Pepperdine University is one of 28 colleges and universities in the country to receive grants of from $1 to $2 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. for programs "that enable young people to draw upon the resources of religious wisdom as they consider their vocational choices and explore the ministry as a possible profession."
Pepperdine received $1,999,049 in support of a five-year program that will transform the campus community and the lives of students by having the question of vocation and the goal of living for others become central to the University culture and to student thinking.
"We are truly honored to be chosen by the Lilly Endowment as a grant recipient," said President Andrew K. Benton. "The Endowment's enlightened and generous support will enable us to advance our mission to educate young men and women for lives of leadership and service."
Dr. Richard Hughes, professor of religion and director of Pepperdine's Center for Faith and Learning, will direct the program, The Pepperdine Voyage: Dying to Self, Living for Others. "Students are at the heart of this project," said Dr. Hughes. "However, to reach the students and sustain this complex program, faculty and staff development will be essential."
The Pepperdine theological exploration of vocation will include a four-year undergraduate academic dimension as well as co-curricular, ministry, and professional school dimensions - all focused on service to others.
Craig Dykstra, vice president for religion at the Indianapolis-based foundation said, "The exciting grants directly address one of the major themes of the Endowment's grant-making in religion, and that is to help identify, recruit, call and nurture into Christian ministry a new generation of talented pastors."
Totaling $55.3 million, the grants will fund programs affecting students, faculty and staff at all the schools. Schools have planned activities such as student retreats, enhancing worship on campus, changing career planning services, curricular changes, lecture series and conferences, special courses, semesters of study in seminaries and divinity schools, internships in congregations and faith-based organizations, and mentoring projects.
"It is clear that these schools bring thought through their missions and strengths and that they were very intentional in devising these proposals," Dykstra said. "The caliber of proposals was outstanding, and it is obvious that all these schools thought seriously and productively about how to encourage young people to consider questions of faith and commitment as they choose their careers."
Founded in 1937, the Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private family foundation that follows its founders' wishes by supporting the causes of religion, community development and education.