Alumnus Benjamin Geeding on his way to Yale

You can get anywhere from Olivet Nazarene University, and Benjamin Geeding ’15/’17 M.A. is proving that this year.

July 13, 2017 Academics, Alumni & Friends

You can get anywhere from Olivet Nazarene University, and Benjamin Geeding ’15/’17 M.A. is proving that this year.


“When I started my master’s program at Olivet, my professors encouraged me to look ahead to the next step,” Ben says. The professors in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry — and all Olivet professors — put the needs of their students first. From day one in any degree program, they are preparing students for success in their education, careers and lives.

As Ben planned for his next steps after completing his Master of Christian Thought degree at Olivet, he evaluated all aspects of 25 of the top graduate programs in the country. He received acceptances and offers from Vanderbilt University, Duke University and Yale University. After prayer and consultation with his Olivet professors, he decided to attend Yale Divinity School. Beginning in fall 2017, he will pursue a Master of Arts in Religion degree there.

“I’ve received an amazing education at Olivet,” Ben says. “I know I will be successful at Yale because of this.”

When he came to Olivet as a freshman, Ben was an atheist. He just wanted to study and perform music. God had different plans for him, however. By the time he received his bachelor’s degree, he had sung in several musical ensembles, conducted Orpheus Choir and become a follower of Christ.

One major ingredient for Ben’s success is the friendships he formed while he was a student at Olivet — especially Christine (Caven) ’14/’16 M.A., who is now his wife, and Ben Cherney ’14. “They are my anchors,” he says. “I can confide in them and be vulnerable with them. We grew up together at Olivet. Now, they remind me who I used to be and who I’ve become. I’m thankful for their grace, patience and love.”

As he reflects on his years at Olivet, Ben has some advice for the incoming Class of 2021:

  • Every person you meet is a potential reference, resource and/or connection with your future.
  • Your professors are champions for you.
  • Be flexible with your plans. Doors will open that you aren’t even expecting.
  • When you say you don’t want to get married, you will meet your future spouse.
  • Take your classes seriously, pools of wisdom are at your fingertips
  • Allow your imagination to be ignited. Feed your creativity.
  • Take breaks. Have fun. Education is much more than hitting the books.

To learn about Olivet’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs in theology and ministry, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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