Alumni Council Board
Pamela Heos '77, Council Chair
Pamela Heos ’77 was named Alumni Council Chair in January 2014. In this role, she also serves as an ex officio member of the Olivet College Board of Trustees.
“I look forward to serving my alma mater in my new role,” Pamela said. “I hope to inspire fellow alumni to become involved through their financial support, attendance at events, and in service to the college, its students and promoting its name and reputation.”
As chair, Pamela works with the council to enhance alumni programs and events, as well as student recruitment, fundraising and scholarships. She previously served as a member of the council for 25 years.
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 Council 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 Council 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 Council and has been elected by the Board of Trustees as a trustee emeritus.
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
Eddie Herron ’00
Craig Jenkins ’08
Camille Lavey ’76
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.”
Eric Thomas ’94
Sue Topping '77
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.
“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.”
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.
Michael T. Vedder '82
After graduating from Olivet High School in 1978, Michael began his Olivet College journey. He graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. While a student, he was a member of Kappa Sigma Alpha, lettered in both track and soccer, and was a deacon at Olivet UCC.
Today he lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan with his wife, Lori Sanders Vetter, a 1983 Olivet College graduate. The couple have three children, twins Ian and Kristin (age 29) and Madison (age 17). Michael is a purchasing and excellence manager for Global Steel – Meritor Inc., in Troy.
“The Alumni Council is important to me because it helps enhance the Olivet College reputation by being involved in their community, in business, as active volunteers, and encouraging others to give back to Olivet. This group helps feed the process of a school well known for producing graduates that are intelligent, innovative, and effective in their fields.”
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 Council 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.”