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Alumni Awards

  • Olivet Nazarene University is pleased to honor alumni who exhibit the characteristics and ideals of their alma mater.

  • "O" Awards 

    Since 1957, the Olivet Alumni Association has recognized outstanding alumni through the presentation of the "O" Awards at the annual fall Homecoming Celebration. One ministerial and one lay person have been chosen from nominations submitted to the Alumni Board. Qualified individuals represent the ideals of the University and have distinguished themselves in their professional fields. 

  •   Dr. Edward Heck '76


      Dr. Edward H. Heck currently serves as the senior pastor of Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene. Broadly experienced in the ministry of the local church, he brings to the pulpit a heart sensitized by nearly 35 years of pastoral ministry.

         Prior to his ministry at Kankakee First, Dr. Heck experienced great growth and spiritual vitality in each of his pastoral assignments, including Morenci, Michigan; First Church of the Nazarene, Flint, Michigan; Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, Vicksburg, Michigan; and Vandalia, Ohio.

       Dr. Heck completed his undergraduate work at Olivet Nazarene University and graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical literature. Continuing his education, he graduated from Nazarene Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1980. In May 2001, he received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

    Dr. Heck travels and speaks frequently for the Nazarene Church. He has served on the Future of the Church Commission for General Assembly, as well as on other boards and committees of the Global Church of the Nazarene. Currently, he is the district secretary of the Chicago Central District and a mission area assistant to the District Superintendent. At Olivet, he is an adjunct professor in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry and also teaches courses for the new interdisciplinary minor in leadership.                    

    He and his wife of 39 years, Kathy, have one daughter, Alea, who is a junior at Olivet.

      Ralph Hodge '75/'96 M.A.E.

         HodgeFor more than 35 seasons, Ralph “Tres” Hodge has manned the sidelines as the head coach of the Olivet men’s basketball team. Since 1979, he has led 16 Tiger teams to national tournament appearances, the most by any team from Illinois.

       Tres is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ 700-win club, one of only five other active NAIA coaches who have reached        this career achievement. His induction as a member of the 2013-14 NAIA Hall of Fame class — along with Olivet alumnus Ben Zobrist of the Tampa          Bay Rays — made him the first Tiger to receive this honor. This distinction recognizes service to intercollegiate athletics and is the highest individual          honor that the NAIA bestows. 

       On 11 different occasions, Tres led his team to CCAC regular season championships and to five CCAC Tournament titles. Prior to membership in the         CCAC, he and the Tigers won four Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) championships and also won four NAIA District 20 titles. 

    His career distinctions include:

    • A 689-420 (.621) overall career record
    • 15 straight seasons of 20-plus wins from 1989 to 2003
    • 16 national tournament appearances and most appearances at NAIA Division I National Championships for an Illinois team
    • Four Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) championships
    • 12 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular season championships
    • Four NAIA District 20 championships
    • Five CCAC Tournament championships
    • Recipient of NAIA’s Charles A. Kriegel Award for Sportsmanship, 2002
    • Nine-time CCAC Coach of the Year
    • NAIA District 20 Coach of the Year, 1989
    • CCAC Hall of Fame, 2002
    • Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame, 2004
    • IBCA-NAIA Co-Coach of the Year, 2010 and 2011
    • NAIA national rater for CCAC Division I, 15 years

    For his achievements and success as a Tiger basketball guard, Olivet honored him by retiring his number 20 in 1975.

    Tres and his wife, Janice (Barr) ’75, are the parents of three adult children and have one grandson, Paxton. 



    To watch the award presentation, click here.

    To hear the recipients' testimonials, click here

    For more information about award criteria, click here.

    Past Recipients

    Nomination Form

  • Young Alumni Award 

    In 2011, the Young Alumni Award was established, honoring two alumni — one male and one female — to be presented at the annual fall Homecoming Celebration. Recipients are chosen by vote of the Alumni Board, and must have graduated from Olivet within the last 10 years. This award is made possible through a generous gift from Mel '73 and Judi (Tucker) '71 Sayes. 

  • Young Alumni 2014 Girl

        Katie Kalemkarian ('06)

        With a vision for a career in the fashion industry, Katie Kalemkarian graduated summa cum laude from Olivet in 2006 with a degree in family and     consumer sciences. Her major was fashion merchandising, and she also completed minors in business management, marketing and French.

        Soon after her graduation, Katie was hired by TJX Companies as an allocation analyst and moved to Boston to work out of the corporate headquarters in     Massachusetts. This is now the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods in the United States, as well as three retail chains in Canada and     two retail chains in Europe. The company now reports $27.4 billion in annual sales and a more than 200 percent increase in the price of its publicly             traded shares.

        In 2010, Katie accepted a two-year assignment as a planning manager with TK Maxx, the European division. During that time, she lived and worked in       London.   

    Currently, she is a ladies dress buyer with TJX and based in the Los Angeles satellite buying office. The company’s buying organization is considered one of the best in the business. As a buyer for both TJ Maxx and Marshalls, each year she purchases dresses that ship to nearly 2,000 stores nationwide. Identified as a potential leader for her company, she is on a leadership mentoring and training track. 

    In addition to her career success, Katie enjoys traveling and has visited 22 European countries. Experiencing new cultures, foods and people is one of her passions. As a self-described foodie and an excellent cook, she often ministers to others by hosting dinner parties for them at her home.  

    Her passion for sports continued past her years of playing on Olivet’s tennis team. She has enjoyed attending many professional sports events, including Wimbledon, seven events during the Olympics and The Royal Ascot in London; and Red Sox games in Boston.

    Katie attends Pacific Crossroads Church in Santa Monica, California, and is part of a small group there. As a servant of Christ, she once devoted a weekend to helping build a house for a family in need in Mexico. In 2008, she experienced a life-changing trip to Ethiopia, Africa. There, she visited several Compassion International centers and met the Compassion child she sponsors.   

    Despite the distance between California and Illinois, her home state, Katie stays in close touch with her family. She especially enjoys spending time with her two nephews during her visits home. 


     Scott Karalis ('08)Young Alumni 2014 Guy

      Beginning his academic career at Olivet, Scott Karalis graduated magna cum laude in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in corporate communication and wa     the recipient of the communication department’s Honor Award. In 2007, he spent his junior year abroad studying jurisprudence and Aristotle as a visiting   scholar at the University of Oxford.

      Focusing on his career goal of practicing law, Scott graduated with distinction in 2011 from the University of Iowa College of Law, a school consistently   ranked in the top 30 law schools in the nation. While in law school, he was executive editor of The Journal of Corporation Law, which is ranked third in     the nation for corporate law journals.

      While in law school, Scott received Dean’s Awards for the highest grades in jurisprudence and in legal analysis, writing and research. He was one of the     top 32 moot court advocates invited to compete in the advanced Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Moot Court Competition, in which he also received the Best   Brief and Best Oral Advocate Awards. In 2011, he was honored to be one of four law students chosen to showcase oral advocacy in a mock case before the Iowa Supreme Court justices, as well as a crowd of law students and faculty, as the headline event of Iowa Law’s annual Supreme Court Day.

    Today, Scott is an associate at the Chicago firm of BatesCarey LLP, one of the largest firms in the country focused exclusively on representing and protecting the interests of insurers and reinsurers. His practice focuses on directors and officers and corporate liability coverage for mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies. He has served as counsel with respect to complex insurance claims, such as securities fraud class action lawsuits, regulatory investigation and proceedings, and employment-related litigation. 

    A diehard video and tabletop gamer, Scott recently attended the four-day PAX gaming convention in Seattle — along with 70,000 other devotees. He loves to read for pleasure and recommends The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Neuromancer and Ender’s Game.

    Scott and his wife, Brittany (Dahl) ’08, reside in Palatine, Illinois. She teaches Spanish at Wauconda High School. They are expecting their first child in December.   

    To watch the award presentation, click here.

    For more information about award criteria, click here.

    Past Recipients

    Nomination Form