Becoming UO: Olivet Community Responds
On Aug. 1, Olivet College officially became The University of Olivet.
It’s only been six weeks since then, but things are already changing. The signs that welcome incoming cars onto campus now read, “The University of Olivet,” the football field that once sported a giant “OC” on the 50-yard line now reads “UO,” and the list goes on.
The name change is part of Vision 2030, a strategic plan that President Steven Corey said will guide the school’s actions for the next ten years.
“We recognize that for The University of Olivet to invest in our mission the way we should, to ‘prosper,’ we must build a sustainable future as a thriving, financially secure, comprehensive institution while remaining firmly Olivet,” Corey said in a letter to UO alumni.
In the summer 2023 edition of Shipherd’s Record, UO’s alumni magazine, several people connected to UO shared their thoughts on the change.
“As an alum and member of the Board of Trustees, I see firsthand the dedication of President Corey, the board, and the faculty to our mission while understanding how access to higher education has changed. Becoming The University of Olivet will solidify us to provide high-quality and robust education rooted in Christ and humanity for the next 179 years. Becoming The University of Olivet is both timely and wise,” said alumnus Audra Carson, ’87.
UO Student Government President Jennifer Mann, also featured in the magazine, expressed a similar positive outlook on the name change.
“Becoming The University of Olivet will benefit Olivet by changing the perspective of how people outside of Olivet look at us. In the academic and professional world, having the word university on your resume may spark more interest from an employer. And as a biology major, I know the science department faculty work hard to prepare students for their careers, and the university label will help in this process. I think the hardest thing for the student body will be breaking the habit of referring to the school as OC,” Mann said.
Stephen Critchlow, an alumnus who now works for UO, said that he thinks the new name is “fantastic”.
“To me, the name change, the timing of it all, and the plenty of good things that are going on recently here reminds me that nothing beats a fresh start! We certainly want to remember all of the good deeds of the past at Olivet College and continue onward with more to come. I am extremely excited for the students to be given more open doors and opportunities for a brighter future,” Critchlow said.
Although many who are close to the school felt positively about the change, not everyone thought it was the right choice. When the announcement was made on May 22, many alumni and community members took to social media to give their opinion.
“As a student this makes me incredibly sad, my grandpa was an alumni and the traditions and historic aspects are the reason I came here, it’ll always be OC,” Annalee Hammond said.
“Tremendously stupid decision. What makes Olivet what it is or was to me as an alum was the quaint and intimate feel of the place. I attended a long time ago when the facilities, etc. were not nearly as nice as they are now, but I love the place, it made me who I am. Olivet University would still not be desirable, but it is a heck of a lot better than The University of Olivet,” said Dan Davis.
There were also many positive comments posted online.
“So cool! Exciting changes for Olivet! So proud to be an alumni of this amazing place,” said Laura Kathryn.
“Love it!! Build for the future!! If you stay the same, you will be left behind,” Amber Irish Farmer commented.