Five Minutes with Joshua Gillespie, Coordinator of Student Success Initiatives

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Joshua Gillespie recently joined the The University of Olivet family to serve as the coordinator of student success initiatives. In his role, Joshua will work directly with students to help them be successful while on campus and beyond. He has a deep passion for higher education and extensive experience in the field. Joshua even advised 50 different student organizations and served on the faculty for the “International Engagement Mexico” in his former roles.
Why do you love OC?
I absolutely love the welcoming and hospitable nature of those who I have come into contact with at The University of Olivet. The Compact, mission, “Be More. Do Good.” mantra and the students I will have an opportunity to serve is what sold me. I appreciate those that make up the student body. I am really excited to work with all students, especially the African American students, first generation students, Greek population, student-athletes and those that engage in community service.
Where does your passion for working in higher education and student success stem from?
My dearest mother kept our family engaged in the community, church, volunteering opportunities, skits, debates, bible bowls, visiting the elderly and helping out whoever we could. She always encouraged us to be our best and to look out for others.
Being the president of my class both in high school and in college, being part of a fraternity, my involvement as residential adviser and assistant hall director furthered my engagement in my communities. Working in higher education is all I know. I have been organizing, planning and implementing programs since high school. Working with students is what I enjoy doing. Having the opportunity to influence and impact the experiences students encounter is what I aim to do.
What’s the average day in your role, or some of the unique things you are responsible for?
I am meeting students, faculty and staff every day, and I love it. I am following up with students who are experiencing both academic and personal difficulties. I am working on creating a “Level Up Leadership Academy” and a mentorship program. I am collaborating with athletics and learning as much as I can about the student population. In addition, I am reading a lot and trying to keep up with my boss, Dr. Amy — she is always on the go to serve our students!
Why do you encourage students to attend OC?
I encourage students to remain at OC because there are a number of tremendous people here who care about their wellbeing and want to see them succeed.
What do you look forward to in your role?
I look forward to spending time with students and organizing new initiatives with the Student Success Center! I also can’t wait to spend more time hanging out in Cutler and at Dr. Leah Knapp’s in-house zoo.
What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?
I have traveled to five of the seven continents, I breed African Cichlids, I enjoy listening to gospel music and I love all things community service. I come from a family of faith and unconditional love — and for that, I feel super blessed.
I am also a family man, real estate investor and have an appreciation for reptiles and insects. I have a beautiful wife and three amazing children (most days).
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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