Mountaintop moments for Olivet's Class of 2013 graduate Jillian Karrick of Portage
BOURBONNAIS, IL (05/02/2013)(readMedia)-- "My dad was so sure I wouldn't come to Olivet," says Jillian Karrick, Portage resident and nursing major who is graduating with the Class of 2013 from Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Ill.
That's a bold statement, considering her strong family connections with Olivet. Both of her parents, Gregory and Wendy (Dunlop) Karrick, are alumni. Her cousin, Kris Dunlop, was student body president while he was a student. Her uncle, Rev. Kevin Dunlop, has served on the Board of Trustees, and her grandfather, Rev. Roland Dunlop, was on the Board many years ago. All her cousins have attended Olivet.
"I wanted to break the mold," she says. "But the first five minutes I was on campus, I knew God was calling me to Olivet." By the end of that day, she had made her deposit and declined her acceptance to another university.
Her fiancé, Jameson Forshee, had a similar experience. "My dad and mom are Olivet grads, and my sister, Maryrachel, graduated from here in pre-law," says the business administration major from Grand Blanc, Mich., who will also graduate with Olivet's Class of 2013. He is the son of James and Brenda (Starner) Forshee. "The first time I was on campus, I knew Olivet was the place for me."
During spring break 2011, Forshee and Karrick discovered one of the most important reasons God led them to Olivet.
Meeting on a mountain
A love of snowboarding, shared in Facebook posts, pulled this couple together. In search of a bigger mountain to challenge their expertise, Karrick and her dad planned a trip to Crystal Mountain in northern Michigan for March, 2011. When she posted this as her status, Forshee commented that he and his dad were also planning a trip to that location.
"When we pulled into the parking lot at Crystal Mountain, Jameson and his dad were pulling in at the same time," she recalls. "We briefly said 'hello' and then went our separate ways."
Later that day, the Forshees and Karricks reconnected. "Our dads ended up talking together, and so did we," she adds.
Back at Olivet after the break, Karrick learned that her friend, Jeremy Height, was now Forshee's roommate.
"Our worlds and hearts came crashing together," Forshee says.
Perfect day for a proposal
After dating for 18 months, Forshee was sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Karrick. What better place for a memorable proposal than a fall day at the top of Crystal Mountain?
"It was raining that day," he says. "I told Jillian I was taking her to an art fair. When we got there, I had to go inside and convince one of the managers to let us go to the top of the mountain."
"I saw how nervous Jameson was," she says. "I began to put together what might be happening."
By the time they had reached the spot he had in mind, the rain had stopped and the fall colors of a Michigan October brought the landscape to life. "I talked for 15 or 20 minutes about our history together and how much I loved her," he says.
"When he finally proposed, I said 'yes' at least 30 times while I was screaming and jumping around!"
They Skyped by smartphone with Karrick's parents and her younger sister, Madison, to share the news. Then Forshee told her they would go to his parents' house to share the news.
When they arrived at the Forshees' house, the Karricks were also there - along with other family and friends - waiting to celebrate the engagement.
On June 29, 2013, Jameson and Jillian will be married.
Value beyond measure
Sharing their college experiences together and seeing each other be formed as adults has been a very special experience for them.
During the past year, Forshee has served as president of Olivet's Associated Student Council. He was also named as Olivet's Lincoln Laureate and one of 53 students selected to represent Olivet in "Who's Who Among College Students."
As a nursing major, Karrick has also served in nursing homes and hospitals for the local community in the Kankakee, Ill., area. She has been actively involved in mentoring younger students and participating in student activities.
"You only get one time at college," Forshee says. "The rest of our lives, we'll be able to reference our Olivet stories and experiences together. We'll always have those inside jokes together. Olivet has given us a base, an anchor."
"Our parents met here," Karrick adds. "We are encouraged by their strong, successful marriages. This is how we were formed. This is what we strive for and how we are going to continue.
"Only God could have written our story."
Olivet Nazarene University is an accredited Christian, liberal arts university offering more than 100 areas of undergraduate and graduate study, including the Doctor of Education in ethical leadership. Olivet has one main campus in Bourbonnais, Ill. - just 50 miles south of Chicago; three additional sites: Rolling Meadows and Oak Brook, Ill., and Hong Kong; and more than 100 School of Graduate and Continuing Studies learning locations throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. From Oxford to Tokyo, hundreds of Olivet students also experience the global classroom each year, whether through study abroad opportunities or worldwide mission trips.
Public Relations Specialist
Olivet Nazarene University