Tracy Cooper News & Media Relations Manager 3307 Third Avenue West Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: (206) 281-2977 Fax: (206) 281-2223 E-mail: tcooper@spu.edu


For Immediate Release - 03/12/02

Seattle Pacific University Awarded
$1.9 Million Vocational Initiative
16 Campus Programs Will Emphasize Finding a Purpose in Life Choices

Seattle, WA - Seattle Pacific University recently received more than $1.9 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of a nationwide major initiative called "Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation." SPU is one of 28 colleges and universities in the country to receive money from the Endowment to encourage young people to consider questions of faith and commitment as they choose their careers.

The Endowment's gift will support SPU's "Spiritual and Educational Resources for Vocational Exploration" (SERVE), an effort to make theological reflection on vocation a central part of the university. SERVE includes 16 programs which will provide more opportunities for SPU students to explore possibilities in Christian ministry, encourage faculty to incorporate vocational themes in their courses, enhance campus worship, strengthen career services and internships, support the university's Women's Studies program, and institute summer leadership academy for high school youth. Many of these programs will begin in the fall of 2002.

"Instead of just finding a job, we want to help students focus on career and life choices with a clearer sense of purpose outside themselves," says Bob Drovdahl, co-director of SERVE and professor of Christian ministry and education. "This grant will help us encourage students to look at the bigger picture of life and work."

The Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private family foundation that follows its founder's wishes by supporting the causes of religion, community development and education. Since 2000, the Endowment has awarded more than $93 million to 48 colleges and universities in an effort to "enable talented young people to draw upon the resources of religious wisdom as they think through their vocational choice." Other universities chosen in this latest round of grants are Duke, Pepperdine and Wake Forest.

Craig Dykstra, Endowment vice president for religion, said SPU's SERVE program is exactly the type of effort they want to support. "It's obvious that SPU thought seriously and productively about how to encourage young people to consider questions of faith and commitment as they choose their careers," he said.

Seattle Pacific University, founded in 1891, is a fully accredited Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies.

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