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Nearly $2 Million Grant Funds New ProgramST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis University soon will have an additional $1.93 million devoted entirely to helping students to consider their vocation in life.
The Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded the funds in support of the University's "Vocation: Interiority, Community and Engaged Service" project. VOICES will encourage students to reflect on faith and value commitments, as well as service to others, when choosing careers.
"The project so clearly fits within the mission of Saint Louis University - to create men and women for others," said University Provost Sandra Johnson.
VOICES has two primary goals: First, to create resources to help students develop leadership qualities in light of their faith commitments and spirituality. The project also will enhance faculty and staff expertise through retreats and fellowship opportunities.
The project reaches across the SLU campus, involving many departments and offices, from campus ministry to career services. Johnson said VOICES will also allow students and faculty to further their appreciation of the relationship between their academic lives and their faith and values.
"VOICES will help our students and faculty to develop a commitment to respond to God's call and carry this commitment outward to the communities in which they live and work, as well as the larger world," Johnson said.
As part of VOICES, it's expected that up to 130 student leaders will attend a vocational retreat for each year of the project's five-year period. Other retreats and programs, as well as lectures, scholarships and initiatives will also be offered.
Officials also sought input from the University community for the implementation grant proposal through forums, conferences and an advisory committee of students, faculty and staff. The committee is expected to continue to influence the direction of the project.
For more information about the VOICES Project, read the full text of the grant proposal online.
Saint Louis University is one of 28 colleges and universities in the country to receive the grant from Lilly Endowment to create or enhance programs that enable young people to draw upon the resources of religious wisdom as they think through their vocational choices and consider the ministry as a profession they might pursue.
"These exciting grants directly address one of the major themes of the endowment's grant-making in religion, and that is to help identify, recruit, call and nurture into Christian ministry a new generation of talented pastors," said Craig Dykstra, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment.
Totaling $55.3 million, the grants will fund programs affecting students, faculty and staff at all the schools.
"It is clear that these schools thought through their missions and strengths, and that they were very intentional in devising these proposals, Dykstra said. "The caliber of proposals was outstanding, and it is obvious that all these schools thought seriously and productively about how to encourage young people to consider questions of faith and commitment as they choose their careers."
Founded in 1937, the endowment is an Indianopolis-based private family foundation that follows its founders' wishes by supporting the causes of religion, community development and education.
Saint Louis University is a leading Catholic, Jesuit research institution ranked among the top fifty national, doctoral universities as a best value by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1818, the University strives to foster the intellectual and spiritual growth of its 11,000 students through a broad array of undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain.
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