Daily Journal names Bowling Citizen of 2015
“Over time, I have come to appreciate the communities around Olivet. This is primarily because of the community people and the business and civic leaders I have come to know,” Olivet Nazarene University President Dr. John Bowling said. “The true nature of a community does not rest on location or socioeconomic factors, but on the people and the values which dominate the community.” For more than a decade, local newspaper the Daily Journal has given many distinguished individuals their annual “Citizen of the Year” recognition. For 2015, Bowling received the honor for “his devotion to Olivet and the community at large,” the Daily Journal reported.
Daily Journal staff solicits and receives nominations from the public, and also gathers internal nominations, Daily Journal reporter Mike Frey said.
“A couple factors made Dr. Bowling an easy choice,” Frey said. “The fact Olivet celebrated its 75th year in Bourbonnais in 2015 was one. The fact that Dr. Bowling is currently celebrating his 25th year as Olivet president was another. But it’s not all about longevity.”
Dr. Bowling has called the Bourbonnais-Kankakee area home for the past 33 years. He’s been praised for bridging the gap between Olivet and the local community.
According to Daily Journal, Bowling furthered the formerly uneasy relationship between the French-Canadian Catholic neighbors and the then-new (Olivet) Church of the Nazarene communities.
“The way he has led the opening up of the Olivet campus to the community at large, and the way he has encouraged outreach into the community at large by the Olivet community, were the main considerations. He and the university are among the area’s most coveted partners in promoting goodwill and progress,” Frey said.
Bowling addressed the issue from way back when during a community celebration last fall but doesn’t take the credit for its resolve. He gives the credit to his predecessors Harold Reed and Leslie Parrott Jr., Bowling told the Daily Journal.
President of Kankakee Peoples Bank, Jeff Hammes’ grandfather Roy Hammes was a known Catholic business man during the post-World War II era, Daily Journal reported. Roy developed a friendship with former Olivet President Reed. It was “one of the earliest inroads,” Jeff cited. “Since then, Dr. Bowling has opened doors wide open to the community,” he continued.
In the Daily Journal’s report, Hammes mentioned many local happenings which have taken place under Bowling’s administration, all of which have benefited and brought the Olivet and local communities together. Among those listed included Bears Camp, the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra performances held on campus and Olivet student outreach efforts (Heart for Humanity and Salvation Army volunteers).
“Before Dr. Bowling became Olivet’s President, he was my pastor. I’ve watched him lead in great times and through difficult situations. He is a leader among leaders and provides the kind of example that all of us can follow. He exemplifies the kind of leader and citizen I want to be,” Vice President of Student Development Dr. Woody Webb said.
—Jada Fisher, Staff Writer