Presidential Search

Illinois, United States
Salary Not Specified
Aug 15, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time


About Olivet Nazarene University

The mission of Olivet Nazarene University is to provide An Education With a Christian Purpose. We seek to provide high quality academic instruction for personal development, career and professional readiness, and the preparation of individuals for lives of service to God and humanity. Olivet exists to help students build a life, not just make a living. We believe that higher education should have a higher purpose.

The International Church of a Nazarene

At Olivet Nazarene University, students experience the warmth, faith and strong sense of purpose that is characteristic of our parent denomination — the international Church of the Nazarene. The Church of the Nazarene is a Protestant, Christian denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Organized in 1908, the Church of the Nazarene is now home to more than two million members worshiping in more than 30,000 local congregations in 163 world areas.

University Profile

STUDENTS | More than 4,700 — 2,800 of them undergraduates — make up the student body. Students come from nearly every U.S. state, 21 countries and represent more than 40 religious denominations. 

CAMPUS | Beautiful, park-like campus features 35 major buildings on 275 acres. Located in the Village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, just 45 miles south of Chicago’s Loop.

ACADEMICS | More than 140 areas of study are offered through the School of Business, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Life and Health Sciences, School of Education, School of Music, School of Theology and Christian Ministry, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. More than 20 unique study-abroad opportunities are offered annually. 

GRADUATE STUDIES | More than 25 graduate and continuing studies degrees offered at the doctoral and master’s levels through the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, the academic branch of ONU Global. 

ACCREDITATION | Includes the Higher Learning Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the Council on Social Work Education, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the National Association of Schools of Music and the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

ATHLETICS | Competitive intercollegiate sports include 22 varsity teams. Athletics for men include basketball, baseball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball. Athletics for women include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. In addition to varsity sports, more than half of the student body participate in intramural and club sports programs. 

CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS | More than 90 clubs and organizations representing diverse interests, including a campus newspaper, yearbook and literary magazine; Enactus; Student Philanthropy Council; ROTC; radio broadcasting (Shine.FM); numerous choral and instrumental ensembles (including University Marching Band and the University Orchestra); drama and musical theatre performances; and community volunteer organizations. 

SPIRITUAL LIFE | Through chapel services, featuring notable and world-renowned speakers, each segment of the University community has the opportunity to join with others in worship and receive instruction in the Word and encouragement to serve. More than 12 student groups exists for ministry on campus and in the local community. Students also have opportunities to travel for domestic and international service trips. 

ALUMNI | More than 40,000 living alumni are making a worldwide impact through their careers, volunteerism and gifts to the University and their communities.

Core Commitments

Each employee is a representative of Olivet Nazarene University in the eyes of students and the public. Our mission is to provide high quality academic instruction for the purpose of personal development, career and professional readiness, and the preparation of individuals for lives of service to God and humanity. We recognize that there is a body of knowledge with which the humanities, the natural sciences, the social sciences, theology, and professional studies are to be differently but compatibly concerned. 

As an educational enterprise of the Church of the Nazarene, we pursue truth in order to glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: praying for the coming of the Spirit; remembering the promise 5 of Scripture and tradition; keeping our hearts faithfully attuned to the voice of God; and being thoughtfully, acutely and critically engaged. We endeavor to foster the disciplines of scholarship and Christian spirituality. We seek in all of our intellectual labors to be true to the academic and theological traditions of which we are a part. We weave together the various strands of our educational labors on a vision of the Church as a corporate holy life, a life of loving devotion to God and of loving mission to the world that God so loves. 

As a University, we seek to keep Christ at the center of all our interactions which will show in the life of our employees and students. We operate from the conviction that God has created men and women to operate in an orderly and purposeful fashion in concert with His intent for the world. Thus, a Christian community must develop regulations as guides to realize its mission. 

Employees of the University are expected to practice a lifestyle that is consistent with the University’s values and philosophy. Upon employment, all administrators, faculty and staff are asked to sign a copy of the Employee Statement of Mission, Faith, and Lifestyle Covenant, signifying their commitment to uphold the values of Olivet in their daily lives.

Current Leadership

The next president of Olivet Nazarene University will build on the legacy of Dr. John Bowling’s 29 years of leadership. In addition to fostering a dynamic university culture that has created a deep sense of community and belonging, achievements under Dr. Bowling’s leadership have included: 

  • Enrollment has more than doubled 
  • Academic programs have diversified, increasing from approximately 90 to more than 140 areas of study 
  • Several campus and facility upgrades, including the 3,000 seat Centennial Chapel, the 180,000-squarefoot Perry Student Life and Recreation Center, the development of a 30-acre intramural and ROTC facility, and numerous upgrades to science, art and digital media facilities • Substantial engagement with local businesses and nonprofits that have positioned Olivet as a valued part of the community and region 
  • Olivet has been named one of the “Top 25 Best Christian Workplaces” in the United States for 14 consecutive years and been included in U.S. News & World Report’s list of “America’s Best Colleges” for 13 consecutive years. 

The Board is enthusiastically building upon this legacy as it looks at the future opportunities and challenges that present themselves in today’s Christian higher-education landscape.

The Opportunity

The President of Olivet Nazarene University serves as the senior executive for the university and reports to the Board of Trustees. The Board is comprised of leaders from the Church of the Nazarene, as well as members of the Church of the Nazarene who represent alumni and various other key constituencies. Even though Olivet Nazarene University is affiliated with Church of the Nazarene, students of over 40 denominational and church backgrounds attend the University. 

Currently, the President leads the Administrative Team, which includes the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Student Development, the Vice President for ONU Global and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. The President also engages regularly with the directors and academic deans to maintain a strategic connection to the campus community, programs and operations of the University. 

The next President will embrace, represent and steward the mission, values and vision of Olivet Nazarene University in a manner that ensures ongoing strength and impact. The overarching goals and DNA of the University and its President are: 

  1. To maintain a clear and consistent mission. 
  2. To enroll, educate, and graduate students who seek an, “Education With a Christian Purpose.” 
  3. To provide all students with an education that is innovative, distinctive, of the highest quality and that inspires them with a zest for learning. 
  4. To serve the Church and promote the Kingdom of God in all aspects of the work of the University. 
  5. To maintain and enhance efforts to recruit, nurture, and retain a faculty who fully embrace the mission of the University while continuing to be outstanding scholars, teachers, mentors and staff members who excel in their work and service. 
  6. To establish and maintain a campus culture, organizational structure and processes that promote and support Christlikeness and excellence.

The Strengths Needed for Success

The goals above remain core to the work of the President in the midst of rapidly-changing opportunities and challenges in the region and in Christian higher education. The continued strengthening and focusing of the University’s spiritual, academic, relational and financial vitality are of even greater importance in the next chapter of presidential leadership. More specifically, the next President should be gifted in: 

  • Embodying the University’s Christian mission and Wesleyan-Holiness identity, serving as a central voice and influence in setting the tone for the spiritual ethos and community expression of those distinctives. 
  • Building and maintaining strong and authentic relationships with a myriad of constituents such as students, faculty, administrators, donors, denominational leaders, community leaders and colleagues in the Christian higher education community. 
  • Shaping and communicating organizational vision and direction in a manner that motivates involvement, commitment and trust. 
  • Assessing and embracing the higher education environment and the need for increased resourcefulness, prioritization and change in a context where residential and online enrollment is experiencing short and long-term challenges in the region. 
  • Involving administrative and faculty leadership in problem-solving and innovation that maximizes the contributions and outcomes for the benefit of all. 
  • Developing clear and actionable strategies in conjunction with a leadership team that center the University’s energy and efforts in a common direction. 
  • Working within a denominational context and network, while serving a majority student population that comes from outside the Church of the Nazarene traditions and practice.

The Requirements of the Role

I n addition to the leadership strengths and gifts noted, the next President of Olivet Nazarene University will possess: 

  • A clear and demonstrable commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its fulfillment. 
  • A calling to leadership in Christian higher education with a heart and commitment to prepare students to define their calling as well as their career under the Lordship of Christ. 
  • Full agreement with Olivet Nazarene University’s Statement of Faith, mission, values and covenants and The Nazarene Church Articles of Faith; a commitment to ensuring all present and future faculty and staff of the University are in agreement as well. 
  • Ten years minimum of leadership experience in higher education roles (Dean, Cabinet, President) with demonstrated growth in responsibility and impact; combined leadership experiences in education, church, business and/or nonprofit leadership may also fit, provided that a current understanding of the Christian higher education landscape is clear. 
  • A terminal degree (i.e. Ph.D., Ed.D., D.Min., etc.). 
  • Current membership in and/or theological alignment and a commitment to become a member of the Church of the Nazarene if elected.

Your Next Steps


Please join the entire Olivet Nazarene University community in asking God to guide the search process and bless those involved.


Please share this profile with anyone in your network of relationships you believe may be interested in the role or in helping the Committee get the word out about the search.

Suggest Candidates

Please suggest names of individuals to the Committee who you believe should be considered for the role of President. Please do so through this confidential email: Please include any contact information you may have. We are intentionally seeking gender and ethnic diversity in our candidate pool.

Express Interest

If you feel compelled by the opportunity and would like to initiate a confidential conversation with our search consultant, Mark Stevenson, please contact him at or 612-747-7472. Alternatively, you may also express interest directly to the Committee through this confidential email address: Please include your Curriculum Vitae or résumé and a cover letter with your submission. 

Thank you again for joining us in this important journey of discerning God’s next leader for Olivet Nazarene University.

Olivet Nazarene University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, disability, national or ethnic origin in employment opportunities, in keeping with applicable state and federal laws. Olivet Nazarene University is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. All applicants must be professing Christians and willing to support the Christian mission of Olivet Nazarene University.

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