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Private Colleges Team Up with Harvard Business School Online to Create Unique Hybrid Learning Program

Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) is collaborating with Harvard Business School (HBS) Online to offer students at participating MCA campuses a blended learning program, and an opportunity to earn an HBS Online course credential. In the first phase, nearly 70 students from five MCA member colleges and universities completed the HBS Online’s Sustainable Business Strategy course in the spring.

“When we built this course, one of my hopes was that it could be utilized to educate young people about the important role that business has in tackling some of the challenging issues of our time,” said Harvard Business School Professor Rebecca Henderson . “The students and faculty from the MCA campuses who participated in this pilot are pioneers, and I look forward to seeing how they will apply the learnings from our course in their own communities.”

The participating colleges created a blended learning offering where students registered for the “sustainable business” course led by local faculty and featuring the HBS Online course led by Professor Henderson. Students then applied their learnings through projects with businesses that were facing sustainability challenges, including Wolverine Worldwide, Merrill, Adrian Steel and Thetford Corporation.

“This was by far the most interactive course I have ever taken,” said Mya Oleksiak , a sophomore at Adrian College . “I loved that the modules and field work put me in real-life situations, and the meetings with my professor and classmates tied it all together. It was a privilege to be part of it.”

“This was a huge opportunity to reinforce what I learned as a Sustainable Business major and to take it into the real world,” said Tyson Marsh , a senior at Aquinas College . “The conversations with people in my group, from Bangladesh and Australia , helped me see different ways to apply and approach sustainability, and it is really amazing to be able to help a big global company like Wolverine solve a real sustainability problem.”

“The HBS pilot is a perfect illustration of why MCA has become a national leader in private higher education collaboration,” said MCA President Robert Bartlett . “It embedded content from the most prominent business education brand and a global learning network into existing classes offered by our member campuses. It then connected student classroom experiences to real projects in local communities. This best practice, active pedagogy model has produced tangible outcomes for both students and local businesses throughout the state.”

MCA plans to extend the program with another Sustainable Business Strategy offering in the spring and other HBS Online courses in the future. MCA represents 14 of the top independent colleges and universities in Michigan. Participating colleges included Adrian College, Albion College, Andrews University, Aquinas College, and Spring Arbor University.

Detroit Mercy Civil Engineering student one of eight in U.S. invited to Washington, D.C., legislative fly-in

Emma Hagel is passionate about the public policy concepts involved in civil engineering. University of Detroit Mercy’s educational environment — from encouraging professors to an array of professional opportunities — helped that passion blossom into a life-changing experience.

Hagel, a senior studying civil engineering at Detroit Mercy, recently participated in a legislative fly-in for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This annual public policy program in Washington, D.C., — called a “fly-in” for the primary method of transportation to attend the event — provided Hagel an opportunity to combine public policy and civil engineering, network with professional engineers and engage elected officials on infrastructure issues.

But the overall experience proved to be much more — she says it has opened a new professional door.

Rather than work in engineering as planned, she has decided to pursue a legislative career and hopes to further her education through public policy master’s programs.

“I believe that Detroit Mercy encourages students to pursue interests outside of their field to create well-rounded professionals,” said Hagel, whose English literature and philosophy minors embody just that. “Because of the learning environment at Detroit Mercy, I felt comfortable and encouraged to look into the policy side of engineering and to pursue this opportunity.”

Representing Detroit Mercy in the nation’s capital, Hagel was just one of eight students throughout the country selected to participate in the fly-in and the lone student in Michigan’s five-person delegation. She interacted with an array of people, from engineers who share similar passions to politicians, including her congressman, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township).

The purpose of this year’s fly-in, Hagel said, was to lobby elected officials “to act on our nation’s infrastructure funding crisis.”

“We advocated for an increase in the federal gas tax and the approval of infrastructure-related, fiscal year 2019 appropriations,” she said.

During the first day of the event, attending delegations underwent lobbying training sessions and learned about ASCE’s stance on infrastructural issues. By the second day, state delegations were prepared to make congressional visits and present information to legislators and their staff.

Hagel has taken full advantage of Detroit Mercy’s extracurricular offerings, which led to her participation in the event. She finds herself ingrained in student life, holding leadership roles in three organizations—president of the Society of Women Engineers, vice president of ASCE — both Detroit Mercy chapters — and captain of ASCE’s concrete canoe team.

Hagel discovered the event through ASCE government relations emails and was urged to apply by James Lynch and Utpal Dutta, professors of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Detroit Mercy.

“The unique environment they have created for civil engineering students at Detroit Mercy has helped me succeed academically and professionally,” Hagel said.

ASCE offers a limited amount of travel grants to help offset costs for fly-in participants. Hagel received one of those grants; the civil engineering department helped cover the rest of the costs.

Hagel’s experience with the event goes well beyond her two days in Washington — it has changed her perspective on civil engineering and paved the way to a boundless future.

“While one can design and implement infrastructure while working in the private or public sector, all projects rely on government funding,” she said. “The way one can create the biggest impact on our nation’s infrastructure is by implementing policy that adequately funds the repair, replacement and creation of it.”

To learn more about Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science, please visit https://eng-sci.udmercy.edu/index.php.

Calvin University coming July 10

On July 10, 2019, Calvin College officially becomes Calvin University. The date coincides with Reformer John Calvin’s birthday, for whom the institution was named at its founding in 1876. The Calvin community will commemorate the significant milestone with a series of events, including a panel discussion, dedication service, and celebration cookout. View the full lineup of events.

“This is an exciting time in Calvin’s history,” said Michael Le Roy, president of Calvin University. “This change to university grants us permission to think and dream and hope and aspire to a great deal more as we engage with more learners around the world.”

What began nearly 150 years ago in a single classroom on Williams Street in downtown Grand Rapids, with one faculty member, one academic discipline, and just seven students, is now a university sprawled out over a 400-acre campus, offering more than 100 academic options to 3,700 students each year from more than 65 countries. It’s an institution of 250 Christ-centered faculty who are thought leaders in their fields. And, it includes an alumni network of more than 65,000 who are expressing Calvin’s mission to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

“The college or university takes different forms over time, serves different populations over time in history. But that mission critically endures,” said Le Roy.

Extending reach, deepening roots

In becoming a university, and as part of Vision 2030, Calvin is aspiring to extend its reach and deepen its roots by expanding its global influence, growing as a trusted partner for learning, and deepening its commitment to the Reformed Christian faith.

“We have a distinctive and enduring Christian mission that we are excited to share with more people around the corner and across the globe,” said Craig Lubben, chair of the Calvin University Board of Trustees. “As we look to the future of Calvin, we are confident that this name change will help us better reflect who we are to audiences both familiar with and new to Calvin and propel us further as we fulfill a compelling vision.”

How Calvin will pursue this vision over the next decade is laid out in the university’s recently approved strategic plan. The plan includes four key goals.

Expanding programs, inviting new learners

First, the university will expand its offerings to undergraduate students and its use of digital systems and platforms to meet the needs of learners of all ages, all over the world; like Calvin’s new Spanish Immersion program, which will serve high school students; adding more graduate programs; and partnering on educational endeavors like the Calvin Prison Initiative in Ionia and the Lumina Partnership in Hong Kong.

“I’d like us to be a place where folks think ‘I wonder what Calvin has to offer in that space?’ And knowing then that it would come from a place that thinks deeply about its work and about how to do these things well,” said Cheryl Brandsen, provost.

Collaborating to create solutions

Second, Calvin will look for more ways to collaborate to enhance learning. Drawing on the strength of its scholarship and its depth of learning, it will direct institutional resources toward opportunities that encourage faculty and students to work across disciplines and with local and global partners in tackling complex issues.

“We need to work effectively with community partners. We need to hear lots of voices that are bringing their expertise, their own experience to the table to figure out how to solve problems,” said Amy Wilstermann, professor of biology.

Creating spaces to thrive

Thirdly, Calvin will invest in its learning environments as it supports a thriving educational community. This includes continuing to update classrooms to meet the needs of current and future learners, designing spaces that spur collaboration and innovation, and creating places like the Commons Union that promote community and support the well-being of people and creation.

“When we create places on campus where we encounter different ideas, different viewpoints, learning that perhaps we’ve never thought about before, that begins to shape not just the way we think, but the way we act and we live into those truths,” said Sarah Visser, vice president for student life.

Deepening Christian commitment

And finally, central to the university’s entire vision is helping faculty, staff, and students more fully embody a faithful and engaged Reformed Christianity.

“The Reformed project invites us to bring our whole selves into this academic institution. There’s no subject that’s off limits, because all knowledge belongs to God,” said Michelle Loyd-Paige, executive associate to the president for diversity and inclusion. “We are called to unpack this knowledge and to use this knowledge to make a difference in the world. Our Reformed faith invites us to do this, our Reformed faith compels us to do this, and our Reformed faith helps us to do this well.”

Learn more about Calvin’s history, the decision for the name change to Calvin University, and about Calvin’s vision for the next decade.

About Calvin University

Founded in 1876, Calvin University is a top-ranked, liberal arts university located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that equips its more than 3,700 students from 45 U.S. states, 65 countries, and five Canadian provinces to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

Calvin offers 100+ majors and programs, including graduate-level offerings in accounting, education, and speech pathology and audiology. Calvin students engage in intensive internships, community-based service learning, and significant research that results in publishing and presenting alongside world-class faculty.

Calvin also promotes Christian thought and action on an international stage in key areas of education and culture through its 12 centers and institutes. Discover more about Calvin.

A Student Perspective: Sometimes Second is the Perfect Place

According to Olivet College rising senior Rose Kemmerling, the perfect college fit is defined by a homey feeling and awesome supporters. For her, Olivet College fits that description to a T.

Second Family, Second Home

“I would encourage a student to attend Olivet College because it is not just a place, but also embodies a great feeling,” Rose said. “When I come back to campus after summer or Christmas break, I feel like I am at my home-away-from-home. It is hard to explain, but once you are on campus you can feel the family atmosphere and know that it is the place that you should be. The College is more than just the academic buildings, dorm rooms and the KC — it’s the people who become your second family.”

As a biology pre-medical major, member of the volleyball team, President’s Leadership Institute fellow and vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Rose’s second family is comprised of her teammates, science professors and classmates.

“My relationships with professors at Olivet have helped shape me into the person I am today. Being a biology major with a pre-med focus, Organic Chemistry was one of the classes I had to take,” Rose explained. “I established a bond with Professor Susanne Lewis, Ph.D., because I was with her four times a week in addition to a lab on Tuesday nights and the extra time I spent in her office hours. I know that her door will always be open and that I can go to her when needed.

“I also know that my coach, Megan Merchant, is someone that I can go to. I have the chance to work with her as both a coach and SAAC faculty adviser, and I know that she wants to see me succeed. My athletic trainer, Kaitlin Sznajder, is someone who I know will always be there to encourage and support me — she was my rock when I got a concussion this season.

“I am lucky to have teammates, friends and a support system all wrapped up into one.”

Rose added that a very special member of her OC family and volleyball team is nine-year-old Lianna Shearer. Liana was recruited to the Comets from Team IMPACT, a nonprofit that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams. Lianna attends practices, games, team dinners and other events with the team. More importantly, Rose and the rest of the OC volleyball team are members of Lianna’s support system as she overcomes challenges related to cystic hygroma.

Class of 2020

While Rose’s undergraduate journey at Olivet is nearing its end, she says she’s not done building relationships and using those connections for good. Next up, she’s preparing for further studies that will help her enter the medical field.

“I have always known that I want to do something in the medical field,” Rose said. “This past summer I read an article about genetic counseling, and I knew that this career was perfect for me. Genetic counseling does not only allow me to help others, but it still allows me to be involved in the medical field and solving problems. My goal is to attend a two-year genetic counseling program after graduating from Olivet. I am preparing myself for my future career by shadowing genetic counselors, taking prerequisite courses for my program, adding a psychology minor, participating in crisis volunteering and studying for the GRE.”

With the support of her OC family, Rose has no doubt she’ll be able to achieve her goals.

“My experience as a Comet has helped shape me into the person, student and athlete I am today. I have gained life experiences and learned lessons that I will carry with me throughout my life,” she concluded.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

The Places You’ll Go: Greenhalgh Gift Opens Travel Possibilities to More Albion College Students

There is an incredible world out there ready to be explored and experienced for the college student willing and eager to find it. And nothing should stand in their way.  The new Albion College Stephen I., ’74, and Susan Brochu Greenhalgh, ’75, Endowed Student Experience Fund will help make that happen.  The $250,000 gift will support travel costs for students with financial need who wish to participate in faculty-sponsored academic trips.

“The stigma that attaches to students who can’t go because of financial issues, that bothered me,” said Greenhalgh, a Pontiac native who earned his bachelor’s degrees at Albion in anthropology and sociology, then earned his law degree from Washington & Lee University in Virginia in 1977. “Other students would come back to class and talk about their experiences and there were students who couldn’t go. I thought the stigma was very unfortunate.”

The gift is intended for travel only when a faculty member is present and purely for academic purposes. It should benefit multiple students each year.

Now retired and living in Boulder, Colo., after a career with the Bodman Law Firm in Detroit (where he was a corporate attorney for the Detroit Lions among other clients), Greenhalgh was first intrigued by the idea of helping deserving students on faculty-sponsored travel several years ago after talking with Albion religious studies Professor Jocelyn McWhirter, who for years has sponsored the biennial Holocaust Studies Service-Learning Project trip to Poland.

But there were other faculty-student events as well, including First-Year Seminar trips and the yearly excursion for the Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Greenhalgh noted.

“There were students who were missing out,” he said.

When McWhirter learned what the Greenhalghs were working on to help these students, she was pleased.

“It broadens their horizons,” she said. “I think these trips take students into an unfamiliar world. And when they enter an unfamiliar world, whether it’s in the U.S. or a destination outside the U.S, I think it gives them a new perspective on the world. It fosters skills of adjusting to another culture, adjusting to how to move within another culture, even learning a strange language. I think in the case of my trip, and other trips, it introduces students to new people and new history.”

And that’s exactly what the Greenhalghs were hoping for with this fund.

“This does two things,” said Greenhalgh, who has also served for 11 years as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. “It helps the faculty and it provides more immediate opportunities for students from less affluent families. And I hope it provides life experiences by going to places like Europe and Africa for students who otherwise might not have that opportunity. It all falls under the rubric of experiential learning, and I believe that experiential learning can make all the difference in a liberal arts education.”

And not only will the new gift sustain current travel projects, it could lead to opportunities for more trips to different areas for more students.

“It’s great for students who don’t have the money,” McWhirter said. “These trips are an experience that can’t be had by staying where you are.”

Hope College Formula Racing Team in Top 20 Percent Worldwide

The student-run Hope College Formula Racing Team is in the top 20 percent worldwide in the FSAE rankings posted earlier this year.

Hope College ranked 107th out of 601 teams globally, including 26th out of 145 teams from the United States.  Most of the teams are from comprehensive or technical universities — first on the list, for example, is the Universitaet Stuttgart in Germany.

“This is momentous for not only our team but also for our school,” said freshman team member Austin Cortes of Gurnee, Illinois.  “We are one of two liberal arts colleges in the competition, so we are a true underdog story.”

Looking forward, the team is preparing for this year’s competition at Michigan International Speedway, which will be held on May 8-11 with an estimated 120 teams participating.

Hope first participated in Formula SAE in 2010, competing with more than 100 teams from around the world at MIS.  The college returned to MIS in 2016, and also competed at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2018.

Hope’s team placed 76th out of 102 teams in 2010, winning the William C. Mitchell Rookie Award in 2010 for having achieved the highest overall score among first time teams, and finished 77th out of 115 teams in 2016.  Hope also finished 11th in the international Formula SAE Lincoln 2018 competition in Nebraska out of 80 teams.  Also in 2018, Hope finished first out of 10 Great Lakes FSAE teams at the 2018 Lawrence Tech Grand Prix, and had the 49th fastest time out of 1,375 entries in the SCCA Solo Nationals autocross held in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car.  The prototype car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is to provide standards while promoting clever problem solving.

The Formula SAE competition is not just a race.  Instead, the teams are evaluated in a series of static and dynamic events, including presentation, design, cost analysis, acceleration, cornering ability, maneuverability and handling, fuel economy and endurance.

The international Formula SAE organization provides a variety of design parameters within which the participants must work, but beyond that the teams make their own decisions.  Some of the parts are pre-fabricated, like the 600cc Honda motorcycle engine that provides the power. Others — like the frame itself — have been developed by the group, starting with initial concept, and then moving through design and theoretical testing using the computer and ultimately to fabrication and construction.

Although it may seem that the team would be geared toward engineering majors, the Hope College Formula Racing Team is open to any student and other majors through the years have included communication, business, computer science, exercise science, management and religion.

Aquinas College adds esports program for 2019-20 season

Aquinas College is launching an esports program in fall 2019, providing students a new opportunity to participate in competitive video gaming. The College will become the fifth institution in Michigan to offer esports at the college level.

“We feel that this is a terrific opportunity for Aquinas College to be on the forefront of the rise of collegiate esports,” said Aquinas Director of Athletics Nick Davidson. “Through comprehensive research, the college felt this was the right time to provide those interested with not only a great academic experience, but the ability to compete in collegiate esports at the next level. We are very excited to begin this endeavor and look forward to what the future holds for esports at Aquinas.”

Aquinas will apply for membership in NACE, the National Association of Collegiate Esports, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Currently NACE has more than 125 member schools and more than 2,800 student-athletes.

Ninety-four percent of all varsity esports programs in the United States are members of NACE. Aquinas will join Alma College, Siena Heights University, Davenport University, and Northwood University as Michigan institutions officially recognized by the association.

Esports is one of the newest – and fastest-growing – athletic programs in the country. When NACE was formed in July 2016, only seven colleges and universities had varsity esports programs. Currently, there are more than 125 institutions that sponsor esports.

Esports games rely on real-time strategy, teamwork, mental agility and multiplayer online battles. Interest in the sport is on an upward trend. In 2017, the League of Legends World Finals drew 57.6 million online viewers compared to an average of 19.4 million viewers during the NBA finals. Overall, there are 286 million projected esport viewers by 2020.

Aquinas is in the process of hiring a head coach and will begin recruiting a team to compete this fall. Scholarship opportunities will be available.

A new gaming lab on campus will house a practice and competition area. It will be outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment from iBUYPOWER and furnishings from DXRacer, a Michigan-based company.

Intercollegiate competition will begin in fall 2019 for three games: League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League.

In addition to the new esports program, Aquinas is adding new faculty and programs that will continue to offer students expertise that will prepare them for the future job market. Aquinas is hiring in the Computer Information Systems academic department and has launched a Business Administration/Computer Information System dual major, Business Administration/Economics dual major, and a new Preparing Racially-diverse Educators program.

Aquinas launched its Four-Year Guarantee in the fall, promising that students will graduate in four years or the College will waive any additional tuition expense for up to one additional year for outstanding coursework required to graduate.

University of Detroit Mercy: Estate gift endows Arnold Jarboe Chair of Business Administration

Detroit Mercy recently received a $6.1 million estate gift to endow a new chair in the College of Business Administration  (CBA). This is the largest single gift in the history of University of Detroit Mercy.

When he died in 2016, Arnold Jarboe ’54 left his bequest to establish the Arnold Jarboe Chair in Business Administration in the College of Business Administration. Jarboe was an attorney for the Social Security Administration.

“This extraordinary and large gift by our unassuming alumnus, Arnold Jarboe, is the best affirmation that he truly lived the Jesuit values he learned as a University of Detroit student,” said Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D. “Mr. Jarboe’s generous endowment will make it possible for generations of students and faculty at Detroit Mercy to receive and deliver, respectively, a high quality education in Business and leadership.”

Joseph G. Eisenhauer, dean of the College of Business Administration, has appointed Evan A. Peterson ’06, ’09, a lecturer in Business Law, to serve as the first Jarboe Chair.

“I am deeply grateful to Arnold Jarboe for his remarkable estate gift to the College of Business Administration and profoundly honored to have been chosen for this prestigious appointment,” Peterson said. “Through this gift, the College of Business Administration will continue to enhance its reputation as a national leader in providing students with innovative, cutting-edge business programs.”

Peterson holds B.S., J.D., and MBA degrees from Detroit Mercy, and a Ph.D. in Management from Walden University. A licensed attorney who has practiced law in Michigan, Peterson also serves as director of Undergraduate Business Programs and co-director of the Honors Program. Since joining the University full-time in 2014, he has helped create a minor and a concentration in Business Law and published more than a dozen scholarly articles in professional journals. In addition, he has actively engaged students as co-authors on many articles and research papers.

The Jarboe Chair will become part of the CBA’s Center for Practice & Research in Management & Ethics (PRIME), which Peterson will serve as director. The PRIME Center will offer enhanced opportunities for Detroit Mercy business students to interact with leading business executives and thinkers, and develop a number of activities and scholarship endeavors, including the following:

  • Creation of a speaker series that brings nationally prominent leaders of businesses, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions and governments to campus for presentations.  These executives and entrepreneurs will share their expertise and practical ideas with students and faculty, which will help ensure that CBA academic programs and research are relevant to the real world.
  • Expansion of experiential learning and leadership opportunities for students in business.  These include hands-on coursework, such as the Integrated Field Project, in which MBA students serve as business consultants to nonprofit organizations on live case projects; service-learning projects, in which students use the skills developed in the classroom to benefit the community while gaining practical experience; internships, through which regional employers can hire an energetic labor force while students gain resume-building professional experience and income; leadership workshops, such as those offered by our Center for Social Entrepreneurship; and teamwork projects, in which students work collaboratively with diverse colleagues to solve managerial problems.
  • A student-run journal that solicits, edits, publishes and distributes research from around the nation on topics relevant to the PRIME Center mission. Detroit Mercy students will serve as the editors and peer-reviewers of submissions from students at other universities, helping them develop their research into publishable form. In this manner, the PRIME Center will serve as a resource for enhancing management and ethics education nationwide.
  • Professional research on Management and Ethics will be conducted by PRIME Center affiliates, including Fr. Gerald Cavanagh, S.J., the Charles T. Fisher III Chair of Business Ethics, who is recognized nationally as a founder of the business ethics field. The Center will share this research at professional conferences and publish it in leading journals for the benefit of scholars around the world.

According to Eisenhauer, “the activities of the PRIME Center will expand both academic and professional opportunities for students, and ensure that we maintain our leadership position both regionally and nationally in management and ethics.”

Future plans for the PRIME Center include a Behavioral Dynamics Lab, in which teamwork and leadership are studied first-hand through audio and video recording of group interactions and remote conferencing. Other centers of excellence in the College of Business Administration include The Center for Social Entrepreneurship, America’s Business High School, The Financial Markets Lab and Institute for North Korean Studies.

The College of Business Administration’s accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) places it among the top 5 percent of business schools in the world.

In addition, the College’s graduate and undergraduate Management programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 25 by U.S. News & World Report.

To learn more about Detroit Mercy’s College of Business Administration, click here.

SAU alumnus Dr. Jacob Atem receives CCCU Young Alumni Award

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) has announced that Dr. Jacob Atem, a 2008 graduate of Spring Arbor University and the co-founder, president, and CEO of the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization, has been named the 2019 CCCU Young Alumni Award winner. The award was presented on Wednesday, Jan. 30, during the 2019 CCCU Presidents Conference in Washington, D.C. The CCCU Young Alumni Award is presented to individuals who have graduated within the last 10 years and have exhibited uncommon leadership or achieved notable success in a way that reflects Christian higher education.

“Jacob was one of 40,000 children orphaned by the Second Sudanese Civil War. His story of perseverance in the midst of trauma, despite unimaginable odds, inspires such hope,” shared CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra. “As we continue to engage in national conversations surrounding immigration, Jacob’s story reminds us of the power of individuals to make a difference, the life-changing work of higher education and, most importantly, the unparalleled glory of our God.”

Atem’s passion for helping others and his love for South Sudan stems from his own experience as one of Sudan’s Lost Boys. Atem was six years old when his parents and several of his siblings were killed by northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on Southern Sudan. After walking over 2,000 miles with other lost boys, he found refuge in Kenya before coming to the United States at 15. With the support of his foster family in Michigan, he graduated high school and went on to study at Spring Arbor University (SAU), where he experienced the antithesis of his lost boy experience: a welcoming community of faith, full of mentors and friends ready to invest in his life.

After personally witnessing the effects of malnutrition and disease, his experience in America propelled Atem to continue his education in order to give back. In the midst of his studies, Atem co-founded the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO) and raised $800,000 toward building a clinic in his hometown. Today, SSHCO sees over 3,000 patients monthly for less than $5 a person, fulfilling Atem’s hope of bringing hope to where it is lost. After Spring Arbor, he continued his education by earning a Master of Public Health at Michigan State University and, eventually, a doctorate in Environmental and Global Health at the University of Florida. Atem is currently a postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.

“For me, I wouldn’t be who I am today without God,” Atem said. “One of my favorite verses says, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ After coming to America, I found myself being blessed in a land of freedom, a place where you can learn and actually practice your faith, and I was blown away. This scripture has truly impacted my life, and after realizing I could work hard to help others, now I am returning to give to my country and share my story.”

“Jacob is an exceptional alumnus and represents the truly transformational experience an intentionally Christian education can have upon a student,” added SAU President Brent Ellis. “When Jacob immigrated to the United States, he brought nothing with him but his courage, perseverance, determination, and passion. These characteristics served him well as he worked diligently during his years at SAU. Mentored by professors and staff, Jacob graduated prepared not only for graduate school, humanitarian work and global advocacy, but ready to serve our world as an ambassador of Christ, as a minister of redemption and reconciliation and a as critical participant in the contemporary world.”

Olivet College Earns Recognition as Top 10 Gold-Level Military Friendly School

Olivet College has been designated as a 2019-2020 Top 10 Gold-Level Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, ranking third in the category of private schools not offering a doctorate degree. Military Friendly® serves as a standard to measure an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.

The designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

“The tremendous courage soldiers risk deserves our lasting gratitude. As our veterans return, it is our goal to align ourselves with the programs and support designed to help these men and women make the most of the educational opportunities Olivet College has to offer,” said Leslie Sullivan, registrar and VA certifying official. “What we receive in return from their experience can only be perceived as valuable.”

OC Dedicated to Student-Veterans
Olivet College recognizes and honors the sacrifices that U.S. service members make in the defense of our nation. The college is dedicated to assisting veterans, guardsmen, reservists and others receiving U.S. military benefits in making a successful transition to the college community. The Olivet College Veteran Scholarship for veterans, active military members and their families equals 50 percent of tuition costs. In addition, the student services office assists veterans, active duty military students and dependents of veterans with certification, registration and financial aid. Further, the campus is home to a support organization for veteran and active duty students and their families.

Learn more about Olivet College’s service to military students, or connect with the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.