Mitch Galloway is a junior majoring in journalism. Since the beginning of his sophomore year, he has served as editor of The University of Olivet’s student newspaper, The Echo. He is also a member of the college’s baseball team. As an active member of the The University of Olivet community, Galloway was asked to represent the student body at the President’s Opening Convocation. Following is his speech titled, “What Does The University of Olivet Mean?”
Every story has a beginning: A lead. A first act. An introduction.
Let me begin by telling you what The University of Olivet has done for this city – for me.
My story didn’t begin when I was a Pampers-wearing toddler or a confused, overweight middle schooler. My story didn’t even start in high school, when I thought wearing red jerseys on a frantic football Friday meant something important.
No… My story begins in the McDonald’s-less town of Olivet, Mich.: the place where Father Shipherd found a hill and consequently built a school on it. He envisioned like Andrew Carnegie, preached like Dr. King and rode his horse like John Wayne.
What does The University of Olivet mean?
It means possibility – a toast to all the varied groups on campus: from the student newspaper to the SAAC Club. It means walking by someone you know, instead of getting lost in a sea of green and white. It means speaking out of turn and not getting hushed by a wrinkly finger because being different at Olivet is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.
Olivet is not limited to just the college, though. No; it involves the entire Olivet community. It involves the physical plant workers and their calloused fingers. It is Tim’s Pizza and the Lamplighter pretzel bites. It is that water tower that sits behind Shipherd Hall. The one that has Olivet sketched in red lettering on one side, and green on the other.
The place where you can step on more squirrels than sidewalk became my hometown. The place where attending football games on a Saturday afternoon seemed more important than bright lights on a Friday night two years ago.
This is Olivet – OC Nation—and it is not just a stop in one’s life, it is a destination: a place to grow up and live.
Take a walk by Adelphic, I dare you. Jog by Burrage Library and try not to look at the brown, castle-like structure that paroles Olivet’s streets. Do it. Tell me I am right – that it is beautiful. Tell me that when you walk by a 150-year-old building on campus you feel goose bumps. Even if you tell me you don’t, I won’t believe you.
Take in the red and white.
Yes, The University of Olivet is small. Yes, the buildings can seem pint-sized. And yes, gossip travels fast in OC Nation. But it’s not about the size of the campus.
It is about the friends you make here: that roommate, through the best and worst times, you continue to room with after three years of arguing whether or not the Tigers were ever going to retrieve a quality closer. I would never leave him – my roommate: not even over another 100 arguments.
This college is all about the senses.
It is the sound of housekeepers vacuuming silent halls at 10 a.m., reminding me – politely— to wake up for journalism seminar. It is the walk with a professor, a friend, a coach or an advisor through the Square toward the Mott Academic Center every morning.
You see, as students, we only have one shot to get this decision right after high school. I am glad I was Michael Jordan over Craig Ehlo. I am glad I converted on that crucial shot, with the defense breathing down my neck.
I am glad I didn’t miss out on this opportunity at The University of Olivet.
Cue the ending:
Here comes the kicker. The finale. The big finish. The Beethoven crescendo… I hope I didn’t write a speech that puts a Red Bull devotee to sleep.
This is what I think of the college. Now, today, what do you think?
And – for professor Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer – tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow …. what then will you think?