Olivet Nazarene University is pleased to honor alumni who exhibit the characteristics and ideals of their alma mater.
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.
Lisa Lehman '93
“Receiving the ‘O’ Award is a surprise and an honor,” she says. “I give it back to Jesus, who continues to work in and through me for His glory alone.”
Lisa Lehman is a global missionary for the Church of the Nazarene in Thailand serving as Asia Pacific regional literature coordinator, Southeast Asia field literature coordinator and Southeast Asia member care coordinator.
"Wilaipun was the first Thai person I met in Thailand,” says Lisa Lehman ’93. “We walked together as friends from 1999. While she was dying of cancer, she gave her heart to Jesus. That deepened my commitment to share the gospel with Thai Buddhists.” Lisa’s call to missions came when she was seven years old. At Olivet, God confirmed that call with Isaiah 49:6, and later during a 1998 revival service with Dr. Ted Lee ’68 preaching from Isaiah 49:15–16. Her current work for the Lord is to build relationships, develop writers and oversee translation projects in more than 20 languages. She also teaches pastors and preaches throughout Southeast Asia.
Lisa Lehman holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Olivet and a master’s degree in special education from Governors State University. She also has a certificate of cross-cultural ministry from Nazarene Theological Seminary. In 2007, she was ordained as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene.
Lowell Short '79
“After a particular series of revival services, I was ready to change majors and study to become an evangelist,” Lowell recalls. “As I sought God’s leading, I sensed a call to the business world. God used several individuals at Olivet to confirm that call, and I have never departed from it.”
His parents met at Olivet, married at Olivet and, a year later, gave birth to Lowell Short at Olivet. Today, Lowell boldly shares that the history of his life is marked by BO-AO, Before Olivet-After Olivet. Before Olivet, he was part of the first racially integrated class at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana — an all-black high school from its inception. He played on the baseball team, served as president of his junior class and on Student Council, and escorted the African-American homecoming queen. At Olivet, among other activities, Lowell was part of chapel and revival services, Bible studies and prayer meetings, and classes that began with prayer. He recalls several mentors, especially his business professors and local business leaders, Pastor Draper at College Church of the Nazarene, and the University controller in the business office.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Olivet, Lowell went on to receive a M.B.A. in finance from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. A Certified Public Accountant, he is currently the senior vice president and chief accounting officer with Federal Home Loan Bank in Indianapolis. At his church — Westside Church of the Nazarene in Indianapolis — Lowell is chair of the trustees. He also serves on the advisory board of the Indianapolis District Church of the Nazarene. Lowell says, “Because of my great love for Olivet and my high esteem for its alumni, I consider the ‘O’ Award to be THE award of my life.”
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.
Christa (Sunberg) Maciver '07
“Olivet is special because of everything I learned and the friends I made,” Christa says. “Dr. David Van Heemst and Dr. Bill Dean were supportive and encouraging professors who really made an impact on my time at Olivet. I also made such amazing, lifelong friends.”
Christa currently serves as strategic lead of research and policy for the Justlife Foundation, a charity in England. Their work is dedicated to ensuring that the experiences of hidden homeless households in Unsupported Temporary Accommodation are as short, safe and healthy as possible. When Justlife launched its 2016 report in Parliament, Christa spoke at the event along with the Shadow Housing Minister. “The work we do is hugely important,” she says. “These individuals are largely ignored and forgotten within the housing/ homelessness system in the UK.”
After earning bachelor’s degrees in political science and history at Olivet, Christa went on to earn her master’s degree in theology (Christian holiness) through Nazarene Theological College. She holds a second master’s degree in humanitarianism and conflict response from the University of Manchester. Christa is married to Iain Maciver, MBChB RCGP, a physician and general practitioner. They reside in Manchester, England.
Matthew Lyle ’09“At Olivet, I felt a faith connection with the rest of our student body,” he says. “The professors and staff genuinely care about each student as a whole person.”
Leading a prayer group at his workplace — GE Aviation in Grand Rapids, Michigan — is only one of the many ways Matthew Lyle ’09 serves the Lord. In his job as a senior digital quality leader, he is helping to define strategy and lead execution for this important priority. During his career with GE, Matt has led several new initiatives in electronics supplier quality. His team decreased supplier caused customer disruptions by more than 60 percent over a five-year period. He has conducted more than 50 supplier quality audits in the United States and Asia.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from Olivet and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. Matt and his wife, Katie (Brashaw) ’08, are the parents of three daughters: Avalon, Brielle and Myla. Their family is actively involved at High Pointe Nazarene Church in Grand Rapids. While at Olivet, Matt participated in the Spoons 4 Forks improvisation team, intramural sports, Associated Student Council and many other activities.