Olivet Nazarene University

Est. 1907

Here, at one of the nation's premier Christian universities, we believe higher education should have a higher purpose. 

With accredited programs, award-winning academics, and a faculty touting degrees from a wide spectrum of world-class educational institutions, Olivet stands committed to integrating faith and learning. 

Nestled in the historic village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet students gain knowledge and wisdom, and secure degrees that place them ahead of the pack, with portfolios and experience as evidence of an “Education with a Christian purpose.”

Olivet at a Glance

Founded: 1907
Location: Bourbonnais, Illinois 
Campus: 275 acres of beautiful, park-like grounds
Facilities: Leading-edge technology and historic landmarks
Students: 4,900+ (2,900 undergraduate) students 
Academics: More than 140 fields of study
Alumni: 40,000+ worldwide
Degrees: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees

ONU Fast Facts

Leadership

Dr. John C. Bowling, President

John Carl Bowling has been the president of Olivet Nazarene University since 1991. Under his leadership, the University has flourished, as evidenced by record enrollments, new buildings, expanded degree programs, increased academic standards, improved athletic programs, extraordinary morale among staff and students, and more.

ONU Leadership Team

A Rich History

Olivet Nazarene University traces its roots to 1907, beginning in Miss Mary Nesbitt's grammar school in a house in Georgetown, Illinois. In 1908, the school's founders acquired 14 acres in the village of Olivet, and moved the grammar school to the proposed campus and a Wesleyan–holiness community developed around it.

In 1909, the liberal arts college was chartered and named Illinois Holiness University, with A. M. Hills from Texas Holiness University as its first president. It was then given to the Church of the Nazarene in 1912, with E. F. Walker as president, it was renamed Olivet University in 1915.

In 1939, the main building on the southern Illinois campus was destroyed by fire, and prompted the school to move onto the previous campus of St. Viator's College, in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The school's name was changed in 1986 to Olivet Nazarene University (ONU), to express the advanced academic offerings.

International Church of the Nazarene

At Olivet Nazarene University, students experience the warmth, faith and strong sense of purpose that is characteristic of our parent denomination — the International Church of the Nazarene.

The Church of the Nazarene is a Protestant, Christian denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Organized in 1908, the Church of the Nazarene is now home to more than two million members worshiping in more than 26,000 local congregations in 156 world areas. 

College Church of the Nazarene, founded in 1949, sits at the campus entrance where many community members choose to worship. More than 40 different denominations are represented among the student body, and students are encouraged to attend the church of their choice.

Church of the Nazarene

We Believe

At Olivet, learning and faith go hand in hand. The University affirms that all truth is God’s truth, and therefore, cannot be segmented into secular and non-secular categories and departments.

Statement of Faith

Read All About It

Our very own award-winning Olivet The Magazine features articles from outstanding writers and first-person accounts from students, alumni and friends. Published quarterly, the magazine also includes inspirational words from university president, Dr. John C. Bowling.

Read Online