Simpson community feels impact of Lilly Grant funds

by Courtney Kirkland

Even though Simpson’s Lilly Initiative for Vocational Discernment program is not scheduled to officially begin until July 1, the college has already begun putting together the pieces necessary to make the program a success.

The program was implemented after Simpson received a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, which is designed to help students answer “the big questions” in life.

“The purpose or goal of this program is to provide a way to tie together the resources the college already has to help us have the opportunity to help students answer questions about what their calling in life is and how their future occupation will fit into the grand scheme of things,” said Jim Thorius, vice president for student development. “We want to help students find their meaning and purpose in life.”

By getting a head start integrating the new program into the Simpson Community, Thorius said students should be able to benefit from the program by the 2003 fall semester.

Simpson has recently announced three scholarships that have been made possible by the Lilly Endowment, and although it is still very early, Thorius said that he expects there will be a large response from students wishing to apply this week.

The three scholarships open for application are $500 Wesley Service Scholarships, $1,000 Vocational Discernment Internships and $4,000 Forgivable Seminary Loans.

Thorius said that students who have a variety of interests and want to work through the big questions in life should think about applying for one of the scholarships.

“I think a lot of students want to work through these questions,” said Thorius. “They are on the mind of a lot students here.”

Sophomore Stephanie Fisher said that she feels Thorius is right.

“There are a lot of things that I think and worry about beyond just what degree or job I am going to have after I graduate,” she said. “I want to help people and find my place in the world because I think figuring that out is also what college is all about.”

Fisher is thinking about applying for a Wesley Service Scholarship.

The deadline to apply for all three of the available Lilly scholarships is April 17.

While developing these scholarships has been a great priority, Simpson has also been busy preparing in other ways.

The search for the Lilly Grant Director is also underway.

According to Chris Waddle, chaplain and director of church relations at Simpson and member of the search committee for the new director, the college is looking for someone who has some sort of theological training and enjoys working with students and faculty, either in a formal or casual environment.

“The director should be able to relate to faculty and students on an equal level,” said Waddle.

Thorius agrees.

“This grant touches a lot of areas on campus, so the director will have to successfully interact and collaborate with faculty, staff and students,” said Thorius.

Members of the search committee interviewed three candidates for the position on campus last week. In addition, several members of the campus community met with the candidates briefly, in order to provide feedback, since the position will affect so many members of the community.

Thorius said that the search committee is scheduled to meet this week, with the hopes of making a final decision.