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.”

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Learn why Olivet’s dedication to faith and integrity have earned its rank as Illinois's number one Christian university.


Campus Visit

We offer several different ways for you to visit our beautiful campus! Whether you visit in person or online, choose a personalized visit or energetic event day, we want to show you all that Olivet has to offer.

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Apply to Olivet

It all starts here! We accept applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. All completed applications receive equal consideration.

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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: 3,500+ (2,525 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


Dr. Gregg Chenoweth, President

Gregg Chenoweth graduated from Olivet in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He served as the president of Bethel University since 2013. Dr. Chenoweth has published works in nearly 30 media outlets and previously served as the vice president for academic affairs at Olivet.

ONU Leadership Team

5 Year University Priorities (PAVER)

Olivet Nazarene University has a rich tradition of faith and a strong desire to press forward into God’s plan for our future. Solomon counseled, “Plans are established by seeking advice” (Prov. 20:18). Over the past few months, more than 600 people have met to discover ONU’s five-year priorities. In a show of unity, four different bodies representing more than 100 people endorsed this plan unanimously. Not just our plans blessed by God, but God’s plans for us.

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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

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.

Since then, the University has thrived. In the early 21st century, the campus blossomed with the  acquisition of 61 buildings and the remodeling of 27 buildings to enhance the student experience. Through technology upgrades, expanded academic offerings and increased student support services, Olivet has become a premier institution of Christian higher education that is consistently recognized as a College of Distinction, a Best Christian Workplace and regularly ranking in the U.S. News Best College annual report.

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

A Hymn to Olivet
by Ed Nash

Alma Mater, Olivet

To Alma Mater, Olivet.
We lift our voice in praise.
For noble standards which we'll hold,
'Til ending of our days.
The times we spent within these halls
Will ne'er forgotten be,
For here we learned to know of truth,
And truth will make us free.
My Olivet, Our Olivet,
Though life may lead us far apart,
I'll still revere you in my heart.
My Olivet, Our Olivet,
I'll love the Christ you gave first part-
And you, old Olivet!

words and music by Byron Carmony

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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.

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