Two special awards were presented during Olivet’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies
(SGCS) Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 3, 2013, honoring Dr. Herbert Ireland
and the late Monica Phillips.
The Willis E. Snowbarger Award for Teaching Excellence was presented to Dr. Ireland
Dr. Ireland received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, his Master of Divinity degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and his Master of Arts in Religion degree and Bachelor of Arts in Religion degree from Pasadena Nazarene College (now Point Loma Nazarene University). He has served the Church of the Nazarene as a senior pastor for several churches in the United States. At Olivet, he has been a dedicated member of the SGCS faculty team since 2006.
“Herb Ireland has successfully integrated the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor,” said Chaplain Joan Dean, SGCS director of mission outreach. “He has a passionate interest in both the learning and spiritual well-being of his students. He gives consistent and comprehensive attention to details, planning and executing the material. He wants his students to comprehend and apply what they learn in the classroom to their work, social and family life. In his words: ‘I just love them to Jesus’ — and he does.”
The Snowbarger Award honors the legacy of Dr. Willis Snowbarger as well as honoring the outstanding service of an adjunct faculty member. Dr. Snowbarger served Olivet as a professor, dean and vice president for academic affairs. He was instrumental in the development of Olivet’s expanded liberal arts and professional curriculum, the building of a strong faculty and the achievement of numerous accreditation initiatives.
The Ralph E. Perry Student Award of Excellence was presented posthumously to Monica Phillips, who also received the Bachelor of Business Administration degree posthumously. Attending the ceremony were her husband, Joseph; her two daughters, Morgan and Madison; more than 20 of her friends and family members; and her mother, Barbara Jackson, who accepted the award and degree on behalf of the family.
Phillips enrolled in Olivet’s Associate of Arts in Business (AAB) degree program in 2009 — after being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Graduating from that program in 2011, she quickly enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program. Even through illness and treatments, she remained diligent in her studies, often working with individual faculty members to complete assignments between her treatments. She used her illness as an opportunity to encourage and inspire others. She willingly shared her story in numerous articles and publications throughout Chicagoland, and also participated in many cancer awareness events.
On February 25, 2013, Monica Phillips passed away.
“Monica was vibrant, passionate, full of integrity and had a Christ-like spirit,” said Dr. Ryan Spittal, vice president for graduate and continuing studies, as he presented the award. “Her husband, Joseph, tells us that she was the strongest person he’d ever known. She put off her education early in life to care for her family. She completed her goal of living a Christ-inspired life. Her life is an inspiration to all of us.”
The Perry award is named for the late Dr. Ralph Perry, the first director of graduate studies at Olivet in 1959. He was also head of the division of religion and philosophy, a member of the faculty from 1948-1952, and 1955-1975. The award is presented annually to a graduate student nominated by faculty and staff. Criterion for receiving nomination includes exemplifying excellence in academic and community endeavors.