The University of Olivet to recognize state leaders during 20th annual Leadership Awards

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The University of Olivet will recognize some of Michigan’s finest leaders as part of its 20th annual Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner Wednesday, May 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Country Club of Lansing.

The 2016 honorees are leaders in their chosen professions and reflect the college’s vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility. They include:

Calvin Jones

Calvin Jones is the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Lansing Board of Water and Light, serving as a critical link between the utility and the city government and citizens of Lansing.  His work at the BWL also includes the coordination of the city’s Chili Cook-Off, which annually raises thousands of dollars for charity through this beloved tradition.  He also organizes Silver Bells in the City, which attracts thousands to downtown Lansing each year.  During his 40-year career at the BWL, he held a number of positions, including the Director of Organizational Assessment and Training, Leader of Construction Services, and Director of Public Relations and Diversity, where he represented BWL in various community activities.  Jones was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Lansing Community College is 2011 and he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  He is also a graduate of Michigan State University’s Political Leadership Program and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Leadership Michigan Program.

Jones has been a member of the Delta-Waverly Rotary Club since 2002, serving as president from 2009-2010.  He currently serves as the club’s liaison with Waverly High School, and was named as the club’s 2014 Rotarian of the Year.

In 2013, Jones was named to chair the Board of Directors for the Lansing Economic Development Corporation, the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and the Lansing Tax Increment Finance Authority.

Jones also provides leadership throughout the community, serving on numerous boards including Impression 5, McLaren Greater Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees, REO Town Commercial Association, the Waverly Community Schools Board of Education, and he serves as chair of the Waverly Education Foundation.

Robert and Sarah Lawrence

Trustee Emeritus Robert (Bob) and Sarah Lawrence, are 1957 and 1956 The University of Olivet alumni, respectively.

Bob Lawrence, who has served on the The University of Olivet Board of Trustees for many years, led a 40-year career in the chemical industry. He retired as group vice president – polyurethanes from BASF Corporation in 1997. In this role, he directed sales, marketing, production, research, administration, and profit and loss. He was also responsible for polyurethanes for the North American Free Trade Agreement region. Bob spent 27 years with BASF and its predecessor company, Wyandotte Chemical, and 13 years with Chemtech Industries in St. Louis, Mo. He was also chairman of the steering committee for the Society of Plastics Industries from 1993-95 and president of International Isocyanate Institute Inc. from 1994-96.

As a The University of Olivet trustee, Bob has contributed to the leadership of the college in many ways. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the college in 2000.

Sarah Lawrence, who grew up in Olivet, is the former Henry Ford Museum archivist and registrar. She taught high school mathematics for a number of years, but her interest in history prompted her to earn a master’s degree in library science with a specialty in archival records. After retiring from the Henry Ford Museum in 1995, she began volunteering with the Grosse Ile Historical Society. Sarah was the lead author of the 2007 Arcadia publication, Grosse Ile, based on the Historical Society’s collection of postcards and images. She has spoken frequently at The University of Olivet, often presenting her extensive collection of vintage Olivet-area postcards.

Together, the Lawrences are among the college’s most significant supporters. Their most recent contributions led to the reorganization and preservation of the The University of Olivet Archives, including the addition of a full-time archivist. In addition, they have supported the renovation of the Engle Chemistry Labs, named in honor of Sarah’s parents; the construction of the Cutler Event Center; the The University of Olivet football program; various campaigns and much more.

The Lawrences were married while still at Olivet, and they have three adult children: Scott, Susan, and Timothy, a 1985 Olivet graduate.

Jim Robinson

Jim Robinson is chief executive officer (CEO) of Farm Bureau Insurance in Lansing, the fourth in the company’s 67-year history. Serving as CEO, he is responsible for leading the entire Farm Bureau Insurance operation in Michigan, which includes three major insurance companies: Farm Bureau Mutual, Farm Bureau General, and Farm Bureau Life.

Robinson joined the marketing division of Farm Bureau Insurance in 1975. During his tenure, he served as manager of marketing research, director of field communications, and director of marketing administration. In 1998, he became the vice president of policyholder services for life and property/casualty, and in 2003, he returned to marketing as vice president. In December 2004, he was appointed to his current position, CEO.

Robinson is the past chairman of the Life Insurance Association of Michigan and the Insurance Institute of Michigan, and a former advisory committee member for the American Agricultural Insurance Company. He currently serves on the Capital Investment Corporation Advisory Committee for the American Agricultural Insurance Company. In the community Robinson is chairman of the Mid-Michigan Business Travel Coalition Board, chairman of the Ele’s Place Lansing Community Board, and serves on the board of directors for the Sparrow Foundation and Roy Westran Scholarship Foundation, and is on the board of directors and executive committee of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). He is a former member of the Wharton Center Advisory Board and the Greater Lansing Insurance and Financial Services Council.

Robinson received his bachelor’s degree in communication arts/advertising from Michigan State University. He holds the following professional designations: Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU); Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI); and LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow (LLIF).

He and his wife Suzanne reside in Okemos. They have three children – Andrew, Sara (married to John) and Matthew (married to Julie) and three grandchildren – Lucy, Samantha and Owen.

Tickets to attend the Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner are $75, which includes a $40 tax deductible donation to The University of Olivet. For more information, contact Carol Flanigan, director of annual giving.


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