Eight Little-Known Facts About The University of Olivet

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The University of Olivet is over 176 years old, meaning some fun quirks and interesting facts have developed over the decades. Here’s my list sharing the top eight little-known facts Comets should know about The University of Olivet, especially new students who are moving onto campus for the first time.

  1. Library Floor Names
    Burrage Library

Burrage Library is a pillar of The University of Olivet’s campus. Built in 1890, it is one of the oldest buildings on campus and is recognized as the longest continuously operating library in Michigan. It is the place to go when looking for a book or research material, a quiet place to do homework or a great spot to host group project meetings.
However, when you first start looking, you might notice something unusual. From the inside, Burrage Library appears to have three floors, but it only lists two. That’s because the middle floor, which hangs over the first like a balcony, is called the mezzanine. So, when a section is listed as being on the second floor, you’ll actually need to go two floors up.

  1. Kirkelldel Biological Preserve

The University of Olivet is a small college, but it still has a robust offerings of facilities for students to use and learn from. One such facility is the Kirkelldel Biological Preserve. Kirkelldel is a 60-acre nature preserve owned by the College for research. It has a variety of habitats and species for students to study. Biology majors work most closely with the preserve, but any students who choose to take environmental science courses might also get the chance to visit.

  1. The Unusual Schedule of Starbucks
    Starbucks Cafe

In my experience, coffee is a must-have for tired college students, which is why Mott is home to the Starbucks Cafe. And, meal plans have built-in points that students can use to buy their coffee and snacks from Starbucks — it’s a life saver if you’re attending a late study group or evening class in Mott.
While it might seem strange, Starbucks closes during the early evening and reopens from 7-10 p.m. every Monday to Thursday. The goal is to accommodate students’ schedules when dinner and afternoon athletic practices are occurring. By reopening later in the evening, students can grab a much-needed caffeine boost or healthy meal to finish their day. Most students get the hang of the schedule after the first few weeks.

  1. Olivet’s Movie Theater

Did you know that there’s a movie theater on Olivet’s campus? It’s a hidden gem in the Roznowski Learning Commons on the lowest level of Burrage Library. The Kula Samba Theatre was built and dedicated in 2008, and has a great history. Kula Samba was a student at The University of Olivet in the 1970s, and she was a civil rights activist in her home country of Sierra Leone in West Africa.

  1. Mott’s First Floor

This fact often gets mentioned on tours of The University of Olivet, but by the time you actually have a class there, it may have slipped your mind.  It’s easy to think that the first floor of Mott is the one with the large lobby. After all, the main set of doors is located on that floor. In reality, the first floor of the building is underground, and the “main” floor is actually noted as the second floor.

  1. Conservatory Third Floor (and the Ghosts)

The Margaret Upton Conservatory of Music is one of the main academic buildings on-campus. Unlike Mott, which has four floors full of classrooms and offices, most of the Conservatory’s classrooms are located on the first floor. The second floor is mostly practice rooms and a few faculty offices. And the third floor is, reportedly, full of ghosts.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not (I tend to be a skeptic), there are many reports of strange noises and rooms at Olivet. The third floor of the Conservatory is often the subject of these rumors and stories. However, the third floor is also always locked and the doors aren’t easy to find. Most faculty members aren’t even sure how to get up there. Still, ask them about the rumors — you might get an interesting story or two.

  1. Lamplighter

A few restaurants are home to the City of Olivet, including the Lamplighter. Located down Main Street and near the Cutler Event Center, the Lamplighter offers pizza, baskets, appetizers and much more. Inside, you’ll see some great The University of Olivet athletic relics, including jerseys, team photos and other sports memorabilia. The Student Government Association (SGA) sometimes hosts meetings in the Lamplighter, and they often have special nights dedicated for Olivet students.

  1. Olivet Cemetery
    Service Day in the cemetery.

One of the things people often notice about Olivet is the cemetery located behind Dole Hall. It has been around as long as Olivet has been a city and is the resting place of The University of Olivet founder Father John J. Shipherd himself. Students often perform grounds keeping and headstone maintenance in the cemetery during annual service days, and all of campus is invited to visit Father Shipherd’s grave for a special ceremony on each Founders Day in February.
For more information about The University of Olivet, contact the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.
This feature was written by Bray Wright, marketing and communications student intern. She is an English major and writing minor, a scholarship winner of the Global Citizen Honors Program and a staff member of the Garfield Lake Review. A self-proclaimed storyteller, she plans on going into the publishing industry after college.


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