Olivet College recognized some of Michigan’s finest leaders as part of its 18th annual Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner Thursday, May 15 at the Country Club of Lansing.
The 2014 honorees are leaders in their chosen professions and reflect the college’s vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility.
Jim “Coach” and Martha Bibbs are true, living examples of the Olivet College Compact. As a human resources professional, Martha has led an outstanding career at the state, national and international levels. She was the first African American and first female state personnel director for the state of Michigan, implementing the policies of the State Civil Services Commission for up to 70,000 employees in the classified workforce. She also served two terms as president of the National Association of State Personnel Executives, chair of the State Employees Retirement Board, Cabinet member under two governors, and served or is currently serving on numerous boards in her community.
Martha served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Black Child and Family Institute (BCFI) for many years. During her tenure, her tireless, passionate advocacy and fundraising for children and families, regardless of race or creed, was exemplified. Under her leadership, the Magic Johnson Computer Lab was created, as well as financial literacy programs with Freddie Mac and other partners for families of BCFI.
Jim is affectionately called “Coach” by most people. He too has led an illustrious career of caring. As Michigan State University (MSU) coach emeritus, he has been instructing and coaching track and field for more than 50 years. Coach was the first African American head coach at MSU and the first to be named head track coach in the Big 10. He has coached 26 All Americans and 52 Big 10 Champions, including World Record holders Herb Washington and Marshall Dill, U.S. Olympian Judy Brown and U.S. Olympic Head Women’s Coach Karen Dennis.
Coach has been honored with induction into the Eastern Michigan, Greater Lansing, Michigan Amateur Athlete, and MSU athletic halls of fame; was torch bearer for the 2000 Winter Olympic Games; and was the recipient of the inaugural Gentlemen of Distinction Award. He retired from MSU in 1995, yet continues to coach as a volunteer at East Lansing High School. He also teaches health and physical education at BCFI
Veteran, teacher, coach and philanthropist Jim McCloughan practices Olivet College’s “divine art and science of doing good to others” on a daily basis. A former football player and wrestler at Olivet, McCloughan often credits the physical and mental discipline he learned on the field and mats for saving his life – and allowing him to save many other lives – while serving during the Vietnam War.
Having signed a contract with South Haven Public Schools shortly after graduating from Olivet, McCloughan had to put his teaching career on hold when he was drafted by the U.S. Army. In Vietnam, he became a true American hero. McCloughan served as a combat and platoon medic with a front line unit, risking his own life on multiple occasions to aid his comrades.
McCloughan was highly decorated for his selfless, brave actions during the war. Some of his most prestigious honors include the Combat Medic Badge, two Bronze Stars with “V” device for Valor, two Purple Hearts, the U.S. Army Valorous Unit Award and the National Defense Medal.
South Haven Public Schools had a second contract waiting for McCloughan when he returned to the U.S. He has since served the school, his church and community in numerous capacities for decades. During his legacy at South Haven, McCloughan coached 133 teams in football, wrestling and baseball. He also coached more than 20 little league teams and 13 junior wrestling teams, for which he volunteered his services.
McCloughan founded South Haven’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which grew from two members to more than 75 during his tenure. While the club grew, so did the character of each of his student-athletes. McCloughan started a culture of giving throughout the community in various projects and outreach that benefited its residents in many ways. His dedication to the community doesn’t stop there; McCloughan has also served as the city’s summer recreation supervisor and co-founder and member of the South Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He is credited with reviving, and coaching for 35 years the city’s American Legion baseball program, and has organized numerous fundraisers and clubs on behalf of the community.
McCloughan’s dedication to others has made him one of the most beloved and respected teachers and coaches in the state of Michigan. He has been honored with many coaching and teaching awards, including induction into the Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame. He currently serves as a high school wrestling official and continues to volunteer in a number of capacities.
Rev. Dr. Melanie Morrison’s passion to build an inclusive global community is reflective of Olivet College’s current and historical mission of providing an education to all, regardless of race or gender. As executive director for Allies for Change, Morrison is an anti-oppression educator, activist, author and spiritual director with 22 years of experience in transformational group process.
Morrison works with individuals and organizations to better understand the connections between systemic oppressions and to nurture collaborative action and authentic relationships across differences such as race, age, gender, abilities and sexual orientation. She believes it is possible to grow ever more aware of the depth and complexity of injustice without surrendering our capacity for compassion, joy and hope.
Prior to founding Allies for Change, Morrison served as executive director of The Leaven Center, a retreat and study center dedicated to nurturing the relationship between spirituality and social justice. She has been the keynote speaker at national and regional conferences addressing issues of racial and sexual justice. As a United Church of Christ pastor, she has served three congregations; two in Michigan and one in the Netherlands. Morrison also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the Chicago Theological Seminary and is the author of several publications.
Tickets to attend the Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner are $75, which includes a $40 tax deductible donation to Olivet College. For more information, contact Mary Anne McMullen.