Olivet The Magazine; On Purpose - Winter '24

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ADVANCING YOUR CAREER Master’s Degrees in Education, Ministry, Business, Nursing and More ETHICAL LEADERSHIP An Ed.D. of Significance for the Modern Workplace


Here, at one of the nation’s premier Christian universities, we believe higher education should have a higher purpose.


With accredited programs, award-winning academics and a faculty touting degrees from a wide spectrum of world-class educational institutions, Olivet stands committed to integrating faith and learning. Nestled in the historic Village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet students gain knowledge and wisdom, and they secure degrees that place them ahead of the pack, with portfolios and experience as evidence of an “Education With a Christian Purpose.”

Dear Friends, Discovering one’s purpose and answering the “why” question in life has been a central preoccupation of philosophers, theologians, sociologists, artists and thought leaders of all stripes for centuries. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be helpful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Others have mused, often struggled, to answer these existential questions, and, no doubt, everyone confronts these critical issues at some point in their journey. The prophet Jeremiah wrote beautifully and with such assurance of God’s divine purpose at work in our lives in his “Letter to the Exiles”: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).



As we approach this new year, we center our thoughts in this issue on living our best lives “On Purpose” with God’s help. In the pages that follow, we feature stories of alumni and friends who have discovered their purpose and are living it out in their daily lives. We also highlight students and faculty members who are using their talents and calling to make a real difference; they are a force for good and for God in the world. Our sincere hope is that the images and stories that follow will inspire and empower you to live a grand life in 2024, filled with the Holy Spirit and with an even greater sense of God’s purpose. Let it drive you, challenge you, motivate you and consume you. May you have a keen sense of joy and peace in this new year! Blessings to all of you! The Editorial Team


OLIVET THE MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Office of Marketing and Engagement under the direction of the vice president for institutional advancement. VOLUME 93 ISSUE 1 (USPS 407-880) (ISSN 2325-7334) Copyright ©2024 Olivet Nazarene University One University Avenue Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2345 800-648-1463 PRESIDENT Dr. Gregg Chenoweth ’90/M.A./Ph.D. VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Matt Foor ’95 CPA/M.S.A. 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. EDITORIAL BOARD 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 ART DIRECTION George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group DESIGN Matt Moore ’96 for 989 Group Donnie Johnson Rebecca Huber

AUTUMN TURNS TO WINTER Students take advantage of a warm fall day on Olivet’s main Bourbonnais, Illinois, campus, enjoying pickup games of football or Frisbee and the full-service campus Starbucks.

PHOTOGRAPHY Jones Foto, Image Group, Mark Ballogg Joe Mantarian ’16, Noah Sears ’24 Kyle Petersen ’24, Skyler Blanton ’23 Dennis Freeman ’74 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 Noah Sears ’23, Heather (Kinzinger) Shaner ’98 Lauren Beatty ’13, Hannah Priest ’21/’22 MBA Laura Warfel STUDENT SUPPORT 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. Unless otherwise noted, Olivet The Magazine quotes Bible passages from the New International Version.



Credential and Calling, now installed in the Decker Quadrangle. See the full story of the installation on page 10.

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 Spirit-Led Leadership, published through The Foundry Press.



FROM THE PRESIDENT Purpose — your reason to act or exist. Individuals and organizations often live in ambiguity over this hugely consequential topic. Then, disaster. Folklore says, “Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it.” You might not be at risk of ruining your life, but you could waste it. Purpose seems more deep and clear in elders than youth. Purpose also persists longer in religious communities than secular ones, for God assigns purpose: “We are God’s handiwork,” Ephesians 2:10 says, and He has prepared good works in advance for us to do. This makes Olivet a purveyor of purpose to the perfect target audience: college students. As a young man, I had it wrong. I thought purpose was revealed by ease. Not laziness but ease. When given a task, natural gifts and cultivated talents shine. Others identify them. Self-awareness grows. We possess traits others don’t. It feels like we didn’t choose them; they were deposited in us. For one person, math is easy. For another, it’s public speaking or leading or such beautiful attunement for compassion that heals people. What comes easy can assign purpose. But that’s a project only halfway done. Ease might reveal purpose, but its intended use is for difficulty. Some get this twisted. Struggle doesn’t contradict purpose; it might confirm it. As University Chaplain Antonio Marshall ’13/’16 M.A./’19 M.Div. recently illustrated in chapel, purpose during hardship is why we admire Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. They aren’t icons from ease but trouble. So here’s a paradox. If you want clarity over purpose, find an obstacle, a truly worthy one, and give yourself to hurdling it. In his seminal book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains the most satisfying life requires challenge, not just skill. A high-skill, low-challenge environment breeds boredom. That person needs new purpose. Also, a low-skill, high-challenge life creates stress. That’s OK only if a person can rise to the occasion. If not, this is misalignment of purpose.

Young men illustrate this well. Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life, is the most viral public intellectual of our time. Unexpectedly, young men primarily populate his audience, including his ticket-paying audience, sitting through three-hour lectures. Why? He speculates that in the aggregate — certainly not in all cases — young men more often wilt under the sheer multitude of life choices, throwing them into staggering vertigo, needier of clarity. Disproportionately, young men recede into video games or opt out of the workforce, not knowing who or why they are. Peterson’s message to young men is countercultural: Don’t coddle such a man; give him the heaviest responsibility he can possibly carry for his family, workplace or community. He realizes just how much others depend upon him. This burden awakens purpose and fulfillment. He’ll never squander a day again. If you’re not a young man, here is another pathway into purpose. Warren Berger invites a jolting reflection to refine your purpose in his book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry To Spark Breakthrough Ideas: In a work context, what would another, more effective person do if they replaced you? Or, in your personal life, what would the one you admire change in you if they took control of your life? A person I asked answered, “joy” — more deeply felt, radiating, consistent joy. The mere question can pivot purpose. I’m honored to work with 1,000 full-time and parttime colleagues on a profound purpose. Olivet isn’t a diploma factory. That’s far too small a task. It won’t get me out of bed on a Monday morning. Instead, we aspire — just imagine it! — to actually partner with God in helping students discover His plan for their lives, then equip them to do it! To follow the calling of God is difficult, but that’s the point. His power operates in our weakness. Life becomes a great adventure.

Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D. University President








ONU IN THE NEWS State Legislators Visit ONU On Nov. 17, 2023, Illinois state legislators joined Olivet Nazarene University faculty, staff and students for a visit that provided them with insight into Olivet’s impact across the greater community. The day included a discussion panel hosted by state Sen. Patrick Joyce, state Rep. Bill Hauter and state Rep. Jackie Haas, giving students from various disciplines the opportunity to ask questions. Following the panel, the state legislators received a University update in a meeting with President Gregg Chenoweth ’90 and members of the President’s Cabinet. Joyce, Hauter and Hass also met with business faculty regarding the entrepreneurship program and heard from Dr. Lance Kilpatrick ’02 about the impact of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity grant.

ONU Encourages Entrepreneurs With New Resources Amidst the launch of the new entrepreneurship program at Olivet Nazarene University, the McGraw School of Business has launched The Createur Podcast. Hosts Karli Byrd ’23 and junior Spencer James welcome alumni and special guests such as Scott Lingle ’90, co-founder and chairman of Remodel Health; Tommy Martin, CEO of The Tebow Group and partner at Mammoth Scientific; Hayden Rankin ’22, cofounder of Nice Shirt. Thanks! LLC; and more to share about their experiences and inspire listeners pursuing their own entrepreneurial dreams. “Because of the generosity of our alumni and friends, we are able to empower students and listeners from the Olivet community and beyond with new initiatives to learn experientially,” said professor Chris Perez, director of the entrepreneurship program. “Podcasts are like a treasure trove, offering a passport to explore topics in insightful conversations with mentors.” For more information about Createur 2024 (April 15–16) or to register for the conference and pitch competition, go to Creatur.Olivet.edu. 8


Building Faith Together Olivet Nazarene University and the Center for Faith and Family are working to help parents create a partnership between church and home as they encourage their children’s spiritual development. After receiving a $1.3 million grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2022, a group of faculty, pastors and parents were brought together to research and discuss the needs of parents and the ways in which the Center would be able to equip them and meet their needs. The result of their discussion is the Christian Parenting Initiative, which helps to develop and provide tools for parents. The first of these new resources is the Faith Together podcast. The weekly show, hosted by Lindsey Bush ’08, children’s pastor at GatheringPoint, and Dr. Leon Blanchette, professor and the Center’s director, uses intentional conversations with faith practitioners and other featured guests to provide listeners with practical tools for passing down faith to their children and grandchildren.

The Center will also be developing a free curriculum for parents and caregivers in local churches and small groups. Workshops will be held across the 11 districts of Olivet’s educational region to train pastors, who will then be equipped to pass the curriculum on to members of their congregations. “The tagline of our podcast is ‘When building faith, we are better together,’” Dr. Blanchette said. “Our prayer for this program is that it would provide resources for families that will help them live faithfully as Christ followers and that the next generation would be well equipped to confidently carry on the faith.” More information about these resources can be found on the Center for Faith and Family website at centerff.com.



Credential and Calling ONU IN THE NEWS

On Oct. 20, 2023, Olivet Nazarene University installed a new statue in the Decker Quadrangle, the official center of campus. The statue, Credential and Calling, serves as a visual reminder of Olivet’s mission, “Education With a Christian Purpose.” The installation features four figures — Jesus, a male student, a female student and a professor — all dressed in graduation regalia. This symbolizes that Olivet’s relationship with students extends to graduation and beyond, seeing them through all their achievements. The piece pictures Jesus talking with the students while the professor listens to Jesus, partnering with Him for the benefit of the students. At the same time, the students listen to Jesus while under the care of the professor. The figures also stand symbolically in the exact sightline between the front steps of Benner Library and the front steps of the Betty and Kenneth Hawkins Centennial Chapel. They connect a place of learning together with a space of faith, symbolizing the integration of faith and learning described in Olivet’s 1915 Catalog: “We seek the strongest scholarship and deepest piety, knowing they are thoroughly compatible.”



Connect Roasters: Creating a Coffee Community In 2016 Caleb Benoit ’06 had a vision to roast great coffee and give back to the community. Enter Connect Roasters. Seven years later, his business does just that and more, including a partnership with Chicago Cub and Gold Glove winner Ian Happ and, most recently, a newly opened brick-and-mortar café across from Olivet Nazarene University’s campus. “For the past seven years, our customers have experienced Connect through our website, farmers market, wholesale, Wrigley Field — through our partnership with Cubs player Ian Happ — and other pop-up events,” Benoit said. “This is a new way for customers to experience brand and product. … It really came down to finding the right opportunity and right location.” The retail location will mirror the community service efforts of the roasting side of the business. Benoit said funds from sales will support a different local partner every quarter. Connect Roasters already supports the work of its Guatemala-based coffee growers as well as the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Since the start of the pandemic, and through the work of the food bank, sales of Connect Roasters coffee have provided approximately 25,000 meals for those in need.



Olivet Launches New Website This fall Olivet Nazarene University launched a revamped website to enhance the user experience.


“Restructuring and redesigning over 1,400 web pages from the previous site was a challenging task,” explained George Wolff ’93, partner and creative director of 989 Group, “but we had excellent partners in ONU’s Office of Marketing and Information Technology teams, along with Orbit Media, and we’re really pleased with the results.” Wolff continued, “We’re thrilled with this engaging online experience and continually strive to improve it to reflect the excellence and support synonymous with ONU.” The redesigned website visually merges the graduate and undergraduate programs to provide a cohesive and enhanced experience for all constituents: prospective students, current students, University employees, alumni and friends. In addition, the upgraded site boasts a user-centric approach with intuitive navigation and responsive design for optimal viewing across multiple devices, along with industry-leading accessibility features. Explore the new website at Olivet.edu.



ONU TIGERS ROAR Olivet Nazarene University’s fall sports teams had a remarkable season, showcasing talent and determination in various competitions. In cross country, both the men’s and women’s teams secured second place in their respective conferences. Their excellence extended to the national stage, with the men finishing 23rd and the women placing 24th at the nationals. Standout performances led to six all-conference selections for the men and four for the women. Additionally, both teams boasted a dozen NAIA Scholar-Athletes, highlighting their commitment to both sports and academics. The football team had a commendable 6-4 season, with 15 earning all-conference honors. The players’ hard work and skill were evident in their on-field performances, contributing to a successful campaign. The women’s volleyball team faced challenges but finished with a respectable 12-15 record, going 8-6 in the conference. Three players received allconference honors. The men’s soccer team dominated with a 12-4-3 season record and an impressive 8-1-2 conference record. Five players received all-conference honors, including senior Nick Killian, who also secured the coveted CCAC Player of the Year award. The women’s soccer team mirrored this success with a 12-5-4 season record and an 8-1-2 conference record. Like their male counterparts, they garnered five allconference selections, demonstrating the depth of talent on the squad. As the fall sports season concludes at Olivet, the achievements of these teams symbolize the dedication and sportsmanship ingrained in the Tiger athletic programs. The University community can take pride in the accomplishments of these studentathletes, who have represented Olivet with distinction on and off the field.




Olivet Nazarene University celebrated tradition, athletic victories, honors, great food and fellowship during Homecoming and Family Weekend 2023. Throughout the weekend, guests participated in more than 50 unique events organized by Erinn Proehl ’13/’19 MBA, executive director of alumni relations. On Thursday the ONU women’s volleyball team collected a win against Calumet College. Later that same evening, the Alumni Board served a late-night breakfast to students in Ludwig Center at the Throwback Thursday Student Pancake Feed. During the Homecoming chapel service on Friday morning, Young Alumni Award recipients Anna (Grieder) Victorson ’14 and Rev. Calum Samuelson ’13/’15 M.A. were recognized and gave testimony to the role of faith in their professional careers.





Also on Friday, a new statue was unveiled in Decker Quadrangle. Students filled the space and enjoyed music, food trucks and outdoor games. Following victories by the women’s and men’s basketball teams in McHie Arena, the night concluded with the Taste of Olivet dessert reception in Chalfant Hall. On Saturday the classes of 2018, 2013, 2008, 2003, 1998, 1993, 1988, 1983, 1978, 1973 and Purple & Gold grads (anyone prior to 1973) gathered for their undergraduate reunions. The afternoon included an outdoor family fun zone and food trucks before the Tiger football game against Roosevelt University at Ward Field.




Saturday evening’s School of Music concert featured alumni soloists and beloved songs from popular movies and musicals. In addition, throughout the weekend, there were several opportunities to take in a show at Strickler Planetarium or enjoy the fall play, Alice in Wonderland. The weekend festivities concluded on Sunday morning with the President’s Prayer Breakfast. Guests in attendance enjoyed music from Orpheus Choir and had the opportunity to hear from the Ministerial “O” Award recipient, Raechel (Pennington) Meyers ’05, and Lay “O” Award recipient, Angel Colón ’90, as they gave testimony to how Olivet shaped their respective careers. To conclude the event, Teresa Mathews, director of guest experience for the Office of Admissions, and Rev. David Wine ’72 joined First Lady Tammy (Salyer) Chenoweth ’89 for a time of thanksgiving and prayer for the campus community. For more information about campus events, visit Olivet.edu/events.




2023 “O” Award recipients Raechel Myers and Angel Colon set the bar for alumni achievement. 2023 “O” Award: Angel Colón ’90 When Angel Colón ’90 arrived at Olivet Nazarene University in 1986, he spoke limited English and didn’t know Jesus Christ as his Savior. When he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, he spoke English fluently and was living as a follower of Jesus. Angel lived out one of his childhood dreams when he came to ONU from Puerto Rico on a baseball scholarship. He was far from his family and carried an English-Spanish dictionary with him nearly everywhere he went. Many people he met weren’t sure how to relate with a person from another culture, another religion, another country. “One of my New Testament professors spent 2 ½ hours with me one day, teaching me the differences between being a Roman Catholic and being a Christian,” he says. “Students, teammates and ONU leaders loved and cared for



me as I learned to adjust to a new culture. Being a student at ONU radically transformed my life. ONU gave me the foundation and tools I needed to succeed personally and professionally.” While at ONU, Angel met Naomi (Ritchie) ’88/’18 M.S.N., a nursing major from Kentucky. They have now been married for 34 years and are the parents of three adult children.

Ohio. His Christian faith and education continue to influence how he carries himself at work, interacts with others and lives his life. “To succeed in the business world, you have to have a great balance of integrity, resilience and education,” Angel says. “ONU made a huge difference in my life in all these areas.”

“While we were students, Naomi invited me to attend a campus revival with her,” he recalls. “I accepted Christ that night. That decision transformed my life from being all about me to being all about serving others. Naomi discipled and mentored me, and she still does today.”

Continuing his commitment to serve others, Angel currently helps teach English as a second language classes to immigrants in Cincinnati. He also finds opportunities to share Jesus with them. In 2019 the state of Ohio presented its Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award to Angel in recognition of the ways he helps Hispanics in his community.

Angel’s career path has taken him from ONU to jobs with Goya Foods in Chicago, Kellogg Company in Michigan, The Kroger Company in Cincinnati, and now to his position as head of diversity, equity and inclusion with Designer Brands in Columbus,

Roberto Clemente, a Puerto Rican who had a stellar Major League Baseball career, is one of Angel’s heroes. Clemente’s life was cut short at age 38 when he died in a plane crash. He was known for his many acts of service to those less fortunate

than he was. Angel recalls this wisdom that Clemente often shared: “Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.” Inspired by him, in 2019 Angel established an ONU baseball scholarship for Puerto Rican students. Psalm 37:23 (NLT) continues to guide and inspire Angel as he answers God’s call to serve: “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” God has surprised Angel in every area of his life with extraordinary friendships, an exciting career and the gift of evangelism. He has witnessed God’s turning everything around in order to build His Kingdom. Angel accepted Christ on Oct. 15, 1987. He accepted ONU’s “O” Award on Oct. 19, 2023. As he looks back over his life, he can summarize his story in two words: “Only God. Solo Dios in Spanish.”

2023 “O” Award: Raechel (Pennington) Myers ’05 A reluctant writer but lover of story, Raechel (Pennington) Myers ’05 loves God’s Word. She delights in the evidence of God’s beauty, goodness and truth in everyday life. She is the founder and chief operating officer of She Reads Truth, a worldwide community of women committed to reading the Bible together every day. She Reads Truth began in 2012 out of Raechel’s simple desire for her life and habits to reflect what she believed to be true about Scripture. Over the past 11 years, God has blessed and used that simple passion to invite millions of women, men and children to His Word. Raechel is a general editor of the She Reads Truth Bible and He Reads Truth Bible as well as the co-author of She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away, Open Your Bible: God’s Word Is For You and For Now, a LifeWay Bible study. She also hosts the She Reads Truth podcast.

The Reads Truth family of brands has published more than 250 Bible study books, legacy books, and children’s books and resources in pursuit of “Biblical literacy between Sundays.” The most recent release is Advent 2023: He Alone Is Worthy, a Bible reading plan that uses Scripture to explore the various capacities in which Jesus fulfills our needs and promises complete restoration and fullness in His future return. Raechel graduated from ONU with a degree in housing and environmental design. She and her husband, Ryan ’05, live in Nashville, Tennessee, with their two children, Oli and Hazel. Ryan serves as the CEO of She Reads Truth. Together, they love to travel, cook, eat delicious food and meander through art galleries.




Many undergraduate students begin their college career without a chosen major in mind. Olivet Nazarene University offers nearly 200 areas of study and thousands of major and minor combinations. Students work with their advisor to select coursework and plan the exact degree path that suits their unique calling. A new interactive degree interest-seeker can be found at Olivet.edu/find-your-interest.


The line between mentor and professor is often blurred at Olivet Nazarene University. Small groups are led by faculty members and focus on academics as well as prayer and discipleship. Many professors also serve on or lead national academic boards and mentor ONU’s teams for academic competitions.

History Lessons Dr. Kent Olney

Adapted from the Leopold von Ranke Lecture delivered by Dr. Kent Olney at the induction ceremony for Phi Alpha Theta, Olivet Nazarene University’s chapter of the national history honor society, Oct. 1, 2023

The concise 10-chapter book of Esther has much to teach us about history. Four two-word sentences summarize several significant lessons.

Truth Matters

The book of Esther begins with the simple Hebrew word wayhî, a common word that literally means “and it was.” The King James Version most often translates the word to mean “now it came to pass.” The New International Version begins Esther with these words: “This is what happened.” The Hebrew word here makes a truth statement. The book does not begin as we begin our fairy tales — “once upon a time in a faroff land” — but with wayhî: “and it was.” The author intentionally draws the reader’s attention to truth; what follows is neither fiction nor allegory. The task of history is to speak truth with clarity. In a 1974 essay, Russian dissident and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn admonished the Russian people to “live not by lies.” He was referencing, of course, the ideology pushed by a repressive communist government. His point, however, still resonates today: Truth always matters. Lies ought not dictate life. Christian historians are the last best hope when it comes to truth-telling. For if they don’t, who will?



Years Matter

We in the 21st century are conditioned to live in and for moments. Our world is obsessed with here-andnow experiences that emphasize the instantaneous. Perhaps our smartphones illustrate this best. Everything is instantly at our fingertips: texting, social media, photos, world news, contacts, calculators, cameras, maps, movies, weather reports, scores of ballgames and more. The expression “That’s so last year” has come to reflect our collective disdain for whatever is not immediately accessible and relevant. Though Esther contains only 10 chapters, the attentive reader discovers the events outlined therein cover many years. The story underscores a central theme in Scripture: namely, that the God Who is capable of the immediate miracle most often works in years. Evidence is abundant: Consider Abraham: You’ll have a son … in 25 years! Consider Moses: These people will get out of the desert … in 40 years! Consider Isaiah: Tell those people the Messiah will come … in 700 years! Consider the disciples: Jesus will return … but it’s now been 2,000 years!

The historian, of all people, appreciates years. They are important in the economy of God, signaling His activity from age to age.

Obscurity Matters

On the surface this seems to be an oxymoron, for the dictionary tells us that to be obscure is to be unknown, unnoticed or unimportant. Therefore, one might say obscurity is that which does not matter. Yet, I want to suggest that obscurity matters to at least two people: (1) God and (2) the historian. God specializes in seeking and using the obscure. Consider the following: He used the youngest, most unimpressivelooking brother, David. He showed up in small villages like Bethlehem, Nazareth and Capernaum. He called unsuspecting people like Mary and a group of Galilee fishermen. Esther fits that category. The story takes place in a remote location called Susa, far from cosmopolitan hubs like Jerusalem, Athens or Rome. Further, the book is filled with seemingly unimportant details like these: A Persian queen gets ousted and replaced by a Jewish woman, who is selected from a Miss Persia contest. That same Jewish woman has a cousin, Mordecai, who hears about an assassination plot against the king. The assassination plot is recorded and then shared with the king. We have here an obscure place with obscure people and dozens of obscure details and events. God takes them all and weaves them together for His purpose to save the lives of the Jewish people.



Historians delight in discovering and revealing what has long been hidden or obscure. In fact, one might argue that historians would be out of a job without obscure objects to uncover and interpret. Value, meaning and perspective are provided when obscurity is clarified.

Heroes Matter

In the last chapter of Esther — where three verses form the shortest closing chapter of any book in the Bible — we read that Mordecai’s greatness is remembered and recorded in the history books of the Medes and Persians. Mordecai became an adopted hero to the Persians. The stories of Mordecai and Esther are still being told 2,500 years after the events happened. The book of Esther is a perpetual reminder that heroes matter. Just what is a hero? The dictionary defines hero as one who is admired and remembered for courage, achievements or noble qualities. We humans seek heroes who inspire, encourage and offer hope and guidance. Standards of virtue, integrity and persistence emerge from the lives of such people. Historians write their stories. While we are grateful for such historians, we are even more grateful for those who aspire to be heroes. They matter, and they are needed today as much as ever.


Truth, years, obscurity and heroes — those meaningful lessons found in the book of Esther — are the building blocks our Sovereign God uses in every generation. History is shaped by these elements. Truth insists on allegiance. Years impart perspective. Obscurity invites investigation. Heroes inspire future generations. All these contribute to a healthy understanding of our past. Esther’s lessons remain timeless in a world that desperately needs to recover its history. 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. His latest book, Sixty-Six: A Sociologist Reflects on Scripture, Its Themes, and Their Relevance is now available.




Athletes, artists and entrepreneurs all have the same options at Olivet Nazarene University to explore varied interests across a scope of nearly 200 areas of study. Ceramics studios and music rehearsal halls welcome talented students of every skill level — from novice to expert.

The Interview 10 Questions With Luke Franklin ’11/’23 MBA, Executive Director of Traditional Enrollment

What are your family connections with ONU? My mother attended Olivet, and I was blessed to be a student with my older brother, Josh ’10. I also met my wonderful wife, Andi (McCann) ’10, here. We have four children, ages 4 to 8. Andi homeschools them and is also an adjunct professor for the Department of Communication.

What is one of your favorite ONU student memories? Interning for the Chicago Bears and WBBM Radio on Olivet’s campus during Bears training camp. For five weeks, I was on the practice field every day with Chicago’s top media outlets, interviewing players, collecting and editing audio, and reporting. After those five weeks, I knew that my calling was not sports media. I had no idea God would call me to work at Olivet.

What jobs have you held at ONU since you graduated with your bachelor’s degree in 2011? My first full-time job was as the business development manager for the Shine.FM media network in 2013. Then I transitioned to the Office of Admissions, where I served as director of strategic partnerships, director of new student financial aid and associate executive director before becoming executive director of traditional enrollment in 2022.

What is one of your favorite ONU professional memories? Every summer hundreds of future Olivet students and their parents gather on campus for Orientation as they prepare to start college in a few months. Every Orientation starts with a worship service and a message from alumnus LaMorris Crawford ’06/’11 M.O.L. It’s the culmination of developing relationships with these families and helping them get ready to start that Olivet student journey.



Why have you chosen to work in a Christian nonprofit environment rather than a secular business environment? I have incredible respect for those who are advocates for Christ in a secular environment, including most of my friends and family. It can’t be easy for them to live out their faith at work. What a privilege to work at Olivet, a place where faith and work are intertwined, and incorporating prayer into our workday is the norm.

How does your team approach and relate with prospective students? Attending Olivet changed my life! I know it has the potential to change the lives of incoming students. Engaging with students always starts with listening. Every call, email and campus visit with a prospective student has one focus: the student!

How does your team approach and relate with parents of prospective students?

How are you helping the next generation make the transition from childhood to adulthood?

One of my first jobs in Admissions was in financial aid. I had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of parents and their students. I learned what an honor it is to do the work we do! Parents, and those filling that role, trust Olivet with the most important person in their entire life: their student. And we don’t take that lightly!

We’re working hard to cultivate a campus environment where students can grow into who God created them to be — academically, professionally and personally. What an honor to speak into their lives and help them navigate the many decisions that come with young adulthood! The beauty and responsibility of this keeps me coming back to work out this mission every day.

What does the phrase “We Believe. You Belong Here.” mean to you?

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We often ask parents to share their desires for their children, which is incredibly rewarding to hear. We know that applying for college comes with hopes and dreams but also pressures and challenges. We seek to understand each student’s unique situation and create an attainable pathway to Olivet for anyone who believes they belong here.

I’m proud of our truly exceptional admissions team. Nearly everyone on the team has experience as an Olivet student or parent. Sharing about Olivet includes sharing about ourselves and our own journeys. I’ve never been around a more committed and energized team. To learn more about enrolling, visit Olivet.edu.




OLIVET ‘BELONGS TO USʼ “I knew my sons would go to a university someday,” says the Rev. Laura Mata-Bolandi, a native of Costa Rica, a single mother and now the pastor of Moline Community Church of the Nazarene in Moline, Illinois. “Olivet Nazarene University is exactly what they need. I’m thankful they chose Olivet for their higher education.” Laura remembers well what her life was like as a single mom raising two young boys, Anthony and Jonathan. She admits that she was working for money and working really hard. Early every morning, she took her boys to day care. Every night she picked them up, took them home, fed them and then got ready for the next day. Everything changed in their lives when Laura’s friend, Brenda Miller, invited the family to join her at Rockford Samuelson Road Church of the Nazarene in Rockford, Illinois. “I knew the statistics about children of single mother minorities and of divorce,” Laura says. “We found family at this church — people who really cared about us and loved us. And we also learned about Olivet.”



Planted Seeds Begin To Sprout As her sons grew, Laura continued to instill in them the importance of quality education and a strong spiritual life. She knew they would find both — and so much more — at Olivet. When Anthony was in fifth grade, his teacher asked the class to write a letter to their future selves. He wrote in his letter, “Go to Olivet if you are going to a university.” As teens, Anthony and Jonathan got involved in Celebrate Life and Quiz Bowl, and they traveled to Olivet for these activities. During that time, they first met Tony Fightmaster ’80, who was serving as ONU’s director of church relations. Ministry teams from Olivet visited their church. The boys attended church camp many times and encountered Olivet students serving there. Olivet alumni in the church shared their own college experiences with the boys, too. Stepping Into Olivet’s Timeline When Anthony was ready for college, he wasn’t sure about Olivet. “Dr. Scott Sherwood, our district superintendent, asked Anthony to give Olivet just one chance and go for a visit,” Laura recalls. “Then he would trust Anthony to choose.” When Anthony and Laura went for their campus visit, Dr. Scott Sherwood ’92 met them there. He introduced them to then-University President John Bowling ’71/’72 M.A., Dr. Brian Allen ’82 and Tony. After their visit, Anthony was convinced that Olivet was the place for him.

Today, Anthony is a junior business major in ONU’s McGraw School of Business, president of The Entrepreneurship Club, and active in Multiethnic Student Services and a multicultural student group. Jonathan, also a business major, has just completed his first semester. He is the communications coordinator for The Entrepreneurship Club. New Direction for a Friend When their friend Deyvin Amador hit difficult times in his life and wasn’t sure where to turn, the MataBolandi family pointed him to Olivet. “I told Deyvin that he could get money anywhere, but what he would get from education would prepare him for success in the rest of his life,” Laura says. “We continued to pray for him. I also reached out to Olivet and asked how they could help Deyvin. They worked with him and got him everything he needed so that he could enroll.” Deyvin is now a freshman engineering major in ONU’s Walker School of STEM. Each week Tony meets with Anthony, Jonathan, Deyvin and three other students in his home for a time of mentorship, fellowship and conversation. “The Holy Spirit orchestrates all of this,” Tony says. “I’m just making myself available to be used by the Holy Spirit in the lives of these students.” Laura explains, “Anyone can belong here. Olivet cares about your talents and commitment to God, not about the color of your skin or your culture. The students are valued because of who God made them to be. Each student has potential at Olivet, and Olivet invests well in all of them. Olivet belongs to us.”



With Honors

Every fall Olivet welcomes 30 freshmen into a new cohort of the University Honors Program. The unique design of the program gives students the chance to satisfy four of their general education outcomes through team-taught, discussion-based, interdisciplinary coursework. Since the inception of the program in 2007, 166 students have graduated with the designation of having completed the required Honors Program coursework and a faculty-mentored research project. While some of the core Honors Program courses have evolved over time into new topics and formats, the fall semester course that every first-year student takes, Faith and Film, has remained true to its original theme: exploring what it means to be a human through the lens of visual storytelling. “Courses like this sharpen students’ ability to form arguments, consider varying perspectives and learn to engage challenging ideas in an environment built on trust and respect,” says Dr. Stephen Case ’05, director of the Honors Program. “We are laying the foundation for what it means to be an engaged, critical Christian scholar in their discipline.” Teaching a collegiate course as a subject-matter expert has its own challenges, but co-teaching it with a colleague representing a different discipline adds other levels of complexity. Such is the case for Dr. Charles Perabeau ’94, dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, and Dr. Ryan Himes, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Now in their seventh year of co-teaching and their fourth time sharing responsibilities of the Faith and Film course, they share about what makes interdisciplinary study so beneficial — for students, faculty and society at large.


What is your approach to co-teaching? Dr. Charles Perabeau: It has been remarkably natural. Ryan has an uncanny way of relating with students: He knows their names by the first class session. When we first taught together, we would meet to coordinate and plan for what each class would look like. It is quite vulnerable to teach with someone else because you are concerned with your own inadequacies, especially as you’re teaching something interdisciplinary. The Faith and Film course lends itself to discussion-based learning, which is exciting, but also leaves a lot of question marks — we do not always know where the conversation is going. Fortunately, our teaching styles are complementary. Dr. Ryan Himes: Before we taught the first course, we barely knew each other. I probably would not have gotten to know Charles without this collaboration. He is good at stirring the pot in a way that makes students really reflect on the conversation. Personally, I have learned a lot about theology, church history and pedagogy from him, but, even more, I have developed a friendship. I really look up to Charles as a mentor.

How has teaching in the Honors Program influenced you as an academic? Dr. Perabeau: Teaching in the Faith and Film course has forced me to think more clearly about how I articulate things. The students have given me plenty of theological fodder to mull over. I have gained a greater appreciation for interdenominational relationships and the broader Protestant tradition. I think it is important for students to watch us wrestle with concepts in real-time discussion with them. Dr. Himes: My understanding of theology has deepened a lot over the years. Some of these theological themes help me keep the big picture in mind of what Christian education is supposed to be about. I am now more intentional about helping my students connect scientific content to the bigger picture. I often ask myself and them, “Why does this matter in the greater context of life?” I want to help future nurses and doctors learn to consider pathologies and address patient needs. But, beyond that, I hope they learn to treat the needs of the actual, holistic person.

What is the value of an interdisciplinary course like Faith and Film? Dr. Perabeau: Life itself is interdisciplinary. Questions I raise in class seek responses to issues and complexities between differences of thought and lived experience. Think of a six-sided cube. With my own set of experiences, I just stare at one side. In this form of discussion-based learning, students grab my hand and journey with me to the other side of the cube. That stimulates a curiosity in me and, hopefully, in them as well. Olivet’s Honors Program is a microcosm of society, albeit from a Christian perspective. Students come in nervous and hesitant, but it is not long until they feel completely free to express what is on their minds and hearts. It is unique to have such healthy social discourse in a safe academic environment. Dr. Himes: It is great to get perspectives from students who are studying a variety of topics. For example, this year’s cohort represents 22 unique areas of study. Teaching in the Honors Program keeps my job very interesting, as I get to engage in different facets of life through the students. In class we discuss enduring global issues, and, despite the potential for conflict, students have always handled tough topics with a lot of grace, thoughtfulness and humility. It is the mission of Olivet, “Education With a Christian Purpose,” at work. Dr. Charles Perabeau ’94 is dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry. His interests and teaching responsibilities include sociology of religion, urban sociology, ethnic relations and anthropology. He has presented papers at academic conferences — several related to his prior involvement in the Newark Project, a Ford Foundation-supported study concerning the urban religious life of Newark, New Jersey. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Perabeau served as a pastor in Chicago for over a decade. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, Association of Nazarene Sociologists and Researchers, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and Wesleyan Theological Society. Dr. Ryan Himes is an associate professor of biological sciences in the Walker School of STEM. He teaches courses in biology, anatomy and physiology. His recent research efforts have focused on cardiac physiology and the toxicity of hexavalent chromium. He has additional interests in science policy, specifically surrounding renewable energy. In 2021 he helped Olivet develop two large solar panel arrays on the rooftops of the chapel and student recreation center. These are projected to save an average of 977 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year and $45,000 in annual electricity costs.




Olivet Nazarene University recently celebrated the most wonderful time of year, as the School of Music presented annual performances of Handel’s Messiah and the Sounds of the Season in the Kenneth and Betty Hawkins Centennial Chapel. The 87th annual production of Messiah, presented Dec. 2, 2023, featured Olivet’s full symphonic orchestra and combined choirs from the School of Music. Soloists included sophomore Hannah Hudgins; juniors Cole Morris and Ana Quezada; and seniors Marisa Costantino, Jackson Doering, Phillip Koerner, Tawney Minks and Jemma Newby. Sounds of the Season, another beloved annual holiday tradition, was presented Dec. 8 and 9. The concert featured performances of contemporary and classic Christmas music from every music ensemble on campus as well as several performances with a combined ensemble of student musicians and faculty members from across the entire School of Music. Among the selections were the University Orchestra and ONU Jazz Band as well as smaller instrumental groups such as the Saxophone Ensemble and Steel Drum Band. Vocal ensembles such as Proclamation Gospel Choir and Orpheus Choir were complemented by the University Singers and featured soloists. More than 300 musicians are involved in this annual community and campus favorite.

Dr. Stephen Case

RESTORING ECOLOGICAL TREASURES OF THE GRAND PRAIRIE “A bald eagle!” Someone pointed, and we all looked up from our canoes. There it was, perched with an almost obliging majesty on the very highest branch of an enormous tree overhanging the river. We were several faculty members, family and friends canoeing down the Kankakee River to Olivet’s new nature sanctuary. So far, the day had been anything but disappointing. The sun slanted over the wide river, dragonflies darted back and forth, and the banks were overhung with trees. We had set out from Island Park in Momence, a small town on the Kankakee River just 10 miles down the road from Olivet’s campus. From Momence, it is an easy 40-minute float downstream to our destination: the Swanberg Sanctuary, a 100-acre tract of land along the river recently donated to Olivet as a nature preserve, research station and teaching tool already being utilized by several classes. Once we passed beyond Momence, the right bank of the river became a tangle of forest. “Are those Kankakee mallow?” someone asked, referring to a local plant so endangered it grows naturally on only a single river island. “No,” explained Dr. Derek Rosenberger, zoology professor, co-director of the Sanctuary and our guide for the day. “That’s just wild hibiscus.”



The Sanctuary lies along three-quarters of a mile of river and gives a hint of the splendor of the nowvanished Grand Kankakee Marsh, thousands of square miles of wetlands that once stretched across northern Illinois and Indiana. Now, only pockets of this wilderness remain. We turned our canoes up a lazy backwater — the water so clear we could see the sandy river bottom below our paddles — and kept our eyes peeled for the white-tailed deer, beaver, foxes, river otters and rare freshwater mussels we knew were still plentiful here. In 2008 Kankakee County residents Dale and Tracy Swanberg purchased the Sanctuary property. That year, they began a professional restoration process, restoring land previously farmed for corn and soybeans to its original habitat. They donated it to Olivet in 2022, with the hope it would be used “for educational purposes as well as to benefit the community” and trusting the University to “continue to enhance the land and continue on the path to return it to its native condition.” By this time, the property contained wetland, prairie, savanna and riparian forest — multiple distinct ecosystems and a trove of research and educational opportunities for the students and professors of Olivet’s thriving environmental science and zoology programs (the latter of which is one of the largest among Christian colleges).

Just 10 minutes from the main campus, Olivet’s Swanberg Sanctuary represents an ecological resource few other Christian universities can rival.

Already, Dr. Rosenberger and Dr. David Hoekman, biology professor and co-director of the Sanctuary, have begun several projects at the Sanctuary with students from their Conservation Biology, Animal Behavior, Ecology, Ornithology and Invertebrate Zoology classes. Students have been at work tracking animal populations with trail cams, quantifying the plant and animal biodiversity of the site, and conducting surveys of insect species. Just 10 minutes away from campus (for those who choose to travel by car instead of canoe), the Swanberg Sanctuary represents an ecological resource few other Christian universities can rival. “Just as schools prefer teachers with classroom experience and hospitals prefer nurses with clinical experience, so, too, do conservation and field biology organizations prefer candidates with experience in the field,” Dr. Rosenberger says. “These sites get our students out of the classroom and lab and into the dynamic setting in which they hope to work.” In addition, he adds, they also “demonstrate to our students and our community our commitment to caring for God’s good creation.” The Swanberg Sanctuary is simply the latest and most significant of a host of rich research opportunities offered by Olivet’s location in the



midst of the Illinois prairie. First and foremost, Olivet’s main campus is located just over a mile from the Kankakee River itself. Dr. Charles Carrigan ’96, director of the University’s Earth and space sciences program, cultivates students’ connection with the river by leading the Olivet River Keepers, a student organization dedicated to care and conservation of the Kankakee. Over the past several years, Dr. Carrigan has led teams of dozens of students on an annual river cleanup, in which students get hands-on experience contributing to the health of the local ecosystem. Olivet is also located within easy driving distance of two unique ecological treasures. The 20,000-acre Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, where students have conducted research on pollinators and species diversity (since published in the scientific journal Insect Conservation and Diversity), is just 30 minutes to the northwest and composes the largest restored prairie in the region. In the other direction, 30 minutes to the east of campus, lies the Pembroke black oak savanna, one of the country’s most critically endangered ecosystems. Here, students have conducted research on redheaded woodpeckers, which depend on the endangered ecosystem for their habitat, and an almost unknown species of beetle. Together with the Swanberg Sanctuary, these make Olivet the ideal site for students who want field experience in preparation for a career in zoology or conservation — or who simply want to appreciate God’s glory through the created world. In addition, students and faculty are working to bring restored ecosystems to Olivet’s campus itself. For the past four years, Dr. Rosenberger has overseen the transformation of 2 1/2 acres of lawn on campus to a restored prairie of native grasses. Students have been engaged with every step of this process, from selecting the mix of seeds to planting to composing species lists now that the prairie is growing to comparing its biodiversity with the nearby Perry Farm prairie.



The Grand Kankakee Marsh is gone — drained over a century ago and converted to farmland. And of the thousands of miles of prairie that originally covered Illinois, thick with biodiversity, only 0.1% remains — the rest replaced with monocultures of corn, soy or lawn. This means that sanctuaries such as ecological reservoirs are essential not only for educating students on the interrelationship of species in God’s good garden and giving them experience of the beauty of creation but also for offering an opportunity to participate in its restoration. Students come to Olivet to live, learn and work in community. And because Olivet is a college by the river in the midst of the (almost entirely) vanished grand Illinois prairie, an important aspect of that community life is preserving and knowing the landscape in which we are rooted and will grow. Weeks after the faculty canoe trip to the Swanberg Sanctuary, some of us repeated it again, this time with 30 freshman Honors Program students who had just arrived on campus for the start of their Olivet experience. As we unloaded our canoes at the Sanctuary and prepared for a hike through the prairie, I asked the students whether they had seen any bald eagles. Several of them nodded, grinning from ear to ear.

Stephen Case ’05, Ph.D., is the director of the University Honors Program and a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences. He holds degrees in physics and the history and philosophy of science and teaches courses in astronomy, physics, history of science, and science and theology. He is the author of Making Stars Physical: the Astronomy of Sir John Herschel (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018) and co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to John Herschel (Cambridge University Press, 2024).


CLOSING THE DISTANCE FROM CALIFORNIA TO BOURBONNAIS Lillian Wisner first heard about Olivet Nazarene University when she was 6 years old and growing up in Concord, California. Her church’s new pastor and his wife were Olivet alumni. “When my husband, Ray, and I married, I worked to put him through college and seminary,” Lillian says. “He became a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene. We had four daughters together. All are married and blessed us with a total of 11 grandchildren. Our whole family lived within three blocks of one another for many years. Our grandchildren all went to the same Christian school, where Ray taught music. I was their Sunday school teacher. All of the cousins have a very close bond.” Destined To Connect With Olivet During Ray’s years of ministry, he and Lillian made a new Olivet connection. The parents of Dr. Lance Kilpatrick ’02, now associate dean of Olivet’s School of Education, pastored in the same district with the Wisners. The Kilpatricks also graduated from Olivet. Lillian recalls Dr. Kilpatrick as a young man when he came to Canoe Camp, part of the Sacramento District summer camps. Ray served as the director. Campers would leave each morning to canoe down different parts of the Sacramento River.

“As a grandparent, I am thankful for Godly professors who are helping my grandkids be the best Christians they can possibly be.”



“Lance would bring a youth group from San Jose to the camp,” she says. “As we got acquainted with him, he talked with us about Olivet.” When Canoe Camp closed in 2014, Dr. Kilpatrick asked the Wisners if he could buy the canoes for Olivet students to use. He drove to northern California, picked up the canoes, returned them to Illinois and stored them at Manteno Church of the Nazarene.


Strengthening the Connection

Pilot and Alumnus Ryan Walker Goes Above and Beyond To Bring Students to Olivet

In the late 2000s, two of Lillian and Ray’s daughters moved away from the family in California. One relocated to Pennsylvania, and one moved to Michigan. That was when another Olivet connection began. “My granddaughter, Isabella McCleskey, was looking for a college and going on college visits in Michigan,” Lillian says. “She wants to be a music educator like Ray.” Isabella and her mom then decided to make an unplanned visit to Olivet, where they met with Sonya Comer ’95, assistant professor in the School of Music, who talked with Isabella about the music program. “As Isabella and her mom were leaving, she prayed with them,” Lillian says. “Isabella told her mom that day, ‘Olivet is home for me.’”

Erinn Proehl ’13, ONU’s executive director of alumni, church and constituent relations, recently experienced the dedication of Ryan Walker ’06 to making sure more students know about all that ONU has to offer. Ryan serves as president of ONU’s Alumni Board and is the vice president of Walker Manufacturing, headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Cousins Natalie Broersma, a family and consumer sciences major; Makinzee Morrison, an education major; and Brody Coggins, an accounting and corporate finance major, are also freshmen at Olivet. Lillian shares, “Maki tells us, ‘Olivet is my place.’”

On a September evening at 10 p.m., Erinn drove an ONU bus to the Greater Kankakee Airport. His mission: Meet Ryan and a group of eight prospective students and parents flying in from Fort Collins for a campus visit.

Even With Miles Between

“Ryan had already told me that these students had agreed to explore a college he had been promoting and that they had interacted at Nazarene Youth Congress this past summer,” Erinn says. “Instead of just telling them about ONU or sending them to visit on their own, Ryan convinced them that Bourbonnais, Illinois, is only a plane ride away. He arranged to use a corporate airplane and fly them in for a campus visit” (pictured top right).

“As a grandparent, I am thankful for Godly professors who are helping my grandkids be the best Christians they can possibly be,” Lillian says. “They are doing well academically, and I don’t worry about that. I want them to be at Olivet because the professors genuinely care about them and because they can grow spiritually there. That’s more important than grades.” After a long fight with cancer, Ray passed away in 2020. Lillian and her two dogs now live close to family in Marysville, California, one hour north of Sacramento. Their family remains in constant contact with one another through daily texts and timely phone calls. “I’m not a traveler,” Lillian says. “I’ve never been to Olivet. I’ll probably never go there. But I’m praying and trusting that Olivet will continue to produce students who put God first and impact our world for Christ.”


We believe. You belong here. Many Olivet Nazarene University alumni are putting these truths into action by introducing prospective students to their alma mater. There are many college choices in today’s world. The passion of these alumni in convincing teens that ONU is worth the investment of their time for a visit continues to inspire faculty and staff.


An experienced pilot, Ryan and his wife, Emily (Schmidt) ’06, served as missionaries in Alaska for three years. He flew for SEND North, a regional ministry of SEND International, to help expand the reach of the Gospel in Alaska. Bringing these students to the ONU campus was simply one more mission flight for him. “I resonate with Ryan’s commitment to telling others about ONU,” Erinn says. “Many years ago, an ONU alumni couple in my hometown called my parents

and offered to take my oldest sister on a seven-hour trip to a university we’d never heard about before. Eventually, she, three of my siblings and I graduated from ONU. I met my wife, Kelsey, here. And I’m now on staff here.” When Erinn greeted Ryan and the students at the airport, he presented each student with an ONU T-shirt. Then he drove them directly to the home of Dr. Brian ’82 and Dr. Lynda Allen ’82/’88 MBA. Brian is ONU’s vice president for institutional advancement, and Lynda is a professor in the McGraw School of Business. The Allens welcomed them with warm cookies and a brief time for conversation. The whirlwind visit was carefully planned by Luke Franklin ’11, executive director of traditional enrollment, and his staff. “This was an exciting visit for our team,” he says. “A campus visit is so important for students and their parents to become familiar with Olivet. All colleges have a website that gives the basic facts of an institution. A visit to a campus is really the only way to get a feel for everything that’s impossible to gauge through a website, emails or texts. We are grateful Ryan went out of his way to make this experience possible for these students.” Luke and his staff arranged a personalized visit day schedule for each student. They took a campus tour and a dorm tour; met with an admissions counselor and a financial aid specialist; met with a faculty member for their area of study; and then met with faculty and staff members about extracurricular activities that captured their interest. Ryan and his group were back at the airport Friday afternoon for their return flight to Fort Collins. The students even made it home in time to attend their high school football game that night. “The word is out now,” Ryan says. “I hope there are going to be more students from the Fort Collins area who want to visit ONU. I’m ready to make this trip again to show potentials Olivet!” NOTE: At press time for this issue, Ryan executed his second flight of prospective students to Olivet for Purple & Gold Days (pictured bottom right).




It’s central to who we are and what we do at Olivet. It’s one of the first words students see on Olivet’s campus posted at the main entrance: “Education With a Christian Purpose.” Olivet’s graduate degree programs will help you think differently, respond differently, lead differently. The curriculum, instruction and delivery methods are designed with you in mind as you seek purpose.

Contributors: Dr. Kelly Brown, Andy Corbus, Hannah Priest, Laura Warfel, Amanda Torres, Dr. Lance Kilpatrick and Dr. Jeff Stark

Ed.D. in Ethical Leadership Lead with purpose as you pursue this doctoral degree. Graduate in as little as 32 months, and complete your dissertation while taking your coursework. Whether you are an educator, nurse, pastor, administrator, entrepreneur, police officer, business owner or leader in any other area, Olivet’s online doctoral degree will open doors of significant opportunity for you. Next cohort enrolls March 4

Nursing Advance your nursing career through Olivet’s accredited nursing school. Combining online theory courses and hands-on clinical experience, these programs create an accelerated path for nurses at any stage of their career. Olivet offers both Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-B.S.N. or RN-M.S.N.) and Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.-FNP, M.S.N.-Education and M.S.N.Transformational Leadership) degree programs. Nursing cohorts enroll Jan. 8, March 4, April 29

Theology and Christian Ministry Olivet offers 10 master’s degrees for ministry professionals in two categories: practical and preparatory. Practical degrees prepare leaders for specific ministry contexts such as urban ministry or family ministry. Preparatory degrees provide students with a comprehensive, robust theological, Biblical and practical application. Next cohorts begin Jan. 15

Business Offering both the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Organizational Leadership (M.O.L.), Olivet’s business programs provide you with your clearest path to purpose and opportunity. Affordably priced under $12,000, these flexible programs can be completed in 12, 18 or 24 months — whichever is most convenient for you. You choose your specialization to customize your degree to your personal and professional goals. Choose from specializations like corporate communications, healthcare leadership, nonprofit management and leadership. MBA and M.O.L. cohorts enroll Jan. 8, March 4, April 29

Education Olivet’s graduate programs in education are relevant, current and designed to meet your needs and the demands of your educational environment. The master’s programs include the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.E.): Curriculum and Instruction and M.A.E.: Reading Specialist. Other endorsement programs include English as a Second Language, Bilingual, Learning Behavior Specialist I, Reading Specialist, Safety and Driver’s Education, and Teacher Leader. Education cohorts enroll Jan. 8, March 4, April 29



Doctoral Program Focuses on Success

“I enjoy building relationships with them. When one is going through a difficult time, we lift that person up in prayer.” Dr. Kelly Brown

Earning a doctoral degree is much different than earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Being a student in Olivet Nazarene University’s Doctor of Education in Ethical Leadership (Ed.D.) program is much different than being a doctoral student at other universities. Just ask Kelly Brown ’92, Ed.D., ONU’s Ed.D. program director. “We help our learners meet their deadlines and be successful as they earn their degree,” Dr. Brown says. “In the process, we also get to know them and build relationships with them. And our concurrent dissertation process means they aren’t on their own to finish their dissertation. They are actually writing their dissertation while taking courses.” Program Distinctives That concurrent dissertation process is one of the most exciting distinctives of ONU’s program for Dr. Brown. She began advising learners in ONU’s Cohort 1 in 2008 and saw firsthand how this process encouraged learners’ confidence, motivation and success. Today, she is the program director and occasionally serves as a dissertation team chair or reader. Last February ONU welcomed Cohort 32, one of the largest cohorts ever. These learners started their dissertation process in October and are now working with Dr. Brown to identify their specific dissertation topics and methodologies.

To learn more about the Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership degree program, scan here.


Despite the growth, another distinctive of ONU’s Ed.D. program is that learners receive personalized support throughout the dissertation process. Each learner is assigned a dissertation team that will remain with him or her until graduation. “One of my privileges is to come alongside each learner while they are deciding on their dissertation topic and methodology,” Dr. Brown says. “We assign each learner a dissertation team with both content and methodology experience specific to that learner.”

ONU’s faculty also sets this program apart from programs at other universities. “Our faculty members are, of course, experts in their field,” Dr. Brown says. “They are fully engaged and join learners on their Ed.D. journey. We often hear from our learners that our professors also truly care about our learners, want our learners to succeed and will do all they can to help.” Program Quality One of the beauties of ONU’s cohort model is bringing different people together to work toward a common goal. The relationships formed along the way often extend beyond graduation day. Dr. Brown continues to be pleased by the variety of learners who are enrolling in and completing the Ed.D. program. Learners represent a variety of professional backgrounds, including teachers, law enforcement officers, military officers, business leaders, healthcare professionals, pastors and more. “Getting to know our learners is one of the best parts of this program for me,” Dr. Brown says. “I enjoy building relationships with them. When one is going through a difficult time, we lift that person up in prayer. When one is going through a blessing in life, we rejoice with that learner. Our cohorts often become like family. We help one another through life events.” Self-doubt and frustration can also be part of the education process for learners in the program. The best guidance that Dr. Brown and the faculty give them during these times is to keep going, one step at a time. One chapter, one course, daily reading and writing toward each deadline is the way to go.

“We encourage our students to reach out to their professors, their dissertation team and me,” she says. “We will talk it through with them and come up with a plan. Our goal is to give them some relief so they can finish what they’ve started. We let them know that we won’t lower our degree requirements for them, but we are certainly here to help them continue.” Program Benefits Every graduation day, Dr. Brown has the privilege of hooding graduates, hugging them and telling them congratulations. “I’ve seen what they go through to get to that day,” she says. “Earning this degree changes them and sets them on a new course for their lives.” Dr. Brown consistently receives calls and emails from employers who want to hire ONU graduates. This further underscores the excellent reputation of the program, which is known for being a rigorous, quality program that produces quality graduates. “Earning the Ed.D. degree at ONU is worth the determination and hard work it takes,” Dr. Brown says. “ONU provides learners with what they need and prays for them along the way. Learners have to make the commitment. We come alongside them and make the commitment to help them achieve their goal.”

During this 32-month degree program, life happens to learners. They are encouraged to take care of themselves and their needs during times of personal challenges.



Discovering the Nurse Within at ONU Seeing her mother’s struggles with mental illness inspired Amanda Torres ’16 B.S.N./’20 B.S.N.-FNP to choose nursing as her career. But she had no idea what type of nursing she wanted to pursue. After experiencing the care of dedicated nurses in women’s and children’s health for the birth of her first child, she knew that was her calling. “I was looking for a degree program that would still give me time to be a mom to my four children and participate in our family life and to continue working part-time,” she says. “I found that with the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree program at Olivet Nazarene University.” Preparing for Success In ONU’s ABSN program, Amanda was able to complete most of her coursework online and arrange to do her required labs and clinicals on site. “All my professors and my cohort were very professional, open and honest,” she says. “I felt very welcomed by ONU.” During the program, Amanda was continually impressed by the great level of empathy and transparency her professors had. Their support and assistance made it possible for her to complete the program. “As an ONU student, I learned to communicate effectively,” she says. “My professors modeled kindness, grace and encouragement for me in the



midst of my life circumstances. That has a great impact on me now as a professional.” Amanda also underscores the well-established and excellent student support services she received as an ONU student: tutoring, library resources, real people to contact for the help she needed and technology assistance to efficiently and effectively access it all. Ready for the World When the time came for her to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), Amanda felt prepared. “Everything I did with ONU clinicals and instructors set me up for success,” she says. “I felt well prepared for the NCLEX and didn’t take any additional review courses. I passed on the first round.” Following that positive experience, Amanda decided to continue her education with ONU. Balancing family life and her part-time job, she entered and completed the Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner (M.S.N.-FNP) degree program. She also passed that board exam on the first round. Her confidence level rose, and she stepped into her new role feeling ready to contribute right away. Realities of Life “When a nurse walks into a hospital or clinic, you have to put your own emotions, feelings and life

“As I attended classes and earned my degrees with ONU, my faith deepened. I now realize that Christian values make a difference for my life and growth.” Amanda Torres

problems in a little box and put it away,” Amanda says. “That can be very difficult to do. I quickly understood why a lot of nurses leave patient care and move into other areas of nursing, like research. The pressures of financial constraints, time constraints, ethical issues, insurance issues, patient responsibilities and family responsibilities sometimes interfere with our caring for people.” Today, in addition to her private FNP family practice, Amanda is homeschooling her four children and coaching her daughters’ cheer team. She also teaches nursing courses and has the honor of being a professor with one of her former ONU professors. “I will admit that I didn’t choose ONU because it was a Christian university,” Amanda says. “As I attended classes and earned my degrees with ONU, my faith deepened. I now realize that Christian values make a difference for my life and growth. I now include faith, prayer and devotions in my life because I saw that modeled for me in ONU professors and students. That overall influence of Christian values and focus on faith helps everyone we encounter.”

To learn more about degree programs offered by the Olivet Nazarene University School of Nursing, scan here.



Bearing Witness to the Kingdom of God in Today’s World New and Renewed Directions for the School of Theology and Christian Ministry “Toward the end of my pastoral ministry at BridgeWay Community Church in Pekin, Illinois, I knew my calling for the next season of life was to support local pastors in local congregations,” says Dr. Jeffery Stark, director of graduate programming for Olivet Nazarene University’s School of Theology and Christian Ministry since 2022. “We can no longer assume a cultural Christianity in the United States. The Church has to do a better job of witnessing to the Kingdom of God in the world around us.” Dr. Stark and his team of professors and adjunct faculty are working to forge relationships with pastors, church professionals, other Christ followers and ministry organizations all across the country. Their goal is to prepare effective leaders for ministry in a post-Christian society. “When the Church fails to bear witness to the Kingdom of God, the rest of the world takes notice,” Dr. Stark says. “Our job is to raise up disciples of Jesus who take seriously the call to join the Jesus mission wherever they live, work and play.” Understanding From a Personal Perspective Dr. Stark vividly recalls how the love of Jesus radically changed his life and his marriage. In his teens and early 20s, he had no interest in faith or in the practice of Christianity. After graduating from college, he joined the military and also got married. He describes his life as in a decline, and his marriage soon became dysfunctional.



“When I was 25 years old, I was in despair,” he recalls. “In a small chapel in Skopje, Macedonia, on the base where I was stationed, I accepted Christ as my Savior. While I was deployed, my wife went through her own radical conversion. Now, we are doing this Jesus journey together.” Knowing the difference between living without Christ and living with Christ inspires Dr. Stark’s work and ministry every day. He often has opportunities to encourage students and faculty as they carry out the academic rigors and personal transformation through ONU’s graduate programs. “What I want each of them to know is ‘You matter,’” he says. “‘You matter to God, to your local church, to our students, to one another.’ If they know they matter and there’s purpose behind what they are doing, they can endure and succeed.” Leading Students Into Success When graduate students commit to the online degree program, they are also committing to a rigorous process of rethinking ministry strategies, addressing real adaptive change issues in their congregations, learning to navigate conflict, and developing strategic plans for discipleship and mission in their local churches. Faculty members walk with them through this process and provide valuable input from their own ministry experiences. Seeing students succeed is one of the joys Dr. Stark experiences in his work at ONU. Here are two of the many success stories he has already witnessed:

“What I want each of them to know is ‘You matter. You matter to God, to your local church, to our students, to one another.’” Dr. Jeffery Stark • A student was navigating a cancer diagnosis, surgery and treatments during his degree program. His commitment to what God had called him to do and the work of his church never wavered. He completed the program with excellence and inspired other students along the way. • God called another student to be a church planter, but she felt very much alone as one of only a few women called for that work. Her cohort encouraged her by speaking God’s truth to her and helping her think about how to build on the vision God had given her. Bringing All Gifts Together The University is committed to diversity of voice and experience among its professors and adjunct professors. They come from a variety of ministry contexts, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and even geographical locations. “All of our faculty are regularly involved in ministry in their local congregations, and most are serving in vocational roles,” Dr. Stark says. “The courses they teach are not theory for them. They know about the real work of ministry because they are doing it. That adds real value to the education we are offering. I’m honored and humbled to be around people who are far smarter than I am and who are doing incredible work for the Lord.” Keeping the Right Focus

Six Values for Graduate Programs

Mission-Focused Praxis-Oriented Spiritually Formative Theological Integrity Intellectually Challenging Affordably Accessible

School of Theology and Christian Ministry Practical Degrees*

Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership Master of Arts in Missional Multiplication Master of Arts in Urban Ministry Master of Arts in Family Ministry (*Relating to context of ministry and church leadership)

Preparatory Degrees+

Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies Master of Arts in Christian Ministry Master of Ministry Master of Arts in Religion Master of Ministry in Spanish Master of Divinity Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership

(+Exploring call to ministry and doing ministry)

Dr. Stark sees the role of today’s Church as the change agent in making communities and families better. “We constantly remind our students that the work of the Church is not just to grow a local congregation,” he says. “We are to connect the heart of God with the world around our churches. We are to bring healing, restoration and reconciliation to the brokenness of people all around us.”

To learn more about degree programs offered by the Olivet Nazarene University School of Theology and Christian Ministry, scan here.

MBA OR M.O.L.: Your Ideal Business Degree As executive director of enrollment management for Olivet’s graduate programs, Andy Corbus ’91 is often asked the question, “Should I pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Organizational Leadership (M.O.L.)?” And there is a right answer. Let’s start with a look at the two degrees, but then there is something much more important to consider. How is the M.O.L. different from an MBA? While both MBA and M.O.L. degrees focus on advanced business skills, the MBA has a stronger focus on financial management, and the M.O.L. focuses on leading people. An MBA student will spend more time on finance, accounting and financial strategy, whereas an M.O.L. student will spend more time on leadership, culture and developing performance. What do I need to consider when choosing between an MBA and an M.O.L.? Your current career or your career goals will show you the way. If you are seeking a role in upper management — developing strategy, funding for the strategy and allocating resources throughout the organization — the MBA degree program is best for you. The MBA has a stronger focus on finance, accounting and data analytics. Those with previous education in business management or finance may find the MBA a good fit. If you are seeking a leadership role focused on developing and implementing strategy relating to people and culture, the M.O.L. degree program is best for you. The M.O.L. has a stronger focus on developing people skills, creating cultures based on performance and addressing conflict within



organizations. The M.O.L. has broad appeal to those with previous education in fields other than business who seek to move into leadership roles. Your graduate business education may lean toward the strategy of an MBA or may lean toward the development of people skills with an M.O.L. At the heart of both is the ability to communicate with others and to coordinate the work you do with those around you while always looking for ways to grow the business and better serve your customer. Both the MBA and M.O.L. will help you develop these essential skills. What else should I consider? Think about where you want to be in a few years and what skills would help you confidently pursue this path. Then explore how the degree might impact your journey by looking at course descriptions for each program. See a flicker, follow the spark and envision yourself using new ideas and making a difference in the world around you. The right degree choice is the one that you see yourself applying to the challenges around you. A Final Thought How and where you will earn an advanced degree is an important life decision. You can see this process as something to get through: a series of assignments and tasks you do so you can get on to the next thing. Or you can use this as an opportunity to learn more about the ideas presented and the people you meet. With graduate education, ideas build upon each other, and those ideas stack up within you to shape you as a leader. You will come out on the other side thinking differently. Are you ready for an adventure? Let’s go!


Olivet Nazarene University has more than 50,000 living alumni around the globe serving in nearly every profession. Graduates excel in leading small businesses and major corporations, while others serve not-for-profits or lead in ministry positions. Alumni often return to campus to present lectures, mentor students and serve in advisory roles for several campus initiatives, including, among others, the entrepreneurship program.

Teaching On Purpose

Advanced Education for Teachers “Ultimately, I anticipate Olivet graduates continuing to be catalysts for positive change in education, shaping the future of learning and inspiring generations to come.” Dr. Lance Kilpatrick

An Educator’s Impact The School of Education’s conceptual framework is built on the theme “Professionals Influencing Lives.” This influence starts with the educational experience students receive at Olivet. “The School of Education’s faculty is what stands out among others in the state, defining us as a beacon of academic excellence,” says Dr. Lance Kilpatrick ’02, associate dean of the School of Education. “Comprised of a diverse and accomplished group of educators, our faculty bring a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for teaching. The School of Education stands as a testament to the transformative power of education through the building of relationships — making a lasting impact on the lives of our students and their future students.” As students continue their educational journey with Olivet, they will be equipped not only with theoretical knowledge but also with practical skills that empower them to make a meaningful impact in the classrooms and communities they serve.

To learn more about Olivet Nazarene University’s School of Education master’s degrees and certification opportunities, scan here. 52


That impact is wide-reaching. Olivet was recently recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction report as one of the highest-performing universities in the nation for preparing its teachers to effectively teach reading. Over the past decade, the University has produced more reading specialists than any other institution in the state.

“The ongoing success of this program lies in its adaptability, staying attuned to the evolving needs of the education sector and preparing graduates to meet those challenges head-on,” Kilpatrick says. “Ultimately, I anticipate Olivet graduates continuing to be catalysts for positive change in education, shaping the future of learning and inspiring generations to come.” In the Field Cynthia (Cynth) Veronda ’97 M.A.T./’11 M.A.E., associate professor and Olivet’s Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity project coordinator, would consider herself an education influencer. Her path to education was non-linear, as she began in microbiology and then pursued a career in education at the age of 40. Over the years, she has moved from classroom educator to administrator. Today, she is an advocate for educators as they develop the next generation — regardless of their background. “Pursuing my continued education degrees at Olivet was life-changing for me,” she says. “It was invaluable for me to get into another field that I really didn’t see myself ever pursuing. But, in it, I developed a whole new part of my passion for supporting children and, over time, supporting families.” Dominic Manola ’10 M.Ed./’13 M.A.E. has been a lifelong leaner. After the early years of his career, Dominic made the decision to continue his education at Olivet. Through his experiences and continued education, he found the importance of building a positive culture. Now, having worked

in administration roles for the last 10 years and as principal for the last five at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois, Dominic is passing along this emphasis of building a positive collaborative culture with the 2,300 students, administrators and staff at his school. “As a leader in education, I am working to create a positive culture in a world that is socioeconomically and politically polarized,” he explains. “That is not something I can control, but what I can work to control is the culture that I create in my building. The joy and pride I find in my job is working hard to create a culture where staff and students alike feel like they have the space to feel seen, valued and heard. And we need more educators willing to step up and do that.” Dr. Matthew Glenn ’04/’07 M.A.E./’09 M.A.E. serves as the principal of Manteno Elementary School in Manteno, Illinois. After graduating with his undergraduate degree in math education, he saw great value in continuing his education with two master’s degrees from Olivet. “The completion of these two programs helped open the door for me as my educational career led me into a leadership position,” he says. “ONU provided me with many growth opportunities while still being able to carry out my daily responsibilities in my job. Having a vast network of people from the local area in both programs that I pursued was also a bonus, as I was able to collaborate and learn from their experiences as well.”




At Olivet Nazarene University, faith and learning go hand in hand. The University affirms that all truth is God’s truth and, therefore, cannot be segmented into secular and non-secular categories and departments. Courses are taught by highly skilled academics and “pracademics,” with many professors having not only terminal degrees but also handson experience in their fields.

BEYOND THE IMPACT OF OLIVET’S SHINE.FM Although the catchphrase “We believe. You belong here.” didn’t appear on Olivet Nazarene University marketing materials until the late 1990s, the institution has always focused on strong community interactions, both on campus and in the surrounding area. When Olivet Nazarene College moved in 1939 to Bourbonnais, Illinois, following a devastating fire at the original campus location, the college and the community took some time to adjust to one another. One initiative that helped pave the way for positive engagement was the introduction of a Christian music radio station. The original radio station on Olivet’s campus, WONC, was created in January 1967 as a training facility for college students. Initially located in Ludwig Center, WONC also operated out of the back of Benner Library for a time. In the mid-1980s, the call numbers changed to WONU to reflect the institution’s shift in academic designation from a college to a university, and the reach of the signal expanded. In 2000 the station found a new permanent home when the University acquired a restaurant building just south of campus, and it was rebranded as Shine.FM. The prime location, on a busy thoroughfare in Bourbonnais, has solidified the station’s influence in the community through messages that spread love, joy and hope to listeners.



Shine.FM is a listener-supported radio station owned and operated by Olivet. The mission of Shine is to create relationships that influence people for Christ by building personal connections in the local community using music and experiential activities. Today, the reach of that mission is enormous. Shine.FM provides audio content to more than 1 million listeners every month through four radio channels and a host of rotating podcasts. “At Shine we’re all about a value system, and shared values create community,” says Brian Utter ’91, executive director of the Olivet Media Group. “People desire authenticity and transparency in the media today. Radio is just the platform we use to point people to Christ.” While it might be assumed that playing music is the primary source of listener engagement, in fact, coordinating playlists and interviewing musicians only account for a small portion of the work of a radio station. Through the affiliation with Olivet, a primary purpose of Shine’s work is to provide students with hands-on technical knowledge of the broadcasting industry. Olivet’s Department of Communication offers six unique concentrations for a degree in multimedia communications, all of which allow students to dip their toes into broadcast media.

“The only way you can do broadcasting well is by just getting in and doing it,” Brian explains. “We teach students to be content creators and storytellers through various formats of on-air delivery. Our students bring great energy and enthusiasm; they really add value to our teams. Students think about the media differently than we do, and it’s important to listen to that.”

“Content is still king — you have to have great content,” Brian says. “But that is closely followed by distribution. Technological enhancements including HD and online radio streaming have helped Shine reach new listeners not just in the Midwest but around the world. We recently received an email from a smallbusiness owner in the Netherlands who plays Shine every day.”

That emphasis on practical teaching has paid off, as Olivet is consistently ranked as the No. 1 school in the United States for sending graduates into the Christian radio industry, according to Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB). Spark, a student-run station in the Shine network, provides opportunities for student directors to gain broadcast experience. In 2023 Spark was nominated as CMB’s University Radio Station of the Year.

To further engage the communities touched by Shine.FM, the station has developed connections with 75 impact partners in the greater Chicagoland, Indianapolis and Lansing areas. These organizations, which represent education, healthcare, ministries, financial and legal services, retail and more support the station through sponsorship, but they also seek to facilitate community growth. Shine’s periodic Sticker Stop events inspire people to donate items such as baby wipes, school supplies and box fans for local ministry groups to distribute as needed. Faith and Family events, held in tandem with professional sports events, encourage family togetherness in safe and fun environments. Contemporary concerts provide worldclass music through Christ-centered performances.

As the radio station has continued to increase delivery forms to meet evolving needs, the team has taken advantage of opportunities to extend the geographic reach of its uplifting content. Shine added towers in Indianapolis in 2011 and in Lansing, Michigan, in 2013. The expanded reach of Shine continued in 2023, when the station acquired new channels in Indiana and Illinois, two of which are dedicated to Spanish station Brilla.FM.

With more than 55 years of influence in the community, thousands of people have expressed their gratitude for Shine’s uplifting content. Others



have experienced miraculous redemptive moments, sparked by hearing a song on the radio, listening to a testimony or connecting with community members at an event. The Shine 180 podcast documents such stories of listeners who experienced major life changes as a result of Shine content. The testimonies continue to create a cascade of positivity. “Radio is the most connective medium that exists,” Brian says. “Research has shown that audio triggers a part of the brain that TV and film don’t, as listeners have to create the image in their head through their own imagination. It is actually the most intimate form of media and something I’m proud to have invested my career in.”

What Are Listeners Saying? “I would not want to make it through the tough days without Shine. The music and stories keep me hopeful. I have been blessed with a good-paying position at a job I’m passionate about that makes my soul sing. I feel the little voice telling me, tapping my shoulder to pass it along to others so they, too, can feel the music in their hearts.” – Flora “I am a middle school teacher in an urban school. Things have been really rough this year. Bad behavior and fights have been at an all-time high. Good teachers are quitting, and I go home often feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and struggling to know if I’m making a difference in their academic lives. In addition, what are they seeing in me? I turned on Shine.FM on my way to work one morning, and Crowder’s ‘He Loves Me’ came on and then Cain’s ‘I’m So Blessed’ came on. I started crying out to God, ‘This is why I’m here at this school, so they can see Him through me.’ I’m blessed and stressed, but I have support and know that I know that I have a God Who loves me and died for me. I need to show that grace and love to my kiddos at school. Shine.FM definitely puts me in the right head and heart space to know He will give me the strength to live worthily for Him. I can shine for my students who don’t have much light in other parts of their world.” – Jennifer “I am a truck driver and go from Indiana to Joliet every day. I was having a bad day one day, flipping through channels, and I heard Megan on Shine.FM. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s the only way to listen at work.” – Shawn 58







Dr. Merel Pickenpaugh ’71 recently received the 2023 Lloyd Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award for his service at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU).

Abbie Mantor ’06 successfully defended her

Merel served as a faithful adjunct for 27 years before becoming a full‑time faculty member in the criminal justice program. 1982L

Annette (Edmunds) Miller ’82 has joined

the faculty at Keiser University in Florida as an adjunct clinical nursing instructor. Keiser University is a private not-for-profit university located throughout Florida, with its main campus located in Fort Lauderdale. There are also campuses in China and Nicaragua as well as an online campus.

dissertation in January 2023 and graduated with her Ph.D. in Biblical studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. In August she accepted an interim position as assistant professor of Biblical studies at Bethel University in Mishawaka, Indiana. 2009L

Tracey (Wangler) Pearson ’09 and her

husband, Matthew, welcomed their second son, Declan James, on Aug. 25. Their older son, Reed, loves being a big brother.

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




PATRICIA HOOKS ’57 March 30, 1934–Sept. 17, 2023 Loveland, Ohio


ESTELLA RUTH (STOWE) MCVEY ’44 June 15, 1922–Oct. 21, 2023 Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

JASPER DEVIDAL ’62 Dec. 22, 1939–Sept. 1, 2023 Decatur, Illinois

ROBERT CLENDENEN ’49, D.D.S. Aug. 23, 1923–Sept. 16, 2023 Bella Vista, Arizona

ARTHUR “ART” BEECHER ’63 Feb. 20, 1940–Sept. 22, 2023 Bargersville, Indiana

DONNIS PAUL BURRIS ’50 April 28, 1927–Oct. 13, 2023 Dayton, Ohio

DUANE KOETS ’63 May 8, 1940–Nov. 7, 2023 Normal, Illinois

DONALD EUGENE WILLIAMSON ’54 Dec. 12, 1932–July 15, 2023 Bradenton, Florida

THOMAS PASKO ’70 Jan. 1, 1948–Nov. 4, 2023 Urbana, Ohio

BEVERLY (PETERSEN) RASMUSSEN ’55 Oct. 26, 1933–Sept. 20, 2023 Phoenix, Arizona

STEPHEN GOULD ’84 Jan. 24, 1962–Sept. 19, 2023 Chesapeake, Virginia

JAMES “JIM” MITCHELL ’56 April 4, 1933–Sept. 3, 2023 Kansas City, Missouri



Many loved ones have created scholarships in memory or recognition of a loved one. Gifts to Olivet can be made in memory of a loved one at Olivet.edu/giving. Designate specific gifts in memory of Stephen Gould at Olivet.edu/StephenGould.

KENNETH (KEN) JEWELL ’72 Oct. 20, 1950–Feb. 19, 2023 Gwynneville, Indiana FRIENDS OF OLIVET DONNA (FIEDLER) HITPAS ’03 May 7, 1950–Sept. 24, 2023 New Baden, Illinois

VALERIE (GREENE) CARBERRY July 28, 1961–Sept. 16, 2023 Decatur, Illinois

CHRISTINA JANKUS ’04/’11 M.A. Aug. 6, 1981–Oct. 31, 2023 Peotone, Illinois

DORIS CHEESEMAN Sept. 2, 1926–Oct. 28, 2023 Berne, Indiana

PAUL JOHNSON Sept. 27, 1930–Oct. 26, 2023 Gassville, Arkansas FACULTY & STAFF DR. LEO FINKENBINDER Professor Emeritus Nov. 1, 1940–Aug. 8, 2023 Bethany, Oklahoma

RICHARD KENWORTHY April 28, 1974–Sept. 18, 2023 Fresno, California

DR. DAVID KALE Feb. 13, 1943–Nov. 8, 2023 Cornwall, Pennsylvania

EARL EUGENE “GENE” LEVINER May 9, 1941–Oct. 28, 2023 Columbus, Ohio

JANICE (HOCKENSMITH) LAUN ’74 Professor Emeritus May 23, 1947–Oct. 8, 2023 Bourbonnais, Illinois

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






COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 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 History Leadership Studies Legal Studies Literature 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 Political Science – Public Policy Psychology Public Relations & Strategic Communication Social Science Social Science Education Sociology Spanish Spanish Education Theatre Production & Performance Writing SCHOOL OF MUSIC Music Music – Composition Music Education Music – Jazz Studies Music Ministry Music – Performance Music – Recording Arts

WALKER SCHOOL OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS 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 & Biochemical 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 COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES Criminal Justice Criminal Justice – Criminology Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement Dietetics Family & Consumer Sciences – Hospitality Health Education Interior Design Kinesiology Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology Kinesiology – Pre-Athletic Training Kinesiology – Pre-Occupational Therapy Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy Military Affairs Military Science Physical Education Recreation & Sport Studies Social Work Sport Management SCHOOL OF EDUCATION Child Development Early Childhood Education Elementary Education Special Education Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction Master of Arts in Education: Educational Leadership Master of Arts in Education: Reading Specialist Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership



Accounting Business – Human Resource Management Business – Management Business – Philanthropy/Not‑forProfit Business – Operations Management Business – Public Administration Business Administration Economics Economics & Finance – Applied Economics Economics & Finance – Certified Financial Planning Economics & Finance – Corporate Finance Entrepreneurship 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

Biblical Languages Biblical Studies Children’s Ministry Christian Education Christian Ministry Christian Studies Greek Hebrew Intercultural Studies Ministerial Missions Pastoral Ministry Philosophy Philosophy & Religion Pre-Seminary 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

SCHOOL OF NURSING 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 Bachelor of Science in Nursing RN to Master of Science in Nursing





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

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

Olivet 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.

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 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, 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.

CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS 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.

MISSION “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.

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


Olivet Nazarene University is dedicated to assisting prospective students, and making an affordable pathway to higher education is one of the enrollment team’s priorities. Named a 2024 U.S. News “Best Value School,” ranked among WalletHub’s 2024 top 10 list of Illinois colleges and designated a four-star university by Money Magazine, ONU is committed to making the Olivet experience affordable for every student. In 2024 the University will disperse nearly $100 million in grants and financial aid.


Olivet Nazarene University graduate degrees and certificates offer more than advancement; they offer real career development. Areas of study include business, education, nursing, ministry and ethical leadership — all of which keep Olivet students centered on purpose. We offer more than 20 convenient and affordable programs and degree opportunities. Students can choose from the online M.O.L., M.S.N., RN-B.S.N., RNM.S.N., Ed.D., M.A.E., FNP, M.Div. or the M.A. — and some can be completed in as little as one year.


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