Olivet The Magazine | A Compassionate Place to Learn & Grow

At the heart of Olivet’s ethos lies a deep commitment to nurturing the holistic development of students. The University’s compassionate approach is evident in every aspect of campus life, from a dedicated faculty and staff to a vibrant student body.

Jason Stephens

May 20, 2024 Academics, Olivet The Magazine

Each fall Olivet welcomes hundreds of first-year students to our beautiful campus. Many come from Nazarene homes, are children of alumni, or have been to campus frequently and feel excited about now being an Olivet student. Others might be the first in their family to attend college, come alone without friends, or have other fears about what the next four years might hold.

I came to college knowing no one. No one from my high school came, no one from my church came, and I was not the child of alumni. While both of my parents went to college, my mom went to a large state school and lived at home throughout, and my dad was an adult learner and graduated when I was in high school. I was nervous about what college might hold. Little did I know that these four (in my case, five) critical years would allow me to develop deep friendships, be mentored by amazing faculty and staff, and experience God in unique and dynamic ways. These experiences set me on a path to be the person I am today.

At Olivet we recognize that students take different journeys to campus and might be uncertain about the path ahead. We aim to stand as a beacon of compassion and support for them. More than just an institution of higher learning, Olivet is a community where students not only gain knowledge but also find a place where they can truly learn and grow, know they matter, and cultivate a sense of belonging.

At the heart of Olivet’s ethos lies a deep commitment to nurturing the holistic development of students. The University’s compassionate approach is evident in every aspect of campus life, from a dedicated faculty and staff to a vibrant student body.

One of the key pillars of Olivet’s compassionate environment is an emphasis on supportive relationships. Professors are not just educators but mentors who take a genuine interest in their students’ well-being. They create a nurturing learning environment where students feel comfortable seeking guidance and support, both academically and personally. This personalized attention fosters a sense of belonging and empowers students to reach their fullest potential.

Beyond the classroom, Olivet offers a myriad of support services to ensure that every student thrives. From academic advising and tutoring to counseling and career guidance, the University provides comprehensive support systems designed to address the diverse needs of the student body. No matter the challenge, students have a network of caring individuals ready to assist them every step of the way.

Olivet is also deeply committed to creating a campus community where every student feels valued and respected. The University celebrates an increasingly diverse student body. Through various cultural events, student organizations and initiatives, Olivet encourages dialogue and engagement across different backgrounds, fostering a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences rooted in Christian community.

In addition to fostering a compassionate and supportive environment, Olivet places a strong emphasis on helping students develop into well-rounded individuals.

The University offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including athletics, performing arts, volunteer opportunities and campus ministries. These activities not only provide students with valuable leadership skills and practical experience but also contribute to their personal growth and character development.

Furthermore, Olivet instills a sense of purpose and service to others. Rooted in the tradition of the Church of the Nazarene, the University encourages students to live out their faith through acts of compassion and service. Whether through local outreach programs or international mission trips, students have ample opportunities to make a positive impact on the world around them, embodying the University’s mission of “Education With a Christian Purpose.”

Olivet is only able to accomplish this success through a partnership with parents and loved ones. When students arrive at Olivet, they enter a community with great mentors that will become influential in their lives. Yet, the campus workforce is not meant to replace the important role of parents and loved ones in the lives of students.

In partnering with parents for the holistic success of college students, Olivet fosters open communication channels, inviting parents into the educational journey. We invite parents to participate in events like athletic games, Homecoming weekend and Grandparents Day. These events strengthen the bond between the University and families. Encouraging parents to actively participate in campus activities fosters a sense of community. By aligning educational values with parental support, Olivet nurtures an environment where students can thrive academically, spiritually and personally.

I am a product of the type of community that Olivet offers. I entered college aspiring to be a chief financial officer. During my college years, I encountered God in deep and profound ways, became more confident in who He created me to be, and found a new vocation that God had placed in my life. That new vocation has led me to become Olivet’s vice president of student development, a position that helps to foster the very living and learning environments for students to have profound experiences at the University. I am proud to work at Olivet and see lives be transformed to expand God’s Kingdom.

From Olivet The Magazine, Compassion & Conviction – Spring 2024. Read the full issue here.

Jason Stephens

Jason Stephens, Ph.D., is the University’s vice president for student development and a member of the President’s Cabinet. With more than 15 years of leadership experience in higher education, he holds a master’s degree in higher education from Geneva College and earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University. A native of Pendleton, Indiana, Dr. Stephens is married to Kendra. They are the parents of Caleb and Hannah.

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

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