Faculty Panel Celebrates 175 Years of The University of Olivet

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Left to right: Provost Maria Davis, Ph.D., John Homer, Ph.D., KayDee Perry, Jare Klein, Art Stevens, Ph.D., Don Walker, Ph.D., and President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D.

Recently, faculty members gathered for a Faculty Panel in celebration of 175 years of The University of Olivet. The theme of the panel was “Perspectives on Teaching and Learning at The University of Olivet.” Panelists included Art Stevens, Ph.D., professor emeritus of political science; Don Walker, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history; Jare Klein, head wrestling coach emeritus and professor emeritus; John Homer, Ph.D., professor of economics; and KayDee Perry, assistant professor of health and human performance. Provost Maria Davis, Ph.D., moderated the event.

“Faculty are the brains of the operation,” Dr. Davis said. “They are the heart of The University of Olivet and bring knowledge and passion for all subject matter. We are grateful to all past and present professors for all they have done for students and for OC.”

Meet the Panelists

Arthur Stevens, Ph.D.

Dr. Stevens served at The University of Olivet from 1956 to 1982. His first classes focused on the history of western civilization. Dr. Stevens taught a seminar for the entire freshman class and also helped advise an honor society for history students. Since retiring, Dr. Stevens has remained a faithful resident of Olivet and is active in the Olivet Congregational Church.

Don Walker, Ph.D.

Don Walker, Ph.D., served at The University of Olivet from 1965 to 2015. During his time on campus, Dr. Walker served as chair of the History and Political Science Department. Later, he served as chair of the Social Science Department. In 1991, Dr. Walker was honored with the Livingston Professorship, the highest teaching honor presented to a full-time, tenured faculty member at Olivet. He served on numerous committees and was also an author of the Faculty Senate Constitution. He previously served on the Olivet City Council for 32 years from 1977 to 2009 and is currently a member of the Olivet Lions.

Jare Klein

During his time at Olivet, Jare Klein was a professor in the Physical Education Department and also served as the head of the department. He was also on the Rank, Tenure and Promotion Committee as well as several other committees. Klein was Olivet’s head wrestling coach from 1968-2001. Under his leadership, the wrestling team completed 32 consecutive winning seasons. Also during his tenure at Olivet, he served as athletic director, tennis coach and assistant football coach. He was inducted into the The University of Olivet Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. Klein is a professor emeritus at the College.

John Homer, Ph.D.

John Homer, Ph.D., has worked at The University of Olivet since 1979. Dr. Homer has a great passion for helping young minds mature to achieve personal and professional success and has worked as a professor for more than 50 years to do just that. He has been recognized numerous times for excellence in teaching and advising.

Kathryn Perry

Kathryn “KayDee” Perry has worked at The University of Olivet since 2012. She teaches courses in the Health and Human Performance Department as well as mathematics and statistics courses. Professor Perry also helps facilitate New Faculty Orientation, serves as president of the Faculty Senate, and was recently presented the Faculty Award for Dedication to the Office of Student Life.

Panelists Share Memories

All Roads Lead to OC

“Much of what happens to us happens by chance. By chance, I met Dr. Raymond Blakney, current president of The University of Olivet, at church and that started my journey to Olivet.”  — Dr. Stevens

“I took a compass to a map and drew a radius around where my family lived. I said I’d apply to any school within that radius. I’m glad Olivet was within that radius. I almost missed it by a quarter of an inch.” — Dr. Walker

“Dr. Riethmiller said, ‘we want you here,’ and that made me feel like everything was all right.” — Coach Klein

Home Sweet Home

“I knew students and the entire faculty. I had access to people with experience in all areas. I could look outside and see the whole campus. There’s a closeness here. Something magnetic that attracts you.” — Dr. Walker

“Olivet has become my home. It’s been quite a riot.” — Dr. Homer

“Everyone at Olivet is truly a family. It’s been a blessing. It’s the people who keep me here. They are inspiring and they bring me back.” — Professor Perry

Challenging Students

“I told students, ‘prove me wrong,’ and they’d work harder and try to be one step ahead of me.” — Coach Klein

“It’s exciting to challenge students in their field. They come out changed people and do new things that they might not have without a professor nudging them.” — Professor Perry

Building Relationships

“When I got knee surgery, one of my entire classes came to visit me in the hospital. For me, that was very powerful.” — Coach Klein

“It’s amazing to accompany students on their four-year journey. We have wonderful students.” — Dr. Homer

“We’re there for students. We mentor them through difficult moments.” — Professor Perry

Keeping in Touch

“Even now, I keep getting letters from former students. “It’s one of the most moving things that have ever happened to me.” — Dr. Stevens

“Olivet has meant a lot to me because students keep coming back to you. To this day, Olivet has been a family and not a day goes by that I don’t get a call or letter from a former student. What better to ask for than the OC family?” — Coach Klein

Words of Wisdom

“We can have an effect on people without even knowing it. How often do we do that? It’s one of the things I learned while at Olivet.

“The future is uncertain. We have a limited responsibility for what we can do. We get locked into, ‘this is what to do.’ But take your time. Study. Don’t get panicked by what’s coming because nobody knows.” — Dr. Walker

“Whatever you do in life, do it with enthusiasm.” — Coach Klein

The University of Olivet’s 175th anniversary celebration ends at Commencement on May 18. Alumni are encouraged to get involved.

To learn more about The University of Olivet, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.



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