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Professor John Homer

Professor John Homer

The Riethmiller Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Advising and Scholarship were established by the late Dr. M. Gorton Riethmiller, president of Olivet College from 1957-1970, and the late Dr. Peggy Riethmiller Blackman. Faculty members are nominated by the senior class and recipients are selected by vote of the graduates and faculty.

This year’s recipient of the Riethmiller Award for Excellence in Teaching is Dr. John Homer, professor of economics. A member of the Olivet College faculty since 1979, Dr. Homer is a consummate teacher and the very epitome of an Olivetian. He is widely known for his high expectations but also his deep care for his students.

“John likes to cultivate a bit of a curmudgeonly persona, but his students see right through that to his heart of gold. He keeps his approach to teaching and learning fresh and lively even after teaching at the college level for over 50 years. We are so very fortunate to have him as a member of our exceptional Olivet College faculty.” — Provost Maria Davis, Ph.D.

Professor Mike Oyster

Professor Mike Oyster

The Riethmiller Award for Excellence in Advising is given this year to Mr. Mike Oyster, assistant professor of business administration. Professor Oyster, a 1977 alumnus of Olivet College, joined the faculty in 2013 after a prolific career as a leader and entrepreneur in the telecommunications industry. An experienced business leader, Professor Oyster brings tremendous real-world insight as well as extraordinary compassion and commitment to his work with students.

“Professor Oyster is not only my academic adviser, but he’s also become one of my advisers for everyday life. Whenever I have a question, exciting news, or am experiencing a challenge or issue, his office door is always open and even in these unprecedented times of social distancing, he’s been sure to check up on me to see how I’m doing. I know he is always a text or phone call away whenever I need anything, and I’m extremely grateful to be one of his students.” — Graduating senior Abby Smith

The Riethmiller Award for Excellence in Scholarship is presented this year to Mr. Phil Reed, associate professor of criminal justice, for his work with students on a “cold case” collaboration with the Battle Creek Police Department. With Professor Reed’s guidance, students examine evidence, recommend interviews with witnesses and uncover potential new leads while working to solve previously unsolved cases.

Professor Phil Reed

Professor Phil Reed

Fellow faculty member who nominated Reed for this recognition, Dr. Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer, says of Professor Reed’s efforts, “It is exemplary, detailed work with a striking public service component, and it teaches our students invaluable professional skills.” Before joining the faculty in 2003, Professor Reed had a 27-year career in law enforcement, rising to the rank of commander in charge of the Detective Bureau of the Battle Creek Police Department.

Congratulations to all our faculty recipients of the 2020 Riethmiller Awards!

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.