North Park Bids Farewell to Two Significant Contributors

CHICAGO, IL (May 17, 2010) – Two significant contributors to North Park University are moving on to their next endeavors.

Senior Vice President Daniel Tepke to Retire

Dan Tepke, Senior Vice PresidentDaniel Tepke has announced his plan to transition to retirement and end his appointment as senior vice president, effective June 30, 2010.

Since returning to North Park University in 2004, Dan Tepke has provided leadership in several parts of the University. As senior vice president, he presently oversees enrollment management, external relations, and athletics. In previous years, he also worked with development and alumni relations, and student development.

Early in his time at North Park, Tepke was instrumental in implementing the tuition restructuring project, which repositioned the university within the competitive marketplace. Additionally, Dan served on the three-member “office of the president” team during the 18-month period prior to President Parkyn’s appointment as president.

Following Tepke’s retirement, his parts of the senior leadership portfolio will be assigned to a restructured position as Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing. The University is launching a search to fill this position, with assistance from EFL Associates, a consulting firm which specializes in senior leadership searches for colleges and universities. The specific parameters of this restructured position are described in an opportunity profile posted in the human resources section of the North Park web site.

It is likely that Tepke will continue to work with North Park through occasional consulting assignments supporting special campus projects or initiatives. And we will no doubt continue to see him at athletic contests at North Park, something to which he has been faithful since his student days on the Vikings football team.

President Parkyn said, “We’ll miss Dan’s presence on campus, his exceptional loyalty to North Park, his faithful attendance at athletic contests and musical events, and his senior leadership work with our administrative teams in external relations, athletics, and admissions.”

University Ministries Program Coordinator Paul Johnson Departs

Paul Johnson with StudentsPaul Johnson came to North Park 17 years ago as a freshman. He leaves Friday having influenced significant improvements to the spiritual and physical landscapes of the campus.

Johnson has served in multiple capacities at the school, but he currently is the part-time program coordinator for University Ministries. He has to look at his business card to remember his other current title—project director and campus planning associate.

“I’ve had so many titles, I can’t remember them all,” he muses.

Johnson will join the staff of Willow Creek Community Church on June 1. Johnson will be a member of the creative team that plans worship services and also will oversee video production. He will be working alongside other staff previously connected with North Park.

Johnson also has served on the council for CHIC, the triennial youth event sponsored by the Evangelical Covenant Church and attended by as many as 6,000 students and volunteers. He oversaw the Mainstage production in 2006 and 2009.

He came to the school pursuing what seemed to many an odd dual major—youth ministry and finance. Over the years, however, he has combined his passion for ministry with a business sense.

Two of the most significant developments in which Johnson played a major role were the formation of University Ministries and the greening of the campus.

When he graduated, Johnson was hired to be the assistant for College Life, which was staffed by Chaplain Jodi Mullen Fondell and himself. After Fondell left, Mark Olson, who is now the dean of enrollment and director of church relations, was hired to fill her spot, and he suggested redeveloping the ministry.

Ultimately, the new ministry brought together College Life and Urban Outreach, a program through which student could engage in compassion, mercy, and justice work throughout the city. The number of staff is now eight, supported by numerous student volunteers.

Johnson says he never dreamed Campus Ministries would grow so large and influential. “What we have now in the way of staff support, program dollars, and student involvement is nothing short of spectacular. In fact, there is no other institution of higher education, particularly among Christian colleges and universities, with as large, diverse, and educated a staff as we have today in University Ministries.”

The spiritual life of the campus has deepened significantly over the years, Johnson says.

“About 100 people went to chapel on a regular basis, and only 50 students went to College Life—on a good night,” he recalls. “There were a handful of students in small groups, but the prayer team didn’t exist, there was no dedicated 24-hour prayer room, and the conversations about reconciliation and justice were in their early embryonic stages.”

He adds, “We’ve created a different kind of destination for students, one where you can know your Christian identity, grow in Christ-like character, and put your faith into action. And we do all this in an environment where nothing is mandatory, there’s no statement of faith to sign, and we get to rub shoulders with students from all different faith backgrounds.”

Despite the many hours Johnson works with UMin, he actually is part time. He also helps guide renovation and new construction projects. He has had a hand in renovating and/or building every major project in recent years, including the Helwig Recreation Center, Sawyer Court and Park North apartments, and the Holmgren Athletic Complex.

Johnson is perhaps proudest of the project he says speaks most to the theme of transformation—the “greenspace overhaul.” He notes, “It was one of the, if not the most, ambitious building projects the University has ever endeavored to tackle.”

Prior to the project, there were no places that offered real opportunity for outdoor recreation and relaxation, the circulation patterns were outdated, plant health was poor, and the new Brandel Library was cut off from the rest of campus by a city street and alley filled with parked cars and power lines, Johnson recalls.

The campus now lives up to its “Park” name, and the landscape design has won several prestigious awards. “We planted native grasses; divided spaces into intimate, sheltered areas for relaxation, study, and meeting; and planted more than one hundred new trees of varying sizes and textures to replace others that were inappropriate, prone to damage, or unhealthy.”

The major overhaul wasn’t initially planned when school officials started talking about tearing down Wallgren Library and building the Brandel Library. In the end, the school made changes that awe former students when they return.

Like the greenspace overhaul, Johnson’s work with the development projects also wasn’t planned. He had traveled to CHIC to help with the Admissions Department booth, where he worked alongside President David Horner dishing out cotton candy.

“When you’re working alongside someone for four hours a day for five days, you have a lot of conversations,” Johnson says. Some of those discussions focused on plans for the campus, and the president ultimately asked Johnson to sit in on staff planning sessions. “I gradually worked myself into a job.”

Those who have worked with Johnson express admiration and gratitude for what he has accomplished in whatever job he worked. “Occasionally, we have the opportunity to work alongside someone who is incredibly gifted and competent, someone who inspires us, cares for us and demonstrates deep generosity of time, resources, and talent,” says Rich Johnson (no relation), director of University Ministries. “Members of the North Park University community have known this privilege through our interaction with Paul Johnson.”

Carl Balsam, vice president and chief financial officer, offers similar words: “Paul is creative, visionary, and sets very high standards of excellence. His creative and helpful input is written all over the transformative landscaping that has changed our campus so dramatically. It is Paul’s character and Kingdom building commitment that is most impressive, and his work has been marked by his deep humility and his servant’s heart—always focused on how to make things better for our students. He will be deeply missed.”

Johnson leaves with the expected mixed emotions, saying, “I got the sense that the time is right, and that I was needing new challenges. But North Park has been so good to me. What I leave behind is a good healthy place.”