The University of Olivet community gathered on Friday, Nov. 10 to honor an icon, Marty (Mason) Jennings ’67, who is retiring as the The University of Olivet director of alumni engagement. Marty has touched the lives of countless Comets, first as a student, then as a devoted alumna, and for the last 15 years in her role as alumni director.
BJ Hull, vice president for advancement, began the celebration with a special tribute to Marty, who he knows as a lover of quilts. In his address, which he titled “The Fabric of The University of Olivet,” BJ said he imagined the squares on the quilt of life for Marty, “In the square in the upper left corner I see an image of a young Queen Victoria. A woman who inherited the throne at age 18, the same age Marty set out upon her own path. They both likely had many moments of anxiousness and self-doubt and yet they both became formidable women.
“In the next square, we learn of her love of art, the guiding reason for her journey to Olivet. In this square, we have an image of Georgia O’Keeffe, the mother of American Modernism. While art did not become Marty’s career, it has most definitely been a big part of her life’s journey. Like O’Keeffe, she has always been a woman who has appreciated the beauty around her be that in the landscape, the flower or in the personalities of the many friends in her life.
“As we now move down the quilt, we see a number of squares showcasing her early career, her family, her sons and her grandkids, until we find ourselves at a white square with a single red rose. A square representing the longest and deepest friendships of her life, those with her Soronian sisters.
“We now look upon the final row of squares and see a beautiful, yet simple seven pointed leaf we all know and hold dear, an Oak Leaf. Over the past 15 years Marty has helped lift the alumni program and college up in the way she has always done, through relationships and friendships, and in doing so has become the true symbol of how we all define the term Olivetian.
“’She’s an old soul with young eyes, a vintage heart, and a beautiful mind.’ Marty I share this quote by poet Nicole Lyons to inspire you and remind you of what we all believe about you as you begin writing the story of the next square in your life’s quilt. I don’t think any of us yet knows what will be on it and what stories it will tell, but I am certain they will be exciting, filled with love and worth reading.
“We all know your heart will always live at Olivet and while you leave a piece of yourself here, please know you take a piece of each person here with you on your new journey. So this is not goodbye, instead it simply adieu until you next return, home.”
In addition, President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., honored Marty with a proclamation recognizing her retirement and contributions to The University of Olivet. It also proclaimed that Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, Marty’s last day in her role as director of alumni engagement, as The Day of Marty (Mason) Jennings ’67! Read the full Proclamation below.
Marty will be moving to Minneapolis in the spring to be near her two sons and seven grandchildren. She’s also looking forward to attending alumni events as a guest and will continue planning events for her beloved Soronian sisters. Marty is – and will forever be – OC’s number one fan! Read more about Marty’s legacy and her love for The University of Olivet.
Say Thank You to Marty
To help celebrate Marty, alumni and friends are invited to share a note of congratulations, special memory or even a photo. Submit your note online!
In addition, an endowed alumni scholarship has been created in Marty’s name to continue honoring her commitment to OC and its students. You can make a gift to the scholarship by giving online; select “other” in the designation pull down tab and type “Marty Mason Jennings Endowment Fund” in the Other Designation box. Gifts can also be made by calling 269.749.7630 or by check made payable to The University of Olivet. Be sure to include “Marty Mason Jennings Endowment Fund” in the memo line. Mail checks to The University of Olivet, Advancement Office, 320 S. Main St. Olivet, MI 49076.
Proclamation Recognizing the Retirement of Marty (Mason) Jennings ’67
To the The University of Olivet Community:
WHEREAS the mission of The University of Olivet is to provide an education that enriches lives intellectually, morally and spiritually to a diverse campus community, where students have the confidence to be more and the conscience to do good; and
WHEREAS the The University of Olivet Compact encourages individual and social responsibility including one’s own learning and personal development, contributing to the learning of others, service to The University of Olivet and the larger community, contributing to the quality of the physical environment, treating all people with respect, behaving with honesty and integrity, and developing and growing The University of Olivet; and
WHEREAS the leadership and examples provided by faculty and staff are crucial to that goal; and
WHEREAS Marty (Mason) Jennings ’67 has served the The University of Olivet Community with her leadership and her personal example for 15 years as Director of Alumni Engagement; and
WHEREAS Marty has been the college’s biggest fan since her days as a student at The University of Olivet, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, was a cheerleader, became a loyal Soronian, and much more; and
WHEREAS Marty exemplifies many attributes that we hope The University of Olivet students will emulate, including ethical action, empathetic understanding, dedicated service, passion, and a sense of humor; and
WHEREAS Marty has made it known that she intends to retire effective November 17, 2017 and relocate to Minnesota to be closer to her two sons and seven grandchildren; and
WHEREAS our students, faculty, staff, friends and alumni will miss Marty’s welcoming attitude, dedication, cheerful smile, positive influence and much more; and
WHEREAS in her role as Director of Alumni Engagement, Marty has reconnected alumni from around the world, has gotten to know decades of alumni, their stories and histories, families and relationships, has planned countless alumni events across the state of Michigan and in the United States, and has spearheaded the school’s biggest annual event, Homecoming; and
WHEREAS Marty has defined alumni affairs at The University of Olivet for 15 years, and her love of The University of Olivet has been an inspiration to all other Olivetians; and
WHEREAS Marty will continue to be The University of Olivet’s biggest fan and volunteer, as well as a living archive of names, graduation years, faculty, significant dates, historical events, and even a few legends; and
WHEREAS it is the desire of The University of Olivet to celebrate the life and legacy of Marty; and
WHEREAS The University of Olivet wishes to express its most sincere appreciation to Marty for her years of service and commitment to The University of Olivet, and extend our best wishes to all her future endeavors here;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., do hereby recognize and proclaim NOVEMBER 17, 2017 as THE DAY OF MARTY (MASON) JENNINGS ’67; a day for the The University of Olivet family to come together and celebrate the enduring contributions she has made to The University of Olivet, its alumni, current and future students, faculty, staff, friends, and the local and statewide community and beyond.
President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D.