Becoming The University of Olivet: Stronger, Bolder, Onward

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Olivet College becomes The University of Olivet, reflecting a comprehensive institution

Olivet College is becoming The University of Olivet, reflecting its stronger, bolder, an

d forward-looking array of new programs and its enrollment of new students. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 179-year-old Olivet College becoming The University of Olivet at its May 19 board meeting to be more indicative of the comprehensive institution it has evolved into. The private institution will formally become The University of Olivet in the 2023 fall semester.

Throughout its history, Olivet has persisted in staying true to its mission by being daring, bold and forward-looking. President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., said, “In 1844, the legislature told us that ‘so long as Olivet had anything to do with the propagation of anti-slavery views,’ there would be no college charter. Our founders firmly believed that higher education should be open and welcome to all, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status; they persisted and became the Olivet Institute. When, in 1859, the State of Michigan was ready to accept the Olivet vision and mission for a more just society, we evolved and became Olivet College. Olivet continues to persist 179 years later. Now, as a more comprehensive institution, it’s time to evolve again to The University of Olivet.”

Olivet’s ambitious 2030: Vision for a Prosperous Future strategic plan precipitated the change. The plan calls for the institution to remain firmly rooted in its mission of serving undergraduate residential students engaged in a deeply immersive experience while also launching a robust portfolio of online degree completion, graduate and workforce development programs to benefit students throughout Michigan, across the nation and around the world.

Expanding Course Offerings and Opportunities

The timing is optimal as Olivet has grown beyond its traditional residential liberal arts core with online degree completion and graduate programs. Olivet currently offers:

  • An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with concentrations in insurance, enterprise risk management, accounting and general business administration.
  • An accelerated pathway from a Bachelor of Arts in Business to an MBA for advanced juniors and seniors.
  • Online bachelor degree completion coursework in business, criminal justice, psychology, nursing (RN-BSN) and individualized major.

Other new programs are in development and under review by the Higher Learning Commission.

Olivet is also exploring several strategic partnerships. Recently, Olivet established an international partnership with Christ Academy Institute for Advanced Studies and St. Bede’s College to offer Olivet’s online MBA program to students from India.

Olivet is purposefully building diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) into its online curriculum, where more typical approaches to online education can fall short. “We can leverage our long history and expertise in DEIB and social justice education to make sure we’re serving all populations in a way that is welcoming, accessible, affordable and effective, ” said Provost Paul Burkhardt, Ph.D. “It’s not enough just to have a certain percentage of socioeconomic, racial or ethnic diversity in our classroom or our employee body. We need to make sure that it’s in our curriculum and our practice so that it comes to define our approach towards relationships and relationship-based learning.”

What will not change is Olivet’s grounding in a tradition of liberal arts. “At the core of the Olivet liberal arts curriculum is the embodiment of the institution’s academic vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility,” Corey said. “A liberal arts foundation holds value in today’s global job market, preparing Olivet graduates to have the confidence to be more than they ever imagined and to have the conscience to do good through service to others.” Problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and innovation, written and oral communication, teamwork and the ability to deal with complex issues are just a few examples of how a liberal arts foundation helps develop practical skills and a strong sense of social responsibility.

Making College More Accessible

The University of Olivet will continue the commitment to making a private college education more accessible to students who desire a small, immersive, relationship-based experience, especially first-generation students and those from low-to-moderate-income families throughout Michigan.

In December 2022, Olivet announced it was investing millions of dollars in creating The University of Olivet ADVANTAGE Scholarship, which covers the full cost of published tuition and general fees after all federal, state and institutional grants and scholarships are applied. To qualify for free tuition, seniors must be eligible for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, be Pell-eligible and have been a Michigan resident for at least one year. More than 80% of first-time students will be supported through The University of Olivet ADVANTAGE Scholarship.

Also launched in December 2022 was Olivet Direct!, a partnership program with Michigan school districts that makes the admissions process faster and easier for qualified students. Direct admission opens access to eligible students who may not seek a college education due to barriers. Direct! students lock in their acceptance and financial aid award without requiring them to undergo a lengthy admissions process. Seven school districts have joined the Olivet Direct! program, including Bangor, Bellevue, Bloomingdale, Charlotte, Olivet and Potterville schools, with others looking to become partners in the coming months.

Campus Expansion

Olivet continues to invest in the physical expansion of its campus. The Cutler Student Center is on track to open in January 2024. The College is investing $21 million into the 35,000-square-foot building, featuring lounge and entertainment areas, dining options, student organization offices, conference space and more.

Block House, opening fall 2023, is a high-level esports competition space, casual restaurant and bar. Block House will be the home base for the new Olivet esports team that will kick off its first season this fall. Renovations are underway to transform the former Lamplighter restaurant adjacent to the Cutler Athletic Complex.

“We have a lot to be excited about. Olivet is stronger and bolder and looking forward. Its alumni, students, faculty and staff are ready to be more as The University of Olivet,” Corey said.

A planned rollout of The University of Olivet, including new domain, new spirit logo, signage and more, is underway, with details to be released in the weeks and months ahead. Learn more



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