Carol Breed ’98 is often renowned for the legacy she left on Olivet College’s insurance and risk management (IRM) program, even now that she’s retired. To Carol, her legacy pales in comparison to the lasting impression Olivet College made on her life. Some of her fondest memories took place during her time as an OC faculty member.
“In the winter of 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Carol explained. “I was off work recovering for about four weeks. Upon my return, my students strategically arranged for me to be late for our weekly seminar class and cleverly managed to get me to walk in the front door of our meeting room. What greeted me was a sea of pink — over 140 students and fellow faculty in neon pink T-shirts and a standing ovation for me. Oh, the tears and the love; it was so touching!”
A few years later, students pulled off another incredible surprise, shocking Carol with an unforeseen retirement party complete with her closest friends and colleagues. The event still sits in Carol’s all-time top three memories. Another favorite memory is when the Alpha Alpha chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, OC’s chapter of a professional insurance fraternity, won the Edison L. Bowers Award — the highest honor that can be awarded to a chapter — at its 2013 national conference.
While these memories stand out to Carol, she acknowledges that the real magic happened in between these great feats — the semesters she spent shaping the program and mentoring students as they grew into successful professionals.
“I am very grateful for the opportunities that Olivet College gave me to have a wonderful career in insurance education and to be a part of the lives of hundreds of the incredible students at the College,” Carol emphasized.
Carol’s journey to Olivet College didn’t take a traditional path. She entered the insurance industry straight out of high school and has spent her entire career in the field. In the 1980s, Carol was an adjunct professor at the Great Lake Insurance School when she made her first visit to OC. She immediately fell in love with Olivet’s IRM program and mission of educating students to do good for others.
Carol later joined the College’s insurance program advisory committee before entering the student body in the mid-1990s to finish her undergraduate degree. She then went on to law school and returned to OC in 2001 as a professor and adviser. Carol retired in 2016 as the IRM program director.
“Every element of the Olivet College Compact meshed with my personal philosophy. I am in complete agreement with understanding and taking responsibility,” Carol emphasized. “It was so exciting to be a student and a member of the Alpha Alpha chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma and still serve on the program’s advisory committee. Being involved on many levels really helped me form very strong bonds to Olivet College.”
Carol’s legacy at Olivet College continued in 2018, despite her retirement. She was named professor emeritus and inducted into the Michigan Insurance Hall of Fame.
The Michigan Insurance Hall of Fame was established in 1994 as a way to pay tribute to individuals who have made a significant impact on the Michigan insurance and risk management industry. The honor renowned Carol as an “outstanding insurance industry leader, legend and innovator.”
“These honors are incredible,” Carol exclaimed. “Very few of us have the opportunity to touch as many people as one who teaches. And while the successes of my students are certainly enough, these awards are icing on a delicious cake. It is very humbling to hold a spot in the Hall of Fame, especially to be included in the ranks along Olivet College professors Janet Holstine, Clair Stevens and Mike Hubbel. I will never forget the standing ovation I received from my Olivet College family as I was named professor emeritus at Opening Convocation.”
Carol continues to stay active in insurance education and has had the opportunity to work with many Comet alumni in the industry. She is also a member of the Insuring MI Future board, aimed at supporting and promoting ways for students to pursue careers in insurance.