Olivet the Magazine - Winter 2020

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EDUCATION AND PURPOSE Since 1907, Olivet has provided excellent academic instruction for the purpose of personal development and career preparedness. Faculty and students continually receive recognition for outstanding academic achievement through contributions to research, scholarly presentations at professional conferences and outstanding performances in national competitions. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO


FROM THE PRESIDENT The First and Best Christmas Gift


OLIVET NEWS Headlines From Campus and the World


LOVE FOR THE LEAST OF THESE Loving Others as Christ Loves Us



OLIVET THE MAGAZINE Dear Friends, As we contemplated the scope of this winter issue and pondered the possibilities of yet another Advent season, our thoughts seemed to settle on two primary Christmas wishes for the entire Olivet family. First, Jesus. As Corrie Ten Boom once wrote, “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.” We agree! The story is perfect and Jesus is perfect. Our sincere prayer is that all of us will have a fresh encounter with Jesus the Christ and truly experience His love in the midst of this celebration season. May we not be fools for lesser things but instead rediscover the true wonder and pure joy embedded in the Christmas story. Second, friendship. The English novelist and poet Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, in her poem “Friendship,” describes it in the following way: “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts, nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness blow, the rest away.” We all live busy, even cluttered lives at times. Our wholehearted hope is that we all might find true friendship and fellowship this year at Christmas. Peppered with lots of love, laughter and a generosity of spirit, may we all slow down enough to really connect with those who matter most to each of us. So, we have assembled a series of good-news stories from the various corners of the Olivet community centered on compassion, service, generosity and love to get us in the Christmas spirit. As you wonder and wander your way through the holiday season, may you find comfort and peace in Jesus our Lord and in the company of family and friends. Merry Christmas! The Editorial Board




WINTER 2020 OLIVET THE MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Office of Marketing and Engagement under the direction of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. VOLUME 87 ISSUE 4 (USPS 407-880) (ISSN 2325-7334) Copyright ©2020 Olivet Nazarene University One University Avenue Bourbonnais, IL 60914-2345 800-648-1463 PRESIDENT Dr. John C. Bowling ’71/’72 M.A./’06 D.Div., Ed.D., D.Min. EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Dr. David J. Pickering ’89/’94 MBA, D.B.A. VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT DEVELOPMENT Dr. Walter “Woody” Webb ’86/’89 M.A.R./’08 D.Div. VICE PRESIDENT FOR INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 Litt.D. VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS Dr. Carol Summers ’88/’90 M.A.E., Ed.D. VICE PRESIDENT FOR ONU GLOBAL Dr. Ryan Spittal ’99/’04 MBA, D.B.A. 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 Lauren Beatty ’13 Erinn Proehl ’13/’19 MBA ART DIRECTION George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group DESIGN Matt Moore ’96 for 989 Group Donnie Johnson ILLUSTRATION Thomas Dinkleman ’18 PHOTOGRAPHY (AS CREDITED) Jones Foto Image Group Adobe Stock Mark Ballogg Joe Mantarian ’16 Austin Siscoe ’17 EDITORIAL SUPPORT AND DESIGN Adam Asher ’01/’07 M.O.L. for 989 Group Alicia Guertin ’14 Rebecca Huber Austin Siscoe ’17 Heather (Kinzinger) Shaner ’98

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.

STUDENT SUPPORT Westin Edwards ’20 Hannah Iverson ’21 Elizabeth Kijowski ’21 Andrew Perabeau ’20 Rachel Sedgwick ’20 Taylor-Marie Spalding ’20 Jackson Thornhill ’20




FROM THE PRESIDENT The First and Best Christmas Gift

It happened in a moment — a magnificent, most remarkable moment. God entered the world. He came not in a flash of light or as a mighty warrior-king. No, He stepped into the world as a baby. And it all happened in a moment — in a wonderful, wonder-filled moment.

Think about it: God, in all His splendor and majesty, came calling in a cradle. He was given eyebrows and elbows and earlobes. He came as one whose first cries were heard by a young woman and a sleepy carpenter. It happened in a moment — a most remarkable, magnificent moment. Joseph; Mary; their engagement; the Angel; Mary’s pregnancy; the decree; a census; the journey to their ancestral home, the city of David; the stable; and all the rest came to fulfillment in one moment of divine love and generosity. Mary’s pain gave way to joy and wonder as she remembered the words of the angel: La Natività by Pier Maria Bagnadore (1550–1627) Chiesa del Santissimo Corpo di Cristo

“You will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His Kingdom will never end.” — Luke 1:31-33



There He was: Jesus, born not in Jerusalem with royal servants attending but in a stable. He arrived almost unnoticed. If it were not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception; yet, how fitting it was that the “Lamb of God” and the One Who would be referred to as “The Good Shepherd” was greeted by shepherds Himself. Were it not for a group of stargazers from the East, there would be no gifts. Yet, these “wise men” noticed the calligraphy of God on the canopy of heaven announcing the birth of a newborn king. Sure enough, the King of Kings had been born on earth. The good news of Advent is that God continues to come into this world. In fact, He is always here — Emmanuel, “God with us.” You see, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son as our Savior, promising that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. This first and best Christmas gift not only offers redemption to all who will receive it but also sets a pattern of love expressed through giving — the grace of generosity. Among the values embedded in an Olivet education are stewardship, generosity and service. How rewarding it is to see our students give themselves in scores of ways to help others: running the Chicago Marathon to raise funds for clean water, tutoring area children after school, giving up spring breaks to minister in the inner city or a world mission area, providing assistance to the Salvation Army and the United Way. The scope of their generosity is boundless. Giving is contagious, and Olivet students have caught the fever! May we all be inspired to lean into this same spirit of generosity during these special days. Find comfort and joy in the knowledge that God loves you and that He is for you!

Senior Abrial Harkins and Junior Ike Acha (pictured above) spent eight weeks of summer 2019 in Ecuador, learning Spanish through the Nazarene International Language Institute and serving the local church in partnership with Nazarene Theological Seminary.

Have a wonderful Christmas and blessed New Year!

DR. JOHN C. BOWLING is in his 28th year as president of Olivet Nazarene University. An Olivet alumnus and Harvard University Fellow with two master’s degrees and two earned doctorates, Dr. Bowling is a bestselling author and a prominent national speaker. He is internationally recognized as an outstanding leader in higher education and the Church. His most recent book is ReVision: 13 Strategies To Renew Your Work, Your Organization, and Your Life.







UNIT OPERATIONS LAB Officially opened during Homecoming 2019, the unit operations lab allows students to run and study chemical operations processes that mimic those used in the chemical engineering industry. The science labs housed in Reed Hall of Science give students hands-on, relevant experiences to supplement and enhance their theoretical coursework. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO



Good News! Award-winning Proclamation Gospel Choir makes a splash on tour, goes viral on social media

Under the direction of Dr. Marvin Jones, the 100 students in Olivet’s Proclamation Gospel Choir (PGC) are known for its dynamic performances of gospel music. The choir often posts rehearsal videos on its social media platforms, making the music and messaging feel accessible and relevant to audiences. To date, those posts have garnered more than 1 million viewers. Whether performing on campus in Centennial Chapel or on its biannual tours, the choir is easily recognizable by its energizing vocals and striking purple and black robes. Earlier this fall, PGC brought home a 2019 Kingdom Award in the Best Large Group category. The annual awards honor Christian music artists for their creative contributions to the Kingdom within their local faith-based communities. With a following of more than 80,000 people on Facebook, PGC was nominated for the award because of the positive influence its music has had on people’s lives. The choir’s newest full-length album, Awesome, was released by ONU Presents and is available at Olivet.edu/store.


Join Proclamation Gospel Choir’s nationwide following on Facebook. Search ”Proclamation Gospel Choir-ONU.“ OLIVET.EDU





THEOLOGICAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE WELCOMES DR. N.T. WRIGHT More than 750 attended the Theological Leadership Conference held at Olivet on Sept. 5–7. Representing 29 states, three countries and more than 39 denominations, attendees learned from internationally known theologian and keynote speaker Dr. N.T. Wright, who has written more than 80 books for laypeople, pastors and theologians. N.T. Wright ’s theological scholarship has helped the Church stand on the edge of the Gospel in the modern day, while pointing back to the traditional story of that Gospel throughout the centuries. During the conference, Dr. Wright wove together the latest insights of Biblical scholarship and the necessity for meaningful and practical engagement for ministry in today’s world. Dr. Wright also joined a panel of church leaders including Dr. Tom Noble, Dr. Kathy Mowry and Dr. Jeff Stark in honest conversation regarding the well-being of the Church.


COACH BRENDA WILLIAMS RETIRES AFTER 23 SEASONS Head volleyball coach Brenda Williams announced at the beginning of the 2019 season that she would be stepping down from her position. By the conclusion of the 2018 volleyball season, she had earned 618 wins over 23 seasons, contributing to 908 combined wins over a 35-year career. She ranks fourth all-time on the NAIA active coaches list for career wins. With the departure of Williams from the head coach’s seat, Cynthia Anderson, assistant volleyball coach at Olivet since 2018, was appointed interim head coach by Gary Newsome, Olivet’s director of athletics. ONU ATHLETICS



On Oct. 11, Olivet hosted the Kankakee Area Special Educators Symposium (KASES), a unique gathering to celebrate, challenge and inspire special education professionals. With generous support from an alumni donor family, the one-day event was arranged by Dr. Brian Stipp ’02 and the School of Education. The event brought more than 120 special educators, community partners and Olivet students together to network and discuss strategies and best practices to holistically address the needs of students with special needs. Highlights included speaker Judy Kilbride and recognition of the Special Educators of the Year, including Olivet alumna Sarah Matyskela ’17.



On Oct. 13, 40 Olivet students, faculty and staff ran the Chicago Marathon as part of Team World Vision. The runners on Olivet’s team raised more than $54,000 this year, contributing to $480,000 collectively raised by Olivet’s runners over the past eight years of participation. Jeremy Van Kley ’97, dean of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies and two-time marathon finisher, said of the experience, “The marathon is an incredibly challenging endurance race — both emotionally and physically — but so incredibly rewarding. It’s amazing what God can do through each one of us when we say ‘yes.’ ”




The Olivet women’s soccer team had a stellar season with an overall record of 14-2-1 and a conference record of 11-0-1. The team allowed seven goals the entire season, including just one goal during conference play. Senior midfielder and team captain Sarah Buffum scored eight goals and made five assists. Buffum has been the team’s leading scorer for the past four years and ranks as the Tigers’ fifth all-time leading scorer with 41 goals in her college career. Senior Amanda Durbin tallied eight goals and one assist, and sophomore midfielder Teagon Albert had two goals and two assists on the season. Junior Kelly Sylvester anchored a strong back line of starting defenders, including freshmen Marissa Anderson, Sara Loichinger and Abbey Cash.



After offering coed intramural volleyball for years, Olivet announced the addition of men’s varsity volleyball as a natural expansion of ONU athletics programs. The sport is sponsored by both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). The inaugural team will begin play in spring 2021 and will use the existing facilities in McHie Arena, a 2,500seat facility used by the women’s varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams as well as the men’s and women’s basketball teams.




The theatre program’s production of All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten officially kicked off the 2019–2020 theatre season. The play, based on Robert Fulghum’s bestselling book, featured 12 talented student actors portraying several heartwarming, tightly woven stories. Each story celebrated human existence from the whimsy of childhood to the wisdom of old age.



REAMS AND MAYHUGH NEW ON THE BOOKSHELF Samuel Mayhugh ’61, Ph.D., an executive psychologist, recently published Harold’s Story: A Journey of Uncommon Healing. Through a mix of narrative and clinical notes, Dr. Mayhugh uncovers a troubling yet inspirational story of trauma and recovery, darkness and redemption. Harold’s Story is a helpful book for ministers, counselors and all who seek to help or be helped. It is an inspiring reminder of the incredible grace of God and the power of Christian forgiveness. Dr. Mayhugh taught psychology at Olivet in the late 1960s. He is the founder of International Behavioral Health (IBH), a behavioral health care company, and has served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He and his wife, Arlene (Middleton) ’59, reside in Newport Beach, California. Dr. Max Reams ’00 M.P.C., chair emeritus of the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences at Olivet, recently published two relationship-based devotional books, Before Your Journey: A Premarital Guide and On the Journey: A Married Couple’s Guide. David Wine ’72, associate professor of Christian ministry at Olivet, says, “Before Your Journey is brimming with relational wisdom and Scriptural truth, balanced with contemporary research and resources. The result will jumpstart your marital journey toward a healthy and joyous path.” Dr. Reams and his wife, Carol (Cushard) ’93/’00 M.P.C., reside in Bourbonnais.




EPIC AUTUMN Though the ground is already covered with snow and the leaves have all fallen, the remnants of autumn are alive in the pumpkin lattes and toasty fires in the Warming House. More than 10,000 people visit Olivet during autumn — more than any other season! PHOTO BY JONES FOTO



APPLE DISTINGUISHED Olivet is an Apple Distinguished School for 2019–2022 for its continued innovation of the iPad Initiative throughout the Department of Art and Digital Media, School of Music and School of Education. The one-to-one iPad Initiative in the School of Music enables academic innovation and allows every music major, University ensemble and faculty member to use iPad technology and iTunes U for course resources and sheet music. PHOTO BY WES TAYLOR


CREATIVE LICENSE The Kevin and Judith Sims Educational Center – West Campus, provides classroom and studio space for the Department of Art and Digital Media. The hallways serve as galleries for student work, and a converted gym is used as rehearsal space for the theatre program. In addition to instruction in traditional art media, courses taught in the Sims Center include video design, 3D graphics and animation, and digital programming. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO




CAMPUS VISITS Each month, Olivet hosts hundreds of prospective students and their parents during Purple and Gold Days or customized visits. Visiting classes, meeting with professors and checking out campus hot spots are all part of the experience for students. We Believe. You Belong Here. Schedule your visit at Olivet.edu/Visit. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO





From the moment Olivet Honors Program students set foot on campus, they join a community of scholars. Together in Christian fellowship, they study, learn and grow. In their junior and senior years, students work on a capstone scholarship project with faculty mentors. The results of these projects are often life-changing. The culmination of student research projects is the annual publication of ELAIA: The Honors Journal of Olivet Nazarene University. In the second volume of student work (published fall 2019), the journal nearly doubled in length to include the research of 16 students, reflecting a record-sized graduating cohort of the program. Through their capstone research projects alongside faculty mentors, students produce original investigations and draw conclusions about the world and about God's creation that were previously unknown. Dr. Derek Rosenberger, Honors Program faculty and assistant professor of biological sciences, says, “One of the greatest opportunities we have as faculty is getting to walk alongside students as they develop into experts and scholars in the passions God has bestowed on them. ELAIA is a wonderful instrument to showcase their research.” The experience that Honors Program students gain from diving into a two-year capstone research project often provides clarity for career pursuits, opportunities to present at national conferences and a boost to their résumés for internships, research fellowships and graduate school applications. 22 OLIVET.EDU

A few research highlights from the 2019 graduating cohort included Kim Zralka’s work as the first researcher to investigate how habitat preferences in Illinois change by season for the threatened redheaded woodpecker; Katie Dickey’s exploration of dark matter in space; Tim Mayotte’s research on the use of antioxidants to protect from harmful water contaminants; and Elisa Klaassen’s ability to draw new connections between Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary works. Of the 16 papers published in the second volume of ELAIA, two are published as abstracts only. The research that McKenna Conforti and Kim Zralka completed through the Honors Program is likely to be submitted for first publication to peer-reviewed research journals. To leave this avenue open, the journal’s committee decided to publish only the abstracts of their projects. Applications for the next incoming cohort — students who will graduate with the class of 2024 — are due Jan. 30, 2020. To be eligible for application to the Honors Program, students must meet at least one of the following qualifications: have an ACT score of 28 or an equivalent SAT score; graduate in the top 10 percent of their graduating class; or have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.75 on a 4.0 scale. For more details about the Honors Program and application information, visit Olivet.edu/honors. Go to issuu.com/olivet/docs/ to view the latest volume of ELAIA.

FOR THE LEAST OF THESE In a society that often expects change to happen in an instant, these women understand that in order to meet the spiritual needs of the people they serve, they must first meet more tangible needs of shelter, medical attention, food and mental health services. “‘For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me,’ ... ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these ... you did for Me.’” Matthew 25:35—36, 40




“I don’t consider the work I do as executive director of Fortitude Community Outreach to be a job; I’m just simply following a Kingdom calling. Everyone in the Kingdom of God has a unique role to play in serving others, and I’m trying to do mine.”


DAWN BROERS After Dr. Dawn (Jordan) Broers ’96 graduated from Olivet with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she quickly realized that her true passion was social work and pursued a Master of Social Work degree to further her understanding of the field. After working as a school social worker from 2001 to 2014, Dr. Broers transitioned to teaching at the college level and looked for new opportunities to share her knowledge of and passion for addressing mental health within her local community. With years of experience in social work, Dr. Broers understood that regardless of someone’s passion for change, the ability to find resources for people who need help at the most basic levels is sometimes almost impossible due to limited funding for community services. She felt a strong, divine calling to better serve the homeless population in the Kankakee area. She knew that the only way was a new organization with “customercentered” human services. In the beginning, Fortitude operated solely as a weekly street outreach in downtown Kankakee, aiming to meet the basic needs of and building relationships within the homeless community. When the local Salvation Army closed its on-site shelter, Dr. Broers and her team knew they needed to fill the gap. “I completely walked out on faith,” she says. “Fortitude didn’t have any money, but I did have a distinct vision. I felt very confident that God was equipping me specifically to do this work.” In spring 2018, Fortitude Community Outreach formally took shape. One year later, the organization received its 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit organization. To keep costs and maintenance at a minimum, the organization decided to use a Public Action To Deliver Shelter (PADS) model, an established system of sheltering the homeless by utilizing existing community spaces like churches or community centers that are available in the evenings.

only emergency housing to offering transitional housing for four shelter guests who demonstrated the capacity to take steps toward self-sufficiency and independent living. In October, when the cold weather returned to Illinois, Fortitude reopened its revolving doors of overnight housing to the community. By the end of October 2019, the shelter had already provided shelter for 40 individuals. Although the road has often been paved with barriers, Dr. Broers has learned that members of the community are generous with their time and resources. Many people want to help but don’t know how. Dr. Broers continually encourages people to find ways to get involved — from donating toothbrushes and deodorant to providing a home-cooked meal to volunteering an evening to play board games with overnight guests. No matter what, the giving should be done with love and without strings attached, Dr. Broers says. “Sometimes, people try to determine a person’s worthiness before helping them, but it doesn’t take much to look past missing teeth or unkempt hair and see the good person hiding beneath a tough exterior,” she explains. Dr. Broers knows that treating people with respect and dignity is the often the greatest gift with the strongest impact. In addition to her work with Fortitude, Dr. Broers operates a private practice and is an adjunct professor in Olivet’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies and Walden University’s Master of Social Work program. She received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois and earned a Ph.D. in social work from Walden. She and her husband, Tom, live in Bourbonnais and have four children. Two of their children, Junior Austin and Freshman Elizabeth, attend Olivet. LAUREN BEATTY

In its first season, January to April 2019, the Fortitude overnight shelter accommodated 13 individuals per night at six rotating locations. Over the summer, Fortitude expanded from offering OLIVET.EDU


“As a missioner of health, I will dedicate myself to devoted service to human welfare.” Excerpt from the Florence Nightingale Nursing Pledge, 1935



Kayla Bissonette ’13 first heard about Mercy Ships in college, but she didn’t consider the option seriously. Shortly after graduating from Olivet with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, she got a job in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Mayo Clinic, one of the top hospitals in the United States. Despite loving her work at Mayo, Kayla realized the idea of Mercy Ships still lingered in the back of her mind, and so she decided to apply as a volunteer nurse. For 10 months each year, Africa Mercy, the largest civilian surgery ship, remains docked in an African port (currently Dakar, Senegal). Doctors and nurses provide free health care to patients with tumors, burn contractures and orthopedic deformities. Like any hospital, Mercy Ships has routine protocols for providing health care but incorporates medical influences of their staff from around the world, reinforcing the idea that there are many great ways to complete a process.


“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse where the services were most needed — to give to Christ the gifts of my time and energy in ways I had not before,” she says. “After lots of prayer, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to serve with Mercy Ships.” Kayla’s volunteer position with Mercy Ships required not only the sacrifice of a paycheck but also the expenses of daily life aboard a ship. After deciding to commit to a field service opportunity on the ship, she spent another year at Mayo taking extra shifts and gaining more experience to save money and prepare for her work abroad. Kayla’s first field service commitment with Mercy Ships, off the coast of Cameroon, took a bit of an adjustment period, but she embraced the challenges with optimism. “The privilege of meeting the patients and working with the crew in a united front to resemble Jesus Christ and serving some of the poorest of the poor is why I stayed,” she explains. “Adama, Brahim, Axel, Mama Sabine, Morigbe, Mas-Odautou — they are the beautiful people for whom I returned to the ship to serve again.” Shortly after returning home to Minnesota and reestablishing the routines of normal life, Kayla decided to commit to another stint aboard the ship. At home, she saved before returning to the ship to serve off the coast of Guinea for a four-month commitment at the end of 2018. During her two field service commitments on the ship, Kayla witnessed countless medical miracles. While amazed by the outcomes of modern medicine, she insists that a deeper level of healing occurred for many patients. “I was able to provide some help — doctors definitely provided care — but the Lord is the ultimate healer,” she reflects. Her experiences abroad helped Kayla appreciate the extensive resources that are available in the United States. In sharp contrast to her work at Mayo, some of the nurses on the ship were amazed when she described working with transplant patients; they had never dreamed of working in a place that could offer such health care. “Working with individuals with whom I did not speak the same language and translators who had never before worked in the medical field grew my compassion and my patience,” Kayla


says. “I experienced so many moments when I understood the fear of being in a new, strange place. I learned the importance of showing love, compassion and care without using words because, sometimes, that simply was not an option.” Now back in the States, Kayla still works with individuals from around the world in her role as a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in the transplant and medical-surgical ICU. While she occasionally meets language barriers, her experiences abroad have given her a better understanding and appreciation of how different cultures approach illness. In an industry that can be bogged down with insurance claims and the heartbreak of pain and suffering, Kayla is optimistic about the future of health care. She continues to see a growing appreciation for and investment in holistic wellness rather than just physical care. Medical staff are realizing that there are a lot of influencing factors as to why someone is not recovering. “My patients are strong and courageous,” she says. “I love coming alongside and rooting for them as they strive to improve as well as the honor of walking alongside patients and families when improvement may not be likely.” Uncertain whether she will return overseas or continue serving in a more local capacity, Kayla is confident that her experiences have expanded her understanding of God. “My work as a nurse has confirmed the Lord’s love for the nations,” she says. “I’m excited to continue serving His people by providing support and healing care.” LAUREN BEATTY



FIRST PERSON Nate Degner, Educator and Worship Arts Director

Nate Degner ’92 grew up surrounded by Olivetians. His grandparents, the Revs. Frank and Nellie Enoch, went to “Old Olivet” and graduated in the 1930s. His late mother, Ruth (Enoch) Degner, graduated in 1951, and his sister and most of his aunts, uncles and cousins also found their way to campus. Family reunions were naturally held during Olivet’s Homecoming Weekend. By the time he was looking for a college to attend, Nate was so familiar with the campus and professors that he was confident Olivet was the right fit. He didn’t even apply anywhere else.


“The most important aspect of my experience at Olivet was the spiritual component to everything . . . having professors and mentors, such as Dr. George Dunbar, who cared for and prayed with me changed the course of my life.”

Nate and Laura Degner



Despite the family ties to the University, Nate was able to create a unique, unforgettable experience that was all his own. He took full advantage of the plethora of opportunities to get involved in the Department of Music, spending most of his time in Larsen Fine Arts Center in rehearsals with Orpheus Choir, the University Orchestra and Jazz Band. He also performed in the inaugural operatic production at Olivet (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro) and worked as an operator in Strickler Planetarium. As a music major, Nate enjoyed unique opportunities that his colleagues, who went to larger universities, didn’t have until graduate school. Specifically, Nate was able to get in front of ensembles and conduct them. “The most important aspect of my experience at Olivet was the spiritual component to everything,” Nate says. “It’s easy to become cynical when you’re in the Olivet bubble, but looking back, having professors and mentors, such Dr. George Dunbar, that cared for and prayed with me changed the course of my life.” “Dr. Harlow Hopkins and professor Joe Noble gave me the chance to do an honors project of rehearsing and conducting a master choral work,” he recalls. “Even in my graduate work at Michigan State University, I wasn’t afforded that chance.”

choir teacher for Flushing High School and Middle School, where he has taught for the past 25 years. One of Nate’s classroom traditions is to host periodic “Philosophy Days With Degner,” when the class stops rehearsing for a day to discuss relevant topics that students need to know about life. He covers how to file taxes and change car tires; the differences betwen a teacher and a professor and between college, trade school, the military and a job; and the importance of understanding school loan debt. He explains, “I use music as a vehicle to help students. Kids these days need someone who will just listen to them and give advice when needed. The best part of my job is that I have many students from 7th through 12th grade, so I really get to know them. That six-year relationship is important when their life goes sideways or when their future is uncertain.” Olivet has always been a part of Nate’s life. “I have lifelong friends to this day that I can call on at any time. I met my amazing wife, Laura (Wing) ’92, at Olivet and we have two amazing kids, Aaron and Allie, who are now being shaped and molded as students at Olivet — the same place where I found my footing.”

Beyond the Bourbonnais campus, Olivet continued to create meaningful connections for Nate. Olivet alumnus Keith Burba ’65 was playing golf with a local principal who needed a choir teacher and suggested Nate as a potential candidate. Nate was hired as the



COMFORTS OF HOME Living on campus is one of the highlights of the Olivet experience. Sharing and learning together, hanging out and having fun together is how close friendships and lifelong memories are formed. After living in residence halls freshman year, upperclassman students have the option to live in spacious campus apartment complexes. Resident directors and resident assistants live within student housing to provide guidance and support, ensuring a positive living experience for every student. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO





Dr. Joseph and Michele Serpe, Aurora, Illinois Olivet The Magazine (OTM): How did your family first hear about Olivet? We knew Olivet was a Christian college but learned more when our second son, Kyle, was searching for local colleges that offered chemical engineering. He was impressed by the stats — like the percentage of graduates who found employment in their major, average GPA, class size, etc. Kyle wanted a Christian university that was somewhat small: a place where he could have a voice and make a difference. Olivet checked off most, if not all, of his wish list, so we went for a college visit. OTM: How has Olivet made an impact on your family? After choosing Olivet, Kyle encouraged his older brother, Ryan, to visit and think about transferring from the state college he was attending. Ryan was a bit apprehensive at first but agreed to visit and check things out at Olivet. Halfway through his visit, Ryan told us that he would transfer to Olivet the following year. When asked why he felt that Olivet was where he thought he belonged, he responded, “It feels like God is there, and I really like that.” All three of our sons attended Olivet’s first summer STEM Camp in June 2016. This past summer, with the encouragement from her three older brothers, our daughter, Cara, attended STEM Camp. She completely enjoyed the program, students and faculty — and even decided to graduate from high school a semester early just so she could start the chemical engineering program at Olivet.

Serpe family: Emma Melchoir ’19 fianceé to senior Kyle Serpe, junior Eric Serpe, Michele Serpe, Joseph Serpe, freshman Cara Serpe, Stephanie (Holbrook) ’19 and Ryan Serpe ’19.

OTM: What is unique about the Olivet experience? The professors have taken a personal interest in helping each of our kids. Connecting their passion of becoming problem-solving engineers to their Christian faith has given them clear purpose. The professors have created that connection by providing a time to read a Bible passage and pray before class time. That relating of faith to their academic pursuits and the bigger vocational world has provided a deeper appreciation for God’s purpose in their lives. Our kids have also been grateful for the residential life boundaries regarding curfew and alcohol: They felt that the rules took social pressure off their college experience and felt safe knowing they could continue to grow academically, relationally and spiritually at Olivet. OTM: Would you recommend Olivet to others? We can honestly say that we walked away from our initial visit very excited and hopeful that all of our kids would choose to attend Olivet. We have been on other university campuses, but none compare to what Olivet offers in its warm Christian attitude, academic excellence and welcoming faculty and staff. While parents are watching their children make choices that will guide their lives, it is very reassuring to know that Olivet encourages students to prioritize developing their faith. Olivet has provided so many opportunities for our kids to engage and create connections that will serve them well into the future. The Olivet experience has laid an amazing foundation for success in the job market and faith maturity and has helped shape our kids into wonderful young adults. OLIVET.EDU


Jesus saw loving God and loving our neighbors as one inseparable mandate. No one expects us to love them flawlessly, but we can love them fearlessly, furiously and unreasonably. Jesus didn’t say who our neighbors are either. Probably so we wouldn’t start making lists of people we don’t need to love." - Bob Goff, from New York Times bestselling Everybody, Always

During this Advent season, we center our thoughts on stories of compassion, service, generosity and love. Love is indeed in the air — and all around us. May we all locate the extravagant love of God in these stories and be inspired to love God and our neighbors more fully during these sacred days.




Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Shine.FM exists to build relationships that influence people for Christ. The Christian radio station accomplishes this through building personal connections in the local community using music and experiential activities. However, Brian Utter ’91, ministry director of Shine.FM, will be the first to say that the traditional provision of music radio is only a small portion of the radio station’s work.


WONC, Olivet’s campus radio station, was created in January 1967 as a training facility for students. Originally located in Ludwig Center, WONC also operated out of the back of Benner Library. In the mid1980s, the call numbers changed to WONU to reflect Olivet’s shift in designation from a college to a university. Further changes happened in the early 2000s, when Olivet acquired an old Hardee’s restaurant just south of campus. WONU found a new home. Brian graduated from Olivet with a degree in broadcasting and quickly moved on to complete his master’s degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1994. He worked in Chicago at WCFL from 1994 to 2001 before accepting the call to the mission field as the regional communication coordinator for World Mission Broadcast in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2008, Brian was called back to the States to lead World Mission Broadcast globally. During that time, Brian helped redirect radio strategy in Africa and provided strategy for launching Arabic TV, based out of Lebanon, that now broadcasts to the entire Arabic-speaking world. In 2011, Brian was called back to Olivet. His initial job as the program director for Shine.FM was to coordinate all programming that went over the radio airwaves, scheduling hosts for programming and giving direction to the music that was played. Currently, as the ministry director, Brian keeps the radio station moving forward, guiding the staff and strategy toward the mission and vision.

As with most forms of technology, Shine.FM has had to evolve in order to stay relevant and competitive in the industry. What started as a single radio frequency of terrestrial radio has expanded to include multiple HD radio platforms: Shine.FM; Brilla.FM, a Spanish-only station; and Spark, a student-run station that provides opportunities for 10 student directors to gain practical, relevant experience working in broadcasting. Through a continued partnership with Shine.FM, Olivet has consistently been ranked as the No. 1 school in the United States for feeding graduates into the Christian radio industry, according to Christian Music Broadcasters Association. Major upgrades to the student labs — completed during the station’s 50th anniversary — have provided students with opportunities to learn on digital equipment and increased station functionality and flexibility for enhanced programming. While the adage of broadcasting used to be “Content is king,” lately, one might say, “Distribution is queen.” In 2011, Shine.FM began expanding its broadcast reach directly to Indianapolis and then, in 2013, to Lansing, Michigan. The station also produces three rotating podcasts: “Kitchen Table “(hosted by Brian and his son, Jake, an Olivet sophomore); “MomCast,” a women’s interest talk show; and “Shine180,” an NPR-style story-driven show featuring stories of forgiveness, hope and redemption.

SHINE.FM has three unique stations available onlline. In addition to the flagship station, listeners can choose BRILLA.FM (Hispanic Christian Radio) or SPARKHD.FM (Music for Generation Now).



On a weekly basis, more than 200,000 people tune in to Shine. FM’s platforms. As a listener-supported radio station, Shine.FM tailors the programming to best engage and connect with listeners. Periodic “Sticker Stops” inspire people to donate items such as baby wipes, school supplies and box fans that local ministry groups can distribute as needed; Faith and Family events, held in tandem with professional sports games, encourage family togetherness in a safe and fun environment; and concerts provide great music in Christian community. The missional messaging of Shine.FM encourages audiences to spread love, joy and hope to the people in their circle of influence and beyond. In partnership with the Crossover Cups organization, listeners raised enough funds to open a trade school in Malawi that provides practical training for 120 students to earn incomes for their families in order to avoid being sold into slavery. Last spring, when a tsunami cut off families from reaching the school, Shine.FM listeners donated an additional $30,000 to provide infrastructure support to the region, making it possible for teachers and students to go back to the school.

BRIAN UTTER ’95 and his wife, Lynne (Hill) ’95, reside in Bourbonnais with their sons, Jacob and Michael.

Involving listeners to expand the literal reach of Shine.FM’s work is a gift and an honor, Brian explains. “Giving is an act of worship: We give to glorify God. The mission of reaching people with the Gospel through Shine.FM is so important. Our job is to help people experience life transformation — now and for eternity.”


On Oct. 19, more than 100 students, faculty and staff volunteered around Kankakee County as part of ONU Serve Day 2019. Working on seven distinct projects, each group provided a mix of physical labor, technical expertise, resources and genuine support and care to lend a hand in their backyard.



Salvation Army Bourbonnais, Illinois

Langham Island Kankakee, Illinois

Perry Farm Bourbonnais, Illinois

“I realized that little things like donating clothes make a really big difference in someone else's life. I enjoyed getting a new perspective on the community off campus.”

“We cut and burned exotic honeysuckle bushes that were taking over the island and shading out the native plants — particularly the Kankakee Mallow, which is a flower found nowhere else in the world but there. We worked with Trevor Edmondson, who leads the Friends of Langham Island group, and 10 other community volunteers.

“ONU Serve Day takes us out of our own selfish little bubbles and helps us to reflect on working with others and doing things we might not otherwise do. I think we made an impact, especially as many people saw us picking up trash along Main Street and at Perry Farm. This, hopefully, will have a motivating effect for others.”

“It was wonderful to see the students working alongside much older community volunteers to restore the island to health. After completing our work for the day, we prayed and thanked God for the opportunity to restore His garden.

–Dr. Dan Sharda, professor in the Department

–Juliette Kitenda, senior social work major “In just two hours, our group sorted through approximately 900 pounds of clothing. What we accomplished in a short span of time would have taken two Salvation Army days to complete. The Salvation Army store receives an average of four TONS of goods A DAY. With five people on staff, any extra help they can get is of great benefit! “ONU Serve Day is an opportunity for both faculty and students alike to uphold our University’s dedication to ‘lives of service.’ For those seeking to live in the way of Jesus — the One who came not to be served but to serve — such participation is a tangible means to exercise our faith.” –Susan Morill ’16, coordinator for student ministries

“A community member came up during the prayer and echoed our ‘Amen.’ She asked where we were from and thanked us for making her park better. It was great for her to see that our students care about the environment and are willing to invest time in caring for God’s good creation.”

of Biological Sciences

“I think it is super valuable to participate in bringing the Kingdom to the community around us. The trash in Perry Farm eventually flows all the way through the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. Picking up trash is important not just for our community but for everyone living downstream.” –Sabrina Bogart, senior social science education major

–Dr. Derek Rosenberger, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences

“It’s important to have an understanding of ways to get involved not only in our school community but to go beyond that and try to get involved in your home community — wherever that is. You will never know what opportunities exist until you step out in search of them.” —Madeline Lindsey, senior zoology major



Sleep in Heavenly Peace Bourbonnais, Illinois

Northern Illinois Food Bank Peoria, Illinois

Community Labor Projects Pembroke, Illinois

“Our team of 15 students built 10 bunk beds in three hours. Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a national program that uses community volunteers to build bunk beds and connects them with local children who need a bed. Our students sanded wood, drove screws, stained the wood and branded the finished head[boards] and footboards with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace logo.

“After a brief training, we worked in the food bank warehouse for approximately 2 1/2 hours. The food recovery project that day involved unpacking boxes of eggs; wrapping each flat of eggs with plastic wrap and bubble wrap; then repackaging them in boxes. This was to protect the eggs so that they could be distributed to the food pantries in the area without being damaged. After our shift was over, we were informed that we recovered 2,960 pounds of food, which correlates to 4,700 meals. Hearing how many pounds of food we recovered and how many meals that provides — in such a short time period — was so impactful.

“Seeing each student jump in and stay focused on the task the entire time was definitely a highlight. Wood splitting is essential for the residents who cannot afford propane to heat their dwellings. Each year, the service we can provide will make a difference — no doubt about it.

“The local leader of Sleep in Heavenly Peace was passionate about this project and — more importantly — about the kids we were helping. The host team from Sleep in Heavenly Peace modeled servant leadership so well for our students. It was great to see the commitment of other adults to give their time to this project and help people in their local community. They shared touching stories about the excitement of the children who have received these beds! I think it opens students’ eyes to different opportunities to serve others now and in their future lives as adults. This type of project also shows the community that Olivet students care about the people in the place where they live and study for four years.” –Kelsey (McNulty) Proehl ’13/’19 M.S.N.,

registered nurse at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Illinois, and tutor for the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

“We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ and to partner with God in bringing His Kingdom here in Kankakee as it is in heaven. ONU Serve Day gets students off campus and into the community, opening our eyes to the brokenness around us. … It also reveals how we can partner with God to restore some of that brokenness. The practical work we did showed us simple ways to help our community. We knew we were a part of providing food for real families.”

“I love Serve Day because it allows members of the ONU community to connect with the broader community. It's so important to step outside of what's comfortable in service. This year, I accompanied a site leader on deliveries to various homes in the community. It was special to connect with the residents of Pembroke and an honor to serve them so tangibly. One of my favorite things about Olivet is the plethora of service opportunities both on and off campus. As a college student, it's easy to be selfish with time and resources. Taking advantage of opportunities to grow through service has allowed me to expand my worldview and build bridges with those outside my normal circles.” –Cassie Appleton, senior social work major with a minor in Spanish

–Andie VerHoeven, senior forensic chemisty major with a minor in criminal justice

“I volunteered for Serve Day to help pour into my home-away-fromhome community. Having a positive impact on our local community doesn’t have to be a complex effort or novel idea.” 38 OLIVET.EDU

–Jonathan Gonzalez, senior pre-med major

Family Home Projects St. Anne, Illinois “Twenty-two of our students assisted the brother of an Illinois State Police trooper. The man is paraplegic and needed assistance around his home, including painting his wheelchair ramp, a garage and a shed, and building porch steps for his family. “It was such an awesome experience to have a large number of students not only give of their time but to do so in such joyful manner. When we were done, the father of the man we were helping chatted with us. He expressed how grateful he was for our help and walked away wiping tears from his eyes. It is such a blessing to know that our students are willing to love others through their acts of service. It is so important for our students to learn to invest in the lives of others with compassion and integrity, and, in order to do this, we encourage them to exemplify our motto of ‘Live, Learn, Lead.’” –Dr. Shelly Stroud, professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work

“I loved painting and getting to know other students whom I hadn't talked to before. What impacted me most was the humility of the man we served and how grateful he was for the work we did. I remember him telling me, ‘Thank you! Thank you so much! You guys are such a blessing. May you be blessed more than any preacher can bless you!’ I was so humbled to hear these words. Serve Day was one of the best highlights of my semester and of my time here at Olivet.” –Timothy Hodges, senior Spanish and criminal justice major



Olivet seeks to prepare individuals for lives of service to God and humanity. Every year, students have opportunities to serve through the Shalom Project, which consists of student ministries, ministry trips (domestic and international) and community outreach opportunities.



Senior Abbie Anderson and junior Emma Kindred provide leadership for the 11 student ministries on campus. Working with Susan Morrill ’16, coordinator of student ministries, and Ashley Rosenberger, director of missions, the team provides students with meaningful ways to invest in the community of their home away from home. Emma says, “We are reconciled to reconcile. Our lives do not stop when we are saved. Rather, we are given the opportunity to extend the grace and peace Christ has shared with us to others.” The following are some highlights of Olivet student ministry opportunities:

SOS (Save Our Streets) Led by Tsakani Chambo, sophomore, and Andie VerHoeven, senior Save Our Streets partners with different organizations to serve the homeless populations in Kankakee and Chicago with dignity and respect. The ministry also hosts Homeless Week each fall on Olivet’s campus. This simulation allows students to better understand the difficulties of living without shelter while raising money and awareness for local homeless shelters and communities. Prayer Warriors Led by Kwame McGee, sophomore, and Shania Hall, junior Prayer Warriors is an in-reach ministry that emphasizes the power of prayer and helps students strengthen their relationship with God and with each other. The ministry is currently doing an in-depth study of the Lord's Prayer. The group frequently partners with other Chicago-area universities to host prayer and worship events for students at each campus. Best Buddies Led by Alison Lee, sophomore, and Caleb Uhlman, junior Best Buddies partners with Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee to connect each Olivet student with someone who has an intellectual or developmental disability. In addition to fostering these personal connections, the ministry also hosts different group events for Shapiro residents. Best Buddies provides students an opportunity to serve a community that can often be overlooked. Food Recovery Network Led by Madeira Sherwood, junior Food Recovery Network (FRN) is a national organization and one of the largest student movements fighting hunger in the United States. Through the Olivet chapter, 14,250 pounds of food have been recovered from Ludwig dining hall since October 2017 — equating to the delivery of 10,500 meals to the food-insecure in Kankakee County. Olivet's chapter of FRN is a partnership between Enactus business club, the Student Dietetics Association and student volunteers. The team works together to fight food waste on campus and feed people in the local community. One of the major goals of FRN is to help other university campuses implement their own chapters in order to multiply the impact. City Life Center Led by Sarah Throneburg, sophomore Each week, City Life Center provides after-school snacks, games and homework help for youth in Kankakee. Forty Olivet students volunteer their time to tutor, plan programming and lead a devotional thought for 40 local students. Olivet has partnered with the City Life Center since 2009. OLIVET.EDU





“I’d like to see you leaning forward in your chair a bit more, Les.” I slowly scooted toward the edge of my seat, placed my elbows on my knees and loosely touched the tips of my fingers together. “Um, can you not do that with your fingers? It comes off as a subtle power play.” Feeling incredibly self-conscious, I moved my hands to rest on my knees. “Good. Now, give plenty of eye contact, but don’t make it a staring contest.” The coaching was coming to me through a wireless earphone from a team of three psychologists carefully observing me through a two-way mirror. “Are you aware that you’re bouncing your right foot like you’re nervous?” Well, of course, I’m nervous. I’m in my first counseling session. This wasn’t role play. My patient knew he was seeing a graduate student, a psychologist-in-training, and I knew I was going to be of very little help. I felt a little like a barber giving his first haircut. It wasn’t going to be pretty. “Remember, Les,” one of my instructors whispered through my earpiece, “it’s more about attitude than technique. You’ve got to feel a genuine sense of acceptance for this person.” They were teaching me “unconditional positive regard,” one of the fundamentals of effective counseling. The idea is to convey an authentic sense of warmth and respect for the person regardless of what they’re saying or what they’ve done. It separates behaviors from the person in order to offer an attitude of grace. This therapeutic approach enables people to drop their pretenses, confess the worst parts of themselves, and discover the profound relief of knowing they’re still accepted and valued. It provides a judge-free space for them to reveal their faults and failings.

And if you think it’s easy, think again. Why? Because unconditional acceptance goes against the deep grain of every human being. We’re “conditional” by nature. We want people to earn our respect. They need to win our acceptance. We don’t offer up favor without merit. And we quickly dismiss people who slip up. We like to see the penitent squirm. No matter that we have plenty of failings ourselves; being judgmental rules our reflexes. Criticism is at the ready. Faultfinding seems bred in our bones. We like to hold people accountable — keep score. Our nature seeks fairness and justice, not mercy and grace. Mercy, it has been said, is getting spared from bad things you deserve. Grace is getting good things you don’t deserve. “Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance,” says author Max Lucado. “Grace gave him a feast.”

“I want more unrestrained and uproarious grace in my life. I want spontaneous moments of grace with others in my life.” Grace. Of all the loving qualities that are most arresting — most striking — in the life of Christ, grace, for me, is the toughest. I love the idea of being a grace giver. I’m with Karl Barth: “Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.” I want more unrestrained and uproarious grace in my life. I want spontaneous moments of grace with others in my life. But I too often spy a speck in another’s eye while being oblivious to the log in my own. I struggle, maybe like you, because grace is a gift — unconditional — and it can’t be earned or achieved. It comes from a heart that requires nothing in return. Grace is, by definition, unfair. It doesn’t make sense. And that’s the point. If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t limit your love to people who deserve it.

DR. LES PARROTT ’84 is a psychologist and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous books, including Love Like That: 5 Relationship Secrets from Jesus. Visit LoveLikeThatBook.com for more information. He and his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott ’84, live in Seattle with their sons, John Parrott, a junior at Olivet, and Jackson Parrott.


CAMPUS DINING Olivet offers multiple convenient dining options on campus. From homestyle entrees, pizza and burgers in Ludwig Center to à la carte lunch in Nesbitt Hall to CRU5H mixed grill and Farmer’s Field freestyle salad bar in the newly renovated lower level of Ludwig, options abound. Additionally, baked goods and snacks are available at the three campus coffee shops, including Starbucks and the Perry Center Café. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO



Jeff Doolittle’s responsibilities include overseeing four programs and working with corporate partners to provide educational solutions ranging from noncredit-bearing professional development courses to degree programs. Jeff and his wife, Kelly (Morse) ’91, live in Byron Center, Michigan. They have three children: Cole ’19, current Olivet sophomore Morgan and MacKenzie.

OLIVETONLINE An interview with Jeff Doolittle, Associate Dean for the Institute of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, ONU Global. Read the full interview at Olivet.edu/news You have earned two degrees from Olivet. Were there any faculty members who had a significant impact on your time as a student? In my undergraduate program, my mentor was Dr. Randy Johnson. His first year at Olivet was my freshman year. I had moved from South Carolina and didn’t know many people in the area. Dr. Johnson opened up his life and family, accepting me as a quasi-member of his family. His guidance and leading transformed me both academically and spiritually. A few years later while working on my MBA, I had an organizational communication class with Dr. Jay Martinson ’86. He introduced me to organizational structure, a combination of organization communication and human relationships — how people work and interact. It was the combination of the passion that Dr. Martinson brought to the class with the topic of organizational communication that interested me and eventually led to one of my most IMAGE GROUP to change my career and significant decisions move into human resource development.


With more than 20 years in human resources, what were the most pressing issues or challenges that you encountered with the leadership teams of Fortune 100 and Forbes 25 private companies?

3. Creating and sustaining a healthy business culture, where employees are valued and work relationships are significant. Organizational culture is often misunderstood and minimized by employees and leaders, resulting in organizational dysfunction. What brought you back to Olivet?

While I was at Gordon Food Service, I was reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. In the book, Chan quoted evangelist D.L. Moody: “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't really I’ve worked a lot in talent management and matter.” That hit home. At a global leadership talent acquisition. After briefly working in a lab, conference I attended, the focus of the speakers completing my MBA, then working for Pfizer was(BP) on finding your purpose and driving force. I INTERVIEW WITH JEFF DOOLITTLE — which at the time wasn’t a huge company had been successful in my career but wondered — l had various operational responsibilities if I was where God wanted me to be. After for companies including Meijer, Sears Holding praying and planning with my wife, I decided Company, Spectrum Health and Gordon to leave Gordon Foods in January 2018 with Food Service. And I believe there are three no work prospects but planning to begin significant challenges across all contemporary my own consulting firm. Over the next few organizations: months, I networked with different individuals, 1. Attracting and retaining top-tier talent one of whom was [then] dean of the School is a common challenge. There is a highly of Graduate and Continuing Studies, Rob competitive market — a “war for talent.” Simpson. After more prayer and consideration, 2. Identifying high-potential employees that I took the job hoping to reach and teach are able to take on future leadership roles students the knowledge I’d accumulated from and live out the values and culture of the my corporate career thus far. company. Leaders struggle to measure employees’ potential for taking on broader responsibility and stepping into new positions.

“Olivet has adopted a best-practice method for online education built on the concept of community.”

How is the Olivet mission advanced online? Technological advancements in the past few years have changed the mobility of office environments as well as the opportunities for higher education. ONU Global offers fully online education, where students connect via phones and computers. Our mission field is considerably broader than before, as we are no longer restricted by limitations of classroom space. The possibility for successful completion of a degree is greater now than ever before. While the student interaction and community are still available online, the cost and time constraints are less in a virtual environment. Students are able to work, travel and complete their studies. Our studies of our students’ outcomes — the assessments we complete to measure the growth of our students — show us that online camaraderie, connection and meaningful interaction are truly available in an online environment. Olivet has adopted a best-practice method

for online education built on the concept of community, and the School of Graduate and Continuing studies works hard to develop a sense of community online. Our students, faculty and administration are always seeking to transform students’ lives of service to God and humanity. What is your favorite part about being an Olivet dad? Working for Olivet allows me to visit my kids during my days in the Bourbonnais office of ONU Global. God has blessed me tremendously in my career and family life. I know my kids are part of a Christian-influenced community with challenging academic experiences, surrounded by faculty that

Doolittle family: Morgan, Cole, Kelly, Jeff and MacKenzie

chose to be a part of Olivet’s mission and fellow students that will have positive impacts throughout their lives. God has moved me out of my comfort zone but never left me alone. I love that Olivet continues to emphasize to students that only when they step out in faith and really lean into God’s plan will they see His hands and His feet.

For more information about graduate online programming or degree completion, go to ONLINE.OLIVET.EDU. SUBMITTED





Traditions, honors, victories and, of course, great food and fellowship were the backdrop against which Homecoming & Family Weekend 2019 came to life. Over five days and across more than 45 unique events, hundreds of alumni returned to campus to make new memories with old friends.Â



Highlights from the weekend included the Throwback Thursday student pancake feed hosted by the Alumni Board; exciting athletic victories from the varsity football and men’s and women’s basketball teams; the 50th anniversary celebration of the Olivet Foundation; and the recognition of Katrina (Hurt) Hull ’10 and Dr. Sam Smidt ’12 as recipients of the Young Alumni Awards, and Rev. Tara Beth (Moore) Leach ’05 and Dr. Robert Taylor ’77 as recipients of the “O” Awards.












For more photos and to read the entire Homecoming and Family Weekend 2019 wrap-up, visit Olivet.edu/news




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By partnering with Olivet at a leadership level, you strengthen the Olivet experience and drive transformational change for even more students. As a Leadership Society member, you will be invited to the President’s Dinner at Homecoming and receive a semi-annual President’s eNewsletter. Additionally, at each level, you will enjoy opportunities and benefits designed to delight and surprise you.

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Become a member today! Email TheOlivetFund@olivet.edu Your membership level is based on your cumulative gifts to The Olivet Fund in a calendar year (including your company’s matching gifts, if applicable).

Follow us on Facebook @ONUalumniandfriends Office of Alumni Relations, Olivet Nazarene University, One University Avenue, Bourbonnais, Illinois 60914 815-939-5258 | Alumni@Olivet.edu | Olivet.edu/alumni-friends




A winter wonderland of friendly snowball fights, Christmas traditions and a whole lot of shoveling

Help us identify these faces and share your wintertime memories on Facebook. Search @OlivetArchives We value your memorabilia, too! To donate to University Archives, or for more information, contact Archives@Olivet.edu or 815-939-5148. OLIVET.EDU



THE CLASSES Professional Accomplishments, Weddings, Births & Adoptions

1991  In August 2019, JAMES TEW ’91 was promoted to senior director of content and communications at Trine University in Angola, Indiana, where he has worked since 2016. James also completed his Master of Science in Leadership degree at Trine.



1996 In July 2019, STEVEN BETZ ’96 was appointed government relations officer at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.


2004  ERIN (LANING) GWYNNE ’04 and her husband, Dave, welcomed a daughter, Evangeline Juliet, on Jan. 27, 2019. She joins her three sisters: Genevieve, 7, Eloise, 5, and Adeline, 3.  DANIELLE (SPURGEON) ’04 and Chris Kaufman were married on March 17, 2018, at The Point (Seymour First Nazarene) in Seymour, Indiana. Danielle is a piano instructor

with This Old Guitar Music Store in Seymour. Chris works for AVI Food Systems. They have one daughter, Sarah, who is a junior at Seymour High School. They reside in their hometown of Seymour, Indiana.  ADAM SEANEY ’05 and his wife, Abbie, welcomed a son, Abel Ross-Sheffield, on Aug. 30, 2019. He joins sister Addisyn, 5, and brother Asher, 2. Adam is the principal at ROWVA Junior/Senior High School, and Abbie is a stay-at-home mom. They attend Harvest Bible Chapel in Woodhull, Illinois, and live in Oneida, Illinois.

2008 K AU F M A N

SCOTT ’08 AND HEATHER (LUDWIG) LISCOMB ’08 gave birth to their first child, Vander Scott Liscomb, on May 17, 2019 at Riverside Medical Center, where both Scott and Heather work.


Su b m i t a c l a s s n o t e


To OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu, or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes 56 OLIVET.EDU

 PETER ’08 AND LAUREN (BRICKHAM) BOWMAN ’08 welcomed a daughter, Cora Shi Yan, on April 8, 2019, in Zhengzhou, China, through adoption. She joins brothers Griffin, 7, and Sawyer, 5. They live and work in the Boston area.



2011  PHILIP ’11 AND AUBREY (DEE) MERKI ’12 welcomed their first child, Fletcher Paul, on June 26, 2018. Philip is a manager for a disaster relief organization, Operation Blessing. Aubrey is a communications and events specialist for IKEA. They reside in Norfolk, Virginia.


 ALI (CARTER) DECKARD ’13/ ’16 M.A. released her first full-length album entitled Dreamer on Sept. 9, 2019. The album features Olivet alumni Joel Deckard ’14/ ’16 M.O.L. on drums, Ben Cherney ’14 on keys and vocals and Ashley (Raffauf) Cherney ’14 on vocals, and all songs were recorded and mixed by Enos Hershberger ’15 through his company, Austin Recording Company. Dreamer is available everywhere online via download and streaming services.


2016 __ BRANDON ’16/’18 MBA AND TAYLOR (DAWSON) MARANION ’19 were married on Oct. 11, 2019, in Carmel, Indiana. Taylor is a creative services specialist for Indiana Electric Cooperatives. Brandon works for Springbuk, a tech company in the health care industry. They reside in Indianapolis. OLIVET.EDU




1951 RUTH (ENOCH) DEGNER ’51 of Flushing,

Michigan went to the arms of her Heavenly Savior on Oct. 13, 2019. She was born on Nov. 13, 1929, in Danville, Illinois, and graduated from Olivet with a degree in music education. She taught music in the Oak Creek public schools and in multiple Catholic schools in the Milwaukee area, and she also gave private piano lessons for over 50 years. She devoted much of her life to the Church of the Nazarene World Missions and music ministry. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Arden; brother Rev. Victor Enoch ’48; children Pamela ’86 (Johnnie) Carroll and Nathan ’92 (Laura ’92) Degner; and grandchildren Hardy ’16 (Kaitlyn ’17) Carroll, Caroline, Aaron Degner ’20, Allison and Alexandria Degner ’22.

1952 GENE SNOWDEN ’52 of Huntington,

Indiana, passed away on June 11, 2019, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Gene was born on April 7, 1928, in Huntington to Benjamin and Anna Snowden. He married Carol (Replogle) ’52 on Aug. 26, 1949.    Gene was a 1946 graduate of Huntington High School and attended Olivet. He was a lifelong public servant both in Huntington County and in the State of Indiana. At 87 years old, Snowden continued to work for Ness Bros. Realty and was an avid fund raiser for several area charities. Gene was a lifelong member of the Huntington First Church of the Nazarene and played in the Nazarene band from 1942–2011.    In 1989, Olivet awarded Gene an honorary doctor of law degree. He was



involved with the Police Athletic League, Salvation Army, Huntington County Historical Society, the Boy Scouts, Gideons International, Huntington County Leadership, Boys & Girls Club, United Way and Huntington County Chamber of Commerce. Indiana 224 between Huntington and Interstate 69 is known as the “Gene Snowden Highway.”    Along with his wife, Carol, he is survived by his four daughters, Connie (Jan) Reahm, Beverly (David) Mimms ’74, Barbara Snowden ’74 and Jodi Snowden; two brothers, Ned (Mary) Snowden and Jerry (Sharon) Snowden ’59; six grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

1954 MARILYN (ANTHONY) OSKINS ’54 went to be with Jesus on July 3, 2019. She always spoke highly of Olivet and was tickled pink when her granddaughter graduated from a satellite Olivet campus with a degree in nursing.

1972 MAX B. CHEESEMAN ’72 passed away

suddenly on Oct. 5, 2019, following aortic surgery at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Max was a life long resident of Fort Recovery, Ohio, and in recent years, he and his wife, Denice, enjoyed winters at their home in Naples, Florida. Following his time

at ONU, Max attended The Ohio State University. After his college days, he worked for Cheeseman Trucking in Fort Recovery, Ohio, until he retired in 1994. Max’s best friends throughout his life were the friends he made at Olivet. He was a generous donor and supporter of Olivet. He will be sadly missed by his mother, Doris Cheeseman, his sister, Jill (Cheeseman) Bowling ’70 and brotherin-law, Dr. John Bowling ’71, University president.

1993  REV. KENNETH L. WHEELER ’93 of Bourbonnais went home to his “Big, Big House” on June 29, 2019, at age 47.    PK (Pastor Ken) was born on July 15, 1971, in Battle Creek, Michigan, the son of Fred and Joyce (Henker) Wheeler. He was a 1993 graduate of Olivet and received his master’s degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in 1999. He was an ordained Nazarene elder and served as a children’s pastor for 27 years.    PK was an avid University of Michigan fan. He loved watching college football, basketball and softball. He was also a soccer fan of all levels and played for Olivet during college. He enjoyed camping, fishing and spending time with his family and church families.    Surviving are his wife, Pam; one son, sophomore Micah; one daughter, Molly ’19; his parents; four brothers and three sisters-in-law; one sister and brother-in-law; and many nieces and nephews. Inurnment was at the Garden and Columbarium behind Kelley Prayer Chapel on Olivet’s campus.

Su b m i t a n Ob i t u a r y To OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu, or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes 58 OLIVET.EDU



COMMUNITY SPACE At Olivet, you’re able to connect not just in the classroom but also in campus housing, across the dinner table and in every corner of campus. There are plenty of community spaces, including the large lobby of the Perry Student Life and Recreation Center and the newly renovated spaces in Benner Library and lower-level Ludwig Center. Additionally, most residential housing areas and academic buildings offer a comfortable lobby or community space in which to study or connect with friends. PHOTO BY JONES FOTO





AT A G LA N C E STUDENTS More than 4,600 — 2,800 of them undergraduates — from nearly every U.S. state, 21 countries and more than 40 religious denominations. ADMISSION Based on ACT score and high school records (college transcripts for transfer students). For incoming freshmen, the average ACT score is 23. 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 study offered through the School of Business, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Life and Health Sciences, School of Education, School of Music, School of Theology and Christian Ministry, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Study-abroad opportunities have included Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Egypt, Romania, Japan, Uganda, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. ACCREDITATION Includes the Higher Learning Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the Council on Social Work Education, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the National Association of Schools of Music and the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. ATHLETICS At Olivet, student-athletes compete on 21 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, and track and field. 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 of the student body participate in Olivet’s thriving intramural and club sports programs. CAMPUS Beautiful, park-like campus features 35 major buildings on 275 acres. Located in the Village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, just 45 miles south of Chicago’s Loop, with additional School of Graduate and Continuing Studies locations in Rolling Meadows and Oak Brook, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Grand Ledge and Grand Rapids, Michigan.



million dollars in financial aid awarded last year to ONU students


CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS More than 90 clubs and organizations representing diverse interests, including a campus newspaper, yearbook and literary magazine; Enactus; Student Philanthropy council; ROTC; radio broadcasting (Shine.FM); numerous choral and instrumental ensembles (including University Marching Band and the University Orchestra); drama and musical theatre performances; intramural athletics; and community volunteer and spiritual life organizations. SPIRITUAL LIFE Christian community committed to making worship of God the central focus of our lives. Our faith in Jesus Christ cannot be separated from the educational experience, and we seek to honor God in all we learn, say and do. Through chapel services, each segment of the University community has the opportunity to join with others in worship and receive instruction in the Word and encouragement to serve. Notable and world-renowned speakers regularly address the Olivet community during chapel. GRADUATE STUDIES AND PROGRAMS Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership Business: Bachelor of Applied Science in Business, Bachelor of Applied Science in Leadership, Bachelor of Applied Science in Management, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Leadership, Master of Organizational Leadership, Master of Business Administration. Education: Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Arts in Education: English Language Learners, Master of Arts in Education: Ethical Building Leadership (Principal Preparation Program), Bilingual Endorsement, Driver’s Education Endorsement, English as a Second Language Endorsement, Learning Behavior Specialist Endorsement, Reading Endorsement, Teacher Leader Endorsement. Multi-Disciplinary Studies: Bachelor of Applied Science in MultiDisciplinary Studies and Bachelor of Science in Multi-Disciplinary Studies Nursing: Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-B.S.N.), Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing (RN-M.S.N.), Master of Science in Nursing: Education, Master of Science in Nursing: Leadership, Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner Certification. Ministry: Master of Arts: Biblical Studies, Master of Arts: Christian Ministry, Master of Arts: Family Ministry, Master of Arts: Pastoral Ministry, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership, Master of Arts: Urban Ministry, Master of Ministry, Master of Ministry in Spanish, Master of Divinity, Master of Practical Ministry.

percent of students receive financial aid


intercollegiate athletic teams compete in the NAIA and NCCAA


local ministry and global mission trip opportunities


AREAS OF STUDY Accounting Actuarial Science Art Art - Graphic Design Art - Drawing/Painting Art - Media Arts Art - Photography Art Education Athletic Training Biblical Languages Biblical Studies Biology Business Administration Business - Healthcare Management Business - Human Resource Management Business - Management Business - Philanthropy/ Not-for-Profit Business - Operations Management Business - Public Administration Chemistry Chemistry - Biochemistry Chemistry - Forensics Child Development Children’s Ministry Christian Education Christian Studies Communication Studies Computer Science and Emerging Technologies Computer Science Cybersecurity Defense Computer Science Software Development Computer Science Technology & Information

Corporate Communication Criminal Justice Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Cybersecurity Defense Data Science Dietetics Early Childhood Education Earth & Space Science Economics Economics & Finance Applied Economics Economics & Finance Certified Financial Planning Economics & Finance Corporate Finance Elementary Education Engineering - Architectural Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Civil Engineering - Computer Engineering - Electrical Engineering - Mechanical English English as a Second Language English as a Second Language Education English Education Environmental Science Exercise Science Family & Consumer Sciences Family & Consumer Sciences Hospitality Fashion Merchandising Finance French Geography Geological Science Greek Health Education

Hebrew History History Education Information Systems Information Technology Intercultural Studies Interdisciplinary Computing Interior Design International Business Leadership Studies Legal Studies Literature Management Management Information Systems Marketing Marketing - Commercial Graphics Marketing - Corporate Relations Marketing - International Marketing - Management Mathematics Mathematics Education Military Affairs Military Science Ministerial Missions Multimedia Communication Multimedia Communication Film Studies Multimedia Communication Journalism Multimedia Communication Live Event Media Mgmt. Multimedia Communication Ministry Media Multimedia Communication Radio/Record Industry Multimedia Communication TV/Video Production

Music Music Composition Music Education Music Ministry Music Performance Musical Theatre Nursing Pastoral Ministry Philosophy Philosophy & Religion Photography Physical Education Physical Sciences Political Science Pre-Art Therapy Pre-Dental Pre-Law Pre-Medicine Pre-Optometry Pre-Pharmacy Pre-Physical Therapy Pre-Physician’s Assistant Pre-Seminary Pre-Veterinary Psychology Psychology Teaching Public Policy - Domestic Public Policy - Foreign Public Relations & Strategic Communication Recreation, Sports, & Fitness Religion Religion - Biblical Studies Science Education - Biology Science Education - Chemistry Science Education Earth/Space Science Social Science Social Science Education Social Work

Sociology Spanish Spanish Education Special Education Sport Management Theatre Theology Writing Youth Ministry Zoology

Statistics compiled from 2016, 2017 and/or 2018.


advanced degree programs offered through the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies


intramural sports and tournaments with more than 1,540 participants each year


study-abroad opportunities and numerous mission opportunities available


student-to-faculty ratio with a total student enrollment of more than 4,600


percent career outcomes rate for Class of 2018




BENEDICTION Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel's strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King, Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring. By Thine own eternal Spirit Rule in all our hearts alone; By Thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley, 1744




For high school seniors and their parents

February 21–22 February 28–29 March 20–21 March 27–28 April 3–4

JUST FOR JUNIORS For high school juniors

March 18 March 25 April 1 April 15 For event registration and more information, or to schedule your personal campus visit day, go to OLIVET.EDU/VISIT or call 800-648-1463.


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