Relationships are everything according to Fred Hinz ’70. He’s a strong believer that the people we are surrounded by shape our lives, and he’s especially proud of his Comet connections. Now, Fred is a The University of Olivet ambassador, still thankful for his experience as a student and the way it shaped his life.
A native of Davison, Fred has a passion for the Genesee community, serving as chair of the local library board, director of the food pantry, a mentor to students in elementary special education classes, and most proudly, trustee for the Genesee School District Board of Education. It’s today’s youth, Fred says, that will create a successful future for our society, and he wants to ensure that these young men and women have the tools and resources needed to become tomorrow’s responsible leaders.
“I credit The University of Olivet in helping me develop a deep appreciation for education,” Fred explained. “I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, but I was always interested in school. I’ve found that this position allows me to serve my community and have a role in education, and I’ve really enjoyed that.”
Holding various positions on the board since 2006, Fred has had the chance to meet many students through his role. He often visits the high school’s media center where college resources are hosted for students, and even reviews senior projects, during which students present their future goals and share what contributed to their high school journeys. This year, Fred even had the pleasure of connecting with Julia Bidelman, a new OC freshman.
“Julia is a fine young woman of intelligence and integrity, why else would she be coming to The University of Olivet?” Fred joked with a serious note. “It’s been a pleasure to connect with her and her family, and I’ve had the privilege of talking with her parents about the world of possibilities and opportunities Olivet has to offer in a small and safe community.
“I’ve also been able to encourage Julia. I know attending college is a big step for her, but I reassure her that she is not taking it by herself. There are so many people out there who want her to succeed, including me and fellow Olivet alum Amanda Johnston ’07, a teacher in the district. Julia practically has a whole fan club of Olivet alumni who will be cheering her on and can’t wait to visit her on campus.”
Fred’s desire to build relationships with today’s students stems from his own time on campus. Still today, he says his greatest friends are those who he met at The University of Olivet, and he cherishes their frequent visits to campus together. In addition, Fred had amazing mentors as a Comet, including Arthur Stevens and Joel Epstein, Ph.D.
“The University of Olivet is not just a school, it’s a family. You’re not taking it all on by yourself, you have people who want you to succeed,” Fred emphasized. “Comets look out for each other and you are part of a community of learning. Whenever you have a bad day, you can grab a friend, teammate or professor and know you’re not alone. That’s what I liked most about Olivet, and that’s what I strive to share with students like Julia.”
Learn more about how alumni can impact the lives of today’s students by connecting with Samantha Pearl ’00, director of alumni engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269.749.7644. Check out upcoming events to visit campus, connect with students and reconnect with fellow alumni.