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June 13, 2019

Lilly Fellows Program Selects North Park Graduate Dawson Vosburg into Cohort of Christian Scholars

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Dawson Vosburg C’19 has been selected by The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts as a member of the 10-person 2019 Cohort of Christian Scholars.

“Dawson’s selection was in an extremely competitive year—one of the best we’ve ever had,” said Joseph Goss, Assistant Program Director of the Lilly Fellows Program, who noted Dawson was chosen from a field of 24 finalists.

Dawson, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA with a dual major in Conflict Transformation Studies and Sociology, will be engaged in doctoral studies in sociology at The Ohio State University for the next five years as part of the fellowship. “Dawson serves as an inspiration for all students of what can be achieved through studying at North Park,” said North Park’s Provost Michael O. Emerson.

Over a period of two years, 71 candidates were nominated coming from the 100 members in the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities—with North Park as its 100th member.

“Being part of the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities provides North Park University with a number of advantages for our faculty and students. Last year, Dr. Liza Ann Acosta, our University Dean, received a grant for our mentoring program and this year, we have Dawson Vosburg as a Lilly Graduate Fellow,” said North Park’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Gregor Thuswaldner.

North Park’s Director of Conflict Transformation Program, Dr. Robert Hostetter, appreciates Dawson’s inquisitive mind, “Great questions drive Dawson,” said Dr. Hostetter. Dawson’s intellectual accomplishments will continue to shine while pursuing graduate work at the intersection of religion, race, and conflict resolution as a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University.

Dawson’s selection attests to the formation in Christian higher education received at North Park University said Goss. All 10 Fellows are pursuing graduate studies in humanities, social sciences, or the arts while receiving three annual stipends of $3000 ($9000 total).

As part of his selection, Dawson will meet with his cohort of Christian scholars for three days at an Inaugural Conference July 29-August 1, 2019, in Holland, MI, along with their mentors, Jane Kelley Rodeheffer of Pepperdine University and Mark Ruff of Saint Louis University, who will be guiding the Fellows’ upcoming studies. Following this Inaugural Conference, the Fellows will participate in a three-year program embarking on a long-distance exchange of learning experiences, engaging in one-on-one mentoring relationships, and participating in three additional conferences.

Dawson expressed his gratitude for receiving the fellowship. “At every turn, I’ve been given more opportunities to explore and think,” said Dawson.

A supportive North Park team was instrumental in helping win the fellowship, but it was Dawson who ultimately impressed the committee with his inquisitive mind and passion for justice.

“For Dawson, learning is an act of personal and communal transformation,” said Dawson’s professor and advisor Dr. Lida Nedilsky in remarks during the spring 2019 commencement. “I’ve witnessed him (Dawson) demonstrate this inside the classroom as a student leader through his volunteering and as an intellectual partner,” said Nedilsky.

Dr. Hostetter wrote in his letter of recommendation, “The extraordinary scope and focus of his(Dawson’s)community service are witness to this union of thought and action. By working with school children in Houston, TX, immigrant kids in Albany Park, IL, and other Episcopalians in the western suburbs of Chicago, he demonstrates a transformative priority to dealing with Christianity’s struggle with white privilege,” said Dr. Hostetter.

“I’m incredibly excited about continuing to do research and asking questions,” said Dawson on being awarded the fellowship. “Being part of Lilly’s excellent network makes the possibility of working in my field as a professor that much stronger,” said Dawson.

The fellowship for Dawson represents an exciting opportunity to talk with other scholars who are serious in their field and, “who want to think Christianly about their discipline,” said Dawson. As a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University, Dawson will be delving deep for the next half-decade into his studies and for the first couple years will be getting settled into the rhythm and working on his first real-world original research.

Dawson looks forward to advancing in his field and becoming a professor. “I’m incredibly excited about continuing to do research and asking questions but teaching others to start asking those questions excites me as well,” expressed Dawson.

I think being a part of Lilly’s excellent network makes the possibility of that hope much stronger,” stated Dawson.

About the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is a part of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts that supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education, and the vocation of the teacher-scholar as they pursue graduate degrees in humanities and the arts.

About North Park University 

North Park University is a Christian, city-centered, intercultural University located in Chicago.

Contact: Christopher Childers, Assistant Vice President University Marketing and Communications, North Park University, 773-244-5750,

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