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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.

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.

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. Olivet is destined to be one of the great centers of holiness. The enrollment during the past year has been the largest in the history of the institution. There has been a marked advance along all lines.

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. 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.

Seventh Annual Catalogue of Illinois Holiness University 1915-1916