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Students and faculty recognized for extraordinary Christian leadership and service

Posted: Apr 25, 2013


Honoring our servant leaders is important at Olivet. This year's special recognition goes to (L-R) Karissa Cantrall, Renita Williams, Dr. Mark Williams and Caleb Carr.

Olivet recently presented the 2013 Dr. Mark and Renita Williams Servant Leadership Award to junior students Karissa Cantrall and Caleb Carr, recognizing them for their outstanding Christian service. Each received a cash award and donated a portion of it to a charity.

Karissa Cantrall, a social work major from Cantrall, Ill., has spent many hours serving at Spirit and Truth Christian Ministries in Kankakee, Ill. There, she has coordinated 24-hour prayer events, served on the worship team and taught Sunday school classes. Her other volunteer activities include serving as a leader for the Youth for Christ after-school Club 45 program, serving as a hospice volunteer and providing free child care for a family in need. She has developed her own blog, highlighting the impact that Christians are making on the lives of others. After graduation, she plans to serve God and people, possibly as a foster parent, youth worker or founder of a nonprofit ministry. She chose the Youth for Christ City Life Center in Kankakee as the charity to receive her donation.

Caleb Carr, a music and religious studies double major from Dakota, Ill., enjoys serving others and does so in a variety of ways. He is the equipment manager for Olivet’s Orpheus Choir, drum instructor and volunteer for the Kankakee Salvation Army, a member of Olivet’s Preaching Ambassador program, a drummer for student-led worship on campus. As a marathon runner, he often runs for charities, such as World Vision. After graduation, he plans to continue in ministry wherever God leads him. He chose the Orangeville High School chapter of the Highland Community College Servant Leadership Program, Freeport, Ill., as the charity to receive his donation.

This year’s Servant Leadership Award was named in honor of Dr. Mark and Renita Williams, who embody servant leadership in their daily lives.
• Dr. Williams has been an accounting professor at Olivet for nearly 19 years. His academic excellence, combined with his care and concern for students, is his trademark. He also spends countless hours assisting people with their finances and tax returns. Hundreds have benefited from his wise counsel and expertise.
• Mrs. Williams helped establish the Center of Hope, a non-profit organization in Kankakee. Her initial vision started with a food pantry in the basement of College Church of the Nazarene. Today, a staff of 75 volunteers provides food, financial assistance, encouragement, Bibles and prayer to more than 850 families each week from a storefront location.

The Servant Leadership Award Program, established by the Barney II and Moore Foundations to develop servant leaders for the next generation, is a nationwide program. It recognizes those students who have already caught the vision of leading with a servant’s heart while encouraging other students to think about how they might incorporate servant leadership into their own lives. This award honors college students who faithfully serve others, either on campus or in their communities, and act on behalf of “the least of these.”

Olivet alumni living in all 50 U.S. States and 57 world areas