Starting in the fall of 2017, Olivet Nazarene University will be called Olivet Nondenominational University.
“We are doing this because we have noticed that a majority of the students at Olivet are not of the Nazarene faith” Chaplain Mark Holcomb said. “We feel as if it would be best to make Olivet nondenominational because students come from a number of denominations.”
He does not want Olivet to appear as if it is only targeting Nazarenes, because Olivet is a place for everyone— regardless of their faith and beliefs.
“This is our way of trying to be more open about who attends ONU,” Holcomb said. “We hope to get more people interested in going to Olivet.” Holcomb believes that other students besides just Nazarenes belong at Olivet, too.
The change to the name is forcing a departmental change as well. The ONU Theology Department will be disbanded.
“We teach the Nazarene school of beliefs,” Mark Quanstrom, the head of the Theology Department, said. “How can we do that if Olivet is no longer Nazarene?”
While unable to continue to teach students, Quanstrum will continue his position as the pastor of College Church of the Nazarene.
“I still will be looking forward to seeing students at College Church,” Quanstrum said. “However, I will miss teaching.”
“I have a heart for ministry,” Teresa Garnet, another theology professor, said. “I am heartbroken to hear that I will no longer be able to show them what a good Christian leader looks like.”
Like most of the professors in the department, Garnet plans to teach elsewhere.
With the disbanding of the theology department, students will no longer need to take general education courses such as THEO 101 (Christian Formation) or THEO 303 (Christian Scriptures II).
“Students probably will not miss writing an exegesis,” Garnet said. “I do not think they liked writing papers every week that had to be at least 750 words, either.”