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Marjorie Vinson ’69 recognized as 2013 Staff Member of the Year

Posted: Sep 05, 2013

“I do what I need to do behind the scenes to make Dr. Bowling’s job easier,” Marjorie Vinson '69 says. Throughout 30 years as his administrative assistant — eight years at College Church of the Nazarene, Bourbonnais, and 22 years at Olivet — she has taken care of a myriad of details to make that happen.

Marjorie remembers her first contact with Olivet well. Members of an ONU choir stayed in her family’s home in Shelbyville, Ind., when she was a teenager. “When they sang around our piano, I remember thinking: This is heavenly. I wonder what Olivet is really like,” she says. And she had her opportunity to know when she entered Olivet as a freshman in 1965.

After successful careers as an executive assistant and a legal assistant, she assisted four senior pastors at College Church before Dr. John C. Bowling arrived in 1983. Eight years later, when he was elected as University president, he asked Marjorie: “Will you follow me to Olivet?” Saying “yes” charted the course for the rest of her career.

In the President’s office, every day brings new joys and challenges for Marjorie. Along with Doris Roberts and Susan Turner, she keeps the wheels turning in Dr. Bowling’s professional world. Greeting each person who comes through the door, taking phone calls, preparing for visits of University guests and dignitaries, handling email and written correspondence, planning events, and anticipating what Dr. Bowling needs are just a few of her many responsibilities. She also works with Mrs. Jill Bowling in planning special events.

Marjorie especially enjoys the relationships she has had with her 24 student workers through the years. Many of them continue to stay in touch with her and even visit in her home. And although she enjoys each University event, she especially looks forward to the faculty and staff gathering at Christmas and the summer picnic because those events give her the opportunity to work with employees from other departments.

She cites one of Dr. Bowling’s first publications as president of the University — Agenda for Excellence, 1993 to 2007 — as one of the guiding influences in her life. Her commitment to excellence includes achieving her best while maintaining a passion for service and a personal, vibrant faith.

Describing herself as a country girl at heart, Marjorie and her husband, Jerry, spend many weekends at their property on a lake in the hills of central Indiana. She enjoys gardening there and entertaining guests as often as possible. An extrovert and the consummate event planner, she also prepares home-cooked meals for guests at their home in Bourbonnais.

Marjorie and Jerry live just a few doors from campus and three houses away from her son and his wife, Aric and Mindi Raymond, and grandchildren, Kaylee and Tyler.

She works hard and with joy for Dr. Bowling and Olivet. As Marjorie says, “I feel privileged to work for Dr. and Mrs. Bowling, and I’m thankful to be an extension of his ministry. As surely as Jeremiah 29:11 promises, I have believed in and trusted God, and He has led me in my life.”

For her years of service to Olivet and her deep commitment to the entire Olivet community, along with her consistent example of service and Christian grace, Olivet salutes Marjorie as the 2013 Staff Member of the Year.

Olivet's School of Education is among the top six largest producers of teachers among all Illinois colleges and universities.