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North Parker Magazine Winter 2023

First Word

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Our largest first time, full-time incoming class in our history hails from 30 states and 30 countries, 5 continents, and 2 U.S. territories.

President Surridge giving a speech at a podium


With thanks to God for His provision and protection—and great hope and faith in the future—the 2022–23 academic year is well underway.

For our faithful alumni and friends, this issue of the North Parker magazine celebrates remarkable student achievements, introduces new leaders in our university community and denomination—leaders who are breaking ground and making history— and offers our deep thanks for your remarkable support during unprecedented challenges.

Our cover illustrates that perfect Chicago day in late August, when North Park University welcomed nearly 600 new students for a successful Threshold move-in day. Opening Convocation in Anderson Chapel saw an overflow crowd of new undergraduate students and their families, surrounded and celebrated by our exceptional faculty in full academic regalia.

The weekend of orientation, Chicago excursions and campus worship launched the new year with high energy and enthusiasm.


A compelling university of choice for prospective students, our largest first time, full-time incoming class in our history hails from 30 states and 30 countries, 5 continents, and 2 U.S. territories. Eighty new students in our Seminary, and 140 adult and graduate students also joined our community this fall when we opened fully in-person, on campus and in residence.

As alumni of North Park, you will not be surprised to hear that students at all levels are choosing to study with our remarkable faculty, in our rich urban environment, joining our diverse and engaged Christian community, adding to the identity and the ethos of our campus. We seek to make their education excellent and affordable.


In these pages you meet North Park’s senior leadership team, growing in faith, strength, depth, and expertise with each addition. I am grateful and proud of this team and the thoughtful and strategic leadership and partnership they are bringing.

The newest member of that team, Rev. Dr. Dennis Edwards—affirmed at Gather ’22 and installed on campus in late September—has been named new Dean of North Park Theological Seminary and Vice President of Church Relations. We were delighted that Rev. Tammy Swanson-Draheim, President of the Evangelical Covenant Church, joined for the installation and celebration for Dean Edwards.

Our faculty has new leadership, too! In addition to teaching and advising, Professor Mark Gavoor (Professor of Operations Management in SBNM) was elected this fall as new faculty senate president. A key member of our successful Pandemic Response Team, Mark has been a positive and energizing member of our campus community for many years.

North Park campus trees and path during the summer


Strategic Planning continues apace, involving our full campus community and our Board of Trustees. The plan elevates and operationalizes our three core distinctives—Christian, city-centered, intercultural—in everything we do, with initiatives to ensure a transformational educational experience, an exceptional student experience, and overall organizational excellence.

Our new Center for Civic Engagement will immerse students in learning, engagement, and impact in the city of Chicago. Campus master planning is bringing clarity for the priority needs in our academic, residential, and co-curricular programs. We are pursuing compelling new opportunities—along with enhancement and renewal of existing facilities—all with a goal of improvement and sustainability.


After feasibility studies and encouraging enrollment projections, North Park is launching three promising new programs this academic year: Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management (SCM); a Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEMSN); and a co-ed competitive Esports team within the Athletic Department. All three are true to our mission, compelling to prospective students, relevant to employers—and will result in new net revenue, allowing our university to advance as a healthy and thriving institution. Additional programs are currently in design.


Last year at North Park, we celebrated the 130th anniversary of our founding. We remembered the faithful community of Swedish immigrants of our early church—who envisioned our school and brought it to life—we honored their devotion to Godand their deep commitment to provide for the educational future of next generations, in Christian faith and professional calling. Across multiple platforms, we told “130 stories” of current North Park students, faculty, staff, and alumni, highlighting the ways God moves and speaks into their lives—leading them to seek ways to significantly serve their families, their churches, their communities, their professions, and their denomination.

Our founding priority and vision 131 years ago—is in fact, North Park’s lived experience, still today. Our “Why?”—our reason for being—in many ways is the same today as it always has been. We are the University of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Founded by a faithful and devoted community of Christians—to provide education to an immigrant population—in the liberal arts, professional studies, and theology—improving life for the next generation who will contribute to their communities of faith, family, and profession.

Our Kingdom Call has been sustained and advanced for well over a century—and we will keep moving forward in faith—ALL for God’s glory and neighbors’ good.

Thank you for your prayers and support of North Park University. I look forward to our continued partnership in mission.

In Christ,
Mary K. Surridge

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