The University of Olivet Announces Historic Fundraising Campaign

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On Sept. 29, The University of Olivet publicly announced a comprehensive campaign to raise $44 million. To date, the college has raised nearly $35 million in gifts and pledges – 78 percent of its goal – as part of the campaign’s “quiet phase,” which began in 2015. The campaign, Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders: The University of Olivet 2020 and Beyond, is unprecedented in its boldness, scope and vision.


The past few years have been transformational for The University of Olivet, one of the most diverse private schools in Michigan. Total enrollment for the past five years reached a new high this year with 1,040 students, while new student enrollment admissions surpassed last year’s mark of 420 to set a new record with 425. Underrepresented minority students make up 29 percent of the total student body, up three percent from last year. The institution also experienced its three largest fundraising years in college history, with record-breaking donations. We are deeply grateful and humbled that seven capital campaign donors have made leadership gifts of $1 million or more; three of the donors have made gifts totaling $20,800,000.

The campaign kickoff announcement was made in front of a packed crowd at the Cutler Athletics Complex, during the annual The University of Olivet Alumni Awards Celebration, part of the college’s homecoming celebration. Alumni, faculty, staff and friends celebrated the ambitious and historic campaign, which was revealed by The University of Olivet President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., and BJ Hull, vice president for advancement.

“We remain committed to education for individual and social responsibility. With a student body comprised of an uncommon degree of inclusion and geographic and socioeconomic diversity, The University of Olivet offers a tremendous experience and advantage for its graduates over those from other colleges, allowing their responsible leadership to reach all corners of society,” said Corey. “But, in order to carry out this vision, we must make necessary investments in our academic and co-curricular programs, campus facilities and equipment, and faculty and staff to drive and support this critical positioning of the college.”


The campaign will fund priorities across campus that are crucial to building on the college’s strength of empowering students to be responsible leaders and to solidify its place in the higher education landscape of tomorrow. The campaign supports priorities in academics, co-curricular programs, athletics, campus beautification and sustainability and operations across four major content areas:

  • enriching the student experience
  • learning to lead on the playing field
  • creating a vibrant campus and community; and
  • growing and sustaining the college of the future.

Among the initiatives of the campaign are three major building projects:

  • The Student and Collegiate Center, an exciting, inclusive place for Olivet’s diverse student body to intermingle. When completed, the new Collegiate Center will serve as the central hub of a strong and vibrant campus life for students. The Center will also include a 350-guest multipurpose space for hosting conferences, events and formal functions.
  • The renovation of Mott Academic Center, the primary learning facility on campus. Critical updates are required to ensure its place in providing a contemporary liberal arts education, which includes small class sizes and spaces for student collaboration. Renovations include improved lab and classroom space to enhance flexibility and technology and the creation of additional social spaces to allow students to interact on a broader level. Outside enhancements will completely modernize the 50-year-old building’s façade, creating an inviting point of entry for students and faculty.
  • The expansion and enhancement of current athletic facilities. To continue the success of the Comets athletics program, funds raised will support the complete reorganization of the Cutler Athletic Complex and Event Center, including the addition of a new, expanded fitness center and weight room, new athletic administration and coaches offices, a football coaches’ suite, an officials’ locker room, expanded athletic training space, wrestling and cheerleading training space, and an extension of the gym. In addition, funds will provide for a six-court tennis facility, soccer field enhancements, and more.

“What distinguishes The University of Olivet is our capacity to recognize that exceptional students come from all walks of life. Since 1844, when it admitted women and students of color on a co-equal basis as white males, the college has defined itself by who it includes, not who it excludes. This campaign will allow us to serve all students in immeasurable ways for years to come,” said Hull. “A promising generation of responsible leaders will be afforded opportunities they might not otherwise have, and by graduating from The University of Olivet they will be prepared and motivated to go out and better the world.”


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