North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

Category: Stories

Fifth Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference Addresses “Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity”

Fifth Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference Addresses "Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity"

Kanyere Eaton

Rev. Kanyere Eaton

Rev. Kanyere Eaton challenges students to lead in an "edgy time"

CHICAGO (November 14, 2013) — Nearly 600 students, faculty, staff, and organizational leaders from across the country gathered at North Park University Saturday, November 2, for the fifth annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference. North Park’s Office of Diversity, under the leadership of Dr. Terry Lindsay, provides this event to equip college students as effective leaders and agents of change on their campuses. The conference goal is that each student would be equipped to return to their college or university and engage their peers in conversations and activities that create multiethnic cooperation and increase intercultural competency.

Dr. Kevin Kruger, the president and CEO of NASPA, brought a message of encouragement for young peoples’ roles in inspiring students of color to see college as a realistic option for their futures. NASPA, a national association of student affairs professionals in higher education, sees that the demographics of American students are changing, bringing new challenges for college preparation and success, especially around issues of diversity and intercultural cooperation.

According to Kruger, research reveals that, in about ten years, more than 50 percent of college graduates will be students of color. He called on the students gathered to see themselves as crucial role models and mentors for these future students. “You are tomorrow’s leaders and will be part of the solution,” he said.

Rev. Kanyere Eaton, pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church in the Bronx, New York, gave Saturday’s keynote address. Speaking on the conference theme, “Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity,” Eaton said that “we have inherited all kinds of attributes and attitudes” from previous generations that now must be negotiated. “What are we going to do with what they left us?” she asked. In our current, changing culture and demographics, she said, today’s students must transform the reality they’ve inherited into the future they desire. As geographic and demographic boundaries are being moved, attitudes toward diversity have not yet caught up.

Eaton charged the students in attendance to recognize themselves as leaders chosen to help shape the legacy for future generation. “You could have been someone very different,” she said, “but you are who you’re supposed to be. And you’re supposed to lead.”

“You’ve also been privileged,” she added, noting that information, connections, opportunities, and responsibilities are part of the package of a college education. “We live in an edgy time,” Eaton concluded, “and consciousness has not caught up with our condition. We’ve got to work with what we have, and take seriously the responsibility to leave things better than we found them.”

The North Park University gospel choir ensemble, step teams from North Park and Bethel University, and two African dance troupes gave inspired performances to round out the plenary activities. Following the session, conference attendees spent the afternoon at more than 30 workshops, with topics ranging from leading conversations on diversity, to developing safe, inclusive communities, to understanding the current national atmosphere of race relations.

The next Student Diversity Leadership Conference at North Park University will take place on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

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

Next Steps

Explore student life and organizations at North Park University.

Posted on Categories Stories

Marketing Transformation Driven by New Tools, New Behaviors, Says Graduate

Marketing Transformation Driven by New Tools, New Behaviors, Says Graduate

Renee Borkowski

Today's marketers face a "paradox of choice," said Renee Borkowski C'90.

Razorfish VP speaks at North Park University Breakfast Series

CHICAGO (May 24, 2013) — There has been an incredible transformation in marketing practices in the past 15 years, much of it driven by dramatic shifts in how consumers use digital devices and experiences to fulfill their information and entertainment needs. The result is that there are many players in the marketing landscape today, creating a "paradox of choice" for many marketers.

"Deciding where to pay attention, where to spend, and how and where to stay connected with consumers is increasingly complex," said Renee (Johnson) Borkowski, Chicago, group vice president of strategic marketing for Razorfish, a global digital agency. Borkowski, a 1990 North Park graduate in physics and marketing, spoke to an audience of about 80 people at this spring's Breakfast Series event in Chicago, sponsored by the University and the School of Business and Nonprofit Management. Her topic was "Marketing Transformation in the Post-Digital Era." Borkowski, a member of the University's board of trustees, brings 20 years of experience working with top-name brands.

Agencies today are challenged to cover all bases—search engine optimization, web and customer analytics, email marketing, marketing automation, social media, social marketing and multi-channel marketing management—along with many traditional forms of communication. With the growth in marketing, channels, and agencies working in the field, "we as marketers are at the intersection of decision-making, of managing our budgets, of figuring out what is going to get us the most for our money in the midst of a very confusing landscape," Borkowski said.

What has changed for marketers? Borkowski suggested several possibilities:

  • Planning is now a continuous and cyclical process. Insights are required to inform annual, quarterly, and daily decision cycles.
  • Digital marketing is experiential. As evidence, she pointed to changes in retail marketing, where shopping is mobile-enabled or occurs in "virtual" stores. More consumers are using multiple devices at home at the same time, including televisions, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Marketing is happening in real-time more than ever. Social media demands quick, short-term, relevant messaging, but must be done responsibly. "The volume and velocity of social online behaviors requires that break-through brands adopt a real-time mindset, and establish 'always-on' teams," she said.
  • New skills and vocations are emerging in marketing. There are growing needs for "data scientists" and "chief marketing technologists."

For nonprofits and mission-driven organizations with smaller budgets, Borkowski suggested an emphasis on social media-fueled experiences, coupled with highly targeted search capabilities to help organizations set themselves apart from others. Digital storytelling can also be more powerful by inviting members and followers to capture video with smartphones and making video blogs highlighting service projects, she said.

Despite the need for real-time marketing, decision-making and communication must be considered carefully and align with business and brand objectives, Borkowski said. "Organizations that take their cues solely from their audiences or cultural happenings without a true brand purpose end up diluting or damaging their brands," 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.

Next Steps

Learn more about the accredited academic programsin the School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

Posted on Categories Stories

University Convocation Recognizes Faculty Achievements

University Convocation Recognizes Faculty Achievements

University Convocation, September 16, 2013

More than 40 members of the University faculty and staff were honored for their recent publications, exhibitions, performances, and other scholarly achievements at Monday's Convocation.

North Park University celebrates promotions, tenures, publications, and more

CHICAGO (September 17, 2013) — The North Park University community gathered in Anderson Chapel Monday, September 16, to honor the achievements of faculty and staff at University Convocation.

“This is a day of grand celebration,” said Dr. David Parkyn, University president, as he welcomed colleagues and students to the ceremony. He noted that the annual Convocation recognizes the work that many individuals do in walking alongside students in and out of the classroom, as well as honoring the call to “spread knowledge, discover knowledge, and teach it to others.”

The ceremony announced newly promoted and tenured faculty; recognized faculty and staff who have recently published books, articles, and other scholarly and creative work; and formally installed Dr. Jodi Koslow Martin as the vice president for student engagement.

Under the direction of Dr. Julia Davids, the Chamber Singers performed an original composition by Thomas W. Jefferson, who accompanied the group on piano. Jefferson is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Music and was among the recent authors recognized during the ceremony.

Faculty promotions celebrated include:

Traditionally, the University has recognized faculty authors and editors with books published over the previous calendar year. This year’s Convocation expanded this recognition to include faculty and staff who have published books, articles, chapters, plays, reviews, and recordings; and staged exhibitions, art installations, and other creative performances. A full list of these accomplishments is available online.

Earlier this fall, the University welcomed new faculty and staff at Gathering Day festivities. New faculty welcomed were:


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

Posted on Categories Stories

2013 University Honors Convocation Recognizes Outstanding Students, Employees

2013 University Honors Convocation Recognizes Outstanding Students, Employees

Students honored at 2013 Honors Convocation

North Park's 2013 Distinguished Seniors are Fatima Kukaswadia, left, and Timothy Ahlberg.

Timothy Ahlberg, Fatima Kukaswadia named Distinguished Seniors

CHICAGO (April 24, 2013) — North Park University honored outstanding seniors April 22 for excellence in academic achievement, service, and leadership at the 2013 Honors Convocation in Anderson Chapel. One faculty member and one staff member were also recognized for outstanding work.

Two students, Timothy Ahlberg, Perrysburg, Ohio, and Fatima Kukaswadia, Chicago, were named recipients of the Distinguished Senior Award, recognizing superior leadership, service, and academic performance. Ahlberg and Kukaswadia were chosen from a group of five finalists.

Ahlberg, a business and economics major, with a concentration in accounting, and a minor in Spanish, is president of the North Park student body. He was goalkeeper for the Vikings men's soccer team for four seasons, captain in his senior year, and was named an all-conference and all-district player. Twice he was named an Academic All-American. After graduation next month, Ahlberg will spend time in Thailand this summer through Global Partnerships and will intern with PricewaterhouseCoopers. This fall he will begin a nine-month assignment in Mexico as part of a U.S Fulbright student program award in international business.

Kukaswadia will also graduate with a bachelor of science degree in business and economics, with a concentration in accounting. Kukaswadia, who lives in the North Park neighborhood, was born in Pakistan and moved to Chicago at age three. She is president of the University's South Asian Student Association, a member of the North Park Business Club, and a lifetime member in Delta Mu Delta, a business honor society.

Two University employees were recognized. The C.L.A.S.S. (Campus Life Associations and Student Senate) Service Award was presented to Ashley Ritter, University career development and internship coordinator. The award is honors a staff member who actively engages with students and embodies the University's mission. Dr. Al Kamienski, associate professor of finance, School of Business and Nonprofit Management, was presented the Zenos Hawkinson Award for Teaching and Campus Leadership. That award recognizes a faculty member who has made a significant contribution to teaching and leadership at the University.

In addition, top seniors named by academic departments of the College of Arts and Sciences, and professional schools were recognized:

Awards recognizing service and leadership were presented to outstanding University seniors:

  • Servant Leadership Award: Joel Brand, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Student Laureate Award: Shadae Gatlin, Chicago
  • Diversity Award: Shadae Gatlin
  • Music Service Award: Monica Laytham, Timonium, Md.

Seven students were recognized for undergraduate research excellence, and presented papers April 23 at a research symposium at Brandel Library. Dr. Mary Adams Trujillo, North Park University professor of communication arts, addressed the award recipients, focusing her remarks on "activist scholarship." Trujillo was the 2012 recipient of the Hawkinson Award.

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.

Posted on Categories Stories

Creating ‘A Beloved Community’ Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Creating 'A Beloved Community' Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rabbi Andrea London

Rabbi Andrea London quoted from Martin Luther King's 1958 comments when he visited the Evanston, Ill., synagogue she now serves.

North Park community, high school students urged to seek pluralism, new 'narratives'

CHICAGO (January 22, 2013) — Focusing on the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and what he meant to them, speakers at the 2013 North Park University celebration of the civil rights leader's life spoke of his dream of 'a beloved community," a pluralistic society in which people celebrate and honor their differences.

Worship, prayer, inspiration, performance, and discussion highlighted the University's Martin Luther King Day celebration, "Created in God's Image," in Anderson Chapel. One speaker, Rabbi Andrea London, senior rabbi of Beth Emet the Free Synagogue, Evanston, Ill., began by stating that the University values pluralism, a dream of King's. "Pluralism means to celebrate our difference, to honor that difference, and to see that those differences make us stronger," she said.

London noted that at age 28, King spoke at Beth Emet when he was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala. In his 1958 comments, King spoke of great hope and optimism, she said, and of his dream of real integration, where differences are honored and celebrated. He would later call this "the beloved community," London said. Despite segregated neighborhoods, prejudices, and stereotypes that exist today, she said the present day is also filled with hope, and said "the new world order" King spoke of can still be realized. "Our communities and our lives will be enriched by honoring and learning from the unique image of God that is stamped on each of our faces and souls," she said.

She concluded by quoting King from his Beth Emet comments: "'God is interested in saving and freeing the whole human race, a world where all men will live together as brothers … and all women will live together as sisters,'" London added.

Speaking as "a witness," Rev. Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung told how his personal and professional life was inspired by King. DeYoung, professor of reconciliation, Bethel University, St. Paul, Minn., said at age 12, he saw a television documentary on King's life that focused his attention on the civil rights leader and the realities of racism, poverty, and segregation. For DeYoung, it began a lifelong fascination with King, and a desire to learn more from mentors, students, and others, by bringing their "narratives" into his own life experience.

Through King's writings, DeYoung said he learned of the significance of social justice in Christianity. He said he has witnessed King's global influence in places such as South Africa and in the Middle East.

The Bethel professor encouraged the audience to bring a "great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) and their diverse narratives into their lives, too. "As a witness, I say invite King's narrative into your life. Read King. Understand King. But don't just stop at King. Invite those other folks who have walked ahead of us and have worked for social justice and reconciliation, and let them shape your journey." DeYoung later addressed students and staff at North Park Theological Seminary.

After worship, about 40 students from Evanston Township High School and New Trier Township High School, Winnetka, Ill., led by North Park students, held discussions on justice-related topics. The students, most of whom are members of Beth Emet, also learned about "Sankofa," the University's educational program that focuses on the struggle for racial justice during the civil rights era and its contemporary implications. Chaperones discussed challenges in education, including charter and public school options, for people living in underrepresented communities.

The program included comments, creative expressions, and responses by University students Brandon Wrencher and Deima Thompson; Rev. Debra Auger, Seminary dean of students and community life; Dr. Daniel White Hodge, assistant professor of youth ministry and director, Center for Youth Ministry Studies; and Dr. Joseph Jones, University provost. Student Tatianna Hughlett led a closing song. The Minianka Afrikan Drum and Dance Ensemble, Chicago, performed.

North Park University's 2013 observance of Martin Luther King Day was organized by the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Programs, and the Collaboratory for Urban and Intercultural Learning.


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.

Next Steps

Learn more about student organizations organized through the Office of Diversity and Intercultural programs.

Posted on Categories Stories

Chicago Public Library Offers Bookmobile in University Parking Lot

Chicago Public Library Offers Bookmobile in University Parking Lot

Chicago Public Library Bookmobile

Temporary library located at 5151 N. Kimball Ave.

CHICAGO (August 13, 2013) — The City of Chicago is now offering public library services to the Albany Park neighborhood through a temporary bookmobile located in North Park University’s parking lot at 5151 North Kimball Avenue. The Albany Park branch of the Chicago Public Library is being rebuilt, scheduled to open in 2014. “The bookmobile will provide residents with essential library services right in their neighborhood until the completion of the new Albany Park library,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a press release. Updated progress and details about this project are available from the Public Building Commission of Chicago.

The bookmobile will offer a small selection of books for all ages, including bestsellers, and will also allow patrons to pick up holds of requested books from other library branches. It will operate on a limited schedule:


  • Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 10:00 am–2:00 pm
  • Tuesday, Thursday: 3:00–7:00 pm
  • Friday, Sunday: Closed

Nearby library branches—Budlong Woods, Independence, Mayfair, Sulzer Regional Library, and others—continue to offer full library services. Full details are available from the Chicago Public Library.

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

Posted on Categories Stories

Community Mourns the Loss of Recent Graduate

Community Mourns the Loss of Recent Graduate


Memorial Service for Darlene Kelley Planned for Thursday, December 12

Dear friends:

North Park Theological Seminary and University mourn the death of alumna Darlene Kelley, a 2012 master of divinity graduate. Darlene hailed from the Boston area and began studying at North Park in 2008. While a student, she was involved with University Ministries working with commuter and transfer students to increase their sense of community belonging. She also worked with the Collaboratory for Intercultural Learning, participating in their events and leading workshops for the Student Diversity Leadership Conference.

Darlene’s life and death remind us that life is fragile and requires great care. It also reminds us that we have suffered the losses of other students in recent years. As we remember the loss of these friends, we also recall that the gospel calls us to a faith beyond what we can see, and to a hope that reaches beyond the finality of death. May God grant us grace in this season of mourning, and may God grant peace to the memory of Darlene Kelley.

A memorial service to honor Darlene’s life will be held Thursday, December 12, at 7:00 pm in Isaacson Chapel, North Park Theological Seminary. A coffee reception will follow in Olsson Lounge.

Dave Kersten, Dean of North Park Theological Seminary

Posted on Categories Stories

‘Chicago Reload’ Urban Youth Worker Conference at North Park April 6

'Chicago Reload' Urban Youth Worker Conference at North Park April 6

Chicago Reload

Speakers, workshops highlight event; early registration through April 2

CHICAGO (March 19, 2013) — A youth advocate, author, and corporate vice president, plus a Chicago gang intervention specialist, are keynote speakers at this year's Chicago Reload, April 6, at North Park University, with the theme "Kingdom-Minded Ministry." Reload is a daylong continuing education event for urban youth workers, pastors, parents, teenagers, volunteers, and more. It is expected to attract as many as 500 attendees from the Chicago area and Midwest region.

"Chicago Reload is a one-stop shop for people to gather for training and engage in networking that is urban-specific and youth-specific," said Dr. Daniel White Hodge, director of the University's Center for Youth Ministry Studies (CYMS), and assistant professor of youth ministry. Participants will learn and discuss a wide-range of topics from both academic and experiential points of view, he emphasized. The event also offers participants a chance to be refreshed, hear stories of hope, and meet people engaged in urban and youth ministry, said Alison Burkhardt, CYMS associate director.

Early registration for individuals and groups ends April 2. Walk-in registration is available April 6 at the North Park Gymnasium.

Chicago Reload keynote speakers are Steve Pemberton and Amy Williams. Pemberton is a child advocate, motivational speaker, and author of A Chance in the World, a personal memoir published in 2012. He is chief diversity officer and divisional vice president for Walgreens, Deerfield, Ill. Pemberton has become recognized as one of the nation’s leaders on matters of diversity and inclusion, and their importance to the growth of the American industrial complex. Forbes named Pemberton one of the top 20 chief diversity officers in corporate America in 2006.

Williams is an 18-year youth ministry veteran, working with teens involved in gangs, youth on probation and parole, and teens in the juvenile justice system. She is a certified gang intervention specialist who moved into a Latino gang neighborhood in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community to be a "hope dealer" where she does street outreach. Williams has pursued her callings as a youth pastor, reentry coordinator for paroled youth, and mentor trainer and coordinator.

More than 20 workshops are planned throughout the day, including early-morning and concurrent sessions, plus lunchtime forums, said Burkhardt. New workshop offerings focus on veteran workers in urban and youth ministry, "living in Spanish and English," a workshop that addresses cultural identity for Latino youth, and best practices for working with undocumented youth. There is also a teen leadership track to teach storytelling, communication, and leadership skills.

A Chicago Reload team planned the event. Reload is sponsored by North Park University's Center for Youth Ministry Studies, in partnership with Urban Youth Workers Institute.




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.

Next Steps

The Center for Youth Ministry Studies offers free webinars and a lecture series.

Posted on Categories Stories

Lilly Endowment Awards Significant Grant to North Park Theological Seminary

Lilly Endowment Awards Significant Grant to North Park Theological Seminary

Nyvall Hall North Park Theological Seminary

Seminary to use grant to address economic challenges for ministers


CHICAGO (January 7, 2013) – North Park Theological Seminary recently was awarded a three-year, $250,000 grant by Lilly Endowment Inc., Indianapolis, to address ways to reduce burdens of student educational debt, to develop financial education programs, and to explore creative ideas to finance theological education.

The Seminary was one of 16 seminaries nationwide awarded grants in Lilly Endowment's pilot program, the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers. The aim of the initiative is to help theological schools to examine and strengthen their financial and educational strategies and practices to improve the economic well-being of future pastoral leaders.

North Park Theological Seminary, the graduate theological school of North Park University and the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), was invited by Lilly Endowment to apply for the grant, said Rev. David Kersten, seminary dean. "An emphasis on holistic health already exists in the Seminary curriculum, but we sincerely believe that it must include a financial literacy component," he wrote in the Seminary's application. In addition, offering financial literacy skills training seeks to give prospective students confidence to move forward with their educations, Kersten said. Initial work with the grant funds will start early this year.

The Seminary plans to begin by learning more about students and graduates, and how finances affect their lives, Kersten said. With that information, the Seminary will use the Lilly Endowment grant for three purposes:

  • To develop a proactive approach to reduce the burden of student educational debt, and explore curricular possibilities in particular
  • To educate and better prepare ministers to be leaders and managers of personal, family, and congregational finances throughout their pastoral careers. This will include courses and coaching opportunities provided through the Seminary in partnership with the University, the ECC, Covenant Trust Co., Covenant Ministries of Benevolence, and other partners
  • To engage key partners to share ideas and re-think ways in which theological education should be financed. This could include the possibility of clergy compensation models that include loan repayment or development of loan programs through ECC partners.

High educational debt is a serious problem for seminary students across many denominations, Kersten said. Professional church leaders often don't have the earning capacity of other professions, limiting their ability to pay educational loans. Personal debt and lack of financial knowledge also affects their ability to serve effectively in congregations, church-related organizations or nonprofits, he said. "The integrity and credibility of the pastoral leadership office is a real issue when these skills are not present," Kersten said. "It hampers many pastors from being effective." In some cases, experienced and respected pastors facing personal economic crises leave the vocation, Kersten added.

The grant could "reset the future not only for clergy but for the local church," said Rev. Mark Novak, executive minister, ECC Department for Ordered Ministry. "By increasing the financial acuity of pastors, they gain credibility with lay (members) in the church, and by having their finances in order, they will be set free to address issues of generosity in the church more freely," he said. "It helps to remove one of the main stress points in a pastor's life that sometimes leads to poor ministry decisions."

Ann Wiesbrock, president, Covenant Trust Co., said the organization is excited about the Lilly Endowment grant, and believes it will have a significant impact on seminarians and the wider church. "From managing debt and being an informed consumer, to becoming a saver and a prudent investor, our students need to have a foundational understanding of finance," she said. "Each individual is called to be a wise steward. Prudent money management, the use of sound business principles—when these are employed, I find generosity is empowered. That is why Covenant Trust Co. is so excited about this." Wiesbrock said she strongly favors the idea of building a financial literacy curriculum for leadership in congregations.

ECC financial leaders were pleased to help the Seminary prepare its grant application, Kersten said. "They were all thrilled to be part of this, and there was great enthusiasm," Kersten said. "It's also important that this be sustainable over time."

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937. It supports the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment affords special emphasis to projects that benefit young people, and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector.

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.

Next Steps

Learn more about the Seminary academics and degree requirements.

Posted on Categories Stories

Mayor Emanuel Joins River Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Mayor Emanuel Joins River Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at River Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the ceremonial ribbon to celebrate the re-opening of the River Park track and soccer field, a facility shared by North Park University and local neighborhood residents.

CHICAGO (October 21, 2013) — North Park University joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Deborah Mell (33rd Ward), Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly, and members of the local community at River Park on Monday, October 14, to celebrate the rehabilitation of the River Park track and soccer facility located two blocks from North Park's campus. Representing the University were Jack Surridge, director of athletics, John Born, head men's soccer coach, Steve Imig, head cross country coach, and Geoffrey Masanet, head track and field coach.

Originally built in 1999–2000, the artificial turf and running track were in need of serious repair; an estimated $1.26 million was invested in the project by the University and the City of Chicago. "The track and field had basically worn out from use, and exceeded its predicted life of eight to 10 years," said Surridge. "The field was resurfaced with the second-generation of FieldTurf synthetic grass, which has more durable fiber. It also has a longer fiber; this improves the resilience of the surface. The drainage system had been an issue since 2001, and that was addressed in the rehab project," he added.

The facility re-opened for use in early August with an 84,240-square-foot artificial turf soccer field and a resurfaced eight-lane running track. The facility is used by University track and soccer teams, as well as programs of the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools.

“This investment will ensure that children, teens, and adults in the neighborhood will have state-of-the-art fields for playing a variety of sports,” said Mayor Emanuel at the ceremony. “Community investments in our parks are essential because they promote active and healthy lives for residents.”

Superintendent Kelly praised the longstanding community partnership between North Park and the Chicago Park District for this facility, and Mayor Emanuel encouraged the University to continue to nurture this relationship for the good of the whole neighborhood.

River Park Track and Soccer Field facility

The updated track and soccer field is located at River Park in the Albany Park neighborhood.

"We are excited about all of these improvements, and also to partner with the Albany Park community in this project. River Park Director Vera Onate has been a terrific person to work with over the years and we look forward to sharing the facility with her many programs," Surridge said.

This rehabilitation is part of the Building a New Chicago initiative, a $7.3 billion infrastructure renewal program championed by the mayor. Last year, Mayor Emanuel announced a comprehensive plan to build and improve parks across the city so that every resident is within a short walk of a park facility.

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

Posted on Categories Stories