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Olivet College is the outgrowth of a deep conviction of a great need, born of prayer and faith in God. Certain men, who had been led into the experience of heart holiness, and thus into deep fellowship with Jesus Christ in His purposes for the world, seeing that the Bible and religious teachings were practically eliminated from the public schools, and that, under these circumstances not even the proper standards of morality could be maintained; also seeing the prevalence of destructive higher criticism in the colleges and universities by which the principles of our holy faith were being undermined, felt that something different should be provided for the education of their children and the children of their neighbors, who were of like precious faith. Accordingly, during the fall of 1907 a small school was opened in a residence building in Georgetown, Illinois, with Miss Mary Nesbit as teacher.

This small school of course did not satisfy; and the next year the present location, midway between Georgetown and Ridgefarm on the Interurban car line, was selected. A small, three-room frame building was erected, and the school enlarged to an Academy with Prof. Fred Mesch as principal. Forty acres of land were secured and fourteen acres laid off as a campus, and the rest subdivided into residence lots. Later other land was secured, a part of which was reserved for a campmeeting ground. The school prospered as an Academy; but Trustees were looking ahead and planning for greater things.

The next year a large, three-story, brick building was erected, the present girls’ dormitory, and the College of Liberal Arts was added. Dr. A. M. Hills was chosen President, and served in that capacity for one year. He was succeeded by Prof. Ezra T. Franklin, who held the position for two years.

The school quickly outgrew this building and another, the present Administration Building, was erected and finally completed the summer of 1913, though part of it had been used the year before.

It was thought by those in control that the school should be placed under the care of some church to insure its permanency and greater usefulness. Accordingly, in the spring of 1912 it was tendered to the Church of the Nazarene, which church accepted the gift and assumed control.

The general administration is vested in a Board of twenty-one Trustees, whose members are nominated by the six district assemblies of the Church of the Nazarene, included in the Central Educational District. The Board of trustees elect the President of the University, and, upon his recommendation, the members of the faculty.

With regard to direct administration: “The President of' the University shall be the head executive of the University, and shall be amenable to the Board of Trustees. He shall direct the affairs of the University in harmony with principles and policies marked out by the Board of Trustees. He shall have full authority in matters of scholarship and discipline. The heads of the different departments shall constitute a Faculty Council, who shall be advisory to him in these matters. He may delegate the discipline to a dean of men and a dean of women, but they shall act under his instruction. The President shall guard carefully the work of every Department.”

Document Type


Publication Date



Olivet Nazarene University


Olivet, Illinois


university catalog, student rules, faculty, courses of study, religious influence

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


Christian Denominations and Sects | Christianity | Higher Education | Religion


“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The great purpose of any true educational institution must be to assist men to meet successfully this end. Our desire is to provide opportunities that will develop all that is best in man; to establish a strong center of spiritual power and holy culture that will flow forth as a mighty stream of Influence to the four quarters of the earth; to help young men and women to an equipment that will enable them to successfully fill the different vocations of life and promote the kingdom of Christ. While exalting the intellectual we magnify the spiritual. We seek the strongest scholarship and the deepest piety, knowing that they are thoroughly compatible. The officers and teachers seek to impress upon the students the necessity of obedience to Christ, as well as high scholastic attainments. We seek to train, not a mere animal to do work in this world, but a man to live triumphantly and serve successfully in this world and the next.

We seek to give the Bible its rightful place in the work of education. One authority is not sufficient to give the needed assurance of certainty. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established. So far as its power of revelation reaches, nature is a reliable source of information, and is the only one considered in the modern schools. But nature alone is insufficient. The Bible is also authoritative source of information, and we take it with us in all our work. It is most valuable in history, literature, science, and philosophy, as well as in theology. We consult both of these authorities freely, and base our teaching upon their combined revelations.

Olivet College Fifteenth Annual Catalog 1923-1924