The late Monica Phillips of Lynwood honored during Olivet's 2013 Commencement ceremony

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Barbara Jackson accepted the outstanding student award and a posthumous degree for her daughter, the late Monica Phillips.

BOURBONNAIS, IL (05/09/2013)(readMedia)-- Two special awards were presented during Olivet Nazarene University's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies (SGCS) Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 3, 2013, honoring Dr. Herbert Ireland and the late Monica Phillips, who was a Lynwood resident.

The Ralph E. Perry Student Award of Excellence was presented posthumously to Monica Phillips, who also received the Bachelor of Business Administration degree posthumously. Attending the ceremony were her husband, Joseph; her two daughters, Morgan and Madison; more than 20 of her friends and family members; and her mother, Barbara Jackson, who accepted the award and degree on behalf of the family.

Phillips enrolled in Olivet's Associate of Arts in Business (AAB) degree program in 2009 - after being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Graduating from that program in 2011, she quickly enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program. Even through illness and treatments, she remained diligent in her studies, often working with individual faculty members to complete assignments between her treatments. She used her illness as an opportunity to encourage and inspire others. She willingly shared her story in numerous articles and publications throughout Chicagoland, and also participated in many cancer awareness events.

On February 25, 2013, Monica Phillips passed away.

"Monica was vibrant, passionate, full of integrity and had a Christ-like spirit," said Dr. Ryan Spittal, vice president for graduate and continuing studies, as he presented the award. "Her husband, Joseph, tells us that she was the strongest person he'd ever known. She put off her education early in life to care for her family. She completed her goal of living a Christ-inspired life. Her life is an inspiration to all of us."

The Perry award is named for the late Dr. Ralph Perry, the first director of graduate studies at Olivet in 1959. He was also head of the division of religion and philosophy, a member of the faculty from 1948-1952, and 1955-1975. The award is presented annually to a graduate student nominated by faculty and staff. Criterion for receiving nomination includes exemplifying excellence in academic and community endeavors.

The Willis E. Snowbarger Award for Teaching Excellence was presented to Dr. Herbert Ireland. This Award honors the legacy of Dr. Willis Snowbarger as well as honoring the outstanding service of an adjunct faculty member. Dr. Snowbarger served Olivet as a professor, dean and vice president for academic affairs. He was instrumental in the development of Olivet's expanded liberal arts and professional curriculum, the building of a strong faculty and the achievement of numerous accreditation initiatives.

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.


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Laura Warfel

Public Relations Specialist

Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, Ill.