Category: Stories

University Trustees Hear Positive Recruiting News, Building Progress Report

University Trustees Hear Positive Recruiting News, Building Progress Report

Board of trustees member David Otfinoski signs a steel beam to be used in the construction of the Johnson Center.

Board of trustees member David Otfinoski, Chester, Conn., joins other board members and signs a steel beam to be used in the construction of the Johnson Center.

Campaign North Park nearing completion, trustees told


CHICAGO (May 29, 2013) — News about student recruiting for the 2013 academic year, progress on the University's newest academic building, election of officers, and recognition of outgoing board members were topics of the North Park University board of trustees spring meeting. The trustees met here May 9–10, and participated in spring commencement activities May 11.

In his report, Dr. David L. Parkyn, University president, said recruiting of students through early May for the upcoming academic year "is on a good trajectory," with more work continuing through the summer. New student enrollment for the fall semester is expected to be higher than in 2012. The news follows spring semester enrollment of 1,653 undergraduate students, plus 93 new undergraduate students, the University's second largest mid-year new student enrollment in eight years.

Parkyn also noted that the University's 125th anniversary is in 2016, and commented on some preliminary ideas related to the anniversary. He said he plans to discuss more information in greater detail with the board and campus community in the coming year.

Campaign North Park, a comprehensive $57 million fundraising effort, is nearly complete, Parkyn said. The centerpiece of the campaign is the $44 million Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life, now under construction. Bruce Bickner, University trustee from Sycamore, Ill., told the trustees that about $40 million has been committed to fund the building project, with additional gifts expected this summer. The new building's foundation is complete, and a steel infrastructure is being put into place. The Johnson Center is expected to open in 2014. Other components of the campaign included giving to the annual fund, scholarships, and Chicago-based academic programs and faculty development.

Annual giving remains a continuing priority for University's fundraising activities, Bickner reported. The number of donors to the University has significantly increased over a year ago, due to the momentum of donor participation in Campaign North Park. Ongoing annual giving efforts will focus on student success, highlighting scholarships for University students, North Park Theological Seminary students, and student and faculty enrichment initiatives, he said.

Rev. David Kersten, dean of the Seminary, said the Seminary faculty and staff are working on specific priorities resulting from a strategic planning report. Priorities include establishing metrics for stabilizing and building Seminary finances, adjusting academy time for master of divinity students, developing a robust plan for lifelong learning, and moving appropriate parts of the curriculum to online learning. He also reported that Hauna Ondrey will join the faculty next January for a two-year teaching fellowship in church history. Ondrey, who brings considerable teaching and writing experience to her new role, holds a bachelor of arts degree in biblical and theological studies from the University and a master of divinity from the Seminary. She is completing a doctorate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

The board of trustees recognized members completing five-year terms: Ann Alvarez, Chicago; Donna Erickson, Minneapolis; Dave Hanson, Granite Bay, Calif.; Karen Tamte, Chanhassen, Minn.; and Louise Wilson, Arden Hills, Minn.

The board elected new officers, including Virgil Applequist, Palatine, Ill., who succeeds Hanson as finance committee chair and treasurer, and Kathryn Edin, Brookline, Mass., who succeeds Tamte as secretary. Continuing as officers are David Helwig, board chair, Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Paul Hawkinson, vice chair, Green Oaks, Ill. Dawn Helwig, Chicago, is the board's liaison to the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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University’s Axelson Center Accepting 2013 Nonprofit Awards Applications

University's Axelson Center Accepting 2013 Nonprofit Awards Applications

Modesto Tico Valle accepts the Alford-Axelson Award, which was presented to the Center on Halsted in 2012 at the annual Axelson Symposium in Chicago.

Modesto Tico Valle accepts the Alford-Axelson Award, which was presented to the Center on Halsted in 2012 at the annual Axelson Symposium in Chicago.

Applications due February 1; two awards to be presented at annual symposium

CHICAGO (January 11, 2013) — The Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University is accepting nominations and applications through February 1 for its prestigious Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence. The Axelson Center will present two awards of $7,500 each, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank—one to a nonprofit with an annual budget under $3 million, and another to a nonprofit with an annual budget exceeding $3 million.

The award honors and continues the legacies of Nils G. Axelson, a devoted community health care leader and visionary, and Jimmie R. Alford, a leading contemporary thinker and practitioner in the nonprofit arena.

"For more than 10 years, the Axelson Center has awarded the Alford-Axelson Award to two exceptional Chicago-area nonprofit organizations," said Dr. Pier Rogers, the center's director. "But this isn’t about the Axelson Center so much as it is about an elite group of 22 past award winners who represent the 'best of the best' in terms of nonprofit management structure and leadership. Without these organizations, Chicago wouldn’t be the same vital city that it is today."

Previous recipients of the award confirm its value for promoting overall organizational excellence and for improving staff. In 2012, Center on Halsted, Chicago, was the award winner for large nonprofit organizations. Modesto Tico Valle, chief executive officer, said the center's executive team invested several months in the award process by reviewing and improving organizational practices. "Auditing our practices really helped us as an organization," he said. "Whether we won or not, it was good to pause and reflect, and audit our work internally. Organizations should do that on a regular basis."

Center on Halsted has about 70 employees, full- and part-time, and provides social service and public programs. It provides direct services annually to about 35,000 people, Valle said. The organization used its cash award to help senior staff improve a variety of management skills. The recognition has challenged the staff to be innovative and employ best practices regularly. "It was an honor to receive this in our fifth year of service, Valle added. "For me it also means, 'What does the next five years look like?' and 'How do we reflect that behavior and excellence in our work?'"

Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Chicago, was the 2011 award recipient for small nonprofits. Two years earlier, the awards committee had given the shelter's application an honorable mention, a catalyst to continue improving administrative practices, said Erin Ryan, the shelter's director. Among the changes the organization made when it tried for the award again were refocusing its board on strategic planning and hiring a business manager to help realign administrative duties.  

"The application process is rigorous. It made us think hard and examine our processes," Ryan said. "It's easy for a small organization to assume it is 'too small,' but the application process dispels that myth. We can function as a bigger organization, be good stewards of money we raise and good stewards of the services we provide." The shelter serves about 400 people living with homelessness, and provides assistance to relocate people into permanent housing with support services. It has about 12 full- and part-time employees, plus volunteers. The shelter used its cash award to hire a social work intern for a summer, a helpful step for staff and clients, Ryan said. The award has helped donors trust that the organization is efficient administratively, and that its resources are well-managed, she said. This year, the shelter will enter into its first government contract to provide permanent shelter and temporary services to clients.

A selection committee will determine this year's Alford-Axelson Award recipients. "We established a set of seven hallmarks of nonprofit managerial excellence, and organizations that exhibit strength in all seven areas are recognized by their peers as leaders in our sector. The selection committee is made up of Chicago-area nonprofit and civic community leaders. They have the formidable task of selecting each year’s winners," Rogers added.

To be considered, applicant organizations must be defined as 501(c)3 organizations, with their primary mission focus benefiting Chicago and/or its surrounding communities. The Axelson Center will accept nominations for the award by email or by phone, however organizations do not need to be nominated to apply. Recipients will be recognized at the annual Axelson Symposium, June 4, 2013, in Chicago.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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Learn more about the Axelson Center's professional development workshops and its professional certificate program in nonprofit management.

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North Park University to be Site of Wheel Gymnastics World Championships

North Park University to be Site of Wheel Gymnastics World Championships

International Wheel Gymnastics Championship

Athletes coming to Chicago July 8-14

CHICAGO (July 3, 2013) — The 10th Wheel Gymnastics World Championships are coming to Chicago July 8–14, with much of the competition happening on the campus of North Park University. This unique form of gymnastics originated in Germany, putting athletes inside a large wheel, known as a Rhönrad, to perform exercises in categories that include straight line, spiral, and vault.

Hosted by the USA Wheel Gymnastics Federation and American Sokol, the championships feature more than 130 athletes from 17 nations. General admission tickets are available, and can be purchased online. Competition will be divided between males and females, and junior and senior competitors. Awards will be given for best all-around, spiral, straight line, vault, and mono wheel competitions. This is the first time the competition has been held outside of Europe.

Prior to the world championships, the 8th USA Wheel Gymnastics Open Championship and first ever qualification trials for TEAM USA Wheel Gymnastics took place March 7–10, 2013. Dubbed the “Chicago Big Wheel Weekend,” the USA Wheel Gymnastics Federation and American Sokol hosted this weekend of training courses and competition trials to qualify for TEAM USA in the July World Championships.

About the Wheel Gymnastics World Championships

In 1924 Otto Feick invented and built the Rhönrad (the German Wheel), and began traveling all over Europe and to the United States to promote the newly-created sport of wheel gymnastics. After a surge in popularity following World War II, the Internationaler Rhönradturn-Verband (IRV) was formed to oversee all international competitions and training. Seven member countries comprise the IRV and approximately 25 nations participate in the sport, with international training camps and World Championships being hosted in alternate years. The initial World Championship was held in Den Helder, Netherlands, in 1995.

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University Awards Degrees to 412 Students at Spring Commencement Ceremonies

University Awards Degrees to 412 Students at Spring Commencement Ceremonies

Eboo Patel speaks at North Park University's spring commencement.

Eboo Patel spoke to the graduates May 11 following presentation of the David Nyvall Medallion.

Nyvall Medallion presented to Eboo Patel, outstanding students honored


CHICAGO (May 13, 2013) — North Park University awarded degrees May 11 to 412 graduates at three commencement ceremonies, culminating the 2012-2013 academic year. Events were held for students who earned undergraduate degrees, students who earned graduate degrees and degrees through the School of Adult Learning, and for graduates of North Park Theological Seminary. Combined with the winter commencement held last December, degrees were presented to 657 North Park University graduates this academic year.

Preceding graduation was a baccalaureate service May 10 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago. In an address, Dr. David L. Parkyn, president of North Park University, drew a comparison between the graduates and the words of Psalm 1. "Once you came to North Park, a sapling asking to be planted by the river, to be tended and nourished, to be pruned and watered," he said. "Tomorrow you will leave North Park. Tomorrow you will be uprooted—for this is why you were planted. Tomorrow is the day of your transplanting."

At its undergraduate commencement May 11, the University presented its David Nyvall Medallion to Eboo Patel, Chicago, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that promotes interfaith cooperation by motivating young adults through service. Named for the first president of North Park University, the medallion is presented for distinguished service to the people of Chicago.

In response, Patel told stories of his own youth as the son of Indian immigrants, and how he learned to build bridges and form relationships with people, instead of building barriers. "We live in a world with people of all different backgrounds," he told the graduates. "As you are yourself in this world—giving expression to the formation you've received in your homes, in your churches, and at this university—are differences going to be opportunities for barriers or bridges?" In encouraging students to build bridges, Patel drew attention to Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5—7): "Blessed are the peacemakers."

He reminded the students that leaders build bridges and "carve out" common ground for successful relationships—and that a significant part of their North Park education—focused on lives of significance and service, is about leadership. Patel added that one of the most important gifts of a Christian liberal arts education "is the gift of perspective—a warm, loving perspective on a roiling world."

The University presented 262 bachelor's degrees. The Ahnfeldt Medallion, this year presented to two seniors with the highest grade point averages, went to Waseem Sous, Lincolnwood, Ill., bachelor of science in biology, and Miranda VanderMey, Mount Vernon, Wash., bachelor of arts in sociology. North Park's 2013 Fulbright Student Award winners were introduced, Timothy Ahlberg, Perrysburg, Ohio, and Samuel Auger, Chicago.

Several students from the North Park College (now University) class of 1963 were recognized as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation.

Four graduates addressed the afternoon commencement ceremony for graduate programs and the School of Adult Learning (SAL), sharing the ways in which their University education shaped their lives and careers. Carlina Gonzalez-Allen, Joliet, Ill., an SAL graduate with a bachelor of arts in criminal justice, told the graduates that having "a vision" helped her keep studying, and made the sacrifices worthwhile. "Vision takes ordinary people and leads them to lives of true significance," Gonzalez-Allen said. Other speakers were Sherida Hudak, Chicago, master of management, School of Business and Nonprofit Management; Toni Poteres, Niles, Ill., master of arts in education, School of Education; and Berrie Anderson-Gwinn, Lake Zurich, Ill., master of science in nursing, School of Nursing.

At the Seminary commencement, which honored 37 graduates, Erik Borggren, Chicago, master of divinity, was presented the Ahnfeldt Medallion for the highest grade point average. In addition, academic awards were presented to several students.

Dr. Carol Noren, the Seminary's Wesley W. Nelson Professor of Homeletics, presented the commencement address at the Seminary. She commented on Paul's sermon at Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17), pointing out that the first few lines of his sermon were especially memorable. She urged the graduates, who want to begin their church careers well, not to forget "to what end you have been called."

"Do not be deceived into thinking that success or faithfulness can be measured only by your relevance to the surrounding culture, your ability to speak the local dialect, or how quickly opportunities come to you … It is our God who will remain unknown unless we dare proclaim Christ crucified and risen, ascended and coming to judge the quick and the dead," Noren said.

Rev. David W. Kersten, dean of North Park Theological Seminary, presided at the Seminary commencement. Graduates were also greeted by the University president.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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North Park University Confers 269 Degrees at 2013 Winter Commencement

North Park University Confers 269 Degrees at 2013 Winter Commencement


Graduates called to continue discovering their dream

For 269 graduates, making it to the commencement stage on Friday, December 13 in the North Park Gymnasium was a dream come true. The hours of planning, saving, and studying finally earned that moment in front of a full house of family and friends.

Bachelor’s degrees were presented to 180 students, representing a wide range of undergraduate majors from across the University, including the School of Adult Learning. Graduate degrees and certificates were awarded to 89 students from the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, School of Education, School of Nursing, and North Park Theological Seminary.

“You’ve made it,” said North Park University President David L. Parkyn, welcoming the crowd from the stage decorated in poinsettias and flags representing the international diversity of graduates. “This is your night!”

But as students are taught throughout their North Park education, their time at the University and the degrees they earned are about much more than individual achievement.

“Serve, North Park proclaims, and in service you’ll begin to discover your dream,” Parkyn said during his charge to graduates. “Continue to serve after you’ve graduated and you’ll continue to discover your dream.”

Dr. Parkyn talked of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous dream, and its echoes throughout the history of Christian faith and Scripture. “Call it service, call it loving your neighbor as Jesus does, call it loving kindness as the Hebrew prophet does—call it anything you like but get ahold of it because discovering your dream starts in serving others—while you’re a student and after you graduate.”

The commencement program included a reading from Proverbs, choral performances by the University Choir, a graduation litany, and a presentation of degrees by University deans. Students were led into the gymnasium by a procession of flags of countries and territories in which graduates were born, are citizens, or have been residents. The flags of the United States, the city of Chicago, and North Park University led the procession, followed by the flags of Assyria, Brazil, Finland, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Slovakia, and Sweden.

The commencement ceremony also featured a benediction from Numbers 6:24-26, read by graduates in five languages, including Mongolian, French, Finnish, Swedish, and Tagalog.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. Learn more about North Park University.

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University’s 14th Axelson Center Symposium Draws More than 500 Nonprofit Leaders

University's 14th Axelson Center Symposium Draws More than 500 Nonprofit Leaders

Johnny Imerman at Axelson Center Symposium

Jonny Imerman, founder of Imerman Angels, speaks at a symposium plenary session featuring founders of Chicago-area nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofit founders, author among keynotes; top organizations recognized


CHICAGO (June 7, 2013) — Nonprofit leaders and volunteers from throughout Chicago and Midwest met here June 4 at the 14th Annual Axelson Center Symposium for Nonprofit Professionals and Volunteers to learn how to engage and motivate key stakeholders in their organizations. Nearly 570 attendees learned from keynote speakers and a variety of workshop leaders who addressed the conference theme, "The Engagement Effect."

The symposium is organized and presented annually by North Park University's Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management. The Axelson Center also presented a June 3 Pre-Conference Revenue Institute, at which speakers addressed trends and strategies related to nonprofit revenue streams.

The symposium drew a cross-section of nonprofit leaders from large and small organizations, and people planning nonprofit careers. Attending his fourth Axelson Symposium, José Segarra, manager for government and external relations, American Board of Medical Specialties, Chicago, said he learned about a Web-based database with information to help nonprofit organizations collaborate and expand their reach. "I always come out of these sessions with practical things I can apply in my job or pass on to somebody else. This gives me a chance to use these resources and apply what I'm learning," said Segarra, a 2012 University graduate with a master of nonprofit administration degree.

Also attending was Sandra Davis from blackgivesback, Chicago, an organization that reports African American philanthropy. A workshop on individual and organizational behavior helped her consider her work differently, she said. "Your behavior has to align with your mission. People talk about organizational behavior, but individual behavior has to align with the organization's mission. That is really fundamental," Davis said. The symposium is a place to meet people, and for each attendee "to learn some actionable items to take back to the office, to elevate themselves and to innovate," she added.

Axelson Center presents annual nonprofit awards

Each year, the Axelson Center presents awards recognizing the achievements of Chicago-area nonprofits. A committee of nonprofit and community leaders determine the recipients:

Honors for Jimmie Alford, nonprofit leader and advocate

Symposium attendees honored the late Jimmie Alford of Chicago, for his 45 years of service to nonprofits. An Axelson Center founding advocate, executive-in-residence with the University's School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM), and well-known U.S. nonprofit leader, Alford died unexpectedly at his Chicago home in December 2012.

"Jimmie was instrumental in the early days of the Axelson Center, and worked tirelessly to help lay the foundation for it to become the premier center in the Chicago region for nonprofit professional education," said Dr. Wesley E. Lindahl, SBNM professor and dean. Alford, a North Park alumnus, once served on the board of trustees and founded The Alford Group, a nonprofit consulting firm.

"Jimmie is here with us because each of you represent what he loved and adored about this field," said Alford's widow, Maree Bullock, addressing symposium attendees. "As I look out over your faces, I see good—good work, good deeds, good intentions—and Jimmie would have loved to see the sea of good that I see."

Founders, author address nonprofit engagement in plenaries

Six Chicago-area nonprofit leaders opened the symposium in "Founders Fired Up," discussing how they started their nonprofits, and strategies for keeping their communities engaged. Forming partnerships led to success for Jonny Imerman, a "CNN Hero" and founder of Imerman Angels, a community that provides one-on-one support for cancer survivors and caregivers. "It's all about teams. It's all about finding your niche. If it's already being done, join them. If it's not being done, build it," Imerman said. Also speaking were Jenna Benn of Twist Out Cancer, an online cancer support organization; Malik Gillani, Silk Road Rising, which uses theater and online plays to share stories of Americans from the Middle East and Asia; Lisa Nigro of Inspiration Corporation, which serves restaurant-style meals to people who are homeless; Reveca Torres of Backbones, a support organization for people living with spinal cord injuries and their caregivers; and Jeremy Weisbach of Jimmy Insulin, which supports people living with diabetes.

Shirley Sagawa, co-founder, Sagawa/Jospin Consulting Firm, discussed key points in The Charismatic Organization, a book she co-wrote. She noted some organizations may be led by charismatic leaders, but they're not necessarily growing. She advocated for a different leadership style, in which leaders focus primarily on the mission and the organization before themselves; recruit the "right people in the right jobs," and nurture them; share power and responsibility; and build a strong community, which Sagawa said is critical to success. "What we're trying to do is develop leaders of charismatic organizations," she said.



Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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University Offers New Master’s Program for Aspiring Illinois School Principals

University Offers New Master's Program for Aspiring Illinois School Principals

Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

The School of Education's new MAEL program begins in July with the first cohort.

Principal endorsement, MAEL program cohort launches July 13

CHICAGO (May 2, 2013) — This summer, North Park University's School of Education will begin preparing certified teachers to "think like a leader, act like a leader, and be a leader," a phrase that appears throughout its new academic program for aspiring school principals. Beginning July 13, the University will offer a new program that enables a certified teacher to earn a principal endorsement on the new Educator License, and earn a master of arts in educational leadership (MAEL) degree.

The new degree program is a successor to the Type 75 general administrative certificate program, which is being phased out by the State of Illinois, said Dr. Rebecca Nelson, dean of the School of Education and associate professor of education. The new state-approved MAEL program "is absolutely a missional match because preparing people to serve in leadership roles is congruent with North Park's mission," she said. Students who will enter the MAEL program are highly motivated, and want to learn as much as they can about the demanding and complex jobs of school principals, Nelson added.

Meeting in cohorts, students will learn through classroom instruction taught by educators and other professionals, plus an internship experience. While other colleges and universities may offer similar programs to prepare school principals, North Park offers smaller cohorts and individualized support for students in its MAEL program. "Small class sizes during the coursework sessions allow us to have a lot of dialogue, interaction, and feedback," said Dr. Sally Pryor, MAEL program coordinator, and associate professor of education. "During their internships, we go to their schools and meet with them on-site, and in our classes, we discuss what they're learning through their internship experiences." The University's program also provides instruction in ethical leadership, and its instructors are all current or retired public school administrators in Illinois, she added.

MAEL classes will meet on Saturdays, with summer-intensive classes. The program can be completed in 22 to 24 months, including the internship. The first cohort for North Park's MAEL program will start with an accelerated educational leadership course that will meet at the University's Chicago campus on three successive Saturdays: July 13, 20, and 27. That course is intended to provide a foundation for what it means to be an educational leader. Students will also begin to develop a portfolio reflecting experience and achievement, Pryor said.

"The state requires that teachers who enter these programs be able to demonstrate they have had a positive impact on student achievement in two of the last five years of their teaching experience by showing growth," Pryor said. "They must demonstrate they have had leadership opportunities in their teaching positions, and how they've done that."

As part of its MAEL program, the University is working with three Illinois partner schools that helped develop the educational program, and will aid in instruction and the program's ongoing evaluation. The schools are Mary, Seat of Wisdom School, Park Ridge, East Prairie School District 73, Skokie, and Rhodes School District 84.5, River Grove.


Meanwhile, students in the final cohort of the old Type 75 program begin internships this month and are expected to finish no later than June 30, 2014. Sixty people went through North Park's program to earn administrative certificates, Pryor said. North Park students who took the Type 75 exam have all passed. "They're telling us that they feel very well prepared based on what they've learned in the program. They go into interviews with confidence and are able to convey the knowledge and skill they have, as well as the heart to be a principal," she added.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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Explore other graduate academic programs in the School of Education.

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Nyvall at 150: The Founding President’s Enduring Impact at North Park

Nyvall at 150: The Founding President's Enduring Impact at North Park

Dr. Scott Erickson

Alumnus Dr. Scott Erickson will present a lecture on the legacy of North Park University's founding president David Nyvall on Thursday, October 10.

Dr. Scott Erickson to Give Lecture on University President David Nyvall

CHICAGO (September 25, 2013)—In honor of the 150th anniversary of the birth of early Evangelical Covenant Church leader and founding North Park University president David Nyvall (1863–1946), University alumnus and leading Nyvall scholar Dr. Scott Erickson C'89 S'93 will present a lecture on the leadership role Nyvall played at the University, and how his influence continues to shape its mission and culture.


Presented by the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections and the Zenos E. Hawkinson Covenant Heritage Fund, Erickson’s lecture, "Nyvall at 150: The Founding President's Enduring Impact at North Park," will also explore the ways in which Nyvall's strong character and resolve helped him withstand external pressures to conform to the religious and cultural landscape. This ensured the University would endure and, in turn, inspire others to leadership and “the life of the mind and heart,” according to Erickson.

The presentation is free and open to the public, and will be held on Thursday, October 10, at 6:00 pm in the University’s Hamming Hall. Erickson’s lecture coincides with the opening of “David Nyvall: 150 Years Young,” a special exhibit on display during the 2013–14 academic year in the lower level gallery of Brandel Library. A light reception in the gallery will follow the lecture.

Erickson is head of school at the Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park, Calif. An Episcopal priest, Erickson earned his undergraduate degree in music at North Park University and a master of divinity from North Park Theological Seminary, followed by a post-doctoral program at Harvard Divinity School.

Erickson’s doctoral dissertation at Uppsala University, Sweden, focuses on David Nyvall and draws on voluminous primary sources housed at the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections.

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Professor Nnenna Okore Featured in Sculpture Magazine

Professor Nnenna Okore Featured in Sculpture Magazine

Professor Nnenna Okore

Nnenna Okore, associate professor of art

Artist discusses her goal to "engage the viewer visually and provoke questions"

CHICAGO (September 3, 2013) — Nnenna Okore, associate professor of art, is featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Sculpture magazine, a publication of the International Sculpture Center. In the piece, "Political by Nature," Okore discusses her process and approach to creating, her use of a wide range of materials, and her subtle approach to issues of poverty, social class, status, and wealth through her work.

Okore began teaching at North Park University in 2005, and returned this year after a sabbatical leave spent working and teaching on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

Learn more about Sculpture magazine and where to purchase the print edition.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. Learn more about North Park University.

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Seminary Launches Doctor of Ministry in Urban Ministry Leadership

Seminary Launches Doctor of Ministry in Urban Ministry Leadership

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah

North Park's Dr. Soong-Chan Rah has developed this innovative doctor of ministry program alongside Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah to lead program

CHICAGO (October 25, 2013) — North Park Theological Seminary, in partnership with Fuller Theological Seminary, is launching a new doctor of ministry in urban ministry leadership this academic year. The doctoral degree program is designed for ministerial leaders to develop the theological foundation and practical skills for effective urban leadership.

The program’s cohort model allows students to learn and build relationships with peers also committed to urban ministry. Applications for the program are being taken now, and the first cohort will begin coursework in April, blending online learning throughout the year with face-to-face intensive courses. Students will meet annually in June in three different cities—Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta—for one week. This combination of online and in-person courses allows students to continue serving while they study, and immediately apply what they are learning in their ministry setting.

After completing three cohort years, students work with faculty on an independent study project, then begin a two-to-three-year doctoral project that focuses on individual ministry interests. The doctoral project will culminate in a paper that represents individual learning, theological reflection, and response to a significant issue in ministry.

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, the Seminary’s Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, was approached by Dr. Kurt Fredrickson, associate dean for the doctor of ministry program at Fuller, about developing a joint program. Rah and Frederickson, both ordained ministers in the Evangelical Covenant Church, share a belief that urban ministry is of growing importance to the University’s sponsoring denomination.

“Our denomination has seen significant growth in urban areas,” said Rah. “This degree is a great opportunity to connect with the work that God is already doing within the denomination. This may be a unique calling that God has given to us as a Seminary and University.”

Dr. David Kersten, dean of the Seminary, believes the degree program is a significant asset to the Seminary. "Dr. Rah is one of the leading urban, multicultural scholars and missiologists of our day,” Kersten said. “We are thrilled to offer this important and practical resource to pastors and practitioners around the country."

While the Seminary already offered a certificate in urban ministry, Rah sees the doctoral degree as an opportunity for students to delve deeper into integrating theological preparation and ministry practice, enabling them to more effectively serve urban congregations. “This is for seasoned pastors,” Rah said of the degree, “and folks willing to get a renewed sense of calling for ministry in an urban context. They may be saying, ‘I want to go deeper into what I’ve already experienced, so that I can continue in ministry.’”

Rah finds the program to be ideal for pastors who have made a long-term commitment to active engagement with urban ministry. “This is not necessarily so that you can find a new job, but to go deeper into the job you already have,” he said. “It will strengthen the work you’re already doing.”

The doctoral degree enables students to identify the skills necessary for practicing sociocultural analysis, said Rah, expanding their understanding of the relationship between the church and the urban environment. “After being in ministry for a little while, you start to ask good questions that you don’t have easy answers to,” Rah said. “The questions you’re asking are deep, important questions. This program will examine real-life scenarios that people encounter in ministry, allowing for theological engagement of practical ministry.”

Rah brings extensive experience and scholarship in urban and multicultural ministry as director of the new program. A nationally recognized author, speaker, church planter, and professor, Rah was the founding senior pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, Cambridge, Mass., a multi-ethnic church committed to ministry in the urban context. He served on a church-planting team in the Washington, D.C., area, and worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston.

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