A nearly $2 million grant by Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indiana will create and enhance the University’s programs for students, faculty, and staff to integrate faith commitments, professional choices, and a call to leadership in society.
The five-year grant is the largest sponsored-project grant ever for SCU. It was one of 39 grants to colleges and universities from Lilly, totaling $76.8 million. In three years, the initiative called Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation has awarded grants totaling $171.3 million to 88 four-year, church-affiliated colleges across the U.S.
The grant will create 15 ministry internships to enable students to explore the rewards and demands of church leadership.
“These colleges have devised programs that encourage their students to reflect on how their faith commitments are related to their career choices and what it means to be called to lives of service,” said Craig Dykstra, the endowment’s vice president for religion, in announcing the gifts.
The grant at SCU will fund a new program called DISCOVER, “Developing and Inspiring Scholarly Communities Oriented toward Vocational Engagement and Reflection,” which will capitalize on two recent developments at SCU, said William Spohn, director of the University’s Bannan Center for Jesuit Education.
The first, he said, is a shift from traditional residence halls to Residential Learning Communities, where students combine living and learning. The second is a standard for Jesuit education, which calls for faith-inspired students to be in solidarity with those most in need.
The grant will create 15 ministry internships to enable students to explore the rewards and demands of church leadership. It will also provide funds for students to examine their career choices in conjunction with courses, workshops, and retreats, and in contact with SCU alumni.
Programs funded by the grant will help train SCU faculty and staff to be mentors to students as they discover where their talents meet the world’s needs. The grant also will pay for “immersion trips” that will create opportunities for more than 1,000 students to work with poor communities in California, Latin America, and elsewhere.
“We hope the grant will have an impact on the entire University,” said Spohn, who will direct the DISCOVER program. “The Lilly Endowment grant could serve as a catalyst for conversation about vocation across the University. All parts of the community can reflect on how their work at Santa Clara and beyond can be a calling, and not just a job.”