Lilly lady’ leads volunteers


by AbStrong

She’s the Lilly Lady: Jan Everhart, director of the Lilly Initiative for Vocational Exploration, has had this moniker since she first came to campus in 2003.

No one knew Everhart or what LIVE was, but both spread across campus like wildfire.

Everhart and Assistant Director Jim Hayes quickly got the program off the ground and running.

“She’s been great about building bridges throughout the Simpson community,” Hayes said.

Today LIVE has 21 programs across campus including service learning, the sophomore forum, and a Call to Service course.

“I’m not sure people always know what we do,” Everhart said. “But there is truly something for every student in this program.”

LIVE is a part of 88 college campuses. Its goal is to help people in the campus community improve their ability to help others.

Everhart asks students to consider three questions when they first meet with her: What am I passionate about? Am I good at it or could I be good at it? Is there a need for it?

Everhart is passionate about working for Lilly.

“It’s challenging, interesting and rewarding,” she said.

Everhart’s job is full of variety. Sometimes she works with the Smith Chapel or Career and Counseling Services. She also teaches philosophy and religion courses.

“She is one of my favorite professors,” junior Nick Webb said. “She is somebody I can sit down and talk about life with.”

According to Everhart, discovering a vocation leads to an overall sense of joy and satisfaction in life. Like many people, this calling wasn’t always clear to her. In college she found herself in the same boat as most students, unsure what she wanted to do. She settled on law school by default.

“It seemed logical,” Everhart said.

In 1976, she completed an internship in Washington, D.C. The internship helped her reach the conclusion that she didn’t want to be a lawyer.

Everhart said internships are a great opportunity for students to find out what they don’t like as well as what they do like. She views it as part of the exploration process.

Somewhere between her junior and senior year, Everhart decided on seminary school.

“Not many girls did this,” Everhart said. “There weren’t many role models.”

After graduating from seminary, Everhart served as a pastor for churches in California for 17 years.

When she reached her mid-forties, Everhart decided to go back to school for her PhD. Now she works at a private college, all of which she has enjoyed.

“I love the academic life,” Everhart said.