New construction, enhanced programming and leadership appointments were the highlights of President John C. Bowling’s annual “State of the University” address to the faculty and staff of Olivet Nazarene University on March 25, 2014.
“We are not looking back, we are not looking down, nor are we looking around wringing our hands,” said Dr. Bowling. “Today, we are looking up, and we are looking forward with a strong sense of promise and purpose, and a record of fine achievement — even during these days of recession.”
Outlining the University’s strategic plan known as “Vision 2022,” Dr. Bowling said, “I believe this plan will help us preserve the past, manage the present, and map and secure the future for the purposes of sustaining our mission, strengthening our value proposition and equipping our students to engage the world in transformational ways.”
Dr. Bowling highlighted four major construction projects that will take place on Olivet’s campus in the near future. These include a second addition to Reed Hall of Science, expansions to Wisner Hall of Nursing and the Larsen Fine Arts Center, and the construction of a new resident hall for freshman women. These are in addition to numerous improvements scheduled throughout the campus, including significant upgrades to outdoor athletic facilities. New graduate and continuing studies regional centers are opening soon in Indianapolis, Ind., and Lansing, Mich., and a new location is being planned for the northwest Chicago suburbs.
Dr. Bowling also announced changes to the academic structure in preparation for continued growth and quality enhancement, including the establishment of two new schools within the University: a School of Music and a School of Nursing and Health Sciences. He formally announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Hull as the dean of the School of Education, Dr. Shane Ritter as the chair for the Department of Engineering, and Dr. Jim Upchurch as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Started in the spring of 2009, Dr. Bowling’s inaugural State of the University address was scheduled, in part, to discuss the economic challenges evident across the landscape of higher education. Since then, the gatherings have become an annual tradition, offering faculty and staff an overview of the University’s current state of affairs, and the opportunity to hear directly from the president regarding his vision for the future.
“In these past few years, as colleges and universities of nearly every stripe have struggled, you have held steady,” said Dr. Bowling, expressing his gratitude to the faculty and staff. “You have done more with less, and God has blessed your efforts. He has taken our loaves and fish, blessed and multiplied them, and fed thousands of students. God has helped us.”