2019 was an outstanding year for The University of Olivet, including major milestones, historic events and record setting achievements. Here are a few of the top stories and highlights the The University of Olivet family loved throughout the year:
Celebrating Major Milestones
In August, the College announced that the Responsible Learners — Responsible Leaders: The University of Olivet 2020 and Beyond comprehensive campaign had raised more than $47.18 million, surpassing its goal of $44 million. The College also reached the end of its strategic plan: Charting the Course for The University of Olivet 2020 and Beyond, with a special issue of Shipherd’s Record reflecting on the last decade. The University of Olivet concluded its 175th anniversary in 2019, marking the occasion with several speaker panels, a permanent historical wall display, special recognitions during Commencement and Homecoming, and much more. The Hosford House, built by Oramel Hosford, one of institution’s founders, and believed to be the oldest residence in the city of Olivet, reopened as the Hosford History Center and Lawrence Archives.
Accomplishments of Students and the College
Congratulations once again to the top five graduates of the Class of 2019: Emily Dorn, Ann Fetzer, Jeff Humphrey, Rachel Stoneburner and Hannah Mellino. Honor’s Convocation celebrated a number of other student achievements, and 277 students were named to the spring 2019 Dean’s List and President’s List. The College was ranked third on LendEDU’s Student Loan Debt by School by State for Michigan’s lowest average student debt. And, Olivet was included in two 2020 U.S. News and World Report Best College Rankings, ranking eighth as a Top Performer on Social Mobility and 42nd on the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest list.
Successes in Athletics
The past year included both individual and team athletic accomplishments. Led by five All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) wrestlers, the 2019 wrestling team captured the first MIAA title after the league reinstated the sport and crowned a champion for the first time since 1984. Lillian Albaugh represented Olivet at both the 2019 NCAA Division III Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Eight All-MIAA players helped the football team finish in a tie for second-place in the final 2019 MIAA standings. Kinslea Blouin earned the title of MIAA softball batting champion, only the third player in school history to do so.
Getting a Glimpse of the Student Experience
Blake Johnson found the perfect way to meld an education with his love of football through an English major, and he also shared how Maintenance Tradesperson Doug Reynolds has become a unique mentor. In the spring 2019 issue of Shipherd’s Record, international student Jaideep Narayanan explained how small acts of kindness helped him find a second home at Olivet. Kadesha Alawar-Taylor was featured in the summer 2019 issue of Shipherd’s Record, emphasizing how her faith led her to The University of Olivet and beyond. Experiences right here on campus transformed the student experiences’ of Payton Leonard, Melanie Keusch, Myra-Renae Jones, and Samantha and Sabrina Butler in grand ways.
Reconnecting with Alumni
Erik Larson ’97, executive director of Impression 5 Science Center, taught us the importance of dedication and passion. Audra Carson ’87 lives out the The University of Olivet mission every day through her work with De-Tread and Izzie, LLC to improve the community of Detroit. Melody Betts ’04, Kevin Martin ’77, Jaime (Stenz) Smith ‘05, Brenda Gold-Sloan ’74, Robert Shegog ’74, Walter Parker ’58, Sue Topping ’77, Woody Wilson ’69, Karl Wilson ’69 and Doug Semivan ’71 attended The University of Olivet during different eras, but their Olivet stories echo similarities that span across the years in the spring and summer 2019 issues of Shipherd’s Record.
Meeting Faculty and Staff
The College welcomed new faces, like Dean of Student Engagement Dr. Amy Radford-Popp, Men’s Basketball Coach Sam Hargraves, Women’s Basketball Coach Brittany (Berry) Zandstra and Coordinator of Student Success Initiatives Joshua Gillespie. Other Comets took on the challenge of a “Five Minutes With” feature. Assistant Football Coach Javier Smith ’15 shared more on his passion for football. Provost of the College Maria Davis, Ph.D., is not only a college leader, but a parent of an alumna. And, Maintenance Tradesperson Matt Bennett stepped outside of his normal role to help organize the Calhoun County Special Olympics Track and Field Day at OC.
We sincerely thank our alumni, students, staff, faculty, parents, trustees, friends, community members and others for their unwavering support — the College continues to Be More and Do Good because of you.