A planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indianapolis, Ind., will enhance and focus Hope College's on-going exploration of the way that faith, learning and vocation can mix.
The $49,689 grant is one of 31 awarded to
institutions nationwide through the Endowment's "Programs
for the Theological Exploration of Vocation." The colleges
and universities that received grants applied by invitation
only, and are charged with using the resources to develop
proposals for additional funding from the endowment.
The award will support Hope in a comprehensive
review of current and potential approaches to blending faith
perspective into the educational program. According to Dr.
William Reynolds, dean for the arts and humanities at Hope
and the grant's co-director, the award will have a
meaningful impact whether or not Hope receives further
"Hope's mission includes helping students to
develop a theological understanding of God's call on their
lives," Reynolds said. "This award will support the on-
going conversation that Hope always needs to be having about
its identity and the way that its vision can and should be
Reynolds noted that the college already has
several programs in place that link faith, learning and
vocation. Such efforts range from Senior Seminars that
prompt all Hope seniors to confront questions of value and
belief as they anticipate life after graduation; to the Pew
Society for students interested in exploring graduate study
and higher education as a Christian vocation; to service-
oriented experiences arranged by several departments,
including the popular Spring Break mission trips organized
by the Campus Ministries Office; to programs to help faculty
explore issues of faith and learning.
Through the planning grant, members of the Hope
faculty and staff will consider ways to enhance such
existing programs as well as possibilities for the future.
The discussion will continue through the forthcoming spring
semester, leading to a proposal to the Endowment for a
"I'm confident that much of what we will propose
will be things that we will want to do even if we don't
receive the subsequent award," Reynolds said. "But the
additional grant, if we receive it, will allow us to do more
and do it sooner than if we don't."
Hope is the only college or university from
Michigan to receive one of the 31 planning grants. The
others range from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, to
Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., to the College of
Wooster in Ohio, to Davidson College in North Carolina, to
Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., to the University
of Notre Dame in Indiana.