Olivet Nazarene University: Wikis


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Olivet Nazarene University

Seal of Olivet Nazarene University
Motto "Education with a Christian Purpose"§
Established 1907
Type Private
Religious affiliation Nazarene
Endowment US $13.6 million[1]
President John C. Bowling
Students 4,636
Undergraduates 3,190
Postgraduates 1,446
Location Bourbonnais, Illinois, United States
41°09′13″N 87°52′34″W / 41.153620°N 87.876140°W / 41.153620; -87.876140Coordinates: 41°09′13″N 87°52′34″W / 41.153620°N 87.876140°W / 41.153620; -87.876140
Campus Suburban
Former names Miss Mary Nesbitt's Grammar School (1907-1909), Illinois Holiness University (1909-1915), Olivet University (1915-1923), Olivet College (1923-1939), Olivet Nazarene College (1939-1986)
Sports Baseball, Basketball, Cross-country running, Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and field, and Volleyball
Colors Purple and gold         
Nickname Tigers
Mascot Tiger
Athletics NAIA (CCAC)
Affiliations CCCU, NCACS
Website www.olivet.edu
§The motto on the original seal read "Truth and Justice" in Latin. "Education with a Christian purpose" was adopted in 1942.[2]

Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) is a Christian liberal arts college located in the village of Bourbonnais, Illinois. Named for Olivet, Illinois, ONU was first chartered as Illinois Holiness University in 1909 and was originally established as a grammar school in east-central Illinois in 1907.



A.M. Hills 1909-1910
Ezra Franklin 1910 - Feb. 1912
J.E. Hoover Feb. - Jun. 1912
E.F. Walker Jun. 1912-1913
E.P. Ellyson 1913-1914
John H. Norris Jun. - Nov. 1914
E.P. Ellyson Nov. 1914 - Mar. 1915
A.L. Whitcomb Mar. - Sep. 1915
E.F. Walker 1915-1916
Benjamin Franklin Haynes 1916-1917
J.E. Hoover 1917-1918
M.E. Borders Mar. - Sep. 1918
C.L. Hawkins 1918-1919
J.W. Akers Jan. - ? 1919
J.E.L. Moore 1919-1922
Newport W. Sanford 1922-1926
T.W. Willingham 1926-1938
A.L. Parrott, Sr. 1938-1948
Selden Dee Kelley 1948-1949
Harold W. Reed 1949-1975
A. Leslie Parrott, Jr. 1975-1991
John Bowling 1991-present

A "product of lay initiative," Olivet traces its roots to 1907 when a group of families in East-Central Illinois started a school to provide a Christian education for their children.[3] Classes at Miss Mary Nesbitt's grammar school were first held in a house in Georgetown, Illinois. In 1908, the school's founders acquired 14 acres[4] in the village of Olivet, and moved the grammar school to the proposed campus.[5] A Wesleyanholiness community sprang up around the school.[6]

In 1909, the liberal arts college was chartered by the Eastern Illinois Holiness Association and named Illinois Holiness University, with A. M. Hills from Texas Holiness University as its first president.[4] It was then given to the Church of the Nazarene in 1912, with E. F. Walker as president, and inherited one of the most populated Nazarene regions in the United States.[4] It was renamed Olivet University in 1915,[7] and again in 1921 to Olivet College.[8]

The economic solvency of the school became a problem in the 1920s, and the trustees were forced to declare bankruptcy in 1926. The school's treasurer, T. W. Willingham, purchased the school back at an auction and was elected president. In 1939, the main building on campus was destroyed by fire.[5] This prompted the school to look for a new location. Under President A.L. Parrott, the school moved in 1940, onto the previous 42-acre (170,000 m2) campus of St. Viator's College.[9] With the move, the school's name was changed to Olivet Nazarene College (ONC).[8] The school's name was changed again in 1986 to Olivet Nazarene University (ONU).[5]


ONU's campus is 250 acres (1.0 km2) in the village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, approximately 50 miles south of Chicago, Ill., outside the city of Kankakee, Illinois. The college has been in Bourbonnais since 1940 with more than 30 buildings.[10] Four buildings are original from St. Viator College. There are also satellite campuses for adult education in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and Hong Kong[11] and several adult and continuing studies programs are offered at alternate locations throughout the Chciagoland region.


ONU is one of eight regional U.S. liberal arts colleges[12] affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene.[13] ONU is the college for the "Central USA Region" of the United States.[14] In terms of the Church of the Nazarene, the "Central Region" comprises the Wisconsin, Northwestern Illinois, Illinois, Chicago Central, Northern Michigan, Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northwest Indiana, Northeastern Indiana, Indianapolis, and Southwest Indiana districts, which include Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.[15] Each college receives financial backing from the Nazarene churches on its region; part of each church budget is paid into a fund for its regional school. Each college or university is also bound by a gentlemen's agreement not to actively recruit outside its respective "educational region."[16]


ONU has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1956[11] and offers bachelor's degrees in 67 academic majors.[17] The School of Graduate and Continuing Studies offers master's degrees, nontraditional adult degree-completion programs, and a doctor of education degree as well as a master of "professional counseling" degree offered at a site in Hong Kong and distance education for a master in education degree.[11] The 2007 acceptance rate for students who applied to the college was 70.3 percent.[18]


Graduation gap

A report released in April 2008 found that, of the institutions surveyed throughout the U.S. based on data provided under the 1990 Student Right-to-Know Act, ONU had the seventh-largest gap between the average graduation rate for white students and the average graduation rate for black students. White students had an average graduation rate of 56 percent, one point below the national average for all students, while black students at ONU were found to have an average graduation rate of 17 percent, 38 points below their white peers.[19]

Academic freedom

In 2007, President John C. Bowling prohibited ONU alumnus and faculty member Richard G. Colling from teaching general biology and banned Colling's 2004 book: Random Designer: Created from Chaos to Connect with Creator (Browning Press: ISBN 0975390406).[20] In 2009, the conclusion of an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) investigation[21] found problems with shared governance at ONU and that Colling's rights had been violated[22] when Bowling placed the concerns of two fundamentalist District Superintendents in the Church of the Nazarene above ONU's principles of academic freedom.[23]

Student life

ONU athletics logo

There were 4,636 student at the college in 2007, 3,190 of whom were undergraduates.[24] ONU students are from 40 states and 20 countries, and represent 30 Christian denominations.[10] 9 percent of the student population is black.[19]


The purple and gold colors and the "Tigers" athletic nickname at Olivet Nazarene have existed since 1940, when ONC students first played Bethany Nazarene College (BNC), and intervarsity athletics began with another game between ONC and BNC in 1966.[25] Men's varsity teams include Baseball, Basketball, Cross-country running, football, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, and Track and field. Women's varsity sports include Basketball, Cross country running, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and field, and Volleyball. Since 2002, the Chicago Bears have held their summer training camp there. Originally affiliated with the Division III Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from 1974 to 1997, ONU became a charter member of the Mid-States Football Association in 1994, and now competes in both the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the North-Central Region of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

Notable persons

Notable alumni include Nazarene General Superintendents Jim Diehl and Paul Cunningham, former Eastern Nazarene College president R. Wayne Gardner, who also served on the faculty at both ENC and ONU, and Ben Zobrist, the second-baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Notes and references

  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2009_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values.pdf. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ Church of the Nazarene: Olivet Nazarene University Centennial
  3. ^ ONU's first board of trustees included only one minister.
  4. ^ a b c Called Unto Holiness Vol. 2 by Westlake Taylor Purkiser. Kansas City: Nazarene Publishing House, 1983.
  5. ^ a b c History at olivet.edu
  6. ^ "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education," by Stan Ingersol
  7. ^ The History of ENC, written by James Cameron, references J.E.L. Moore leaving Eastern Nazarene College in 1919 to become "president of the Pentecostal Nazarene University at Olivet, Illinois." on p.142 and the Year Book of American Churches, 1921-1922 edited by E.O. Watson, published by Hayworth Publishing Co. Washington D.C. cites the name as "Olivet University."
  8. ^ a b American universities and colleges: a dictionary of name changes by Alice H. Songe. Rowman & Littlefield (1978), p. 150
  9. ^ History of the Village of Bourbonnais
  10. ^ a b Fast Facts page
  11. ^ a b c HLC of the NCA: ONU profile
  12. ^ LIBERAL ARTS AND THE PRIORITIES OF NAZARENE HIGHER EDUCATION by J. Matthew Price, Ph.D. Eastern Nazarene College is the only Nazarene institution to retain the "college" moniker. Different states hold different standards for university status, but Nazarene higher education is based on the liberal arts model rather than that of a research university.
  13. ^ Nazarene Educational Regions
  14. ^ Although its name might suggest that it is the college for the "Olivet" region, no such region currently exists. Eastern and Northwest are the only Nazarene schools to use their regional names. Olivet is named for a former location in the village of Olivet, Illinois. There was, interestingly, a Nazarene institution once called Central Nazarene College in Texas.
  15. ^ Central USA Region
  16. ^ Guidelines and Handbook for Educational Institutions of the Church of the Nazarene. Church of the Nazarene International Board of Education. 1997. p. 14. http://www.nazarene.org/files/docs/guide.pdf. 
  17. ^ Olivet Nazarene: 2008-2009 Academic Catalog
  18. ^ "Olivet Nazarene University". Guide to Best Colleges. U.S. News and World Report. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college/items/1741. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  19. ^ a b InsideHigherEd.com News: The Graduation Rate Gap
  20. ^ Begley, Sharon (2007-09-17). "Can God love Darwin, too?". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/40907. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  21. ^ Inside Higher Ed - Academic Freedom and Evolution
  22. ^ Academic Freedom and Tenure: Olivet Nazarene University
  23. ^ Inside Higher Ed - Faith, Science and Academic Freedom
  24. ^ "Search for Schools, Colleges, and Libraries". U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/globallocator/. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  25. ^ ONU News: Athletics Unveils New Tigers Logo

External links


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