University of Olivet

Coordinates: 42°26′28″N 84°55′22″W / 42.4410°N 84.9228°W / 42.4410; -84.9228
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University of Olivet
Former names
Olivet College (1844–2023)
MottoPro Christo et Humanitate
Motto in English
For Christ and Humanity
TypePrivate college
Established1844; 180 years ago (1844)
Religious affiliation
United Church of Christ
National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
Endowment$18.8 million as of 2020[1]
PresidentSteven M. Corey
ProvostPaul Burkhardt
Academic staff
Undergraduates978 (as of winter 2020)[1]

42°26′28″N 84°55′22″W / 42.4410°N 84.9228°W / 42.4410; -84.9228
CampusRural, 56 acres (23 ha)
Colors    Red and white
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III, Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
MascotClyde & Haley

The University of Olivet, formerly known as Olivet College, is a private Christian university in Olivet, Michigan. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[2] It was founded in 1844 by missionaries from Oberlin College, and it followed Oberlin in becoming the second coeducational college or university in the United States.[3] The University of Olivet is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and stands in the Reformed tradition of Protestantism.


Olivet College Burrage Library
The Margaret Upton Conservatory of Music
Riethmiller Blackman Art Building, which houses the college's art studios, exhibits, and classrooms.

In 1844, after founding Oberlin College, John Jay Shipherd and 39 missionaries, including Oberlin faculty, students, and alumni, came to Michigan to create a college, which Shipherd deemed "New Oberlin."

The original land for the college was to be in Grand River City, aka Delta Mills, in Delta Township, Eaton County, approximately twenty-eight miles (45 km) from where the college stands. Olivetian lore says that while Shipherd was on a trip to the site in Eaton County, his horse continued to get lost, and would always wander back to a hill with an oak grove, which is where Olivet's Campus Square exists today. Shipherd decided that powers from above must be drawing the horse back to this site, and Shipherd deemed that this would become the site for "New Oberlin." He then chose to name it Olivet, however, after the biblical Mount of Olives. [citation needed]

The first courses began in December 1844. Because President Reuben Hatch's petition for a charter was denied, Olivet became the Olivet Institute, and remained a two-year school until chartered in 1859.

The 20th century saw Olivet College become a liberal arts school, with a short-lived attempt at an Oxford-style curriculum from 1934 to 1944.

A marker designating the college as a Michigan Historic Site was erected in 1960 by the Michigan Historical Commission. The inscription reads:[4]

On February 24, 1844, the Reverend John J. "Father" Shipherd and thirty-nine followers arrived by ox-cart on this wilderness hilltop, driving their herds before them. They felt God had directed them to this oak grove for the purpose of founding a coeducational Christian college open to students of all races. First chartered as Olivet Institute, the school received its charter as a college in 1859. For over a century it has given a broad liberal arts education, with strong support from the Congregational church. Many alumni have gone forth "Pro Christo et Humanitate".

After assuming leadership in 2010, President Steven Corey announced the "Olivet College 2020 and Beyond Strategic Plan", which includes renovating existing buildings and facilities, creating a new student center, increasing endowment, and expand the student population to 1,500.[5]

In 2023 Olivet College announced it is becoming The University of Olivet. The board of trustees unanimously approved the change on May 19, 2023.[6]


Olivet offers 32 programs that lead to a bachelor's degree and a master's degree of Business Administration in Insurance. Its most popular undergraduate majors, in terms of 2021 graduates, were:[7]

Criminal Justice/Safety Studies (19)
Psychology (18)
Business Administration & Management (15)
Insurance (14)
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse (11)
Exercise Science & Kinesiology (10)

Olivet College has approximately 1,040 students, 40% female and 60% male. 74% of classes have less than 24 students, and there is a 16:1 student/faculty ratio.[8] The college has a 59% retention rate for first to second year students.[9]

Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[10]48

Student life[edit]

Greek life[edit]

The Soronian Society or Iota Kappa Omicron was founded at Olivet in 1847 and was the first women's literary society in the United States.[11] Phi Alpha Pi was founded at the university in 1861 and is the oldest active fraternity on campus.

Olivet College radio[edit]

Olivet College has an FCC-licensed non-commercial educational student-run radio station, broadcasting in the Olivet area at 89.1 MHz FM with the callsign WOCR. The broadcast is also available for people outside the studio range online at.[12] Students can volunteer for a radio shift from 7:30am to midnight Monday through Friday to broadcast music, campus events, news, and talk shows. Comet Football and Basketball is also often broadcast live from the game site.


Along with Albion College and Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), Olivet founded the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) in 1888. The MIAA is the nation's oldest collegiate conference. Olivet College athletic teams, nicknamed the Comets, participate in the following intercollegiate sports as a member of the MIAA include:

Men: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball and wrestling. Volleyball became a full varsity sport in 2015–16 (2016 season), competing in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League.

Women: basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball, and cheerleading.

Charles Stewart Mott Academic Center, which is one of three buildings that houses the college's classrooms.

Notable alumni[edit]

The college's admission office on the left wing of the building; Dole Residence Hall on the right wing.

Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "2020 Olivet College President's Report". Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  3. ^ Harris, Leslie M.; Campbell, James T.; Brophy, Alfred L., eds. (2019). Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies. University of Georgia Press. p. 211. ISBN 9780820354446.
  4. ^ "Historical Marker - S186 - Olivet College (Marker ID#:S186)" (PDF). Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  5. ^ "Strategic Plan » Olivet College". Olivet College. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  6. ^ "The University of Olivet". Olivet College. Retrieved 2023-07-18.
  7. ^ "Olivet College". U.S. Dept of Education. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  8. ^ "Quick Facts » Olivet College". Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Olivet College Graduation & Retention". 20 February 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Best Colleges 2023: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  11. ^ "Soronian Society". The University of Olivet. Retrieved 2024-02-24.
  12. ^ "Radio » Olivet College". Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Edith Vosburgh Alvord".
  14. ^ Olumhense, Eseosa (24 August 2013). "Meet the Nigerian Face Behind one of Africa's Most Popular News Satires". Premium Times. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  15. ^ "Daron Cruickshank UFC Bio". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  16. ^ Sketches of the Inter-mountain States: Together with Biographies of Many Prominent and Progressive Citizens who Have Helped in the Development and History-making of this Marvelous Region : 1847-1909. Salt Lake Tribune. 1909.
  17. ^ Willard, Frances Elizabeth; Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice (1893). "GREEN, Mrs. Mary E.". A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life. Charles Wells Moulton. pp. 336–37. Retrieved 17 April 2024. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  18. ^ Kennedy, Thomas. "A Last Conversation With Robie Macauley". Agni Fiction. Boston University. Retrieved 4 December 2011.

External links[edit]