Maggie Graham: Small Opportunities Make Big Success

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Third-year student Maggie Graham had her college journey planned to a T. She was going to attend a large state university and only needed to finalize her enrollment to begin her journey. The same day she planned to make her commitment, Maggie felt a tug toward The University of Olivet’s booth at a college fair. After meeting with an admissions representative for only a few minutes, Maggie’s whole plan turned upside down.

“I immediately felt like The University of Olivet wanted me to become a student and valued my interests and skills,” Maggie explained. “My admissions rep took time to talk to me about my goals and how I would fit in at OC when I didn’t know anything about the College. It really meant a lot to me and that personal attention has continued ever since.”

Maggie next visited campus and met one-on-one with head track and field and cross country coach Karen Lutzke. She quickly realized the one-on-one attention she was receiving off the track would continue in practices and competitions, and again, she felt wanted.

“I wasn’t the best cross country runner in high school,” Maggie said. “When I started talking to Coach Lutzke, she wasn’t interested in how fast I could run, but how hard I worked. She saw what I could bring to the team and appreciated me for that.

“Coach Lutzke’s coaching style includes measuring each of her runners’ success individually. She emphasizes that your own personal achievements measure to the kind of person you are, and that there are different levels of achievement for each person. My achievements aren’t measurable against the achievements of my teammates. My definition of a great day might be a rough day for someone else. Coach Lutzke makes you feel like you’re important and a valuable member of the team, regardless of your times.”

Track and Field and Cross Country Feature Days

For Maggie, this personalized attention has proven to be her key to success. The University of Olivet is welcoming high school students to campus for a special visit day where they can experience this personalized attention firsthand. Track and Field and Cross Country Feature Days are coming March 28 and April 10. The events are free and registration is open now.

During these events, students will meet with coaches and current members of the track and field and cross country teams. Attendees will also get to dig into majors and programs and hear about opportunities to get involved in the OC community, student life and campus in general. The events include lunch in the Kirk Center, a campus tour and more.

On the Track and in the Classroom

On the flipside of her college journey, Maggie is a biology major with a career goal to become a physician’s assistant. While her experience in the classroom is of a very different subject, the personalized attention is no different.

Maggie, front right, with her teammates

“My favorite professors are Leah Knapp, D.V.M., professor of biology; John Wilterding, Ph.D., professor of biology and chemistry; and Susanne Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Natural and Physical Sciences Department,” Maggie said excitedly. “Dr. Knapp is there for you, even outside of academic reasons. Dr. Wilterding is a great teacher and one of the most reliable guys I know. Dr. Lewis is just simply great and a big supporter of her students. I work as a resident adviser, so it’s tough to get off campus. My professors have really become my family.”

Maggie added that her professors are especially keen in providing real-world experiences to students. Classes are designed to help students prepare for careers or graduate school. And the best part? Small class sizes ensure students get to know their teachers so Maggie knows she can count on any of her professors for a personal letter of recommendation.

In fact, Maggie’s professors have even helped her tackle an ambitious feat — graduating in just three years. While she’s in no hurry to leave her The University of Olivet family, Maggie notes that her time at OC has been so valuable she already feels prepared to take on her next challenge.

“I hope other students don’t shy away from The University of Olivet because of its size,” Maggie said. “There are so many opportunities here; students just have to harvest them. The small college experience is so beneficial because of the relationships students build with coaches, mentors and professors. That just isn’t comparable at other schools.”

Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu. Register for Track and Field and Cross Country Day March 28 or April 10. Plus, check out the full admissions event calendar to learn about other opportunities to visit campus or when OC will be near your hometown.


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