Strength and Hope Campaign
The grand, enduring mission of Olivet has stood the test of time and remains unchanged. A combination of careful stewardship, success and visionary leadership has provided a unique window — a pathway to ensure the “Olivet Experience” is available to an increasing number of students.
An invitation to Partnership
Olivet is a special place with an important mission.
We believe the world desperately needs Olivet graduates to be salt and light for Christ’s sake.
Together, we can write the next chapter. We ask you to partner with us, through the Strength and Hope Campaign, to advance the mission and ensure the accessibility, vibrancy and sustainability of Olivet in this season.
You may choose to direct your gifts to one of our strategic PAVER priorities, or you may choose to direct your gift to the Core Mission Fund where it will fund the most pressing needs of the University.
Supporting Student Success
College is a good investment, but only if you graduate.
Only 75% of students who start college return for their second year. Even after six years, less than 60% of students at four-year colleges have earned a bachelor’s degree. More than 1 million college students drop out of college every year. Students who drop out of college are almost 100 times more likely to default on their student loans than students who graduate.
Praise the Lord that graduation rates for Olivet students keep rising. We can do better to address hurdles, especially for at-risk students, and see at least 7 in 10 complete their degree. Our purpose isn’t merely attracting new students but producing faith-integrated graduates.
Jacob Sims learned persistence from a young age. Growing up in a household filled with instability, he took the hardships in stride by skateboarding 15 miles to get to work; saving up to buy a car; getting to school on his own; even joining Boy Scouts and earning his way to an Eagle Scout designation. He found a clear vision for how to make the most of his time at Olivet and how to succeed in life.
Increasing Student Access
A national debate is brewing about the actual and perceived value of higher education.
In January 2022, U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported, “College affordability is a major concern for families, and paying for college looms large for students, particularly students who would be the first in their families to earn a degree.
Average indebtedness for Olivet students decreased 15% over the past decade — yes, decreased — but we’re seeing a “misery gap” increase for a growing number of students who desire the Olivet experience but lack the capacity to pay for it. Today, half of the students who receive a financial aid package award based on academic merit still can’t attend. We want to ensure that financial need does not prevent a deserving student from attending Olivet.
Skyler Blanton ’23: “When I first started looking at Olivet, the price tag scared me. I quickly learned that Olivet offers many ways to receive scholarships and extra funds. Through those scholarships, I am able to focus my time at Olivet without having to worry.”
Preparing Thought Leaders
The world is desperate for principled, virtuous, dedicated leaders at all levels of civil society: education, business, government, media, culture, the arts, and the Church.
We need leaders who know what to think and how to think — leaders who will lead strategic public and private institutions to advance the cause of Christ. With all the incessant chatter and aggressive competition for the minds and hearts of university students, we must call students to something greater.
We will focus on moral issues in our culture, strengthen student capacity to think biblically, and launch thought leaders and influencers into the world. Emphases are mental health, race tensions, conviction and compassion for Biblical sexuality, and a more focused discipleship. We recommit ourselves to a winsome center rather than lose ourselves in accommodating the circumference.
Nathan Gonzalez’s professors in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry encouraged him to pursue graduate work. “At Olivet, I enjoyed the different theological perspectives which helped me discover and defend my own beliefs. I look forward to diving deeper. I am excited to solidify my calling and use what I learn to give back to people. Building personal relationships with my professors taught me the importance of seeing education as a part of my call to ministry. All the time I invested at Olivet learning, studying, reading and articulating the Scriptures has shaped my life and future service.”
Securing Olivet’s Future
We are building a premier Christian university with all the requisite commitments to quality and excellence in academics, physical plant, athletics, the arts and the student experience.
We want students to thrive for generations to come, but the current state of the economy and the increasing rates of inflation put pressure on the University.
In an era when higher-ed costs are spiraling out of control, Olivet is committed to keeping the cost of education as affordable as possible. Our ability to maintain affordable tuition depends on our commitment to fiscal responsibility and the generosity of our donors. We show respect to God and donors by stewarding their gifts well and by operating more efficiently in areas like energy consumption, technology and administrative nimbleness. Your gifts can make Olivet thrive, ensuring students are equipped to serve and lead.
Solar Panels: In 2021, Olivet installed 3,100 solar panels on two campus buildings through a partnership with SunVest Solar. The panels have generated 210,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity — saving nearly $6,600 — and have prevented approximately 329,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. SunVest maintains and monitors the panels, and students gain a greater understanding of the need for more renewable energy sources.
Expanding Olivet’s Influence
The number of high school students in the United States is in serious decline.
Colleges and universities across the country are struggling to make enrollment goals and meet revenue targets. In the Midwest, regionalized birth rate decreases are producing an average of 20% drop in enrollments. Strategic, effective enrollment strategies are more important now than ever for long-term viability.
Our marketing and recruiting strategies are working. We plan to invest more in niches to seek specific traits in student prospects, not “fish” by just dangling a message out there and hoping somebody bites. For example, the 23 freshman who attended last year from the Pacific Rim will be followed by 50 more coming this fall!
Daneli Hentschel and ONU’s Aspira initiative connects, informs and empowers prospective Hispanic students and their families with the capability of higher education. In the first year of Aspira, Olivet’s team has visited new schools and churches, translated materials into Spanish, broken down financial barriers, and shifted our thinking so we can proactively serve this particular population.