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A Festive Evening Kicks Off "Campaign North Park"

Science and Community Life Building

The University announces significant progress toward major objectives

CHICAGO, IL (June 8, 2011) — North Park University marked the formal launch of its $57 million fund-raising initiative, Campaign North Park, with an evening reception and program welcoming nearly 300 guests to campus on Saturday.

Central to the campaign is a new $42 million Science and Community Life Building in the heart of campus. Highlighting the evening’s program, President David L. Parkyn announced that $30.3 million had been successfully raised during the Campaign’s “quiet” phase, representing significant progress toward this major goal.

Alumni, donors, and other friends of North Park gathered on the University’s central Greenspace for the festive outdoor reception to officially kick off the University’s major fund-raising initiative that also aims to increase support for North Park’s endowment and academic programs.

Campaign co-chairs David Helwig, chair of the North Park University Board of Trustees, and Dr. G. Timothy Johnson, senior medical editor for ABC, were on hand to encourage, support, and affirm their own commitment to advancing North Park for a stronger future.

Helwig emphasized, “From my perspective, as the chair of the board of trustees, I know how important this campaign is for us to be able to recruit the caliber of students that we seek.” Leading-edge classrooms and labs in the new building should attract and retain both students and faculty to carry on North Park’s well-known traditions in the sciences and nursing.

Dr. Johnson pointed out, “I received my moral and academic foundation at North Park, and I strongly believe the future of science and nursing education at North Park depends on the construction of this building.”

The proposed 90,000-square-foot facility will include state-of-the-art science labs, plus high-tech classrooms, seminar and conference rooms, and co-curricular program facilities, as well as space for dining and social interaction.

After an hors d’oeuvres welcome, the assembled guests convened in Anderson Chapel for the evening’s formal program before returning to the candlelit tent for a dessert reception. It proved to be a perfect evening, after thunderstorms roared through the neighborhood earlier in the day, but early enough not to dampen the occasion.

Mary Surridge, Timothy Johnson, David Helwig, and David Parkyn

Mary Surridge, the University’s vice president for development and alumni relations, said of the event, “We make it a priority to say ‘thank you’ to our friends and supporters, and I was delighted to see so many faithful North Parkers gathered here on campus so we could express our gratitude and invite their partnership. North Park is strong and getting stronger. I truly believe there has never been a better time to serve and support our great University.”

Surridge introduced the featured speakers on the program, who included:

  • Rev. Gary Walter, president of the Evangelical Covenant Church
  • Dr. David L. Parkyn, president of North Park University
  • David S. Helwig and Dr. G. Timothy Johnson, campaign co-chairs
  • Monica Cholewinski, a biology major who graduated in May
  • Dr. Darlene Nelson, a physician, medical researcher, and 2001 North Park alumna
  • Dr. Jeff Nelson, professor of biology

In his remarks, Pres. Parkyn recounted turning points in North Park’s history, including the 1979 decision to decline an opportunity to leave Chicago for the suburbs and the foresight ten years ago to redesign the center of campus “from a streetscape into a garden.” Parkyn said, “In the life of every organization there are unique moments that offer an opportunity to make history. Campaign North Park — this is our time to make history.”

The $57 million goal of Campaign North Park centers on the Science and Community Life Building but also includes multi-million-dollar commitments to student scholarships, Chicago-based programs, and the University’s annual fund. Pres. Parkyn noted the strategic importance of a new facility to support North Park’s programs in the sciences and nursing, noting that “it is people and place that shape students” and that the campaign’s key objective will advance the two together.

The evening was enriched by faculty and students from the School of Music who provided entertainment, with a jazz quartet led by Prof. Joe Lill outside under the tent and a string ensemble directed by Prof. David Yonan inside Anderson Chapel.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress of the campaign so far,” observed Pres. Parkyn. “The generosity of donors to date and the good spirit evident on Saturday night bode well for our continued progress toward the challenging and meaningful goals of Campaign North Park.”