Olivet The Magazine; Compassion & Conviction - Spring '24

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This spring Olivet Nazarene University First Lady Tammy (Salyer) Chenoweth ‘89 hosted and led a Bible study for graduating senior women. Driven by a desire to encourage young women to ground themselves in the Word, Tammy created an environment where young women would be immersed in Scripture and discipled by like-minded female mentors. This marked the second year of the Women in the Word event.

“It was incredibly beautiful to be surrounded by women with a genuine hunger for Christ,” said senior Raquel Gonzalez, “and to be mentored by mature believers to know Him better through intentional friendships — the kind that will last a lifetime!”

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 2 (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.


Matt Foor ’95 CPA/M.S.A.


Rob Lalumendre ’12/’14 MBA


Mark Reddy ’95/’08 M.O.L.


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


Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 Litt.D.


Dr. Stephen Lowe ’88/M.A./Ph.D.


Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 Litt.D.

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

George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group

Susan Wolff ’94/’06 MBA

Erika Moeschke ’12/’19 MBA


George Wolff ’93 for 989 Group


Matt Moore ’96 for 989 Group

Donnie Johnson, Rebecca Huber


Jones Foto, Image Group, Mark Ballogg

Joe Mantarian ’16, Noah Sears ’24

Kyle Petersen ’24, Skyler Blanton ’23

Dennis Freeman ’74, Gabe Meinert ’26

Additional photography submitted


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

Alicia (Gallagher) Guertin ’14, Rebecca Huber

Caroline Mueller, Andrew Perabeau ’20

Jackson Thornhill ’20, Noah Sears ’23

Heather (Kinzinger) Shaner ’98

Lauren Beatty ’13, Hannah Priest ’21/’22 MBA

Laura Warfel for 989 Group


Kyle Petersen ’24, Raquel Gonzalez ’24

Loren Martin ’25

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.

Dear Friends,

As our editorial team gathered to finalize the details of this issue, we were once again startled and thrilled by the compassion and convictions of so many of our students who have chosen to advance grace and truth around the world — and impressed by the great work of faculty and staff who help to make those pursuits possible. We began asking the first question: Is, perhaps, the world our campus? That led us quickly to the second question: What does it mean to simultaneously be people of conviction and compassion? These are the central themes of this issue.

In today’s polarizing world, conversations around the true value of a university education abound. Universities often stand for everything and nothing at the same time. Parents of undergraduate students are starting to ask real questions, and they should. We encourage parents to study the fine print: Look closely at the curriculum and course syllabi; read the writings and teachings of faculty; pay attention to the roster and teachings of chapel speakers; and thoroughly investigate a university’s approach to education and student development. Both the cost and the stakes are too high to take higher education lightly. In fact, Olivet believes in building on the good work of parents for


the first 18 years of life and stands in partnership with the family. It is not our intention to undo these convictions or shock students into a new belief system but, rather, to support the transformative Christian journey of our students into adulthood, with all its endemic challenges and victories.

Might we also suggest that our approach as a university and as a group of devoted Christians should be to be “awake” rather than “woke”: awakened to the truths of Christianity and Scripture; awakened to the person and cause of Christ; awakened to the moving of the Holy Spirit; and awakened to the needs of a hurting and struggling world.

The apostle Paul presented the conviction/ compassion connection perfectly when he wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39) and “I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). There are central Christian convictions that we should build our life around.

But Paul does not stop there. In his fist letter to the Corinthians, he declares the primary convictions for followers of Jesus Christ should be compassion and love: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).

At Olivet we have decided to pursue the “most excellent way”: to hold fast to our convictions while living lives of love and compassion. May you be inspired by the images and stories that follow. And may we all be compelled to do our very best to live principled lives filled with the highest ideal of compassion and love.


The Editorial Team





ONU Awarded 2024 Ellucian Impact Award for Innovation

This spring Olivet was selected as a winner of a 2024 Ellucian Impact Award in the Innovation category, recognizing the University’s technology-driven student support program. Ellucian, which serves 2,900-plus global customers, offers technology solutions for higher education, benefiting 22 million students and their college experiences. The award celebrates institutions using technology to enhance efficiency and student experience.

Kevin Hatcher ’07, Olivet’s executive director of revenue, technology and operations for the Office of Development, praised the Enrollment Operations Department’s achievement.

“The team demonstrated outstanding collaboration and teamwork during the management of a complex software system transition for graduate and continuing studies recruitment within a limited time frame without compromising the consistent support and development of traditional undergraduate enrollment and the just-launched ONU Plus programs,” he said.

Students Provide Tax Prep

Olivet Nazarene University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has wrapped up another successful year, providing invaluable support to the campus and greater community.

Throughout the tax season, VITA has proven to be a vital resource for many, offering assistance to more than 350 individuals and families with basic tax returns and empowering them to meet their tax obligations. Student volunteers dedicated their time and expertise, working diligently to make the process as seamless as possible for all participants.

The impact of VITA extended both within the Olivet community and to individuals in surrounding neighborhoods, bringing much-needed assistance during the tax season. In offering complimentary services, VITA volunteers exemplified the University’s commitment to community engagement.


Olivet The Magazine Wins National Award

Winners have been announced for the 39th Annual Educational Advertising Awards, and Olivet Nazarene University has earned the Gold award for the University’s Olivet The Magazine (OTM)

The Educational Advertising Awards is the largest educational advertising awards competition in the country. This year the organization received more than 2,000 entries from colleges, universities and secondary schools from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.

The award specifically recognizes OTM’s fall 2023 issue, “Strength & Hope,” which highlighted the University’s $64 million comprehensive campaign to support and strengthen the mission of Olivet. The award-winning issue also features “Portraits of Strength & Hope,” a new, ongoing series in the quarterly publication.

Designed collaboratively within the ONU Office of Marketing Communications under the direction of the Office of Institutional Advancement and a creative and design team that includes the alumniled 989Group and more than 25 faculty, staff and student contributors, OTM reaches an annual audience of more than 200,000.

Judges for the Educational Advertising Awards consisted of a national panel of higher education marketers, advertising creative directors, and marketing and advertising professionals.

The magazine is printed in coordination with Royle Printing in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council chain-of-custody standard, an organization dedicated to responsible forest management.

To read the award-winning issue and all other Olivet The Magazine issues, visit Olivet.edu/about/ Olivet-magazine



Robotics Teams Compete for State Title

High school robotics teams from across the state of Illinois recently competed in the 2024 VEX Robotics Illinois High School State Championship on Olivet Nazarene University’s campus, in collaboration with Rich Township.

More than 150 high school students and their mentors were on hand for the event, as was state Rep. Jackie Haas, who presented the state competition award winners. Qualifiers showcased their technical prowess and earned rankings in their respective areas. Winning teams advanced to the VEX World Championship to be held in late spring.

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is a global program with more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries participating in over 1,700 competitions worldwide. Guided by their teachers and mentors, they build innovative robots and compete throughout the year.

Lake Cora Haiku

Former Olivet Nazarene University President Dr. John. C. Bowling ’71 recently completed the manuscript for Lake Cora Haiku. This curated collection of modern haiku — based on the Japanese tradition of brief poetic phrasing inspired by the natural world — was inspired by and written from his retirement home on Lake Cora, which is near Paw Paw, Michigan.

“I think the value of the book is to illustrate how to be more observant of everyday things: a sunset or the leaves turning or the first snowfall,” Dr. Bowling said.

“The last 40 years of my life, I was just full-out. Ministry is not a job; it’s a way of life, and I loved every part of it. At the same time, at some point, a person has to recognize that there are different seasons of life — not necessarily better or worse, just different. The book will hopefully help people push a pause button to wait and see and get in tune with the Creator.”

Lake Cora Haiku is now available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Fulton Publishing.


Expectations were exceeded within the first 12 hours of Olivet Nazarene University’s eighth annual Day of Giving, which began at noon on April 17. Goals for participation numbers and funds raised were accomplished before midnight. By noon the next day, 1,800 donors had given more than $350,000 to support projects across academics, athletics and student life.

The 24-hour philanthropic event encourages alumni, community members, parents, students, faculty and staff to support specific projects that directly impact the campus experience of current students.

Organized by the Office of Development, which oversees The Olivet Fund annual giving program, special events like Day of Giving directly support the University’s mission to provide an “Education With a Christian Purpose.” Annual gifts to The Olivet Fund come from all constituencies in the Olivet family and create opportunities for students to pursue higher education with a higher purpose.

This year’s Day of Giving set records for both the number of supporters and total funds donated. There were more than twice as many people who donated than in 2022. Their generosity surpassed the $300,000 mark for the first time in the history of this event.

“As funny as it sounds, Day of Giving isn’t necessarily about the money,” said Austin Brown ’19/’21 M.A., director of the Olivet Fund. “It’s about participation and engagement. Our goal this year was to get more people involved than ever before, plus connect all of our supporters to their favorite causes in new ways. We couldn’t have done this without our project leaders and campus advocates — or ‘Champions,’ as we call them. Five hundred-plus fans of Olivet telling their personal networks about the day makes a big difference, and the results show that.”

Seven of the 50 featured projects received full funding, which will allow for the purchase of a set of portable risers for Orpheus and Gospel choirs, a ventilator for the School of Nursing, and updated furnishings for multiple on-campus residence halls, among other things. Several other teams and departments received significant funding that will provide head-start investments for projects like updated dressing rooms for ONU Theatre, new gear and locker rooms for ONU Athletics, and expanded resources for Multiethnic Student Services.



McGraw School of Business Hosts Second Annual


Conference & Pitch Competition

Olivet Nazarene University’s McGraw School of Business hosted the second annual Createur Conference & Pitch Competition in April. The conference and pitch competition were created to inspire and encourage the Olivet community to engage in entrepreneurial ventures; build connections with faith-driven peers and professionals; identify best practices for startup businesses; and explore untapped potential business opportunities.

Keynote speakers included “Auntie” Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels; Brett Hagler, CEO and co-founder of New Story; and Justin Donald, “The Lifestyle Investor.” Spark Session speakers featured a variety of business owners who spoke on topics including real estate, paying off student loans, investment foundations, artificial intelligence’s role in future creativity, franchising and more. Significant alumni leaders, including Ontic CEO Luke Quanstrom ’04, were among the session leads.

The two-day event also included a Biz Block party, pop-up retail expo for student startups, Createur Comedy Club performances, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Crawford Startup Studio and plenty of time for networking.

The opening of the Crawford Startup Studio marked an exciting new access point for student entrepreneurs. The purpose of the studio, located on the first floor of Olivet’s Weber Center, is to facilitate spaces for students to connect and collaborate as

they pursue entrepreneurial ventures. Every year the names and businesses of chosen finalists from the pitch competition will be added to the Wall of Winners in the startup studio.

On the first day of the event, 10 Illinois high schools sent teams to participate in a separate pitch competition. The top four finalist teams, from Lake Zurich High School, Barrington High School and Batavia High School, each received $1,250.

More than 700 high school and college students, faculty, alumni and invested community members participated in the event, which offered attendees the chance to learn from established entrepreneurs through Spark Sessions and to pitch their own entrepreneurial ideas for the chance to be awarded financial support.

“This year’s conference success was a testament to the dedication of high school educators and the established college programs fostering emerging entrepreneurial talent,” said Chris Perez, director of the entrepreneurship program and professor.

“With representation from 10 high schools spanning Illinois and Indiana, alongside participation from six colleges, our keynote speakers and Spark Session presenters elevated the discourse. … We envision leveraging this platform to foster a stronger sense of community among our students, alumni, friends and partners, driving positive change through faith-driven entrepreneurship.”

Following initial rounds of pitching their business ideas on Monday afternoon, 10 undergraduate entrepreneur finalists were selected to move forward in the competition on Tuesday morning. Final pitches were given in front of a large audience in Chalfant Hall and winners were announced. A special Tiger Award was


1st Place: Wayde Sickels, Olivet (senior)

Company Name: Top Flight Drone Co.

2nd Place: Hayden Colclasure, Olivet (junior)

Company Name: DelEndeavors

3rd Place: Cameron Lockrey, Calvin University

Company Name: Kickback

4th Place: Deanna Grey, Taylor University

Company Name: INO Bar

5th Place: Jared Sisson, Taylor University

Company Name: Shepherd Security

awarded to Olivet senior Emmet Wolff in the College Division to spotlight a business idea with the best use of technology, innovation, growth in emerging markets and engineering.

Additionally, a vCalc Startup Metrics Award was given to Jacob Vander Sanden from the University of Iowa for a business with the best use of mathematics and calculations in the pitch presentation.

Each of the finalists received a prize pack including resources like executive coaching sessions and financial planning from sponsors including LivePlan, Converge and Pathfinder.

For more information about the Createur Conference & Pitch Competition, visit Createur.Olivet.edu. Episodes of The Createur Podcast, an ongoing project through the entrepreneurship program in the McGraw School of Business, can be found on all streaming platforms.

The top five winners shared $15,000 in prize money:


Honors Journal Now Available

Olivet Nazarene University recently released volumes 5 and 6 of ELAIA: The Honors Journal of Olivet Nazarene University, a scholarly publication designed to highlight student research. The double volume contains the capstone projects from 2022 and 2023 Honors Program graduates and their mentors.

Available to read exclusively online at Olivet.edu, the 395-page journal features work from the disciplines of mathematics, nursing, education, accounting, English, philosophy, biology, music and more.

From the moment Honors Program students set foot on campus, they join a community of scholars. 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. Each spring students present their capstone research during Olivet’s Scholar Week, and the research is featured in ELAIA.

To learn more about the Olivet Honors Program, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@Olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.


perhaps the world

Today’s young men and women, known casually as the “Digital Natives,” tend to seek travel for leisure to explore diverse cultures, cuisines and landscapes. Seeking authentic experiences, personal growth and digital detox, they desire a break from routine, in search of opportunites for creative content for various social media platforms.

is our campus

These are not their stories. These are the stories of Olivet Nazarene University students — stories not about sightseeing but immersive experiences. It is a feature about students making connections and impacting the world for the very One Who created it.

The Bourbonnais, Illinois, campus offers limitless opportunities. But our students also like to travel.

And while they collectively may value sustainability and prefer eco-friendly travel options — and all the selfdiscovery that comes with a focused sojourn — they travel with a purpose. They have chosen to commit their free time, travel opportunities and their lives to contribute positively to the world.


Dr. Nicole Vander Schaaf, assistant professor of biological sciences, wasn’t sure how her training in cell and molecular biology might connect with God’s plan for service through missions.

“I grew up thinking mission workers were people building houses or being doctors, and I knew I didn’t have those skill sets,” she says.

mission, research & more in papua new guinea students and faculty collaborate

But she did have a heart for missions, so when she was invited last summer by Dr. Mike Pyle, former chair of the biology department, to accompany students on a medical mission to Papua New Guinea, she jumped at the chance — and “ended up doing things I never dreamed I’d be doing,” she says.

At Olivet, Dr. Vander Schaaf supervises student research projects and teaches courses in biology, microbiology and genetics. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology with a research background in cancer biology and microbiology.

On the mission field in Papua New Guinea, Dr. Vander Schaaf assisted in surgeries. She had a front-row seat to the medical services the hospital provides every day. A biology research expert, she was stretched in new ways.

“There were often several surgeries a day — everything from delivering babies via cesarean section to reattaching severed fingers,” she recounts of her time at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in the Western Highlands province.

The experience was rewarding, but Dr. Vander Schaaf continued to look for ways that her research expertise could be of service. Through conversations with the missionary doctors, she realized that her skill set could help meet one of the current needs of the hospital: screening for human papillomavirus (HPV), the sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer, a preventable disease that the World Health Organization has named a global health priority in low-income countries, is a major concern in Papua New Guinea.


“It has a major impact,” Dr. Vander Schaaf explains, “because when it strikes, usually women in their 30s to 50s, it is devasting, obviously for the victims but also for the large families that usually depend on these mothers.”

Because cervical cancer is treatable if caught early enough, testing women for cancer-causing strains of HPV can help identify susceptible women before it’s too late. And because HPV spread is exacerbated through polygamy and sexual abuse, this is a place, Dr. Vander Schaaf points out, where microbiology can be a true work of God’s healing.

When she returns to Papua New Guinea this summer, she won’t be alone. In addition to the Pyles and four nursing students, the team this year will also include Dr. Michael Wade, an engineering professor who will be working with a student to help develop engineering solutions for the hospital’s remote field station. And Dr. Vander Schaaf will have a student researcher as well in junior biology major Lucy Martinson, who is building her Honors Program research project around the HPV screening process.

Martinson, who plans to go into medicine and who works as an emergency room technician at a local hospital, is excited about the possibilities the project holds for her.

“It has already been a huge learning experience,” she explains. “It’s helped me realize how much of our medical infrastructure we take for granted. Even things that would be simple at the ER can become a real challenge in a third-world country.”

The project has also given her opportunities to connect with experts in the field.

“We’ve been in close contact with the lead researcher on HPV in Papua New Guinea and in virtual meetings with doctors there and in Australia,” Lucy says. “It’s exciting to have a place at the table with doctors and scientists making a difference in that part of the world.”

For Lucy, the chance to conduct research goes even deeper.

“This project has been a miracle of God for me,” she says. “Gaining experience in medical missions that I can use for the rest of my career, helping others and seeing what it’s like to practice medicine across cultures — I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”

Screening for HPV at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital is where Dr. Vander Schaaf’s expertise can meet her passion for missions. With the help of funding through the generous donors of Olivet’s Hippenhammer Grant, McGraw Fellowship and Catalyst funds, Dr. Vander Schaaf is preparing to return to Papua New Guinea this summer with 300 HPV testing kits and plans for piloting a screening process.

“The tests are relatively expensive,” Dr. Vander Schaaf explains, “so one of our goals is to test the efficacy of a cheaper, more sustainable testing method alongside the established method.”

This could allow Kudjip Nazarene Hospital to implement its own permanent screening protocol. There are still some hurdles to be worked out, but Dr. Vander Schaaf is hopeful.

“Through screening and education of those coming to the hospital for routine health services, we can make a real difference in this region saving women’s lives,” she says.

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).


In March I had the opportunity to travel with a great group of friends to Yosemite and Sequoia national parks for the photography trip of a lifetime. Going on a big trip like this was always a goal of ours, but we never had the time or money to make it happen. After two years of planning and saving up, we finally pulled the trigger. Amidst all the warnings telling us not to go because of the extreme snowstorms, we still went. The extreme snowstorms that hit the parks a week prior ended up being a huge blessing, as we were able to experience both parks with limited crowds, allowing us to visit so many more places than we had originally planned for.

Each one of us challenged ourselves not only in our photography but also in our physical abilities, all taking on hikes that pushed us to our limits. Our first hike up to Columbia Rock in Yosemite quickly topped my list of favorites. It wasn’t just the stunning scenery that took my breath away but also the shared laughs and mutual support with a great group of friends that made it an experience to remember.

Ending our trip at Sequoia National Park was the perfect closure to an already amazing week. It is one thing to see pictures of the giant sequoia trees. But, until you step foot next to them, you never realize how truly spectacular they are. The fifth-largest tree in the world, named “The President,” is 3,240 years old — 1,216 years older than Christ. Getting to walk up to and place your hand on something that old leaves you in absolute awe of God’s creation.

spring awakening kyle petersen


As the trip drew to a close, we found ourselves reflecting on every aspect of our adventure. From the unexpected blessings of a snowstorm to the challenging hikes that led to amazing views, every moment was a testament to perseverance and friendship.

This trip definitely surpassed our expectations, leaving us with thousands of photographs and the kind of memories that only come from embracing challenges and jumping into adventure.

Kyle, a senior, will continue his artistic career full time this summer as a videographer and photographer in the media department for the 2023 Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.


costa rica honduras the shalom project

dominican republic kentucky nicaragua

Olivet Nazarene University’s Shalom Project ministry trips provide students with unique experiences to travel away from the Bourbonnais campus and experience new cultures and communities. This spring Olivet sent 78 students and 12 faculty and staff members to Costa Rica, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Kentucky and Nicaragua. During this week of intentional service, among other activities, Olivet teams partnered with local churches; taught in schools; participated in community restoration projects and relationship building; aided in the work of medical clinics; served in women’s shelters; and hosted vacation Bible school and after-school programs.


the shalom project


“We go on these trips to listen, learn and love; to see how God is already at work; and to come alongside and partner with others in the family of God.”

— Esther Tueck, Shalom Project director

OLIVET.EDU 21 the shalom project honduras

“We hope it will help us to become learners, listeners, encouragers and participants in bringing the hope and love of Jesus Christ, not just on a trip but that it would challenge us to be missional every day of our lives — wherever that may be.”

the shalom project kentucky


the shalom project nicaragua

24 OLIVET.EDU To learn more about Olivet’s Shalom Project or how to fund student mission trips, visit Olivet.edu/GIVE.
OLIVET.EDU 25 the shalom project dominican republic


Dr. Jason Stephens, Vice President for Student Development

Each fall Olivet welcomes hundreds of first-year students to our beautiful campus. Many come from Nazarene homes, are children of alumni, or have been to campus frequently and feel excited about now being an Olivet student. Others might be the first in their family to attend college, come alone without friends, or have other fears about what the next four years might hold.

I came to college knowing no one. No one from my high school came, no one from my church came, and I was not the child of alumni. While both of my parents went to college, my mom went to a large state school and lived at home throughout, and my dad was an adult learner and graduated when I was in high school. I was nervous about what college might hold. Little did I know that these four (in my case, five) critical years would allow me to develop deep friendships, be mentored by amazing faculty and staff, and experience God in unique and dynamic ways. These experiences set me on a path to be the person I am today.

At Olivet we recognize that students take different journeys to campus and might be uncertain about the path ahead. We aim to stand as a beacon of compassion and support for them. More than just an institution of higher learning, Olivet is a community where students not only gain knowledge but also find a place where they can truly learn and grow, know they matter, and cultivate a sense of belonging.

At the heart of Olivet’s ethos lies a deep commitment to nurturing the holistic development of students. The University’s compassionate approach is evident in every aspect of campus life, from a dedicated faculty and staff to a vibrant student body.

One of the key pillars of Olivet’s compassionate environment is an emphasis on supportive relationships. Professors are not just educators but mentors who take a genuine interest in their students’ well-being. They create a nurturing learning environment where students feel comfortable seeking guidance and support, both academically

and personally. This personalized attention fosters a sense of belonging and empowers students to reach their fullest potential.

Beyond the classroom, Olivet offers a myriad of support services to ensure that every student thrives. From academic advising and tutoring to counseling and career guidance, the University provides comprehensive support systems designed to address the diverse needs of the student body. No matter the challenge, students have a network of caring individuals ready to assist them every step of the way.

Olivet is also deeply committed to creating a campus community where every student feels valued and respected. The University celebrates an increasingly diverse student body. Through various cultural events, student organizations and initiatives, Olivet encourages dialogue and engagement across different backgrounds, fostering a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences rooted in Christian community.


In addition to fostering a compassionate and supportive environment, Olivet places a strong emphasis on helping students develop into well-rounded individuals.

The University offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including athletics, performing arts, volunteer opportunities and campus ministries. These activities not only provide students with valuable leadership skills and practical experience but also contribute to their personal growth and character development.

Furthermore, Olivet instills a sense of purpose and service to others. Rooted in the tradition of the Church of the Nazarene, the University encourages students to live out their faith through acts of compassion and service. Whether through local outreach programs or international mission trips, students have ample opportunities to make a positive impact on the world around them, embodying the University’s mission of “Education With a Christian Purpose.”

Olivet is only able to accomplish this success through a partnership with parents and loved ones. When students arrive at Olivet, they enter a community with great mentors that will become influential in their lives. Yet, the campus workforce is not meant to replace the important role of parents and loved ones in the lives of students.

In partnering with parents for the holistic success of college students, Olivet fosters open communication channels, inviting parents into the educational journey. We invite parents to participate in events like athletic games, Homecoming weekend and Grandparents Day. These events strengthen the bond between the University and families. Encouraging parents to actively participate in campus activities fosters a sense of community. By aligning educational values with parental support, Olivet nurtures an environment where students can thrive academically, spiritually and personally.

I am a product of the type of community that Olivet offers. I entered college aspiring to be a chief financial officer. During my college years, I encountered God in deep and profound ways, became more confident in who He created me to be, and found a new vocation that God had placed in my life. That new vocation has led me to become Olivet’s vice president of student development, a position that helps to foster the very living and learning environments for students to have profound experiences at the University. I am proud to work at Olivet and see lives be transformed to expand God’s Kingdom.

Jason Stephens, Ph.D., is the University’s vice president for student development and a member of the President’s Cabinet. With more than 15 years of leadership experience in higher education, he holds a master’s degree in higher education from Geneva College and earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. A native of Pendleton, Indiana, Dr. Stephens is married to Kendra. They are the parents of Caleb and Hannah.



Rev. Jasper Paul Taylor

Full-circle moments are some of life’s greatest treasures for Rev. Jasper Paul Taylor’10/’12 M.O.L. One of those moments happened in early 2024 when he delivered chapel messages for Olivet Nazarene University’s winter revival services.

“I looked out from the stage of Centennial Chapel and imagined myself sitting in those seats as a student,” he says. “I also remembered serving at ONU as a graduate assistant in the School of Music, as the multicultural campus coordinator and as director of the Gospel Choir. Sharing God’s Word in that context was definitely a full-circle moment for me.”

Today, Rev. Taylor is combining his gifts for music, ministry and leadership in his current assignment from God as senior pastor of the Broadview Missionary Baptist Church (BMBC) in Broadview, Illinois. A fourth-generation pastor, he has led this suburban Chicago congregation since 2023. He also serves as executive director of the Calahan Foundation, NFP, which inspires youth through educational scholarships and college mentoring as well as meeting the deep needs of humanity through community outreach.

“Our church’s worship style is intentionally culturally sensitive,” Rev. Taylor says. “Much of our music is rooted in the unique American artform known as gospel music, both traditional and contemporary. In the African American church, music and preaching

are inseparable. I sing every Sunday before or after I preach. I enjoy connecting with our congregation through the antiphonal or dialogic type of preaching, where there is a call-and-response relationship between the preacher and the people.”

Under Rev. Taylor’s leadership, BMBC is growing in numbers and in impact.

“Since January 2023, we have welcomed more than 350 new members, whom we affectionately call partners in ministry, and have baptized more than 125 new believers,” he says. “We are even more grateful that we are seeing all ages coming to faith for the first time.”

The church’s mission focus is both local and international.

“We focus on our immediate community first with a strong outreach to youth and young adults,” Rev. Taylor says. “ONU students and grads have joined our church. They are helping us to evangelize our neighborhood; reach out to prisons and correctional facilities; and continue our strong commitment to Christian education and international missions.”

Before serving at BMBC, Rev. Taylor served from 2013 to 2023 as the executive pastor for St. Paul and Greater Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, where he worked alongside his father, Dr. Joel


Taylor. His mother, Dr. Cynthia Taylor ’06 M.A., is a licensed professional counselor and the director of Multiethnic Student Services at Olivet.

“One of the greatest joys of ministry is witnessing people fall in love with God’s Word,” Rev. Taylor says. “Also, seeing our church passing the faith from one generation to the next has deeply impacted me. Among our church staff of 25, there are three generations represented. Sometimes the enemy wants people to focus on generational differences, but I like to encourage the body of Christ to find the places where we can find unity. I truly believe God has called me to be a bridge among generations.”

Rev. Taylor is still influenced by the people who took the time to pour into him and coach and mentor him during his days as an Olivet student.

“I’ve had many conversations with several of my former professors and administrators,” he says. “Dr. Woody Webb is one. He and I still talk to this day. Dr. Webb has the gift of listening. He knows how to make you feel heard. When he does speak, he has the ability to encourage you while at the same time reminding you of God’s faithfulness.

“Another one of my mentors is Dr. Neal Woodruff, my voice professor in the School of Music and now the dean of the School of Music. During my time at ONU, he was sometimes my voice teacher,

sometimes my pastor and sometimes my counselor. When I had decisions to make, I knew I could work out my decision-making process with him. His office was a safe place, and he was undeniably someone who helped me navigate my passion for music and my identity in Christ.”

Rev. Taylor adds, “Those are the types of conversations that are always happening at Olivet. It’s the norm. Olivet truly embodies its mission of being more than just a college education. Olivet is a place that provides an education with a Christian purpose. I’m eternally grateful for my grounding at Olivet.”

“One of the greatest joys of ministry is witnessing people fall in love with God’s Word.”


Olivet Nazarene University is home to a vibrant and competitive athletic community. With 21 intercollegiate athletic teams, the Tigers are committed to excellence both on and off the field. From men’s basketball to women’s soccer, our student-athletes showcase their talents, discipline and teamwork.

The Tiger legacy that celebrates both athletic prowess and academic achievement finds most students with a 3.35 GPA or higher.


A typical undergraduate degree takes four years to complete, and Olivet Nazarene University professors are committed to making every moment count. Classroom instruction is interactive and collaborative, not merely instructional.

Students gain knowledge and wisdom, and even have opportunity to collaborate with professors on reserach and further study.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” — Colossians 3:17


Men and women who are called to work as faculty and staff members for Olivet Nazarene University live a life on mission. They sink their roots deep into the soil that anchors what is already growing. They join a highly connected community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Olivet. They step into their place in Olivet’s history and longevity.

When many people think of Olivet, they may think of iconic buildings or memorable moments. But what they think of most often are the people they encountered while studying, learning, growing and working at Olivet.

“We are thankful for those who invest so much of their lives in the mission and work of Olivet,” says Dr. Brian Allen ’82/’05 D.Litt., vice president for institutional advancement. “Some, as they transition from one phase of life to another, still have a desire to contribute to helping Olivet continue to thrive. That is the case for three outstanding couples who have recently joined our Development team.”



“We first met at Olivet as students. After graduating, we went our separate ways until God brought us back together, and now He has directed us full circle back to ONU to humbly serve. Our desire is to make an impact for the Kingdom of God through supporting Olivet’s deep-rooted mission of ‘Education With a Christian Purpose.’

“Our mission in Athletics is to provide an opportunity for ministry while striving to honor God on and off the field/court. We now have the privilege to lead Athletic advancement and other student support initiatives and projects for ONU and the Department of Athletics, which consists of 22 sports and more than 700 student-athletes. Relationships and resources will help take Tiger Athletics to the next level, and we are committed to developing new and creative ways to include alumni and friends of ONU Athletics from many different eras in helping support our students and to advance our athletic programs into the future.”

Mike and Beth remain committed to the mission of Olivet and its students. Tiger Athletics continues to be an opportunity for ministry and has formed the foundation for so many alumni. Their challenge is to find new, creative ways to advance Athletics with resources, time and advocacy by developing relationships and reconnecting former athletes and

alumni. Mike ’84 is transitioning from his roles as director of athletics and head football coach and stepping into a new assignment as director of athletic advancement and the Tiger Champions Club. Beth (Moore) ’85 serves as the director of Pacific Rim Student Services.


Engagement and Development Advocates

“Live your life so that you’re always prepared to say yes to God. We learned from our parents how to be content in each season of life. As we age, we hope to keep saying yes. We brought our three children to Celebrate Life events at ONU many times. So when it was time for college, we weren’t too surprised that they didn’t want to go anywhere else. ONU students have much richer educational, social and spiritual experiences, just as our own kids did. They are better prepared for whatever the future holds for them.”

Mike and Nancy continue to live a life on mission in the areas of nursing and the sciences. Dr. Pyle previously served as dean of the Walker School of STEM, and Nancy ‘11 M.S.N. was a professor and program director for the School of Nursing. Now, as engagement and development advocates for the natural sciences and nursing programs, they are ambassadors for the University — as well as mentors and mission trip leaders. They are committed to keeping alumni and friends of Olivet connected with the University’s ongoing work.

Mike and Nancy Pyle


“Olivet changed our lives, first as students and then professionally. We are thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had and all the wonderful people we’ve worked with. Most of all, we are thankful for the blessings we’ve had in seeing students’ success in and enjoyment of music. As we work with the ONU Development team, we are helping to create an avenue of giving that targets what wouldn’t otherwise be possible for the School of Music. We’re making connections with alumni who were part of Olivet’s music program in the past and yet have never given to Olivet. We want to be the ones who get to talk with them about giving.”

Don and Dena have established community and encouraged excellence in the lives of thousands of students who have participated in the University’s music and performing arts programs — representing almost every major the University offers. Dr. Reddick ’79 recently stepped out of his full-time role as dean of the School of Music, following many years of unprecedented growth and expansion of music and fine arts education at Olivet. He now serves as director of Friends of the Fine Arts. He wants to ensure that the School of Music reaches new levels of excellence.

The Conways, the Pyles and the Reddicks are invested deeply in developing and maintaining relationships. They are passionate about Olivet students and the quality of the student experience and have formed a growing network of connections with alumni and friends of the University. These three couples join together with faculty and staff to help make sure needs are met, growth continues and the mission of Olivet thrives.

Today, the Conways, Pyles and Reddicks join Olivet’s Office of Development to fund excellence in all areas of the University for future generations of students. Olivet is committed to attract the best and brightest students and to send them out for significant contributions to the world.

“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” — 2 Corinthians 9:12

Don and Dena Reddick


“It’s not what you know. It’s whom you know.”

This common phrase rolls easily off the tongue and illustrates well the importance of networking. However, it often minimizes the immense impact that knowledge can have on successful outcomes.

The Honors Program at Olivet Nazarene University is structured in such a way to provide highlevel academic opportunities supported by the collaboration, wisdom and mentorship of subjectmatter-expert faculty members as well as the camaraderie of an intentional cohort of classmates. Ultimately, students graduate with equal measures of relational and educational experiences.

The Honors Program consists of four semesters of team-taught, discussion-based courses that satisfy four of Olivet’s general education curriculum requirements. The following two years, students complete advanced research projects under faculty guidance.

Mackenzie Coats ’23 and Cheney Ohler ’23 met in the freshman year Honors Program course and became fast friends. Mackenzie, a California native who was recruited to play volleyball at Olivet, majored in business administration with concentrations in health care and human resources.

Cheney, from Illinois, studied psychology and sociology. The women bonded over a shared interest in the Honors Program curriculum, the field of psychology and Investment Club.

“I enjoyed the classes and the people,” Mackenzie says. “Honors was a place to come have philosophical and applicable discussions about what we were learning. We had tough but relevant conversations — particularly about concepts like peace and shalom, tech and AI, and racial systems running through the world today.”

For Cheney, the program stretched her personally. She valued the opportunity to connect with peers and professors.

“The Honors Program is a collaboration, even in early years,” Cheney says of her experience. “The environment was challenging, rewarding and entertaining. It was also cool to be connected to people in so many different majors. I am naturally shy, but in those Honors class environments, it was easy to come out of my shell. I came from a rigorous high school, and the teachers were somewhat detached. So I was surprised how invested the professors were at Olivet. They really liked to hear what we had to say and encouraged differences of opinions.”

Cheney Ohler and Mackenzie Coats

Cheney used her capstone research project to satisfy the requirements for both the Honors Program and a cumulative project in her Quantitative Research course. Her adviser for both projects, Dr. John Adams ’10, provided oversight and critical knowledge of developing surveys but allowed Cheney to steer the project as she examined the connections between attachment theories and anxiety in stepfamilies.

“I desired to learn about things that had impacted my life — how I grew up and learned to navigate the world,” Cheney reflects. “I wanted to learn about myself and other people like me who grew up in divorced relationships. In the process, I realized that there was a gap in literature.”

“[The Honors Program] set me leaps and bounds ahead of my peers in terms of self-reflection and critical thinking.”

She received funding from both the Honors Program and the Department of Behavioral Sciences to offset the costs of administering and incentivizing surveys for students and staff at Olivet. Cheney presented her research findings at the annual Honors Day conference and the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area conference in Chicago. The presentations were nervewracking, but she was prepared with well-rounded research and plenty of past presentation experiences.

“I enjoyed the research process more than I thought I would,” Cheney says. “I didn’t think I would be capable or thought research was just for people who were wired differently from me. But, through the Honors Program, I learned I have strengths in STEM and that I really enjoy research.”

Through her research project under the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Kristian Veit, Mackenzie examined the effects of optimism and spirituality on burnout in educators. She leveraged a network of teaching professionals in Olivet’s alumni database (bolstered by her father’s and brother’s careers in education) and used surveys to gauge the level of burnout among teachers. The results gave her valuable information

about how to combat burnout — a resource and skill set that will prove very useful for a career in human resources.

“I think the Honors Program was extremely beneficial,” Mackenzie says. “It set me leaps and bounds ahead of my peers in terms of self-reflection and critical thinking. Freshman year, you’re in deep conversations about what it means to be human and to be alive through very personal, philosophical conversations. Then, you get really skilled in putting together annotated research papers. By the time I was writing one for my research project, I felt very capable in my skill set.”

The Honors Program research process sparked career interests for both Mackenzie and Cheney. They both graduated a semester early, giving them time and space to get a jump start in the workforce. To complete their Honors Program experience, each of them presented at the Midwest Psychological Association conference in spring 2024.

Mackenzie works as a talent acquisition specialist and anticipates earning an MBA in the near future.

“I gained a lot from the program,” Mackenzie says, “but it was especially helpful to have something tangible at the end. I am confident that looking for a job with applicable, high-level academic experience set me apart from other candidates.”

In the coming years, Cheney hopes to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology to open doors to a career in forensic psychology.

“I definitely recommend the Honors Program,” Cheney emphasizes. “The professors integrated concepts so well into our discussions, and I met more people than I would have normally. We all had to show up and work hard, but I got a lot out of it.”

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.

The culmination of students’ research is published in ELAIA: The Olivet Nazarene University Honors Journal. All volumes of ELAIA can be read online at issuu.com/Olivet

For more details about the Honors Program and application information, visit Olivet.edu/Honors.



Ed.D. Degree Opens Unexpected Doors for Dr. Airica Steed

Her great-grandmother worked as a nurse midwife in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the early 1900s. Her grandmother and mother were nurses. She followed in their footsteps and became an emergency department and critical care nurse. But she believed there was still more for her to do.

After losing several family members to cancer and surviving two brushes with death herself, Airica Steed ’11 Ed.D. realized that her life was on a new trajectory.

“I put myself headfirst on a leadership path,” she recalls. “But I didn’t have the tools I needed to make the impact I wanted to make. I knew there were problems in our health care system that I wanted to solve. When I heard about the Doctor of Ethical Leadership degree program at Olivet Nazarene University, I realized that elevating my education would give me what I needed to disrupt a broken health care system.”

A Program and a Lifelong Learning Experience

Dr. Steed was a member of Olivet’s first Ed.D. cohort. A Chicago native, she was already familiar with Olivet and the University’s commitment to quality. In fact, several of her friends and colleagues hold Olivet degrees.

She was initially drawn to the Ed.D. degree program because faith is its starting point and focus. As she began the program, she soon realized that she was

surrounded by like-minded individuals and that, together, they would be empowered as human beings and aspirational leaders during the coming years.

“My cohort is like a family,” she says. “Shared faith, shared discipline, shared desire to find our purpose in life brought us together. There is also something special about being the first cohort. From the beginning, we were more than co-students. We were and are fellow colleagues. We continue to keep in touch and correspond regularly. We celebrate birthdays and accomplishments. We mourn losses. We keep one another motivated. My cohort is my personal board of advisers.”

A Conclusion and Many New Beginnings

As she was completing her dissertation on successful Lean system transformations in the health care system and preparing for her Olivet graduation, Dr. Steed was most surprised by the new status that her new degree afforded her. She was already working in a senior executive position and was the youngest vice president among her company’s 10,000 vice presidents.

“I started receiving job offers before I even had my Ed.D. diploma,” she recalls. “I even had offers for positions in academics, which I had never received before. Being welcomed into that world was truly lifechanging for me.”

“With my doctorate degree, I have shattered that concrete ceiling. I know where I am now is a calling that I’ve accepted. I would not have all of this without my Ed.D. from ONU.”

Today, at age 46, Dr. Steed serves as president and CEO of The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the first female, first person of color and first nurse to serve as CEO. This public hospital system cares for all people, regardless of the color of their skin, where they live or their ability to pay. The $2 billion system is comprised of five hospitals, 40 ambulatory locations, a Level 1 Trauma Center, the MetroHealth Burn Care Center, and 9,000 caregivers and providers.

Since taking on this leadership role in 2022, she has made intentional listening to employees, state leaders and the local community a top priority.

“I have always been a servant leader,” she says. “That’s a natural instinct for me. Through my ethical leadership studies at ONU, I learned how to come into my own as a servant leader. I have grown spiritually, personally, professionally.”

Dr. Steed also accepted some of those invitations to join the academic world. Since 2010, she has taught courses in nursing, health care management, business management, quality and ethics at a variety of universities, including Loyola University and the University of Illinois Chicago.

A Focus and a Plan

Besides work, family time with her husband, four children and two dogs gives Dr. Steed a sense of purpose and gets her up in the morning. She also loves to travel, explore, discover and learn. She appreciates all the rich experiences, personal and professional, she has already enjoyed and looks forward to what is still to come.

“I have put myself in situations where I shattered the glass ceiling,” Dr. Steed says. “What I discovered is that the ceiling is actually made of concrete. With my doctorate degree, I have shattered that concrete ceiling. I know where I am now is a calling that I’ve accepted. I would not have all of this without my Ed.D. from ONU.”


a visit to Olivet

Visiting Olivet Nazarene University is a crucial step in the college selection process. While there is endless information available online, visiting in person is the ideal way to see all that Olivet has to offer.


We offer a holistic educational experience that nurtures not only the intellect but also the spirit. Our diverse range of academic programs caters to various interests and career goals.

Our faculty, known for their expertise and dedication, foster a supportive learning environment that encourages critical thinking and innovation.

Our beautiful campus is a microcosm of the world, with students from different backgrounds and cultures. Visiting allows you to experience this diversity firsthand and understand how it enriches the learning environment.

Olivet is deeply committed to service and leadership development. By visiting, you can learn about the various opportunities we provide for students to make a positive impact on society.

We also understand the importance of extracurricular activities in shaping a wellrounded personality. Our athletic teams, clubs and organizations offer numerous avenues for students to pursue their passions outside the classroom.

A visit gives you a glimpse of our residential and spiritual life. You can explore our modern facilities, interact with current students, worship alongside students in a chapel setting, and get a feel for the camaraderie that defines the ONU experience.


Nothing replaces the campus visit experience. Stepping on campus allows students the opportunity to get a taste for life at Olivet. It is a wonderful time to build relational equity with faculty and staff at Olivet.


- Olivet hosts campus visits five days a week.

- Personalized campus visits are customary for every high school senior.

- Group visit days like Purple & Gold Days, Summer Visit Days and Experience Days allow students to meet other like-minded high school seniors as part of their process.

- We host nearly 2,000 high school students each year for campus visits.

- Students from around the world visit Olivet during the recruitment cycle.

To schedule a campus visit, scan here or go to: Olivet.edu/visit



Planning for the future is a crucial aspect of securing your legacy and ensuring that assets are distributed according to your wishes. Estate planning through a will or trust is a powerful tool that provides peace of mind and facilitates the seamless transfer of assets to beneficiaries. Explore the benefits you’ll enjoy and the essential steps you should take.


Controlling and Distributing Assets

Estate planning allows you to maintain control over the distribution of your assets after death. Through a will or trust, you provide specific instructions on how your estate should be divided among beneficiaries.

Minimizing Tax Liabilities

Strategic estate planning can help minimize tax implications for heirs. Utilize exemptions, deductions and other taxplanning strategies to reduce the burden of estate taxes on your beneficiaries.

Avoiding Probate Delays

A well-structured estate plan can help expedite the distribution of assets and avoid the lengthy and often costly probate process. This is particularly important to ensure your beneficiaries receive their inheritances in a timely manner.

Ensuring Financial Security for Family

Estate planning allows you to provide financial security for your loved ones, including your spouse’s children and other dependents. Trusts, in particular, can be designed to provide ongoing financial support and management.

Maintaining Privacy

Unlike probate, which is a public process, estate planning through a trust can maintain a higher level of privacy. You can keep the details of your estate and its distribution confidential.


Assessing Assets and Debt

Begin by taking stock of all your assets, including real estate, investments, bank accounts and personal property. Additionally, assess outstanding debts to get a clear picture of your estate’s financial standing.

Identifying Beneficiaries and Executors

Clearly identify and list the beneficiaries of your estate. Choose an executor or trustee who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions outlined in your will or trust. Ensure that these individuals are willing and capable of fulfilling their roles.

Drafting the Will or Trust

Seek professional assistance from an estate-planning attorney to draft a legally sound will or trust. Clearly articulate how assets should be distributed, considering the unique needs and circumstances of your beneficiaries.

Incorporating Advance Directives

Include advance directives such as a durable power of attorney and health care proxy in your estate plan. These documents empower trusted individuals to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf in case of incapacitation.

Regularly Reviewing and Updating Life circumstances change, and it’s essential to periodically review and update your estate plan. This ensures that the plan aligns with current assets, family dynamics and legal requirements.

Funding the Trust

Transferring assets into the trust, a process known as funding, is crucial. This step is often overlooked but is essential for the trust to function as intended.

Enjoy the peace of ensuring your wishes will be honored and your legacy will endure in a way that reflects your values and priorities.

Your legacy is partially defined by the charities you choose to support through your estate plans.

Dr. Walter “Woody” Webb ’86/’88 M.A./’04

D.Litt., who has more than 35 years of experience in higher education, serves as Olivet’s director of planned and estate giving. He can be reached at wwebb@Olivet.edu

Illustration: Noah Sears, Adobe Stock



Olivet Nazarene University’s 3,500-seat Centennial Chapel hosts numerous concerts and cultural events each year — from the Grammy Award-winning For King & Country to the ONU Orchestra and combined choirs. For a complete list of concerts and arts activities, go to Olivet.edu/events



James Tew ’91 and his wife, Shannon, are executive producers for CAROL, a faith-based, feature-length musical movie that just completed filming and is planned for release in November. The movie is based on a play James wrote for the church they attended 10 years ago. More details and updates are available at carolmovie.com.


Steven Betz ’96 was recently hired as the government relations director for the University of Michigan-Dearborn.


Grace (Cook) Fields ’04 received a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University in May 2023. She teaches biology, environmental science and marine science at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, South Carolina.


Toni (Moran) Jackson ’06 was promoted to director of didactic education for the Department of PA Studies at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Toni graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and she continues to practice clinically as a physician assistant in primary care and ophthalmology.


Dawn Bates ’08 M.A.T. currently teaches second grade in Joliet School District 86. She became certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 2019 and is the only teacher with that certification in her district. Dawn is a Teach Plus alumni fellow. She served as a Teach Plus fellow for the 2020–2021 school year and learned how to advocate for herself

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

and fellow teachers. She also presented for the NBPTS and, during COVID-19, helped to present the All Means All presentations that were hosted by Teach Plus.


David Bardwell ’14 M.A.E. graduated through a cohort with Olivet. He was chosen as a top 20 finalist for the Golden Apple Award for 6th–12th grade educators.


Ryan ’15 and Alicia (Gallagher) Guertin ’14 welcomed Baker Lincoln on Feb. 7. He joins older siblings Jayden, Avery and Carson.

Katie (Smith) Morton ’15 was named head women’s soccer coach at Bluefield College. A four-year varsity starter at Olivet, she was a three-time All-Chicagoland Collegiiate Athletic Conference selection and a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American.

Tiffany (Madura) ’15 and Dan Vroom were married on July 22, 2023, in Crown Point, Indiana. Tiffany is an interior designer at Swatch Interiors, and Dan works in utility engineering for DVG Team. They reside in Cedar Lake, Indiana.



Garrett Muhlstadt ’16 graduated from the E. Blair Warner Family Medicine Residency Program in July 2023. He is now working as a family medicine physician at Southwestern Medical Clinic (a Christian, missions-minded practice) in Niles, Michigan. His wife, Abbie (Allen) Muhlstadt ’16/’22 M.S.N., has joined the faculty of the Indiana University South Bend School of Nursing. As a clinical assistant professor, she enjoys teaching both classes and clinicals to nursing students in their senior year.



Rebecca (Neville) ’20 and Levi Baldridge welcomed their son, Henry Thomas, on Sept. 26, 2023. The family resides in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Rebecca is a registered nurse, and Levi is an officer in the U.S. Army.

Emily (Thompson) Perez ’19 recently became a certified Scuba Diving International Rescue Diver for SEA LIFE Aquarium, working daily with a variety of marine life. She reports that she would not be where she is today without the incredible zoology professors who inspired her during her time at Olivet.

Professor emeritus and former athletic director Scott Armstrong recently completed a novel entitled The Dubious Professor. It is available in Kindle and print versions from Amazon.com. He is now retired and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Susan.





June 1, 1926–Nov. 27, 2023

Griggsville, Illinois


Nov. 20, 1928–March 24, 2024

Archbold, Ohio


May 23, 1927–Nov. 11, 2023 Charlottesville, Virginia


July 13, 1934–Feb. 23, 2024 Springfield, Ohio


June 4, 1935–Dec. 20, 2023

Xenia, Ohio


Jan. 24, 1934–Dec. 2, 2023

Columbus, Ohio


Dec. 21, 1935–Feb. 20, 2024

Bakersfield, Missouri


Sept. 11, 1935–Dec. 9, 2023 Mesa, Arizona


Aug. 16, 1937–Nov. 28, 2023

St. Louis Park, Minnesota


Aug. 9, 1933–Feb. 19, 2024

Centennial, Colorado


Aug. 4, 1936–Feb. 15, 2024 Fort Mill, South Carolina


Jan. 5, 1940–Oct. 27, 2023

Fenton, Missouri


Sept. 4, 1939–Nov. 11, 2023

Whitewater, Wisconsin



Aug. 19, 1940–Jan. 23, 2024

Mars Hill, North Carolina


Nov. 6, 1940–Nov. 21, 2023

Green Valley, Arizona


Nov. 18, 1941–Jan. 19, 2024

Hamilton, Ohio


May 8, 1940–Nov. 7, 2023

Normal, Illinois


April 8, 1942–Nov. 21, 2023

Lenoir City, Tennessee


Aug. 25, 1941–Feb. 26, 2024

Loudon, Tennessee


Jan. 23, 1944–Feb. 6, 2024

Greencastle, Tennessee


Dec. 29, 1942–Dec. 9, 2023

Caledonia, Wisconsin


Jan. 13, 1942–Feb. 28, 2024

Cincinnati, Ohio


May 1, 1944–Nov. 19, 2023

Newcomerstown, Ohio

JOHN F. PESTER ’66/’77 M.A.E.

Sept. 8, 1944–Oct. 26, 2023

New Lenox, Illinois


Feb. 4, 1940–Nov. 12, 2023

Kankakee, Illinois


July 17, 1938–Sept. 18, 2023

Mt. Carroll, Illinois


Oct. 16, 1946–Nov. 17, 2023

Bourbonnais, Illinois

SUBMIT YOUR CLASS NOTE OR OBITUARY to OlivetEditors@Olivet.edu or online at Olivet.edu/class-notes OLIVET.EDU 47




Jan. 5, 1939–March 2, 2024

Bourbonnais, Illinois


Dec. 11, 1957–Oct. 1, 2023

Sanford, North Carolina


March 26, 1960–March 16, 2024

St. Louis, Missouri


Dec. 4, 1966–Nov. 16, 2023

Tinley Park, Illinois


Sept. 3, 1973–Jan. 5, 2024

Indianapolis, Indiana


June 19, 1946–Dec. 21, 2023

Battle Creek, Michigan


May 31, 1976–Sept. 14, 2023

Greenwood, Indiana


Sept. 24, 1959–March 22, 2024

Terre Haute, Indiana


Dec. 15, 1960–Nov. 18, 2023

Dwight, Illinois



Professor Emeritus

May 19, 2023

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


July 6, 1924–Feb. 15, 2024

Olathe, Kansas



May 23, 1934–Nov. 1, 2020

Mount Vernon, Ohio


Nov. 16, 1934–Dec. 17, 2020

Latrobe, Pennsylvania


Dec. 22, 1951–Oct. 1, 2023

Olathe, Kansas

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

One of the nation’s premier universities, Olivet Nazarene University is a U.S. News & World Report Best Value School and an institution committed to a higher purpose.

With accredited programs, top-tier academics and a faculty touting degrees from a wide spectrum of worldclass 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 secure degrees that place them ahead of the pack, with portfolios and experience as evidence of an “Education With a Christian Purpose.”



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Olivet 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 2022 Olivet joined the ranks of 508 internationally accredited arboreta with a Level I Certification through the Morton Arboretum’s interactive community, ArbNet.


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



Olivet 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., RN-M.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.













Statistics compiled from 2021, 2022 and/or 2023






Art – Drawing/Painting

Art – Graphic Design

Art – Media Arts

Art – Photography

Art Education

Communication Studies

Corporate Communication


English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language Education

English Education



Leadership Studies

Legal Studies


Multimedia Communication

Multimedia Communication – Film Studies

Multimedia Communication –Journalism

Multimedia Communication –

Live Event Media Management

Multimedia Communication –Ministry Media

Multimedia Communication –Radio/Audio Media

Multimedia Communication –TV/Video Production

Musical Theatre


Political Science

Pre-Art Therapy


Political Science – Public Policy


Public Relations & Strategic Communication

Social Science

Social Science Education



Spanish Education

Theatre Production & Performance




Music – Composition

Music Education

Music – Jazz Studies

Music Ministry

Music – Performance

Music – Recording Arts


Actuarial Science



Chemistry – Biochemistry

Chemistry – Earth/Environmental Chemistry

Chemistry – Forensics

Computer Science –Networking & Data


Computer Science –Software Development

Computer Science –

Software Entrepreneurship


Data Science

Earth & Space Science

Engineering – Architectural

Engineering – Chemical & Biochemical

Engineering – Civil

Engineering – Computer

Engineering – Electrical

Engineering – Mechanical

Environmental Science

Geological Science

Geological Science – Geochemistry

Geological Science – Geotechnical

Geological Science – Life Science


Mathematics Education


Physical Sciences





Pre-Physician’s Assistant


Science Education – Biology

Science Education – Chemistry

Science Education – Earth/Space




Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice – Criminology

Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement


Family & Consumer Sciences –Hospitality

Health Education

Interior Design


Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology

Kinesiology – Pre-Athletic Training

Kinesiology – Pre-Occupational Therapy

Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy

Military Affairs

Military Science

Physical Education

Recreation & Sport Studies

Social Work

Sport Management


Child Development

Early Childhood Education

Elementary Education

Special Education

Master of Arts in Education:

Curriculum and Instruction

Master of Arts in Education:

Educational Leadership

Master of Arts in Education:

Reading Specialist

Doctor of Education: Ethical Leadership



Business – Human Resource


Business – Management

Business – Philanthropy/Not-forProfit

Business – Operations


Business – Public Administration

Business Administration


Economics & Finance –

Applied Economics

Economics & Finance –

Certified Financial Planning

Economics & Finance –

Corporate Finance



International Business



Management Information Systems


Marketing – Commercial Graphics

Marketing – Corporate Relations

Marketing – International

Marketing – Management

Master of Business Administration

Master of Organizational




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

Master of Science in Nursing: Education

Master of Science in Nursing:

Transformational Leadership

RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

RN to Master of Science in Nursing


Biblical Languages

Biblical Studies

Children’s Ministry

Christian Education

Christian Ministry

Christian Studies



Intercultural Studies

Ministerial Missions

Pastoral Ministry


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


Master of Arts: Pastoral Ministry

Master of Arts: Religion

Master of Arts: Urban Ministry

Master of Divinity

Master of Ministry

Master of Ministry: Spanish


There is an anti-college mood in culture. Across the Midwest, around 15% fewer high school grads than a decade ago enroll in higher education.

College cost explains only part of this. Olivet takes this seriously. Compared to a group of 20 schools you would know, our average net charges (after scholarships) were $3,000 less five years ago, but that relief gap now grows to $5,000. One in 10 Olivet undergrads are entirely tuitionfree. Really.

The bigger anti-college factor is overly “woke” schools that unravel in students what parents stitched into them. Biological men play women’s sports. Ivy League presidents say “it depends” when Congress asks if students can call for the eradication of Jews. In the name of free speech, they defend far left and right positions but, under the banner of safe spaces, take no position other than civility. They hope students discover “their truth” in the chaos.

This brand of centrism — add liberal and conservative extremes, then divide down the middle for civility — won’t do. Instead, how about confident conviction with compassion?

The Faith calls us confidently toward liberal and conservative causes anyway. We still abstain from alcohol. That’s conservative. But it’s for social good, not as the litmus test of personal piety (1 Corinthians 8:9–13). Alcohol abuse so ravaged society it justified federal Prohibition in the 1920s — no theological rationale required.

But we do liberal things too. Our movement didn’t only eliminate slavery, but our schools also were among the first to racially integrate dormitories. We also train women for ministry. Even our customized training to serve children was at one time liberal because many countries view kids of such low status that they aren’t even counted in the census.

As we strive for conviction with compassion — not liberalconservative, not centrism and civility — this isn’t code to avoid sensitive things. Without fear, we expose students to any idea made legitimate by the standards of an academic discipline, then advocate what the Christian faith prefers. We aim for strong scholarship with deep piety, anchoring students while familiarizing them with extreme things. Dr. Elton Trueblood shared the adage that Christianity is an anvil which wears out many hammers. Our Faith survived the condescension of Greek thinkers, fierce opposition from Roman emperors and blight of the Dark Ages, and it will thrive under modern challenges.

Here are a few real-time examples of how Olivet isn’t “woke” for civility and centrism but instead “awakened” to the person and cause of Christ, and how the Holy Spirit guides our work toward the needs of a hurting world.

It was conviction with compassion to act quickly after Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. We invited impoverished and sometimes faithless women who chose life for their babies to live cost-free in one of our stand-alone apartment facilities, while a pregnancy resource center provides direct services (job training, budget coaching and discipleship). Some of these women used to sleep in their car. Now an on-site staff member ensures holistic support.

We hold to historic Biblical doctrines on sexuality. Unisex dorms and apartments. Heterosexual marriage. A call to beautiful, positive celibacy in the unmarried, not the loss or damage of singlehood. Though we did not support a female student’s request to begin using a male name in our formal records, we did provide free housing for a month until her employment stabilized. That is not centrist, but conviction with compassion.

One-third of our student body are Hispanic, Black, Asian, Islander or multiracial. I understand why people criticize diversity and inclusion programs driven by a guarantee of outcomes based solely on race (e.g., race as the only hiring criterion). We don’t do that, but act in confident conviction and compassion to guarantee support where most needed. Scripture demonstrates special fondness for the widow, orphan, stranger and in general for the struggler. So when national data patterns repeated at Olivet, we put more resources toward the retention of students of color and now see the graduation rate of Black students doubled over the past six years. This emphasis doesn’t discriminate against those with less need. A fire truck speeds past intact homes to throw lifesaving water on the one with a burning platform. We should too.

In all of this, we don’t do social justice for its own sake. Liberation theology, for example, is so preoccupied with corporate conditions that the call for personal salvation is lost. Instead, John Wesley reminds us there is no personal holiness without a social holiness. God loved us, so we love others in His name.

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.

Friday–Sunday, Oct. 25–27

IL 60914

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