Olivet The Magazine; Mission and Calling - Winter '23

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mission and calling


catch the action

As one of the first intercollegiate athletic teams at Olivet Nazarene University, the football program has a storied history of developing leaders through competition for more than 45 years.

In November 2022, the football team made its sixth appearance in the Victory Bowl in Waxahacie, Texas. The win maintained an undefeated record for the Tigers in Victory Bowl play.



VOLUME 92 ISSUE 1 (USPS 407-880) (ISSN 2325-7334) Copyright ©2023

Olivet Nazarene University

One University Avenue Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2345 800-648-1463

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



Mark Reddy ’95/’08 M.O.L.


Dr. Jason Stephens 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 Lauren Beatty ’13 Erinn Proehl ’13/’19 MBA


George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group


Matt Moore ’96 for 989 Group Donnie Johnson Rebecca Huber


Thomas Dinkleman ’18


Jones Foto, Image Group, Mark Ballogg, Joe Mantarian ’16, Austin Siscoe ’17, Kelli Neal ’22, Eric Decker

Additional photography submitted


Adam Asher ’01/’07 M.O.L. for 989 Group, Alicia (Gallagher) Guertin ’14, Rebecca Huber, Andrew Perabeau ’20, Austin Siscoe ’17, Heather (Kinzinger) Shaner ’98


Skyler Blanton ’23, Brenna Johnson ’23

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.

Dear Friends,

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration with friends and family! We are looking forward to this new year with great anticipation as we imagine all the possibilities God has in store. Even as the darkness lengthens in these winter months, our hope is that Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, will invade our lives in a brand-new way.

As Dennis Kinlaw wrote,

The new year brings hope. As we look into the year that opens before us, we would like to think it could be better than the one behind us. That yearning for something better is a gift from God and a promise that the hope can be realized. … God is the God Who wants to make all things new, and His presence can be recognized by the element of radical promise that confronts us when we come to know Him. With God comes the word that the future can be better than the present.

So, we enter into this new year with that great hope and promise in mind. May we trade in cautiousness for courage as we step boldly into 2023.

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

We have again assembled a number of excellent articles, stories, news and images from across the Olivet experience. Our prayer is that you will be encouraged as you read these pages carefully and absorb the Olivet spirit and ethos. There is so much good happening in the lives of Olivet students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, and so much to celebrate.

May God be especially close to you in the days and weeks to come, and may His Spirit dwell richly within you!


IN THIS ISSUE 7 OLIVET NEWS Headlines From Campus and Beyond 12 UNPACKING THE OLIVET MISSION Three Pillars of an Olivetian 18 FACULTY IN FOCUS Inspiration From the Olivet Community 48 HOMECOMING 2022 Highlights From the Week ON THE COVER: Students gather to talk outside Burke Administration Building JONES FOTO


Called to Something New

Welcome to winter. Is it time for the doldrums or drive?

Most people report apathy in winter, yet it’s interesting: America’s most highly ranked universities are snowbelt northerners. Harvard, Yale, Princeton — all in New England. Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Northwestern, University of Chicago and Notre Dame around here. Even Stanford is in northern California.

Harvard Business School explains. In the article “Blue Skies: How Weather Affects Productivity,” the amount of time it takes a team to complete a project during sunny days is markedly higher than on rainy days, simply because there are more distractions to drift outside.

So, here’s to winter! Our time to huddle in, hunker down and hatch open insights.

Students elevate their minds when snow falls. Recent Honors Program projects determine how phytonutrients operate in the intestine, how monetary policy affects Spain, the validity of Enneagram personality scales, and the effects of religiosity on relational anxiety. This small subset of our student body have a publication, ELAIA: The Honors Journal of Olivet Nazarene University, running 385 pages deep!

Faculty also bear fruit inside while it’s dormant outside. Their recent academic publications cover water quality, the social costs of gracious policies, service learning in STEM fields, benevolence for online toxicity, and metabolism. One Olivet professor is a visiting research scholar in Manchester, England. Others produced books on astronomer John Herschel, mathematics in the Scriptures, and several art shows, musical performances and recordings.

Noteworthy to the pandemic was a peer-reviewed publication by several professors on their development of the most costeffective and accurate COVID test methodology in America, used with Olivet students last year.

Creativity as a Godward Enterprise

Day and night, summer and winter, Leonardo Da Vinci invented continuously: the parachute, bicycle, extendable ladder, gears, snorkels, folding furniture and much more. Yet on his deathbed, he apologized to God and man for leaving so many worthy things undone.

In other words, to create is to serve. Insight and innovation solve problems.

You possess the God-given physical equipment too. Just 11 weeks after conception, your brain split into hemispheres: one brings order; the other invents.

You were also given a creative nature. When God designed you in His image, He positioned a cluster of character qualities in you including creativity. The Biblical saga in which we participate does not run Genesis 3 to Revelation 16 — from the first sin to apocalyptic judgment — but from Genesis 1, the creation of the world, to Revelation 21, an anticipated recreation of all things.

Because creativity is His nature, it’s ours. But creative capacity or creative nature might not translate into creative productivity. Are you stewarding your gift?

Consider a full arc over three phases. First, everyone is creative, capable of producing ideas, combinations or permutations. You’re not allowed to ever say, “I’m not creative.” God has that nature in you.

Second, innovation is more difficult and must be trained. In this, we convert an idea into a project that adds value to others. Management guru Dr. Joseph M. Juran said that all improvement comes by way of a project! Some innovations are evolutionary tweaks to process; others revolutionize the way we work and serve.


Finally, rarer still, entrepreneurship will monetize an innovation. Entrepreneurs possess such a rare combination of 10 traits that Jim Clifton, who popularized StrengthsFinder, says while 20 people out of 1,000 qualify as a genius, only 5 in 1,000 are true entrepreneurs. It’s not only about business sense but unusual prowess in creativity, confidence, grit, independence, risk tolerance and, among others, a knack for promoting their ideas.

At Olivet, we don’t just cross-country ski, ice-skate or dodge snowballs. It’s a season for less-distracted scholarship and creativity. God put that in us. We’re not Da Vinci, but, like him, we don’t want to leave worthy things undone.

So, welcome winter!

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 a book, Everyday Discernment: The Art of Cultivating Spirit-Led Leadership, through The Foundry Press.


let’s connect

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.

Olivet Receives $ 1 Million in Grants From Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Olivet Nazarene University recently received the second of two grants totaling more than $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support efforts designed to help families pass on their Christian faith to their children.

In April 2022, Olivet received a $50,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment to explore projects that would educate and engage families as they seek to share their faith with their children. This fall Dr. Houston Thompson, grant administrator for Olivet, and Dr. Leon Blanchette, professor in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, were informed that Olivet would be awarded a second grant of $999,451 to implement the projects and initiatives identified in the planning process.

The grant money will be used over a five-year period to support the development of surveys and training curriculum, the creation of a conference event on Olivet’s campus and the production of a podcast in partnership with Olivet’s radio station, Shine.FM (89.7 WONU). A survey to gauge the needs of parents and families will soon be dispersed to members of the 706 Nazarene churches in the 11 districts that regionally support Olivet.


Historic Birchard Gymnasium

Through a partnership between the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Development, Olivet recently released the 2022 Christmas ornament. Manufactured by the creators of the Official White House Christmas Ornament, the 2022 edition features Birchard Gymnasium. One of the existing buildings when Olivet moved to Bourbonnais in 1940, Birchard was the largest auditorium on Olivet’s campus for almost 25 years, hosting countless concerts and events. In addition to a basketball court and elevated running track, the original building featured a swimming pool, three-lane bowling alley, rifle range and even student housing. Purchasing this commemorative ornament supports The Olivet Fund. Order the 2022 ornament at Olivet.edu/ornament.

ONU Theatre Journeys Through Narnia

In a two-week run this fall, ONU Theatre presented The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis. Adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette and directed by professor Ashley Sarver ’15/’18 MBA, director of ONU Theatre, the production brought the famed adventure in Narnia to the Theatre at Sims. Complete with enduring truths, mystical creatures, heartwarming friendships and an indoor snowstorm, the play surprised and delighted audiences of all ages.

For tickets and more information about performances, visit Olivet.edu/tickets.


Joining the Race for Running Water

Olivet has long partnered with the Team World Vision branch of World Vision, a global nonprofit organization that, through a variety of projects and initiatives, aims to help people around the world rise above impoverished living situations.

The goal of Team World Vision events, including marathons, half marathons and the Global 6K, is to raise money to provide clean drinking water for communities around the world. This year the 32 runners on the Olivet team raised more than $43,000.

New Entrepreneurship Degree Offered at Olivet

The Mick McGraw School of Business recently announced the launch of an entrepreneurship major and minor. This newly designed area of study will be complementary to existing majors in the School of Business and will feature unique mentorship opportunities with alumni entrepreneurs and small business incubator support.

As part of the new program of study, current Olivet students are invited to take part in Olivet’s first entrepreneurship conference on April 13-14, 2023, which will include keynote speakers, a panel of subject-matter experts and a pitch competition for innovative business ideas.

The fall 2023 application is now available at Olivet.edu/apply

To register for the spring 2023 Createur Conference, visit Olivet.edu/2023-Createur-Conference-pitch-competition.


Alumnus Creator of CT Scan Visits Campus

This fall Dr. Gerard Pence ’66 and his wife, Judi (Hjort) ’66, visited the campus of Olivet Nazarene University for Prime Time Day. While visiting, they met with President Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D., along with sophomore Spencer James and Chelsea Speas ’13/MBA ’18, associate director of student life and recreation, who both received medical care aided by the technology of computerized tomography (CT) scanning. Dr. Pence, whose father created the physics major at Olivet, was on the team at Georgetown University that patented a design and the software programming for a CT scanner that could fit the entire human body, which vastly improved the scope, scale and cost of the original technology.

“I feel grateful for the opportunity I had to make a major change in the medical field,” Dr. Pence said. “A CT scan is not something people do without cause, so I realize the CT experience for people is one of trauma. It brings me a little sadness mixed with celebration for the success of a surgery that might not have been possible before the CT existed.”

ECACE Recruitment Update

In an effort to remove barriers that have historically prevented early childhood workers from continuing their education, the State of Illinois established the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program. Olivet joined the ECACE in June and has received funding to support student enrollment and tuition support through June 2024. Since receiving the grant last spring, 49 students from the incumbent workforce are taking online classes, while 17 traditional students are benefiting from the scholarship through on-campus classes.

The ECACE students represent some of the most diverse students ever enrolled at Olivet. They range in age from 20 to 62 with transcripts that vary from associate degrees in early childhood to those who have changed majors and have earned credits from various universities.

Interested students can apply at Olivet.edu/apply.



With a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, students have unique access to build meaningful relationships with their professors. The vast majority of Olivet courses are taught by full-time faculty members who are experts in the field, giving students the chance to learn from and be mentored by practitioners, not just academics.


unpacking the OLIVET mission

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.


Pillar 1: Professional Readiness

Professional preparation at Olivet consists of (1) classroom and book learning; (2) practical application through reallife 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.

• Teresa Woodruff ’85 was named interim president of Michigan State University this past November.

• Angel Colón ’90 is currently 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.

Pillar 2: Personal Development

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 human masters” (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 this past August.

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 matters.

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.

Pillar 3: Lives of Service

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.

“The best in higher education is always shaped by faith. That is how we define a Christian University.”

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.

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 truth and relevancy.

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.

Education With a Christian Purpose

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.


a worthrace running

The mission of athletics at Olivet is “Winning Championships. Developing Champions.” This is accomplished through nationally recognized coaching staff, state-of-the-art training facilities and a consistent goal of glorifying God through trials and success.


FACULTY in focus

Photography by Image Group

Olivet Nazarene University employs nearly 430 full-time faculty and staff who represent a variety of disciplines, educational backgrounds, career experiences and religious denominations. Yet they are all connected through a desire to contribute to Christian higher education. In this photo story, say hello to nine of our stellar employees who collectively represent the ethos — the characteristic spirit of a community — of Olivet.


“As young adults prepare to be salt and light in the world, they need mentors who can help shape how they navigate their station in life. I believe that God has purposed for our students to land here on their life’s journey to be equipped with the tools they need to have the greatest impact on their next steps. Seeing my education students at Commencement for the first time with so much expectancy in their eyes was an incredible moment. Knowing that they were getting ready to speak into the lives of this next generation of students in their classrooms, having been given not only the curricular tools but the spiritual tools, truly made my heart happy.

“From my first day with the School of Education [until] now, I have felt seen and valued for what I bring to the table. The students here are gracious and caring. I love that they will stop by to chat, vent, cry or just grab a piece of candy from our desks. The faculty and staff here are empathetic and affirming. All of these traits working together make for an environment that you just want to be a part of!”

I believe that God has purposed here on their life’s journey to be they need to have the greatest
for our students to land equipped with the tools impact on their next steps.

“Students learn about themselves, gain the tools to succeed in all aspects of life and make an impact on the world. Watching students grow and transform over a four-year period into the future leaders of our military, institutions, businesses and country has been a highlight. Everyone wants to feel like a valued member of their community and team, and having a strong community connection gives employees and students a sense of belonging which will lead to their retention.”


College of Arts and Sciences — Modern Languages

“A verse that comes to mind when I think about Christian higher education is Proverbs 9:10, which says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Rightly understanding the world that we study starts with acknowledging that it is God’s world and that He has given us the framework through which to interpret it in His Word. As we educate students, our goal is not only to equip them with the skills needed in their careers but also to help them grow in Godly wisdom that applies in all spheres of life.

“Each spring we have a dinner with our graduating Spanish majors during which they share memories of their time at Olivet in general and specifically in our program. Celebrating with them is one of my favorite moments of the year, because it’s encouraging to reflect on how they’ve grown personally as well as developed their language skills during their time here. Both research and experience show that students are more motivated and more likely to persist when they feel connected to their peers and professors. I love when I see those connections form in my classes, and I know that many environments across campus are encouraging growth in relationships.”


“Christian higher education provides a faith-based Biblical roadmap for students, guiding their travel toward God and not the world. As a former coach, I knew it wasn’t about the success we had but about the opportunity and honor to play a small part in the lives of our students. Now as an administrator, I have the privilege to lead and mentor an amazing group of coaches and staff as well. In athletics, we have a unique opportunity but also a great responsibility to positively impact our students for the Kingdom of God.”


“Christian higher education is valuable for today’s college-aged population because of what we teach and how we teach it. We integrate timeless truths with current knowledge. Today’s college-aged population is presented with many ideas, so integrating current knowledge with timeless truths helps them remain grounded. Also, we teach that the application of knowledge should be motivated by the goal of redemption. Making things better is a higher goal than making money or headlines. And our teaching is different because of Christ’s call to love others. Connections with caring and competent professors are important for today’s college-aged population, who want to know that they belong and matter.

“I love having a front-row seat as students grow. Watching students learn, watching them catch a vision for their future and watching them internalize their faith [are] my favorite aspects of this job. I have also enjoyed working with students as they complete their first research projects, with many presenting their work at regional, national and international conferences. It is also rewarding when former students let me know that what God allows me to do makes a difference.

“We each have a deep need to belong. Connection with others and feeling accepted is important because it points to God. We are created in His image, and He is very relational. He wants to connect with us, and we function best when we connect with Him and others. It is hard to give your best and to persevere through challenges when you feel alone. A strong current of community connection indicates that He is at the center of what we are doing.”

We each have a deep need to belong. with others and feeling accepted is because it points to God.

Connection important

“Students today are being bombarded with information from all kinds of sources. Being grounded in their faith and getting the additional support and encouragement to grow in their faith [are] critical to their success. I am continually impressed with the quality and character of the students. Earlier this semester I passed out a takehome test in an upper-division accounting class. By the time I got back to my office, the majority of my class was waiting at my office door for me. I had attached the answer key to the test, and they wanted to give it back to me immediately. What a testament to their character. I will never forget that moment.

“The ability to interact with students on a personal level is essential to creating community, and that increases retention. Sharing in a student’s excitement when a class is going well or having the opportunity to assist them in one they are struggling with demonstrates caring about them. Nothing is more exciting than hearing about them getting an internship or a job. It is a blessing to see all of their hard work pay off. We need to continually encourage students to dream big, be prepared and then go when the opportunities present themselves, resting in the knowledge that they have the tools to be successful and they serve a God that will be with them every step of the way.”



Ph.D. College of Arts and Sciences — Walker School of STEM: Chemistry and Geosciences

“Christian higher education provides a template and purpose for life and vocation. Students can be positively impacted to deepen their faith and be prepared to have an influence on the world for Christ. One semester I proposed a class project to an upper-level course, and I was impressed how the students took ownership of the project and successfully implemented it. In addition, one of the students was able to present their work at a regional chemistry conference.

“Students and employees who feel valued and part of a community will likely have a strong desire to remain a part of that community. I desire to make those in my sphere of influence feel valued and a part of the team. My goal is to honor Christ through my work and serve where God has placed me.”


“The world today lacks character and morals. A Christian higher education provides our upcoming generations the opportunity to learn how to live in a world that, at times, compromises values to get ahead.

Most colleges treat students like a number. Students sense when someone is genuine, and Olivet treats students like people. When I walk into a meeting, everyone’s first priority is not what is on the slide. Everyone actually cares about each other and wants to make sure that everyone succeeds. The culture of caring works from the top down. The school is truly a hidden gem that I wish more people knew about.”


“Higher education plays a vital role in helping young people develop critical thinking skills and the ability to practice civil discourse — skills they need to navigate the complex issues of today. Christian higher education has the added benefit of teaching Christian beliefs and values. We help students develop a Christian worldview — a lens through which they see and understand the world.

“Last year during our Baccalaureate service, faculty were invited to help commission the graduating senior class. We were seated in the eaves of the chapel, surrounding the students who were sitting on the main level. At one point, we extended our hands toward the students and prayed a prayer of blessing over them. In that moment, I locked eyes with one of our social work majors. I knew she had overcome several significant challenges in order to finish [her degree]. It meant a lot to celebrate her in that moment, to tell her I was proud of her and to pray over her for her future.

“Connection between students and faculty is everything. It’s a joy and privilege to walk alongside students while they’re here at Olivet. We’re concerned about how they develop professionally but also how they grow personally — in their relationships and in their faith.”


higher education has the added benefit of teaching Christian beliefs and values.



Christian Engagement in a Culture of Cynicism

As an assistant professor, I have observed the scarcity of political hope in the political science courses I teach at an evangelical school in South Carolina. Few, if any, students tend to agree with statements such as “Public officials care what people like me think.”

Perhaps you would echo my students’ political skepticism. If so, you would not be alone.

Americans live in a cynical political culture. Statements such as “All politicians are crooks” are common, both inside and outside the Church. Many citizens question whether politicians are responsive to public opinion. I recently heard such sentiments during a conversation with the farrier for my horses who identified himself as a Christian.

Survey research has documented an erosion of trust in U.S. politicians and political institutions in recent decades. According to data summarized by political scientist Russell J. Dalton in his 2020 book Citizen Politics, an American National Election Study (ANES) has reported that more than 60% of Americans in the 1960s thought that politicians were honest, did the right thing and sought the public good. Fewer than 40% believed the same in 2016. In the 1960s, more than 70% of respondents in the ANES said that politicians cared about their opinions; approximately 20% thought so in 2016. According to Dalton’s analysis of Harris Poll and General Social Survey data, trust in Congress, the executive branch and the Supreme Court all dropped by more than 20 percentage points over the same timespan.

Matthew Cawvey

Surveys from the past five years corroborate the lack of political hope in the United States. As I cited in the 2022 article I wrote in the journal Political Psychology, the Political Emotion Regulation, Attitudes, and Behavior (PERAB) survey showed as of March 2018 that fewer than 5% of Americans strongly or moderately agreed that politicians cared about the views of people like them. Amidst the pandemic and post-election allegations of fraud, only 32.7% of 2020 ANES respondents viewed most politicians as trustworthy.

So how should Christians respond to our culture of cynicism? In my view, the reduction of political hope represents an opportunity and a concern for those of us who are followers of Christ.

On one hand, it reminds believers of the fallenness of politicians and institutions. Jesus acknowledged the sinful state of humanity (Luke 11:13) and instructed His followers to be shrewd in their relationships with the world (Matthew 10:16). Furthermore, our ultimate hope should be in Christ and His eternal blessings (1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 2:13) rather than flawed political parties and politicians. They cannot establish a system of perfect justice and flourishing; only God will (Revelation 21:1–4).

On the other hand, pure cynicism is problematic for our individual spiritual health and the well-being of our democracy. We need to be politically hopeful without being politically naïve. As Christians, each of us should remember that God calls us to be people of hope (1 Corinthians 13:7). We should pray with hope that the Holy Spirit would guide and empower our governing officials to implement their duties to effect public justice and promote the common good (Romans 13:1–5). As Christian author David Platt reminds us in his 2020 book Before You Vote, citizens in a

democracy have the responsibility to seek and vote for politicians who prioritize public justice and the common good. If the people lose hope in themselves as well as current and prospective politicians, then the motivation to promote God-honoring governance deteriorates, and we are left with political apathy or angry protesting; tribalism and polarization; uncivil political rhetoric; and policy gridlock. And without participation to express our interests, how can we expect to experience democratic representation and accountability?

As we remember the 2022 midterm elections and anticipate the 2024 presidential election, American Christians need a healthy level of political hope. This hope should be tempered and shaped by our firm faith in Christ and a solemn belief in the fallenness of humanity. Moreover, we should feel encouraged in our pursuit of hope.

First, Christians should be confident in God’s loving power to implement public justice and promote the common good in our present age. To sustain our trust in the Lord and avoid a blind endorsement of the status quo, we should remember previous seasons in history when God worked through politicians and political activists to effect change and facilitate His will (for example, ending slavery through the abolitionist movement of the 19th century and supporting racial justice through the civil rights movement of the 20th century).

Second, we should possess a reasonable trust in the intentions of others. Such trust refuses to assume the worst about others but also avoids being gullible to politicians and activists with a track record of dishonesty or corruption. The goal is balancing the shrewdness of Matthew 10:16 and the hope of 1 Corinthians 13:37.


Third, we should understand our personal inclinations toward political hope or skepticism. Some of us are more prone than others to the wave of cynicism in our culture. For example, introverts are more likely than extroverts to believe that politicians do not represent people like them, according to my Political Psychology analyses of U.S. survey data from the 2012 ANES and 2017 and 2018 PERAB surveys. The 2012 ANES also shows that Americans high in openness to experience and low in emotional stability tend to distrust the political system, as Matthew Hayes, Damarys Canache, Jeffery J. Mondak and I reported in the Oxford Handbook of Social and Political Trust.

Fourth, recognizing the impact of personality traits and other characteristics on our political optimism, we can rejoice where God has gifted us (for example, high levels of extroversion encouraging perceptions of governmental responsiveness and, thus, greater levels of participation and representation) and seek His help (2 Corinthians 12:9–10) and others’ assistance (Galatians 6:2) in the midst of our weaknesses (for example, low levels of extroversion motivating us to perceive poor governmental responsiveness and thus prompting less participation and accountability).

Fifth, we can appreciate the integrity and responsiveness of the American system by comparing politics in the United States and other countries. My article in Political Psychology, for instance, referenced that the United States ranked among the top 15% of all countries in 2009, according to the World Bank’s measure of control of corruption. If we fast-forward to 2020, the World Bank continued to rank the United States among the top 20% on the same measure. Although any presence of corruption is regrettable, such contextualized information counters the knee-jerk reaction in our political

culture that all politicians are crooks and unresponsive to the public. Instead, the World Bank data should inspire gratitude to God for blessing us with a political system that is healthier than we often think!

Finally, we should be thankful for the processes, freedoms and rules that facilitate God-honoring political accountability in the United States. Elections and a free press enable citizens to evaluate politicians’ trustworthiness and responsiveness — or lack thereof — and checks and balances reduce the possibility that one branch of government will overpower the others and endanger public justice and the common good.

Not all politicians take bribes, but some do. Some politicians ignore the public, but others listen to their voters. In an imperfect system, God desires to work through His people to promote Christ-honoring political change. I thus encourage you to anchor your hope in Christ (Hebrews 6:19), avoid pure political cynicism and pray that God’s “will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, ESV)!

MATTHEW CAWVEY ’10 currently serves as an assistant professor of political science at Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina. He studies public opinion in the United States and other countries.


Grace Krueger ’23

Majors: Criminal Justice, Psychology Minor: Legal Studies Hometown: Muskego, Wisconsin

Campus Involvement: I have been involved in various intramural sports, was part of cohort 13 in the Honors Program and am the events coordinator for the Law and Politics Society. I am a member of Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Phi Sigma, the honor societies for history and criminal justice. I also co-lead a Bible study on Wednesday nights at my apartment.

College Experience: My experience at Olivet has prepared me for my future career by opening doors that wouldn’t have been possible without this experience. I had the opportunity to work for Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe, which provided me with tangible, real-world experience to equip me for law school and my future. Additionally, I took classes in jurisprudence and criminology that ignited my passion for the field of law.

The connections and relationships I have made through Olivet will carry me far in my career. Once I leave Olivet, the people are what I will miss the most. I have formed a family of friends, professors and coworkers here at this school that I am incredibly grateful for.

Future Plans: After graduation I plan on attending law school with the goal of becoming a prosecuting attorney for legal advocacy cases involving domestic violence and sexual assault. Long term, my goal is to become a circuit court judge for domestic violence cases.

Impactful Advice: One passage I cling to is Psalm 23. It reminds me to rest in the Lord’s peace and goodness, even when I do not understand His plan and when life feels out of control.

One piece of advice that has shaped my time at Olivet is to simply say yes. Even if you are scared, say yes to opportunities you’ve never tried before, say yes to the challenge, say yes to new friendships and say yes to new passions. Olivet has so many opportunities, but you have to be willing to say yes.

“I have formed a family of friends, professors and coworkers that I am incredibly grateful for.”

biological sciences

As undergraduates, Olivet science majors get to explore mysteries of the human body that are typically reserved for study in graduate school and beyond. Students benefit from hands-on learning, mentored and supervised by faculty members.

Modern scientific tools for use by undergraduates include spectrophotometers, centrifuges, videomicroscopy, analytical balances, electrophoresis systems, CRISPR-Cas9 and an inverted, fluorescentcapable microscope.

Students who graduate from the program are exceedingly prepared for entrance into graduate school, medical school, dental school or whatever next steps they plan to take in order to reach their career goals.



The mission of mathematics at Olivet Nazarene University is to develop in students the characteristics of logical and analytical thinking, an appreciation of the beauty of mathematical structures, and problem-solving skills needed for career and personal achievement.

Our students find satisfaction in solving tough problems, analyzing statistics and unlocking the mysteries of the universe. They enjoy learning in collaboration with similarly interested peers alongside faculty members who are experts in the field and care about their students.

Olivet’s mathematics alumni have gone on to do statistical analysis for the Mayo Clinic, operations research for World Vision and data analysis for the Federal Reserve Bank, just to name a few. Some of our graduates have continued their mathematical studies in graduate school.


IMPACT Raving Fans

Coming from Swedish lineage, Bjorn Lindgren ’97 was destined for winter sports. Even so, he was a bit late to the ice, getting into hockey only at the end of his high school career. Ice hockey has now been a major part of Bjorn’s life for nearly three decades, offering opportunities for leadership development, relational engagement and even faith refinement.

“The Lord has shown me a lot through playing sports,” he says. “Of course, I want to win. But just one team wins every year. It’s a shame to think that the one team has success, and everyone else failed. Whether we win or lose, we’re still going to create good memories and develop as players. If you pin everything on winning, what does it mean for times you lose?”

When he attended Olivet in the 1990s, the University didn’t have a hockey team. In fact, there wasn’t even a local rink, so Bjorn drove home to Willow Springs, Illinois, every other weekend to continue honing his skills. When he was on campus, he played lots of stick ball and roller hockey with friends in the Grand Apartments parking lot.

“I knew absolutely no one coming in as a student at Olivet,” he remembers. “I didn’t have an established group or a clique, so I got to know everyone. In the beginning, it was really difficult, but after a time it was wonderful.”

Bjorn learned that with time and intention, beautiful and long-lasting relationships are formed. As the head coach of Olivet’s men’s club ice hockey team, Bjorn’s coaching style reflects that: Just as being a good friend is a choice, a player must choose to be a good teammate.

“Relationships are very important; they’re eternal,” he explains. “When we get to Heaven, that’s the treasure we’ll have. I believe that God has brought us, players and coaches, together purposefully.”

Though he had a positive experience at Olivet, Bjorn never expected to return to work for the University. In accepting the invitation to serve as the head coach, he was excited to impart his life experiences and athletic expertise on the team dynamic. The team has a PURE mission: Perseverance, Understanding, Responsibility and Encouragement.

“Oftentimes we have a positive interaction with people, but we don’t often express that,” he says. “Creating a culture where everyone is comfortable sharing intentional and specific encouragements with each other is probably part of the reason we’re not seeing divisiveness.”

It has been a tough first season on the ice. Olivet’s inaugural team is short on players and new to the competition. Even so, Bjorn maintains that the team is developing a winning team dynamic.

“The guys’ attitudes and commitments to each other are amazing,” he says. “Everyone is working hard to improve. As I look at how they are all developing as players and men, I just see success. We pray before and after every game and invite the other team out to join. I give a lot of credit to my players. They play tough but not dirty. They represent God and the University very well.”

Olivet competes against other club-level teams from throughout the country. The season runs from September through February, and all home games are at the Kankakee Valley Park District Ice Arena.


A FAMILY AFFAIR: In addition to coaching responsibilities, Bjorn serves locally as an associate pastor. His wife, Jodie (Tibbs) ’97, is the strength and conditioning coach for Olivet’s hockey team. When she isn’t training the players, she serves as the co-director of a local food pantry and is the game-day manager at the rink. Bjorn and Jodie have three children: Anders, who is playing out a final year of athletic eligibility while pursuing his MBA at Olivet; Emilie, a college freshman, who runs the music during home games; and Britta, a high school senior, who manages the baked goods table on game days.

“This is an opportunity from God — not just to play another sport but for the best sport in the world to make these guys not just better players but better men.”


LEGACY First Person

– Director of Aspira Recruitment

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 the words in a conversation 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,” Jorge explains. “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 worked as the grade school principal. 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 University’s retention coordinator.

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 an official capacity,” he says. “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-generation 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 offer translation headsets for families during large admissions events such as orientation.

“I’m passionate about closing the achievement gap for Hispanic students,” he says. “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 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 and traditions while doing the same college journey together.”

JORGE BONILLA has a Master of Arts degree 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. For more information about Aspira, visit Olivet.edu.


LEGADO Primera Persona

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.”


Transforming Legacy

and Planned Giving

My first memory of generosity impacting me and my family was Christmas 1972, when my twin siblings were born. The smallest of the two spent her first Christmas in a hospital along with my mother as a result of major complications following childbirth. With one newborn and two others at home, our father was overwhelmed, and we were informed there would be no Christmas presents or tree that year.

Somehow, a family on our block familiar with our situation found out that we would not be celebrating with gifts or a traditional dinner. Within a few days, we arrived home to several wrapped gifts and three boxes of food piled on our front porch. That kind of generosity had a lasting impact on my life. It’s worth mentioning that my dad was a seasonal construction worker, and my mom was a school bus driver. Financial resources were very limited.

Over the past three decades, I’ve witnessed the generosity of others affect the lives of Olivet students. Scholarship gifts that allow a student to thrive and graduate from Olivet result in transformational moments!

Not everyone has the resources to provide a gift now, but a gift in the future can be just as impactful. Planned or estate giving often results in the most significant and impactful gift during one’s lifetime.

If you would like to have a confidential conversation about ways you can support students of Olivet through a planned gift, please contact us at 815-939-5171, email us at Development@olivet.edu, scan the code or visit Olivetpgc.org.


Senior Abby Flood spent every weekend of her senior year serving as the children’s ministry director at Anthem Church while balancing a full-time course load at Olivet.

The culmination of students’ Honors Program research is published in ELAIA: The Honors Journal of Olivet Nazarene University, featuring the work of the previous two years’ graduating classes. For more details about the Honors Program and application information, visit Olivet.edu/Honors.


HONORS Community and Calling

Abigail Flood ’23 Double Major in Children’s Ministry and Intercultural Studies

Children’s Ministry Director at Anthem Church, Chicago

Senior Abby Flood felt a distinct call to ministry when she was in high school. Even though she knew what she wanted to do, it still took some refinement through prayer and the seeking of wisdom and discernment to get to the point that there was purposeful confidence in her academic journey.

“I grew up in the Church, and my dad is a pastor,” she says. “Pretty much as soon as I moved out of elementary kids’ church, I went back in as a leader. I have always loved kids and considered it a privilege to be intentional about praying for them and encouraging them in their faith.”

By the time she arrived at freshman orientation at Olivet, Abby had a clear vision for building the Kingdom with intentional community — specifically by pursuing a degree in children’s ministry. She had applied to and was accepted into the University Honors Program, a unique cohort program in which students spend the first two years of their Olivet experience taking interdisciplinary classes that satisfy general education requirements through the exploration of what it means to be human. Students then spend their junior and senior years working on a capstone research project that furthers scholarship in their chosen area of academic study, with guidance from a faculty mentor and funding available to support the project.

Like many students, Abby didn’t know exactly how she wanted to frame her research project when she started the program, but she did have a head start. At a freshman orientation session, she connected with Dr. Leon Blanchette, a professor in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, who offered to be her faculty mentor for the capstone project. That seemingly small interaction paved the way for a mentoring connection that shaped her Honors Program and University experience.

“Throughout freshman and sophomore year, we talked about the project,” she reflects. “Dr. Blanchette asked what I was passionate about and encouraged me to consider how to include those interests in my research. I knew that I wanted to do a creative project and that I cared about the intersection of diversity and sociology.”

While Honors Program projects can creatively range from film scripts to art exhibits to architecture designs to social work surveys, all capstone projects incorporate extensive research to add to scholarship on a particular subject. In addressing diversity in the Church, Abby pulled

from 2020 U.S. Census data; her experiences working in multiethnic ministry as an intern; and her own high school experience at a school where more than 50 languages were spoken and cultural respect was highly valued — a school consciously chosen by her parents.

Ultimately, Abby decided to write a curriculum for elementary church ministry. During her sophomore year, she put together a literary review to guide the research project. Although the research evolved over time, Abby was confident in the scope and design, and she kept many of the original sources. Now in its final stages of editing and reviewing, the five-week curriculum can be used to teach elementary children how to be a loving neighbor by unpacking the concept of the Kingdom of God through some of the parables in the Gospel of Luke.

“There were times that I questioned, ‘How am I worthy to do this project?’” she says. “But I knew the content was rooted in what Jesus taught, and loving diversity just flows out of that. To me, seeking the Kingdom of God is finding where Heaven and Earth come together as we live how God meant us to live.”

Abby’s project encourages diversity through loving one’s neighbor, so she was intentional about seeking out a wide panel of reviewers to ensure that she wasn’t taking too narrow of an approach. She understood that if diversity was about creating a safe space for everyone to thrive, then a multitude of voices would need to shape the content.

Though still in the midst of her final year on campus, Abby is already applying the knowledge gained through her classes and involvement in campus ministries as a part-time children’s director in Chicago. Balancing a full class schedule with the demands of a real-world job can be challenging, but Abby feels uniquely equipped to embrace the opportunities.

“It’s been very interesting to work while in school,” she says. “I know I belong in both places, and I get to directly apply my classwork in my ministry. I’ve also been able to encourage my classmates that what we’re working on at school really does matter — both to me and the people whose lives I get to impact.”




JEFFREY COUSINS ’85 recently published The Right Thing To Do as an e-book through Draft2Digital. Jeffrey lives in Brooklyn, New York.

TERESA WOODRUFF ’85, PH.D., was recently named the interim president of Michigan State University (MSU). She has served at MSU since 2020, following leadership and research positions at The Graduate School at Northwestern University, where she held the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professorship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Woodruff is an expert in the field of ovarian biology and, through her research efforts, coined the term “oncofertility.”

CHARLENE (GREEN) ADAMS ’93 recently published Brazen Bravery: Recovering Joy When Hope Collides with Loss through WestBow Press. The book recounts

her faith journey after losing her sister, Andrea Green ’91, and receiving news of her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Charlene lives in Indiana with her husband, David Adams, and their four children: Emma, twins Johnny and Anna, and Luke. You can visit adamsvoice.net to enjoy more writings from Charlene published in her blog, Come Sit on the Porch.

WES SISCOE ‘11, PH.D., and Laura Gurskey were married in August 2022 in Saugatuck, Michigan. Both Laura and Wes are working toward becoming philosophy professors. Currently, Laura is writing her dissertation as a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Southern California. Wes works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame, designing courses that focus on character formation. They live in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Submit a Class Note __

To OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes


DANIELLE (VANDER SCHAAF) ’12/’15 M.A.E. and JESSE DILLMAN ’13 welcomed their daughter, Lydia Diane, on April 21, 2022. She joins a big brother, David, 3. The Dillmans reside in Hudsonville, Michigan.

SUSAN SWART ’18, ED.D., recently received the Joan L. Shaver Outstanding Illinois Nurse Leader Award at the 25th annual Power of Nursing Leadership event, hosted by the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Swart serves as the executive director of American Nurses Association-Illinois, the Illinois Nurses Foundation and the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing. She also sits on Olivet’s nursing Sigma executive board.

Ann and LIAM GAHAN ’22 were married on April 30, 2022, in Joliet, Illinois. They are excited for their future together as they prepare to move to Charleston, South Carolina.




Nov. 15, 1938–June 14, 2022 Hickory, North Carolina


FLORES ’77 Aug. 3, 1955–Nov. 3, 2022 Kalamazoo, Michigan


May 23, 1947–Nov. 7, 2020 Nashville, Tennessee

DAVID WEITZ ’78/’82 M.A. Nov. 12, 1956–Feb. 28, 2022 Meridian, Idaho


DR. ALFRED JOSEPH LILIENTHAL ’66/’69 M.A. Jan. 8, 1929–Feb. 5, 2022 Brandon, Florida Assistant Professor of Modern Language

Submit an Obituary


To OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes


Traditions, honors, athletic victories and, of course, great food and fellowship are the backdrop against which Olivet Nazarene University’s Homecoming 2022 came to life. The campus was alive with energy and activities through more than 45 unique events organized by Erinn Proehl ’13/’19 MBA, director of alumni relations.

On Thursday evening, ONU Theatre premiered the production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis. Following tradition on Thursday evening, the Alumni Board served breakfast to the student body at the Throwback Thursday Student Pancake Feed in Ludwig Center.

During the Homecoming chapel service on Friday morning, Young Alumni Award recipients Daley (Schimmelpfennig) Morera ’15 and Addison Newell ’15 were recognized and gave testimony to the role of faith in their professional careers. In the latter half of the service, senior Maddi Reddy of Bourbonnais, Illinois, was crowned Homecoming queen and senior Roman Schwarz of Kansas City, Missouri, was crowned king as part of the 67th annual coronation ceremony. Members of the Homecoming Court also included Ben Brown, Savanna Driskell, Elyse Eenigenburg, Brock Kant, Jude Morris, Claire Mountain, Hannah Perry and Noah Sears.

In the afternoon, the Quad was full of students in purple and gold enjoying food trucks and outdoor games. Following the women’s basketball game and the men’s team victory, the night concluded with the Taste of Olivet dessert reception in Chalfant Hall.

On Saturday the classes of 2017, 2012, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1977, 1972 and Purple & Gold alumni (those who graduated prior to 1972) gathered in the morning to celebrate their undergraduate reunions. The afternoon featured a tough loss for ONU football and a fantastic win from the men’s soccer team.

In the evening, many guests attended the School of Music concert featuring alumni soloists and a reunion concert performance from Orpheus Choir, led by Dr. Jeff Bell ’81. Throughout the weekend, there were multiple opportunities to take in a show at Strickler Planetarium and to see the fall play.

The weekend concluded on Sunday morning with the President’s Prayer Breakfast. Throughout the morning, guests enjoyed the music of Proclamation Gospel Choir, directed by Dr. Marvin Jones. During the breakfast, the Ministerial “O” Award recipient, Dr. Don Reddick ’79, and Lay “O” Award recipients Dr. Stephen Yoon ’99 and Joy (Mercer) Yoon ’99 gave testimonies of how Olivet shaped their respective careers. To conclude the event, First Lady Tammy (Salyer) Chenoweth ’89 gave a prayer of thanksgiving.

TOBY AND FUTURE TIGER Photography by Image Group, Dennis Freeman, Joe Mantarian, Skyler Blanton and ONU Athletics











Often, parents of Olivet Nazarene University students say, “I wish I could enroll again!” Captivated by the complete Olivet experience, many adults choose to continue their education here. The University offers more than two dozen graduate and continuing studies degrees, certificates and programs.

Our top-ranked master’s programs include Business, Education, Nursing, Ministry and Dietetics. The Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership is also offered, ideal for those who desire to lead change, transform society and apply strategic decisions.



STUDENTS More than 3,700 — 2,500 undergraduates — from nearly every U.S. state, 21 countries and more than 40 religious denominations.

ALUMNI 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.

ACADEMICS More than 140 areas of undergraduate areas of 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.

ACCREDITATION The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Specialized accreditation includes the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council on Social Work Education, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training, 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.

ATHLETICS At Olivet, student-athletes 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.

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

CAMPUS 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.

SPIRITUAL LIFE Christian community 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.


BUSINESS – Bachelor of Applied Science in Business, Bachelor of Applied Science in Leadership, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Leadership, Master of Organizational Leadership, Master of Business Administration

EDUCATION – Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Arts in Education: Reading Specialist, Bilingual Endorsement, Safety and Driver’s Education Endorsement, English as a Second Language Endorsement, Learning Behavior Specialist Endorsement, Reading Endorsement, Teacher Leader Endorsement

MULTIDISCIPLINARY STUDIES – Bachelor of Applied Science in Multidisciplinary Studies and Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies

NURSING – Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion (RN-B.S.N.); Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing (RN-M.S.N.); Master of Science in Nursing: Education; Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner; Master of Science in Nursing: Transformational Leadership; Postgraduate Certificates in Education, Family Nursing Practitioner and Transformational Leadership


MINISTRY – Master of Arts: Christian Ministry, Master of Arts: Family Ministry, Master of Arts: Ministerial Studies, Master of Arts: Missional Multiplication, Master of Arts: Pastoral Ministry, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership, Master of Arts: Urban Ministry, Master of Ministry, Master of Ministry: Spanish, Master of Divinity


1907, FOUNDED IN ONU stands committed to integrating and learningfaith






Art Art – Drawing/Painting

Art – Graphic Design

Art – Media Arts

Art – Photography

Art Education Communication Studies Corporate Communication English English as a Second Language English as a Second Language Education English Education Geography


Leadership Studies Legal Studies

Literature Ministerial Missions

Multimedia Communication Multimedia Communication – Film Studies Multimedia Communication – Journalism

Multimedia Communication –Live Event Media Management Multimedia Communication –Ministry Media

Multimedia Communication –Radio/Audio Media Multimedia Communication –TV/Video Production Musical Theatre Photography Political Science Pre-Art Therapy Pre-Law Psychology Public Policy – Domestic Public Policy – Foreign Public Relations & Strategic Communication

Social Science Social Science Education Sociology

Spanish Spanish Education

Explore the Possibilities __


Theatre Production & Performance Writing

SCHOOL OF MUSIC Music Music – Composition Music Education Music – Jazz Studies Music Ministry Music – Performance Music – Recording Arts


Actuarial Science Biology Chemistry Chemistry – Biochemistry Chemistry – Earth/Environmental Chemistry Chemistry – Forensics Computer Science –Networking & Data Communications


Computer Science – Software Development

Computer Science –Software Entrepreneurship

Cybersecurity Data Science

Earth & Space Science Engineering – Architectural Engineering – Chemical Engineering – Civil Engineering – Computer Engineering – Electrical Engineering – Mechanical Environmental Science

Geological Science

Geological Science – Geochemistry Geological Science – Geotechnical Geological Science – Life Science Mathematics Mathematics Education Physical Sciences Pre-Dental Pre-Medicine Pre-Optometry Pre-Pharmacy Pre-Physician’s Assistant Pre-Veterinary Science Education – Biology Science Education – Chemistry Science Education – Earth/Space Science Zoology


Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice – Criminology Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement Dietetics

Family & Consumer Sciences – Hospitality

Interior Design

Kinesiology Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology

Kinesiology – Pre-Athletic Training Kinesiology – Pre-Occupational Therapy Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy Military Affairs

Military Science

Recreation & Sport Studies

Social Work Sport Management

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics


Child Development

Early Childhood Education Elementary Education Health Education Physical Education Special Education

Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction

Master of Arts in Education: Educational Leadership

Master of Arts in Education: Reading Specialist

Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership



Business – Entrepreneurship Business – Healthcare Management Business – Human Resource Management Business – Management Business – Philanthropy/Not-for-Profit Business – Operations Management Business – Public Administration Business Administration Economics Economics & Finance –Applied Economics Economics & Finance –

Certified Financial Planning Economics & Finance – Corporate Finance

Finance International Business Leadership Management Management Information Systems Marketing Marketing – Commercial Graphics Marketing – Corporate Relations Marketing – International

Marketing – Management

Master of Business Administration Master of Organizational Leadership



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

Master of Science in Nursing: Education Master of Science in Nursing: Transformational Leadership


Biblical Languages

Biblical Studies

Children’s Ministry Christian Education Christian Studies Greek Hebrew Intercultural Studies Pastoral Ministry Philosophy

Philosophy & Religion Pre-Seminary Religious Studies Theology

Youth Ministry

Master of Arts: Christian Ministry

Master of Arts: Family Ministry Master of Arts: Ministerial Studies

Master of Arts: Missional Multiplication

Master of Arts: Pastoral Leadership

Master of Arts: Pastoral Ministry

Master of Arts: Religion

Master of Arts: Urban Ministry

Master of Divinity Master of Ministry

Master of Ministry: Spanish


General Studies

Multidisciplinary Studies




Our monthly donors are an incredibly important group of people within the Olivet community who believe in bringing about God’s kingdom through “Education With a Christian Purpose”. Would you consider joining this special group and becoming a monthly donor? Here’s how monthly giving can make a greater impact...


Your monthly impact allows us to take a planned, long-term approach to making Olivet the best it can be for our students and the community. Your gift allow us to make long-lasting improvements.


The Olivet story is a Kingdom story. Christ is always at work, reconciling humankind to God and the University to His purpose. Our constant aim to prepare students for lives of service to God and humanity.


Monthly giving means lower administration costs so that more of your money goes to where it is needed most.



Father, we thank You that You are the Bread of Life — that, although, in our flesh, we seek after things that are not of You … You offer us all of Yourself, and all of You is all we need.

Father, I thank You for the sacred invitation.

I pray for and pray with anyone who has never tasted and seen that Your Son, Jesus, is good.

I pray, God, that they would know in these moments that not only has their sin been paid for — that their sin is forgiven.

But God, You offer the abundant life — that they no longer need to chase after the desires of their flesh. They can come to

You and find life — life to the full.

I pray for those who have made this decision at some point in their lives, but they find themselves in this moment craving things of this world, going after things of this world and not really coming after You, God.

I pray that You would help shape all of our desires by living into the disciplines — the rhythms — that You give us. I pray that as You would do the transformative work of changing us, giving us Your fruits … we can be transformed to live the life of love that You call us to.

We thank You that You offer us this in Jesus Christ. It’s in Your name that we pray these things. Amen.

Chaplain Antonio Marshall ’13/’16 M.A. Feb. 15, 2022 Revival Service Olivet Nazarene University

this I know

Spiritual formation is the top priority of Olivet’s mission to provide “An Education With a Christian Purpose.” Students are daily influenced to pursue a personal relationship with God through faculty devotional thoughts, chapel services twice a week and encouraging interactions between students, staff and community members.

ONE UNIVERSITY AVENUE BOURBONNAIS, IL 60914 Jan. 27 | Feb. 3,17, 24 | March 17, 24 | April 14, 28 Join high school seniors and transfer students and their families for this exciting campus visit experience. We Believe. You Belong Here. Scan here to learn more and schedule your campus visit. goldpurple&fridays

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