Lilly Endowment makes grants to strengthen campus ministries serving public universities

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INDIANAPOLIS – Faced with many choices, college students long to reflect on their deepest concerns and to clarify their values. Campus ministries are responding, developing innovative programs across the nation that help students draw on their faith as they make life-defining decisions about their futures.

In support of this effort, Lilly Endowment Inc. is giving $3.89 million in grants to 53 private campus ministry organizations working with students at 49 public universities nationwide. This is the third round of grants under the Endowment’s Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative, which supports vocational discernment programs for undergraduate students at public universities. The initiative is designed to encourage campus ministries to create programs and strengthen existing ones to help students make connections between their academic and career pursuits and their faith commitments.

“Campus ministries play a critical role in helping students explore their academic and career interests and their faith as they pursue their hopes and dreams,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment. “These ministries are creating spaces that give busy college students time to discover how God calls them to use their knowledge and talents to serve others.”

Projects include efforts that develop student leadership skills and connect students with academic and career mentors; national and international service trips, intentional living communities and small faith-sharing groups through which students can explore together their deepest commitments; and internships with congregations and other faith-based organizations that enable students to consider careers in ministry.

Participating organizations are rooted in diverse Christian traditions – Baptist, Catholic, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Reformed and United Methodist ministries as well as evangelical, nondenominational and ecumenical ministries. Many ministries are based in congregations. Some are free-standing religious organizations devoted exclusively to reaching college students.

“These diverse campus ministries reflect a variety of approaches to Christian community and outreach,” said Coble. “Their efforts help students discover God’s call in their lives and play an important role in fostering a new generation of Christian leaders. Some students are considering ministry and others are learning how they can live their faith through other professions and careers and forms of service.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative in 2012. With this third round of grants the initiative now includes 104 ministries working in 35 states.

The initiative builds on 15 years of strategic support from the Endowment to help students draw more deeply on their faith as they prepare to lead lives of meaning and purpose. These efforts include the Endowment’s Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation and the Council of Independent College’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, which have touched thousands of students at nearly 200 private colleges and universities.

The 53 grant recipients of the 2015 round of the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative include:

Agape House at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Baptist General Association of Virginia’s Kairos Leadership Initiative at public universities in Virginia, Richmond, VA

Campus Christian Fellowship at public universities in Iowa, Ames, IA

Campus Ministry@GVSU at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

Catholic Center at Georgia Tech at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

College Avenue United Methodist Church at Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Emmaus Campus Ministry at the University of Montana, Missoula, MT

Encounter at Illinois State University, Normal, IL

Episcopal Campus Ministry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

His House Christian Fellowship at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI

House University Ministries of Chattanooga at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship-USA, Madison, WI

Jubilee Campus Ministry at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Kentucky State University Wesley Foundation at Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY

Lutheran Campus Ministry at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Lutheran Campus Ministry at Minot State University, Minot, ND

Lutheran Campus Ministry at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Lutheran Campus Ministry at University of Maryland-College Park, College Park, MD

MacLaurin CSF at University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

New Church Lawrence at University of Kansas, Wichita, KS

New College Berkeley at University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Newman Community at Virginia Tech at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Osprey Episcopalians Campus Ministry at University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL

Protestant Campus Ministry@Bloomsburg at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, PA

Purdue Collegiate Ministry and the International Campus Ministry at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Reformed University Fellowship at Boise State University, Boise, ID

Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte’s Disciples in Ministry at six public universities in North Carolina, Charlotte, NC

Roman Catholic Newman Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Saint Paul’s Outreach Inc. at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, West St. Paul, MN

St. Augustine Church and the Catholic Student Center at University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

St. John Catholic Church and Student Center at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

St. John XXIII Catholic Church at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL

St. Paul’s Catholic Center at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

St. Paul’s Newman Center at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation at Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and Newman Center at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center at Iowa State University, Ames, IA

St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Moorhead, MN

St. Thomas More Newman Center at the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Texas Baptist Student Ministry at public universities in Texas, Dallas, TX

The Wesley – United Methodist Ministry at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Theological Horizons Inc. at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Tyson House Episcopal and Lutheran Ministry at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Knoxville, TN

Ukirk at Ole Miss at University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

United Campus Ministry in Aggieland Inc. at Texas A&M University and Blinn College, College Station, TX

United Campus Ministry at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AK

University Catholic Center at University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

University Chapel at the University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

University Christian Ministries at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Sun Prairie, WI

Wesley Foundation at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Wesley Foundation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Wesley-Luther Campus Ministries at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro, NC


About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his two sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., with gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company. The Endowment is primarily committed to the causes of community development, education and religion. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking aims primarily to enhance the vitality of American congregations and strengthen the quality of leadership in religious communities. More information can be found at


Judith Cebula

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