alumni council members
alumni council members serve as ambassadors of olivet college and the office of alumni engagement by volunteering during events such as homecoming, interviewing students for alumni council scholarships, hosting events, contacting fellow alumni and making lifelong connections.
sue topping '77, council chair
sue was born and raised in jackson, michigan and is a 1973 graduate of jackson high school in. she graduated from olivet college in 1977 with a degree in economics and business administration, with a concentration in accounting and finance.
sue has been licensed as a certified public accountant since 1982. she retired from the city of lansing is 2011, where she served as deputy city treasurer. presently, she run an active tax and accounting practice.
sue enjoys playing the euphonium in the lansing concert band and the michigan state university alumni band. she is active in the leonard falcone international euphonium and tuba festival.
sue has been a member of the alumni council for more than 15 years and in may of 2019, was elected as its president.
“the olivet alumni council is important to me for the continued relationships it builds. it also allows me to have firsthand knowledge of activities taking place on campus and updates on students, faculty, administration, alumni and friends.”
angelique (korstanje) cook ’11
after transferring from lansing community college, angelique attended olivet college and graduated in 2011, majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology. while at olivet college, angelique was active within alpha lambda epsilon and middle ground, and she participated in service learning.
angelique has recently joined the alumni council and says, “i am excited to participate as part of the olivet college alumni council. i am incredibly thankful for my time and experiences at olivet college and i wish to support the college in future endeavors.”
angelique served with americorps for a year after graduating. she now serves as a social worker working in the mental health field in jackson, michigan
mariah cosper '11
mariah has been on the alumni council since 2014, after graduating in 2011 with a double major in insurance and risk management and sports/recreation management. while on campus, she was very involved with the betsy dole women’s resource center board, working with the wrestling program, being a senior resident advisor in dole hall and a multitude of other activities. upon graduation, mariah began working in the insurance industry and is currently employed at an agency in grand rapids. mariah joined the alumni association board to continue her commitment to the compact and an education for individual and social responsibility. she enjoys the opportunities to connect, and reconnect, with a variety of alumni, friends of the college and current students.
dennis daugherty ’70
dennis has been a member of the alumni council for over 30 years. after graduating from constantine high school in 1966, he attended olivet college from 1966 to 1970. in addition to his b.a. in political science, dennis also received a michigan secondary teaching certificate after having done his student teaching at coldwater high school. while at olivet, he was a resident advisor in blair hall and served four years as the oc basketball team manager. after graduation, he served two years in the united states army, including a tour of duty in vietnam. upon returning home he taught history and government for four years at northwest high school in jackson. a career change then took him into the safety and environmental field, having served as a safety professional at marathon oil company and abbott laboratories. this took him from assignments in michigan to ohio, kentucky, texas and illinois. while at marathon, he conducted safety inspections of worldwide facilities from alaska to north africa to japan. he is now retired and lives in the kalamazoo area. dennis has served the college as president of the alumni association board and was a member of the olivet college board of trustees for 12 years, having served as chairman of the buildings and grounds committee. dennis continues his service to the college through the alumni association board and has been elected by the board of trustees as a trustee emeritus.
branden dyer ’14
branden dyer ’14 was born and raised in charlotte, michigan, and is a 2008 graduate of charlotte high school. while at olivet college, branden was an active member of alpha lambda epsilon, served as president of the student government association for three years and served as the president of the intersociety council. he graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, after which he served as an americorps vista for two years. he currently serves on the charlotte city council and the board of mid-michigan environmental action council. branden has served on the olivet college alumni council since 2015.
melanie engels '08
melanie engels is originally from battle creek, michigan. she received a bachelor’s degree from olivet college in biology and biochemistry in 2008, along with graduating from the global citizen honors program. while at olivet, engels participated in the wind and jazz ensembles, was a member of soronian literary society and was involved in several other clubs and organizations. after graduating from olivet, engels attended the university of michigan college of pharmacy and received her doctor of pharmacy (pharmd) degree in 2012. engels then completed two years of post-graduate residency, post-graduate year one at the ann arbor va, and post-graduate year two at the university of michigan health system, specializing in health system pharmacy administration. engels completed her master’s in business administration (mba) in healthcare management from new england college in 2016. currently, engels is a pharmacy manager at munson healthcare in traverse city, michigan. in her free time, engels enjoys gardening, lounging on the beach, listening to audiobooks, and spending time with family and friends. “the alumni council is important to me because olivet college was the launching pad to my career and getting me where i am today. it is important to keep this perspective in mind and keep alumni engaged with current and prospective students in order to afford them the same opportunities that past students were given. because olivet college was so integral to my success, it is essential to continue to serve the college and give back now that i am an alumni.” – melanie engels ’08
barron evans '77
barron double majored in political science and english literature, graduating from olivet college in 1977 with a bachelor of arts. while on campus, barron was immersed in student life including forensics, theatre, music, odk and isc. in addition, he held leadership roles on dean of student committees, was the national secretary of the federation of german students, and the first male president of alpha lambda epsilon society, having been one of the inaugural male pledges the prior year.
upon graduation from olivet, barron relocated to washington d.c. where he had enjoyed a professional semester with the population crisis committee during his undergraduate studies. he continued his education, earning a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in organizational development. it was the large organizational policy, people and process learning that would guide his diverse 35-year career engagements in private, public, consultancy and 501c3 capacities, including telecom, a change management start-up, global advertising, pharmaceuticals and consulting. his career resulted in eight national and three international residence moves, with opportunities to work, live and play in over 40 countries.
with a robust professional experience, barron has also enjoyed a rich avocational journey, volunteering and serving on boards globally and in the united states, focusing on youth mentoring, the arts, developmental disabilities and healthcare. one affiliation of which he’s particularly proud is the ronald mcdonald house, where he’s volunteered in five u.s. cities for nearly 20 years.
barron relocated to ann arbor in 2017 from dallas for closer proximity to family, and he currently consults on helping enterprises realize sustainable business outcomes through application of change management and value creation principles. consistent with his history of giving back and leveraging the olivet college credo of social responsibility, barron will play a leadership role with the oc alumni council, his condo association board, the ronald mcdonald house, the ann arbor art center, and the st. joseph mercy health system.
kimberly flitton ’93
kim flitton ’93 has been on the alumni council for almost a year. she received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a major in history and minor in hper (health, physical education and recreation) in 1993. she is the program director of greyhound early learning in eaton rapids, michigan, which is an early learning center for infants through school-aged children, affiliated with eaton rapids public schools. she enjoys spending time with her son and two dogs when she’s not working.
olivet is special to her. everyone was friendly and inviting, her professors truly wanted to help, and her friends and teammates became family. kim joined the alumni council because she wanted an opportunity to give back to an institution that gave her so much during her time here. she is pleased that she has the opportunity to foster relationships with current students and reconnect with fellow alumni.
pamela heos '77
pam heos ’77 has served on the alumni council for more than thirty years, many of them as its president. she received a bachelor’s of fine arts in 1977 and completed post-graduate work at butler university. she is the director of alumni and donor relations at western michigan university’s cooley law school in lansing, michigan. she also serves as a member of the olivet college board of trustees, the michigan state university museum advisory board, and the american hellenic education progressive association (ahepa). when she’s not working, she enjoys boating, traveling, museums, architectural tours, and antiquing.
as a member of the alumni council, pam works to enhance alumni programs and events that bring alumni together and strengthen our connectedness.
“i enjoy serving my alma mater as a member of the alumni council,” pamela shares. “i hope to inspire fellow alumni to become involved through their attendance at events, financial support, and in service to the college, its students, and in promoting its name and reputation.”
craig jenkins, jr. ’08
craig jenkins, jr. is a seventh generation michigan native and currently resides near delton. he works in global risk management at perrigo company, a global pharmaceutical company, at the corporate office located in allegan. craig graduated from olivet in 2008 with a degree in insurance and risk management and political science minor. he and his wife have a passion for michigan and specifically olivet. although craig’s wife is not an olivet alumna, they have both enjoyed becoming a part of the close-knit olivet family and have seen firsthand the benefits of the relationships and individually focused education that a small institution, like olivet, can offer.
camille lavey ’76
camille lavey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from olivet college in 1976. she worked as a journalist for the denver bureau of the macneil/lehrer news hour. after moving to the washington, d.c. area, camille was an associate producer for the newseum. camille was recently hired by coverys as a claim support associate for the midwest office in east lansing. she is currently based in lansing, michigan.
mauricio palli '07
mauricio palli ’07, also known on campus as “moe,” is a chicago native. he received a bachelor’s degree from olivet college in secondary education with a major in social studies and a minor in biology. at olivet, moe was active on campus and was a part of various student organizations, including the society of hosford scholars, the gay straight alliance and earthbound. he was also a member of the phi alpha pi fraternity, ran cross country and track, and participated in the scholarship phone-a-thon as a student.
After graduation, Moe worked as an academic adviser for Robert Morris University in Chicago. During this time, he graduated from Roosevelt University with a Master of Arts in training and development. This opened another opportunity for him at Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), where he was a development and recruitment manager for their North American online sales office. While at H&M, he worked very closely with local managers and public relations in Mexico to implement the Spanish-speaking bilingual agent teams. Through his drive and initiative, his team managed all email and customer service correspondence from Latin America. In addition, he worked with the human resources site manager to recruit top talent for the online/customer service office. Moe also worked for GrubHub at their headquarters in Chicago.
currently, moe is working forroti modern mediterranean, a company offering an exciting new dining experience in chicago, new york, minneapolis and dallas. moe is the senior instructional designer, responsible for the design and deployment of the entire training and education program for the company.
moe enjoys meeting other olivet college alumni at social events and loves attending college events to connect with current students. “i joined the alumni council because i believe the skills learned at olivet college have positively impacted my personal and professional life,” he said.
beth (mitchell) romeo '12
beth mitchell received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from olivet college in 2012. she currently works at a community television and radio station in kalamazoo where she coordinates programming for five cable channels and teaches video and audio production/editing classes. beth is also a dj and owns her own mobile dj service and has had the pleasure of djing several oc alum weddings. while attending olivet college, she was station manager of wocr, president of the black student union, and member and president of alpha lambda epsilon literary society. through her work on the olivet college alumni council, beth hopes to give back to college that she loves so much. “olivet is truly a unique place. i wouldn’t be who i am today without the education, experience and friendships i made during my time at olivet.”
allyson schultz ’17
allyson schultz ’17 is originally from traverse city, michigan. she received a bachelor’s degree from olivet college in actuarial science in 2017 and graduated from the global citizen honors program. she was in the top five in her graduating class and was class commencement speaker. schultz participated in golf, diving, cross country, track and field, student government and tutoring. she was also involved in many other clubs and organizations.
currently, schultz is attending grand valley state university pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy. in her free time, she enjoys running, biking, swimming, racing on the track and in triathlons, golfing with her family, and spending days at the beach
arthur eric thomas '94
eric thomas ’94 is originally from homer, michigan, and earned a bachelor of arts in wellness in 1994. while at olivet, eric was a member of the football and wrestling teams. in 1993 and 1994 he earned all-american honors in wrestling. eric is also a member of the 1991 miaa championship football team. he was inducted into the olivet college athletic hall of fame in 2001.
in 1995, eric began working for the michigan department of corrections. he went on to earn his master’s degree in adult education online learning from the university of phoenix. he has taught several college-level courses over the years.
eric volunteered for the alumni council to give back to the institution that has given so much to him and to encourage others to do the same. his goal is to bring new ideas while preserving the tradition of olivet college
linwood c. wiley jr. '68
linwood “woody” wiley was born and raised in the small town of wenham, massachusetts, graduating from the hamilton-wenham regional high school in 1964. a visit by a team from olivet college, that was touring high schools in the northeast, impressed his guidance counselor who suggested olivet to woody. he wanted a small college and olivet college was the answer.
while at olivet he was a member of the choral ensemble, an advisor at blair hall, president of the circle k (kiwanis) club, president of the student michigan education association chapter and was a student employee in the printing/mailroom dept. he was active in the olivet congregational church where he taught sunday school. he received olivet college presidential citations in 1967 and 1968, and did his student teaching in charlotte prior to his graduation in 1968 with a ba in english and education. he has been an active supporter of kappa sigma alpha and currently serves on the fraternity’s alumni board.
after graduation, he had a rewarding year teaching junior high english in bellevue (1968-69) while also serving as an intern with the michigan education association visiting campuses throughout the state on weekends. he then returned to massachusetts where, in 1970, he received a master of education in secondary school administration from salem state university.
upon graduation he was recruited into the professional service of the boy scouts of america. over his 42-year career he served as a district executive in boston, finance director in new york city as well as executive director in boy scout councils in glens falls and jamestown, new york. he was appointed to the organization’s national staff in 2000 and retired in 2012 as assistant regional director for the northeast region which encompasses boy scouts of america councils throughout the northeast plus puerto rico, the virgin islands and europe (for usa business and military dependents).
woody married his college sweetheart in 1968 and he and sue have a son, three daughters and nine grandchildren. they currently reside in collegedale, tennessee where he has served as president of the local kiwanis club and volunteers at wsmc, the chattanooga classical fm station, and at southern adventist university.
“in addition to my financial support over the years, i am proud to be a member of the alumni council as it is another way for me to repay the college that changed my life in so many ways. olivet, its faculty, student friends and friends in the community all contributed to my development for which i’m profoundly grateful.”
woody wilson '69
serving nearly 40 years in higher education, woodrow “woody” wilson ’69 was a valuable resource to students at jackson community college (jcc) and continues to be a supporter of his alma mater, olivet college. woody’s teaching career launched in 1969 as a head start teacher before transitioning to starr commonwealth in 1972 where he spent a short amount of time before devoting his career to several roles at jcc until he retired in 2011. woody began as jcc’s director of career development for persons with special needs in 1972, assisting disadvantaged and handicapped students. from 1978 to 1999, he was a counselor in student personnel services. in 1999, woody then joined the teaching faculty as a history instructor to teach classes on african-american history and the development of the u.s. during and after the civil war.
woody has been recognized for his involvement above and beyond the necessary duties in his career and community. in 2012, jcc honored woody with the dr. martin luther king jr. medal of service award recognizing his contribution to the retention of students of color. he served on the board of goodwill industries, the johnson child care and development center board in albion, the albion hospital board, is a member of the greater albion scholarship fund and albion black alumni scholarship fund committees and served on committees to help elect the albion mayor. he also serves on olivet college’s alumni association board and is a very active member within the macedonia missionary baptist church.
a proponent for higher education, woody continues to serve students and campuses even after retirement. he has created a scholarship for jcc students and supports the woodrow wilson multicultural center on jcc’s central campus. he also has remained a provider to olivet college’s athletic programs, scholarship funds, multicultural program and other academic needs. woody advocates for other alumni to help students in any way they are able.
woody’s wife, shearly wilson ’72, also attended olivet college where the couple spent several years together early in their relationship. the two were married for 45 years before shearly’s passing in 2015. he has one son, brandon. woody resides in albion, where he enjoys reading, listening to music, watching the history and discovery channels and attending macedonia missionary baptist church.
woodrow “woody” wilson, jr. ’69
1964 – graduate of washington gardner high school – albion, mi
1967 – graduate of jackson community college, now jackson college, jackson, mi. associate degree in general studies
1969 – graduate of olivet college, olivet, mi. bachelor of arts, history major; physical education minor; teacher’s certificate; headstart teacher, battle creek, mi. childcare worker at starr commonwealth, albion, mi
1972 – graduate of michigan state university, east lansing, mi. masters of arts in special education, teacher of emotionally impaired special education teacher – starr commonwealth; director of career development for persons with special needs; jackson community college counselor.
1979 – graduate of michigan state university. educational specialist degree; special education administration counselor, jackson community college; history instructor, jackson community college.
1999-2011 – taught history, 125 african-american history, 231 development of the united states through the civil war, 232 development of the united nations from the civil war.
1999 – further graduate study, western michigan university, kalamazoo, mi.
“forty-seven years after graduating, i look back and realize how much i owe to my alma mater. it makes me proud and makes me want to pass on opportunities to future students for their future.”
“i am grateful for everything olivet college did for me. current students are our most celebrated advocates for the value of an olivet college education. being on the alumni council helps me stay connected to olivet college. it also gives me a chance to monitor the college’s progress and to see its growth and development.”