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From left to right: Provost Maria Davis, Ph.D., Ivory Evergreen, Yul Snell, Jillian Johnson, Samantha Torres and President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D.

On Wednesday, May 15, Olivet College honored Erik Larson ’97, Joan Nelson and Linda Lee Tarver, Th.D., at the 23rd annual Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner. The three honorees were recognized for their service to the community.

Additionally, six students received the Dr. John W. Porter Community Responsibility Scholarship Award for their dedication to the Olivet mission. Recipients include rising junior Ivory Evergreen, a sociology/anthropology major from Detroit; rising senior Diangelo Carlton, a business administration major from Detroit; rising senior Bryan Collins, an exercise science major from Inkster; rising senior Jillian Johnson, a psychology major from Lansing; rising junior Yul Snell, a criminal justice major from Westland; and rising junior Samantha Torres, a criminal justice major from Lansing.

Johnson shared remarks at the dinner, commenting on how Olivet has impacted her life and inspired her to do good in the lives of others.

“I didn’t know that I would make lifelong friends and sisters or gain three of the best psychology professors,” Johnson said. “I knew I made that initial connection and that was what mattered. Olivet is the reason I started going outside, working internships, joining clubs, mentoring first-year students and much more. Without Olivet, I wouldn’t be out doing community service. I wouldn’t be searching for graduate schools. I wouldn’t be using that personal connection I came to Olivet for as a tour guide. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. What matters is what we do in those 24 hours. Coming to this realization was one of the many things I learned at Olivet.”

The three honorees presented speeches highlighting the importance of community service.

Larson spoke also spoke to his Olivet experience and stressed the importance of how the College motivated him to serve the community.

“During a recent conversation with President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., I was just so proud of what Olivet College is doing and what it’s becoming through its mission and leadership,” Larson said. “One of the special things about Olivet is that you can connect with others but there are so many different opportunities for you to be a part of the Olivet community.”

The Honorees

Erik Larson ’97

From left to right: President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D., Joan Nelson, Erik Larson and Linda Lee Tarver, Th.D.

Larson graduated from Olivet College with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He is now the executive director of Impression 5 Science Center, located in Lansing. He’s spent most of his life volunteering or working at Impression 5, beginning at age 14 when the museum was just getting its start. During his senior year at Olivet, Larson worked full-time at Impression 5 while also taking a full course load. Upon graduation, he worked as the exhibit area supervisor and over the years found himself in a variety of positions before taking over as executive director. Completely dedicated to the museum, he’s more than happy to have found the right fit for his life. Larson expresses the importance of pursuing dreams to effect change.

Joan Nelson

Nelson serves as the executive director of the Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC), an organization that promotes neighborhood revitalization and offers activities and resources to improve the health and well-being of Lansing’s Eastside community. After graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary social science, she worked at Lansing Model Cities, a federally-funded program devoted to addressing urban poverty. Then she returned to school in 1978 to earn her master’s degree in health education and exercise physiology. While operating her own business — a hub for health and movement-related activities — Nelson did consulting and personal skills training across the state. She eventually joined the Eastside Neighborhood Summit Project, otherwise known as the Eastside Summit, a “healthy communities” initiative launched by Sparrow Health System and Eastside residents in 1996. In 1999, the Eastside Summit became what is now known today as ANC.

Linda Lee Tarver

Dr. Tarver finds fulfillment through her faith as she aims to do her part in the world. She is the president of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan, vice chair of the Lansing Promise, the community affairs director and elections integrity liaison for secretary of state Ruth Johnson, and the author of “Dyed in the Wool.” Dr. Tarver was an initial drafter for the Lansing Promise and a key player in adding Olivet to the list of schools included in the Promise. She has also been inducted into the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan Hall of Fame and has worked as a commissioner for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

To learn more about Olivet College, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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