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The Illinois Holiness University is a chartered institution of learning, controlled by a Board of Trustees, acting as agent for the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. No one has any private interest in the school. By the terms of deed conveying the land, also by the charter, the school is forever committed to the doctrine of Bible Holiness. It is located in a most healthful portion of Illinois half way down the state, near the Indiana line, and thirteen miles south of Danville, a city of 40,000 inhabitants. No richer soil can be found in all Illinois than in this section. Building sites in small or large tracts, some of which are covered with forest trees can be bought now at reasonable rates.

The Illinois Holiness University 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 fine 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 the 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 previous.

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, the Spring of 1912 it was tendered to the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, which church accepted the gift and assumed control. The school is now, according to its charter, incorporated as the property of this church. Dr. Edward F. Walker, one of the General Superintendents of the church, was chosen President, and has occupied this position for the past two years.

The history of the school has been one of marked success, and the outlook for the future is very bright. Many friends are being raised up to support the work, both financially and in personal effort. The church has taken up the work with good courage and enthusiasm. Olivet is to be one of the great centers of holiness in this land.

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


We purpose then under the best possible Christian environment to have an institution of strong scholastic standing where a full faith in Christianity will not be endangered but will be strengthened, a place where one can be morally and religiously safe while securing the best culture, where not only knowledge but character is sought.

Sixth Annual Catalogue of Illinois Holiness University 1914-1915