Rod ’68 & Jill ’73 Perkins
Rod ’68 and Jill ’73 (VanderTuuk) Perkins did not actually “meet” at Olivet College; however, they were on campus together. During his senior year, Rod worked full-time nights at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall as an orderly. Each day he returned to campus, he would head to the Collegiate Center for breakfast before heading out for his morning classes. Jill was a first-year student and worked in the serving line. Each morning as Rod went through the breakfast line, he would see Jill busy at work restocking the serving shelves and completing other tasks. However, they never had an occasion to meet.
Rod graduated from Olivet in 1968 and began his graduate studies at Central Michigan University. As fate would have it, Rod was returning from studying in the campus library and saw a girl walking toward him in his dorm hallway . As she approached each doorway, she looked at the numbers on the door and squinted. Rod later found out that she had gone to the ladies’ room to remove her contacts and was having difficulty finding her way back to the room she was visiting. He asked her if she needed help, and she said she had found the right door and then quickly disappeared inside the room directly across the hall from Rod’s room. Rod thought to himself, “Why does that girl look so familiar? I think I know her from somewhere!”
His curiosity was more than he could stand, so Rod walked across the hall to the room she was visiting. He said, “I know this will sound like a line, but I know I have seen you somewhere, but can’t recall where?” He could almost see Jill’s eyes roll upward, and then they began the back-and-forth narrative of where they were from, which high school they graduated from, etc. When Jill mentioned Olivet, Rod said, “That’s it! I graduated from Olivet College last year.” They were finally able to determine that Jill was working in the serving line at the Collegiate Center as Rod came through for breakfast each morning. They chatted a bit before Rod returned to his room.
Rod wanted to reach out to Jill the next day; however, he couldn’t remember her last name. But he had an idea. His folks were visiting campus to celebrate his birthday, so he called and asked them to bring his Olivet yearbook. Rod was able to find Jill’s name from that. He called her, and they set a date for a movie. He remembers afterward telling his roommate that Jill was a girl that he could certainly marry. They dated several times, and just six weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, Rod asked Jill to marry him. They were married the following August.
A few years later, Jill decided to finish her degree. Rod found a job in Calhoun County, and Jill returned to Olivet College and graduated in 1973 with a teaching degree. Rod worked as a school psychologist and Jill taught for 31 years. In 2004, they relocated to Florida. They have been married for 53 years. They have four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Rod said, “It continues to be an amazing journey with an amazing woman I have been blessed to find!”