A New Era of Leadership

Olivet welcomes Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D. as University President.

May 31, 2021 Academics

Olivet Nazarene University is pleased to welcome Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D. back to the University in the position of University President.

In August 2019, former president Dr. John C. Bowling announced his plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 academic year. After a 16-month national search, the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Chenoweth as the 13th president on January 13, 2021.

“I am honored by the confidence of the Board and eager to add my ambitions to a faculty and staff already doing something special,” Dr. Chenoweth said after the election. “If I could help reproduce for students even a fraction of what Olivet did for me, there will be a lot to celebrate.”

Born to Arlene (Milner) ’62 and Robert Chenoweth, a business owner and philanthropist to Olivet, Dr. Chenoweth grew up in Michigan with strong connections to Olivet. In 1990, he graduated from Olivet with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He then earned a master’s degree in organizational communication from Northern Illinois University in 1992, and a Ph.D. in organizational communication, particularly focusing on managing organizational change, from Wayne State University in 2003.

Dr. Chenoweth has published works in nearly 30 media outlets including The Chicago Tribune, Christianity Today, and Inside Higher Ed; organized and edited of a book for a dozen Nazarene institutions, Telos: The Destination for Nazarene Higher Education; and released his first book, Everyday Discernment this summer through The Foundry Press. He has visited 20 countries, served as a faculty member in Korea for a year; led teams to Nepal, Australia, Kenya and Israel; was invited to give a lecture at Oxford University (United Kingdom) at the 20th anniversary of the Oxford Roundtable; and was invited to speak in Istanbul by the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life. He effectively lobbied state and federal offices for religious liberty protections for Christian universities, and served on several denominational, athletic and arts boards.

Since 2013, Dr. Chenoweth served as the president of Bethel University (Mishawaka, Indiana). During his tenure at Bethel, he successfully executed two long-term strategic plans, resulting in substantial improvement of the university’s financial landscape by increasing net assets by 30% and reducing long-term debt by 40%. He also dramatically improved institutional culture and implemented successful debt-free programs for students. 

Prior to serving as Bethel’s president, Dr. Chenoweth held the position of vice president for academic affairs at Olivet. During his time at his alma mater, he was also the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a faculty member in the Department of Communication, and one of the founders of the University Honors Program.

He is married to Tammy (Salyer) Chenoweth, an elementary education major and enthusiastic 1989 graduate of Olivet. The Chenoweths have three adult children: Abbey (married to Mitch Friesen), Allison (married toAndrew Elffers), and Olivet alumni Aaron ’20 and Abigail (Merritt) Chenoweth ’20. Allison is due to deliver a son this fall, who will join identical twin cousins, Audrey and Emmy Friesen.

The presidential inauguration of Dr. Chenoweth is planned for Friday, October 22, 2021, in the Betty and Kenneth Hawkins Centennial Chapel on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, during the 2021 Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Published 6/1/2021

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

Where Your Future Begins

We Believe. You Belong Here. Discover why Olivet is a place where faith meets calling. Take the first step today.

Plan a Visit Start my Application