about your values, workplace preferences, interests and personality.
Consult Olivet’s online course catalog for a list of available majors and requirements for each.
Review Olivet’s 140 areas of study. List careers you might want to pursue. Consider the majors that will help you get there.
This assessment helps you discover the one true you. Find out more about what you naturally do best. Use the results to live your best life.
This course is a series of modules designed to be started before classes begin and continued through the first few weeks of the semester. The modules cover many of the resources and tools needed to thrive at Olivet.
This two-day conference brings new students together before the beginning of classes to introduce you to college life and “jump-start” your Olivet experience. The conference begins on Sunday night with a worship service and continues on Monday morning.
Sophomore, junior and senior students will serve as mentors for you as you arrive on campus. The mentors will help you move in, attend the JumpStart Conference with you and your freshman or transfer group, and support you throughout your first semester at Olivet.
Meet with a career coach or faculty advisor to work through the rewarding process of choosing your major.
Take the first course in one or two areas that interest you. Sample before committing.
Learn more about the careers that interest you. Reach out to professionals in those fields. Arrange to interview them or shadow them on the job.
Ask God to direct you in your decisions. Then, listen for His answers.
What is most important to me in a career?
In which areas do I naturally excel?
What do I most enjoy doing?
Which majors fit best with my personality?
What do I most think about regarding my future?
For which issue or cause am I most passionate?
What is God’s dream for me?
Peer educators help students working toward mastery of course content or looking to build academic skills. Tailoring each session to the needs of the learner helps to create purposeful and intentional pathways toward academic achievement. Students develop greater understanding, improve critical thinking skills and learn the value of independent scholarship, empowering them to persist in their studies.
Students explore careers and employment opportunities using a variety of resources. Assistance with résumés, cover letters, the job search process and interviewing skills sets students apart in the professional world. Job fairs give potential employers opportunities to meet students. The Handshake platform connects employers with job seekers and job seekers with employment.
When stresses build, professional counselors are available to help students grow and succeed. Students’ well-being is the top priority at Olivet.
Being healthy physically benefits students as they pursue their education and prepare for their future careers. Students have access to personalized, quality health care and counseling services.
Believing and belonging are critical in the formation of young adults as they prepare for lives of service to God and humanity, and while the University seeks to shape its community, that community continually shapes the culture of the University. After all, a campus community is only as strong as the individuals who comprise the group.
In 1999 Olivet’s marketing office added an unofficial tagline to traditional undergraduate recruiting materials: “We believe. You belong here.” The phrase simply re-framed Olivet’s mission of providing an “Education With a Christian Purpose” by connecting the University’s purpose and vision with its community.
The tagline is more than just a catchy phrase. Olivet is a place where students can establish a sense of belonging through the blending of shared adventures and celebrated diversity.
In seeking to create a vibrant campus environment, Olivet offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to grow personally, spiritually and professionally as they make the most of their college experience.
At the core of the Olivet experience is a Christian emphasis. The student body represents more than 40 denominations and world religions and an array of faith backgrounds, but the foundation of the University remains “Education With a Christian Purpose.” 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. The office strives to achieve this through Belong Groups, Discipleship Huddles, chapel services, Upper Room, student ministries, ministry trips and community engagement.
Spiritual Development encompasses the discipleship and evangelism initiatives to engage in seven abiding habits: God’s Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, servanthood, stewardship and witnessing. Freshmen are encouraged to join a Belong Group to gain community support as they transition into college life. Huddles offer an intentional space for sophomores, juniors and seniors to delve deeper into discipleship and theological discussions as they foster accountability among their peers.
Twice a week, students, faculty and staff gather in the 3,000-seat Betty and Kenneth Hawkins Centennial Chapel to participate in corporate worship and hear from renowned pastors, authors, business leaders, professional athletes, artists and other skilled guest speakers.
As part of their Christian liberal arts education, Olivet students complete courses that unpack the relevance of Scripture and Christian traditions. Faculty incorporate devotionals into their curriculum, and they become mentors as they create an environment for asking questions and seeking answers.
Outside the classroom, opportunities abound for students to further their faith journeys through student ministries and community engagement projects. Many of the student spiritual life activities are wrapped into the Shalom Project, which seeks to inspire, empower and equip the campus community in the creative act of restoring broken relationships.
Examples of campus ministry groups include Prayer Warriors, a group that empowers and encourages the campus community through prayer and Scripture study, and Heart4Missions, which provides a space for students to learn more about missional service. Off-campus volunteer opportunities include groups like Life Support, which partners with the local Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center; Manna, which serves the local homeless population; Kingdom Builders, a ministry that uses building and construction projects to benefit families in Pembroke and Kankakee; and Aspire, which partners with the City Life Center to provide tutoring and mentoring for local middle and high school students. Each year, the entire campus community is encouraged to participate in Serve Day to support the work of local community organizations.
Students at Olivet also benefit from exposure to faith in action in different parts of the country and the world on yearly mission trips through the Shalom Project. These cross-cultural encounters help to expand students’ worldviews and perspectives on how people live around the world. In the past, students have traveled to the Gulf Coast, New York, Chicago, Denver, Hawaii, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and El Paso, and around the world to countries including Argentina, Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, France, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, China, Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia and Taiwan.
The on-campus, residential nature of Olivet facilitates many opportunities for students to connect socially. Each semester the Office of Student Development plans a full program of social activities across campus for students to have fun and build inclusive relationships.
Olivet offers more than 90 academic department service clubs, organizations, multiethnic affinity associations, interest groups and honor societies to cater to the wide range of interests and passions represented in the student body. A sampling of these include Capitol Hill Gang (political science); Enactus (business); Equestrian Club; Green Room (theatre); ONU Investment Club; MuKappa (for students from international and military homes); Multiethnic Student Services (promoting diversity and inclusion through three affinity groups); Spoons 4 Forks improv comedy team; Tabletop Games Club; Society of Women Engineers; Animal Cares; and Diakonia (social work).
Olivet students enjoy a wide variety of yearly traditions and special activities, including Ollies Follies class competitions, the Rock and Glow silent disco, an annual Christmas party, live band karaoke, the Mr. ONU skit and talent show, plays and musicals, outdoor movies, contemporary music concerts provided by Shine.FM, and other gatherings that encourage students to connect with their peers. Students also oversee the annual publication process of the Aurora yearbook.
There are a multitude of additional recreational options for students to enjoy on campus. The Perry Student Life and Recreation Center houses a swimming pool, four-story climbing wall, fieldhouse, fitness facilities, weekly exercise classes, study spaces and gaming areas — all of which are available for students to use for free. Olivet also boasts a robust intramural program with 20 sports offered at a variety of levels. On average, more than 1,400 students participate in at least one intramural sport each year.
Students who want to play sports at an intercollegiate competitive level can go through the recruitment process for any of the University’s 21 varsity athletic teams or the men’s club ice hockey team. Coed sports include cheerleading and varsity esports.
Olivet athletic teams compete nationally through affiliation in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and through conference play in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), Mid-States Football Association and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (swimming). Multiple alumni have built on their college training to compete professionally with teams including the Chicago Cubs, the New York Yankees, the Chicago Fire, and USA Track and Field.
The University’s athletic teams perform at high levels athletically and in the classroom. For 13 consecutive years, Olivet’s athletic program has won the CCAC All-Sports Cup, which is based on championships and rankings across CCAC-affiliated sports. In addition, when it comes to success in the classroom, hundreds of Olivet athletes are consistently named to the CCAC All-Academic Team each year.
Scholarships are available for many student-athletes. For more information about the athletic recruitment process, visit ONUTigers.com.
From its inception as a liberal arts higher education institution, Olivet has supported creative growth through performances and exhibitions that feature student accomplishments in the areas of drama, art and music. ONU Theatre produces a full season of musicals and plays ranging from Broadway favorites to Pulitzer Prize winners to original productions. Many shows are student-directed, and all productions allow for student involvement beyond the stage, including costuming, choreography, set design, set construction, sound design, lighting design and production assistant roles.
The on-campus, residential nature of Olivet facilitates many opportunities for students to connect socially. Each semester, the Office of Student Development plans a full program of social activities across campus with the aim of students having fun and building inclusive relationships.
Students who are interested in artistic exploration may take courses within the Department of Art and Digital Media. Rotating exhibitions are displayed in gallery areas around campus throughout the year to showcase student work. There are also a variety of on-campus student photography, videography and graphic designer roles that allow students to gain work experience as they hone their craft.
More than 600 students are involved annually in the over 20 vocal and instrumental ensembles offered through the School of Music. Regardless of major, all students who are musically inclined are encouraged to get involved. Groups include the Tiger Marching Band, University Orchestra, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Orpheus Choir, Proclamation Gospel Choir, Concert Singers, Apollo Choir and Piano Ensemble. These and many other ensembles offer some merit-based and participation scholarships.
The School of Music offers a variety of performance opportunities, including annual performances of Handel’s Messiah and the holiday favorite Sounds of the Season concert, and it partners with the Department of Theatre to produce the spring musical. Additionally, many music ensembles travel throughout the country and around the world to minister through music. The Tiger Marching Band has performed in London, in Rome and at the U.S. Presidential Inauguration; Concert Singers has traveled to Greece, Paraguay, Brazil and Bulgaria; and Orpheus Choir has taken trips to Kenya and Puerto Rico.
Most of the more than 140 areas of study at Olivet require a practical, mentored learning experience, such as clinical rotations, student teaching, job shadowing or an internship. These opportunities
allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom directly into the industry in which they are pursuing a career. Students have completed internships with employers including NASA, the Grand Rapids Museum of Art, the Mississippi Aquarium, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Nucor Steel and Caterpillar Inc. as well as local churches, hospitals, school districts, political campaigns, nonprofit organizations and more.
A strong educational foundation sets up students for success beyond the classroom. Whether studying on or off campus, Olivet students can pursue research projects through faculty mentorship and class activities or in a more formal capacity through the University Honors Program or industry-related internships. Professors also frequently employ outstanding students as teaching assistants, notetakers and tutors.
Students who are interested in exploring internationally for an extended time may spend a semester or summer studying off campus. The University has more than 15 established partnerships with higher education institutions that promote interactive scholarship in different locations, including Honduras, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Uganda and Ecuador. As they travel, students gain insight into and appreciation for the varied cultures, languages and traditions that exist elsewhere in the world.
Regardless of what students choose to study, there are endless opportunities for growth while experiencing life at Olivet. The mission of the University strategically sets the vision for a higher education institution that is full of community, culture and ways to connect.
We believe. You belong here.
A strong educational foundation sets students up for success beyond the classroom. Whether studying on or off campus, Olivet students are encouraged to pursue research projects through faculty mentorship and class activities.
Olivet The Magazine: How important is it for students to know what they want to study before enrolling in college?
Amber Residori: I wish I had a megaphone and permission to walk the hallways of high schools everywhere so I could tell students, “You do NOT need to have a major picked before coming to college.”
Students put a lot of pressure on themselves to have huge life decisions made before they come to college. I get it. College is expensive, and they don’t want to waste time and money. However, not having a major does not mean you won’t finish college on time. We want to reassure them that there is no need to panic, and we are here to guide them through the process of matching their beautiful distinctiveness to a meaningful profession.
Let’s be honest: Choosing a career is important, and not many of us were ready to make that decision at 17 or 18 years old. However, each of us are blessed with unique gifts and talents, and there are careers that match our specific strengths. It is far more important for high school students (especially as they make college visits) to ask questions and understand how a university will walk beside them, guide them and help lead them through a process of finding their calling than to immediately commit to a major. Enroll in a college where you trust the adults to listen and guide you in finding your life’s calling.
What advice do you have for high school students who are considering college as a postgraduation option?
Come visit our campus! The leap from high school to college can feel huge. We understand, and we want you to know you’re not alone. You don’t need to have everything figured out; you just need to take the next step. Trust your gut. Pay attention to how you feel when you’re on a campus, and imagine yourself growing, learning and developing beside the students, professors and staff you meet during your visit.
We tend to idolize people who already achieved, made their mark and became something extraordinary. We see them as bigger than life — at least bigger than our own life. We admire their accomplishments and want to capture their unique qualities so that we can emulate their success.
Ironically, these role models would likely explain that they have not yet fully become. Instead, their unique quality is that they have never quit becoming. They have been mindful to capture valuable life lessons that were embedded within failure and success and within the mundane and the exciting.
You see, individuals who have truly become never settle. They stretch themselves so that they are constantly in the process of developing, improving and transforming. One of the greatest gifts we can
give ourselves is ongoing learning, a commitment to stretching, and a life filled with intellectual, personal and professional growth.
What is the importance of a liberal arts education in finding a calling?
A liberal arts education is a blessing. It offers a comprehensive way of teaching young adults how to think — not what to think. A liberal arts education helps students be well-rounded individuals who know how to think because the holistic approach exposes them to an array of academic disciplines like the arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences. It teaches students how to consider and integrate information through a comprehensive, well-rounded and educated lens of the world.
We want our alumni to find their calling and gainful employment after graduation. A liberal arts education offers a broad understanding of knowledge, enhances critical thinking skills, builds character, develops communication skills and equips students to solve complex problems. Employers want to hire individuals who have strong character and can think comprehensively, communicate well, consider alternatives when solving problems and work successfully within a team. A liberal arts education provides these skills and prepares students for a lifetime of becoming
There are so many qualities about Olivet that make us stand out. First of all, we care! Olivet is committed to helping our students in the process of becoming. We offer a relevant, current and cutting-edge educational experience within a
connected, family-like atmosphere. We are proud of our strong academic programs and our reputation as a place for spiritual growth and discovery. We want our students to be challenged and stretched educationally, but we also want them to be challenged and stretched personally and spiritually. Our students work beside faculty and staff who model service to Christ. We recognize that our students are relational and see faculty as mentors who lovingly teach them that becoming is not an overnight process. Instead, becoming emerges only after repeating, testing, trying, learning and then owning moments of character development. We know that college years are a key time in students’ lives when they continue to clarify their values, morals and the lens through which they see the world. So our faculty interactions are intentional and dedicated to helping students develop and transform. Our faculty members also understand that college students are not sustained merely by books. Instead, they are nourished by time spent with people they grow to admire and respect. In fact, becoming involves finishing strong every hour, every project and every opportunity. It means showing up — really showing up — with a commitment to excellence, integrity and service.
Our students become doctors, social workers, engineers, accountants, pastors and countless other careers while fulfilling dreams they may have imagined since childhood. But, more importantly, our students become men and women who lead, who are committed to ongoing growth, and who strive to glorify God as they serve professionally and personally.
“We know that college years are a key time in students’ lives when they continue to clarify their values, morals and the lens through which they see the world.”
What are some tools you use to help students figure out an area of study to pursue?
At Olivet, we start with a strong belief that each student has been blessed by God with gifts and talents that are unique to them. It is helpful to allow students the opportunity to explore who they are, what they enjoy, environments where they have thrived previously, and what they don’t enjoy. There are also career assessments that students can take that provide insight into various occupations that align with their natural gifts and talents. In that process, they will naturally rule some out while simultaneously creating a short list of potential career choices. The beauty of a school like Olivet is that we offer almost any major a student might consider. Our array of offerings allows students the opportunity to take courses
that expose them to various majors. And the great news is that all these courses count toward their graduation requirements, so this is not wasted time but informed decision-making.
It is beautiful to watch a student move across the spectrum from feeling overwhelmed and lost to feeling like a partner as we explore possibilities together and then, ultimately, to choosing a major and witnessing their confidence flourish. All of us benefit when we invite students into the process of discovering how God plans to take their gifts and talents into future careers. Becoming is a process, and we are grateful for the privilege of walking beside students as they realize how their unique qualities were designed by God to serve His Kingdom in incredible ways.
Dr. Amber Residori ’93/’17 ED.D. is the dean of the College of Professional Studies and a licensed clinical social worker. She has worked extensively in residential treatment settings with youth and adolescents who struggle with emotional and behavioral disorders. She has a wide range of experience developing new programs, including outpatient therapy, transitional living and acute inpatient psychiatric hospital programs. She previously served at Olivet as a social work professor, as chair of the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and as dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences.
The University Honors Program provides the opportunity for academically gifted students to develop their scholarly abilities through intensive interdisciplinary coursework, enrichment activities and a two-year mentored research project.
Over the past 13 years, the Honors Program has graduated 152 students, all of whom completed a capstone research project and thesis supervised by a faculty mentor in their respective disciplines. These significant undergraduate research experiences open the door for leadership opportunities in academia and industry. The graduating cohort of 2023 included representatives from the fields of literature, biology, zoology, social work, theology, nursing, communication and mathematics. Research projects covered such varied topics as the effects of creatine supplementation on muscle synthesis and fitness levels; the use of aloe-based silver nanoparticles to treat contaminated water; police officers’ perceptions regarding their interactions with people with disabilities; the potential effects of childhood trauma on college student self-esteem; the best methods for preparing students to succeed on the Medical
College Admission Test; the biology and ecology of beetles in endangered ecosystems in the Midwest; and considering diversity and inclusion in the design of elementary curriculum.
To be eligible for application to the Honors Program, students must meet at least one of the following qualifications: have an ACT score of 28 or an equivalent SAT score; graduate in the top 10 percent of their graduating class; or have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.75 on a 4.0 scale.
Students in the program participate in a sequence of team-taught, discussion-based classes during their freshman and sophomore years that satisfy four of Olivet’s core general education curriculum requirements. These courses explore what it means to be human and expose students to the Christian liberal arts tradition.
Each cohort begins the Olivet experience with freshman Honors Program welcome weekend activities and caps coursework with a cultural excursion to Chicago during the sophomore year. In their junior and senior years, students receive funding for travel and supplies related to their research projects, and they complete their studies under the supervision of a faculty mentor of their choosing.
The culmination of students’ research is published in ELAIA: The Olivet Nazarene University Honors Journal. All volumes of ELAIA can be read online at issuu.com/Olivet. For more details about the Honors Program and application information, visit: Olivet.edu/Honors.
Discover ways to keep up with and encourage your Olivet student throughout his or her academic, social and spiritual journey at Olivet. To receive quarterly communication (important dates, upcoming events and resources for parents) during the school year, sign up at Olivet.edu/Parents.
We have created a 31-Day Prayer Guide for parents of college students and those preparing for college. To receive your free copy for parents and families, visit Olivet.edu/Parents.
The ONU School of Music sees more than 600 students participating in music ensembles each year, including the ONU Tiger Marching Band, University Orchestra, choral groups such as Proclamation Gospel Choir and Orpheus Choir, and collaborates with theatre students on main stage and smaller productions. Chamber ensembles, recitals and concerts of all genres keep the arts front and center in the Olivet experience.
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.
Language | lan·guage | ′laŋ-gwij | The words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community. — Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Being able to understand a conversation through words that make sense is a blessing many people take for granted when living in communities and family groups that speak the same language. Director of Aspira Recruitment Jorge Bonilla understands that implicitly.
“Language builds trust; it builds relationships. That is so important as we recruit in new markets. Families need to understand what they’re getting into. Being that bridge for Hispanic and first-generation families has been really rewarding.”
Born in El Estado de Mexico, Jorge grew up speaking primarily Spanish. Then, he met his wife Dr. Nancy (Urbon) Bonilla ’96 while she was working at a Mexican orphanage where he was the principal of their grade school. They shared a common heart for mission work, a common faith in God and two common languages, Spanish and English.
They married in Mexico and continued mission work in the country until both felt called to move to the United States for career changes. After completing graduate work, Nancy received an offer to teach Spanish at Olivet. Soon after, Jorge took a job as the Retention Coordinator at Olivet’s Center for Student Success.
In his first few years at Olivet, Jorge provided counseling, advising, case management, mentoring and leadership. He was particularly drawn to helping first-generation students, Hispanic students and others who needed extra support for the rigor of a college experience.
“It was very fulfilling to provide counseling services to students in the official capacity. I tried to add value to the students’ lives. I always told them ‘You can make it.’ and many did! Olivet is a place you can become a leader and learn how to add value and invest back in your community after college. A lot of students have a desire to really do something for their families. To achieve that dream, completing college is often one step in that journey.”
Two years ago, Jorge took a job in Olivet’s Office of Admissions. He was instrumental in creating the Aspira Recruitment initiative with a purpose to educate and inspire first-gen Hispanic students to thrive in college. He has collaborated with colleague Daneli (Rabanalez Hernandez) Hentschel ’17/’19 MBA to translate admissions paperwork, meet with Spanish-speaking families and advocate to offer translation headsets for families during large admissions events such as orientation.
“I’m passionate about closing the achievement gap for Hispanic students. We have to widen the entradas — how we welcome and provide support for families. There is so much richness in the Hispanic culture. We can celebrate that at Olivet!
“To me, culture is an environment where you can feel you can be yourself. You are your culture, your family. We want you to continue to be that at Olivet — who God created you to be. That familia is right here. We want students to embrace their own culture, language, traditions while doing the same college journey together.”Jorge Bonilla has a masters of arts in counseling from Lincoln Christian University and maintains his Illinois license for clinical counseling. Jorge and Nancy live in Bourbonnais with their four kids, Alex, Abby, Aime and Eduardo.
Lenguaje | len·gua-je | len ‘gwaxe | Facultad del ser humano de expresarse y comunicarse con los demás a través del sonido articulado o de otros sistemas de signos (Real Academia Española)
Ser capaz de entender una conversación a través de palabras que tienen sentido es una bendición que muchas personas dan por sentado cuando viven en comunidades y grupos familiares que hablan el mismo lenguaje. El director de reclutamiento de Aspira Jorge Bonilla entiende eso implícitamente.
“El lenguaje desarrolla la confianza; construye las relaciones. Comprender esto es muy importante cuando reclutamos en nuevos lugares. Las familias necesitan entender en lo que se comprometen. Ser un ayuda para las familias hispanas y de primera generación me ha dado mucha satisfacción.”
Jorge nació en el estado de México y creció hablando español como lengua materna. Luego, conoció a su esposa, la Dra. Nancy (Urbon) Bonilla ’96, mientras ella trabajaba en una casa hogar en México donde él era el director de la escuela primaria. Ellos compartieron una pasión común para las misiones, una fe común en Dios y dos lenguajes comunes, español e inglés.
Se casaron en México y continuaron el trabajo de misiones en el país hasta que los dos se sintieran llamados a mudarse a los Estados Unidos para un cambio de carrera. Después de cumplir el trabajo de posgrado, Nancy recibió una oferta para enseñar español en Olivet. Poco después, Jorge aceptó un trabajo como el coordinador de retención en el Centro de Éxito de Estudiantes en Olivet.
Durante los primeros años en Olivet, Jorge proveyó el consejo, la gestión de casos, el mentoreo, y el liderazgo. Particularmente, él quería ayudar a los estudiantes de primera generación, los estudiantes hispanos y otros que necesitaban apoyo adicional para la rigurosidad de la experiencia universitaria.
“Fue una experiencia muy gratificante aconsejarlos a los estudiantes en una capacidad oficial. Yo intenté añadir valor a las vidas de los estudiantes. Siempre les decía ‘pueden alcanzarlo’ y muchos lo hicieron. Olivet es un lugar donde puedes hacerte un líder y aprender a añadir valor a tu vida e invertir de nuevo en tu comunidad después de la universidad. Muchos estudiantes tienen un deseo de cumplir algo especial para sus familias. Para realizar este sueño, cumplir la universidad frecuentemente es un paso en este viaje.”
Hace dos años, Jorge aceptó un trabajo en la Oficina de Admisiones de Olivet. Fue instrumental en crear la iniciativa del reclutamiento de Aspira con el propósito de educar e inspirar a los estudiantes hispanos de primera generación para que prosperen en la universidad. Ha colaborado con su colega Daneli (Rabanalez Hernández) Hentschel ’17/’19 MBA para traducir el trámite de admisiones, reunirse con familias hispanohablantes y ofrecer los auriculares traductores para las familias durante eventos grandes de admisiones como la orientación.
“Estoy muy apasionado por cerrar la brecha de logros para los estudiantes hispanos. Tenemos que ensanchar las entradas – cómo damos la bienvenida y apoyamos a las familias. Hay tanta riqueza en la cultura hispana. ¡Podemos celebrar ésta en Olivet!”
“Para mí, la cultura es un ambiente donde puedes sentirte en casa, donde puedes ser tú mismo. Eres tu cultura, tu familia. Queremos que continúes siendo así en Olivet– ser quién Dios te creó a ser. Esta familia está aqui. Queremos que los estudiantes acojan su cultura, lengua, y tradiciones mientras toman juntos el mismo paso de la universidad.”
More than 3,200 (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 22 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.
Often, the parents of our students say, “I wish I could enroll again!” Captivated by the complete Olivet experience, many adults choose to continue their education at Olivet. Nazarene University.
Olivet offers unique graduate and continuing studies degrees, certificates and programs. Many of the courses are offered online, providing a smooth transition for working adults to jump back into their own educational pursuits.
Learn more at Olivet.edu
BACCALAUREATE AND GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Art – Drawing/Painting
Art – Graphic Design
Art – Media Arts
Art – Photography
English as a Second Language
English as a Second Language
Multimedia Communication – Film Studies
Multimedia Communication –Journalism
Multimedia Communication –Live Event Media Management
Multimedia Communication –Ministry Media
Multimedia Communication –Radio/Audio Media
Multimedia Communication –
Political Science – Public Policy
Public Relations & Strategic Communication
Social Science Education
Theatre Production & Performance
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Music – Composition
Music – Jazz Studies
Music – Performance
Music – Recording Arts
WALKER SCHOOL OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS
Chemistry – Biochemistry
Chemistry – Earth/Environmental
Chemistry – Forensics
Computer Science –Networking & Data
Computer Science –
Computer Science –Software Entrepreneurship
Earth & Space Science
Engineering – Architectural
Engineering – Chemical & Biochemical
Engineering – Civil
Engineering – Computer
Engineering – Electrical
Engineering – Mechanical
Geological Science – Geochemistry
Geological Science – Geotechnical
Geological Science – Life Science
Science Education – Biology
Science Education – Chemistry
Science Education – Earth/Space
COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
Criminal Justice – Criminology
Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement
Family & Consumer Sciences –Hospitality
Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology
Kinesiology – Pre-Athletic Training
Kinesiology – Pre-Occupational Therapy
Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy
Recreation & Sport Studies
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Early Childhood Education
Master of Arts in Education:
Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Arts in Education:
Master of Arts in Education:
Doctor of Education:
Business – Human Resource Management
Business – Management
Business – Philanthropy/Not-forProfit
Business – Operations Management
Business – Public 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
SCHOOL OF NURSING
Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Master of Science in Nursing: Education
Master of Science in Nursing: Transformational Leadership
RN to BSN
Hebrew Intercultural Studies
Philosophy & Religion
Master of Arts: Christian Ministry
Master of Arts: Family Ministry
Master of Arts: Ministerial Studies
Master of Arts:
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