2022-23 academic year begins in fruitful community at annual employee event.
On Aug. 25, Dr. Gregg Chenoweth ’90, with his wife Tammy (Salyer) ’89, hosted the annual President’s Dinner for Faculty and Staff in Chalfant Hall on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University.
Director of ONU Theatre, Professor Ashley Sarver, opened the event with a scripture reading, set against a backdrop of floral architecture and the ambient sounds of nature. Later, Prof. Sarver and other alumni musicians provided musical entertainment including a modern arrangement of “Turn Your Eyes on Jesus” and an original song, written by Prof. Sarver.
The pervasive theme of the dinner was “fruitful community,” which was reflected in everything from the table set-up and décor to the charcuterie hors d’oeuvres. In his remarks to the attendees, Dr. Chenoweth encouraged everyone in attendance to seek a community atmosphere that demonstrates the fruits of the Spirit in actions and words. He illustrated this point with the personal story of current sophomore, Jacob Sims, who despite a tough home life, has found a thriving new home and community on campus. Jacob attended the event with two of his grandparents, who are Olivet alumni.
Tom Ascher ’08/’17 MBA, director of human resources, acknowledged milestone accomplishments of faculty and staff during the event, and Dr. Tiffany Greer and Drew Benson were honored as the 2022 Faculty Member of the Year and 2022 Staff Member of the Year.
“There wasn’t ever a doubt in my mind that I would go to Olivet and study nursing,” reflected Dr. Greer, Associate Dean and Professor in Olivet’s School of Nursing.
From a young age, Tiffany knew she wanted to be a nurse, but her career path has been more varied and richer with opportunities than she initially anticipated. As an undergraduate student, Tiffany was involved on campus as a resident assistant, sang with University Singers and Orpheus Choir and was active in the Nursing Student Association. Following graduation, she worked for three years on the Medical and Surgical Telemetry units at Advocate South Suburban Hospital and completed a master’s of science in nursing degree while transitioning to the Emergency Department. Around that time, Tiffany received a call from Dr. Norma Wood, the director of the nursing program, asking her to consider teaching a few classes at Olivet.
The transition from bedside care to instructing combined her passion for patient care with a newfound love of teaching. When Tiffany and her husband Mitch began to build a family, she briefly stepped away from teaching to return to the hospital setting. But it wasn’t long before she received another call from Olivet’s nursing department.
“I knew if I came back to teach full time, it would be permanent. I realized that what I had learned as an emergency room educator were skills that I could and needed to impart to students. God has always made a way for me to learn what I needed to learn for the next step.”
Tiffany has been devoted to building the department over the past 18 years. She taught adult health nursing for 10 years, sits on and chairs multiple committees, attends national conferences, collaborates to secure external sources of funding to enhance the program through renovations and increased resources, and has been intentionally involved in university life as a faculty sponsor for blood drives, mission trips and local outreach events. When Olivet launched the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree program, she was on the team that developed curriculum for many of the courses.
“I lead the nursing leaders and they in turn lead their faculty and their students. I want my team to be supported and equipped. I have spent most of my adult life at Olivet and have enjoyed working with faculty and staff over the years. We’re all moving in the same direction; especially in times of change and difficulty. I am thankful for how God has continued to orchestrate my Olivet story.”
Tiffany and Mitch live in Beecher with their children Heidi and Bradley.
Since graduating from Olivet in 2009, Drew served as a resident director in the freshman male dorm for three years before serving upperclassmen in campus apartments for another five years, while he also worked as youth and then university pastor at College Church. Now, he is the Dean of Residential Life.
“The mission statement of residential life boils down to being driven by a Godly passion to serve students through intentional, loving relationships,” Drew said. “The whole point of what we do is to live life with students and through relationships, create opportunities for them to encounter Christ.”
In the past two years, the challenges of a job based on relationally-based residential living increased tenfold. In his current role he leads a team of 27 resident directors who support 88 resident assistants, all working together to build relationships with our residential student population. Work days were long and difficult, but Drew’s experiences in the field gave him strategic insight as well as a lot of grit to continue to push through.
“One thing I learned right away was we all have more in us than we thought we did. The task felt impossible, but I’m so proud of how our team got creative. They figured out how to communicate to students that they matter, that we value them, and that we wanted to be present with them in a season of trying times.”
Drew and Emily are the parents of Micah, Margaret and Ava and though no longer RDs, still live close to campus.
“This place is really special for me — it’s a family affair. There are memories everywhere on this campus. But even if I didn’t have my own connections, I have been privileged to see transformation happen in so many other peoples’ lives in this place. I hope our efforts have helped improve students’ lives in an impactful way they can carry on beyond graduation.”
Chaplain Tone Marshall closed the evening with a benediction prayer of encouragement.
For more information about campus events, visit Olivet.edu/events.