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Lilly Endowment Inc. Grant Helps Southern California University Start Youth Theology Institute

Lilly Endowment Inc. Grant Helps Southern California University Start Youth Theology Institute

IRVINE, Calif. (November 20, 2015) Concordia University Irvine has been named as one of 82 private universities nationwide—and one of only five California universities—to receive a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant, part of the Endowment’s commitment to cultivate theologically-minded youth who will become leaders in church and society, awards Concordia University Irvine’s School of Theology, Christ College, more than $540,000 over a four-year period to establish a high school youth theology institute. Concordia University Irvine is the only university in Orange County to be recognized.

“As the Great Commission university, this grant affords Concordia University Irvine the opportunity to continue its mission for generations to come,” said Concordia University Irvine President Kurt Krueger. “We’re honored to be recognized by Lilly Endowment Inc.”

Other grant recipients include Baylor University, Pepperdine University, Emory University, and Loyola Marymount University. Religious affiliations of selected schools include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed, as well as Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal, and historic African-American Christian communities.

“These colleges and universities are well-positioned to reach out to high school students,” said Vice President for Religion at the Endowment, Dr. Christopher L. Coble. “They have outstanding faculty in theology and religion who know how to help young people explore the wisdom of religious traditions and apply these insights to contemporary challenges.”

Known as the Concordia University Irvine Institute for Theology and Culture, the program is slated to launch summer 2017. The one-week on-campus residential program will open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Southern California and around the country. The goal of keynote speakers and faculty will be threefold: to introduce participants to church worker professions such as pastors, directors of Christian education, or parish music, and Lutheran teachers; for participants to engage in Lutheran church tradition and theology; and for participants to apply theological insights to current issues.

“The youth theology institute will take students back to our Lutheran roots when Martin Luther discussed contemporary issues of the day,” said Concordia University Irvine Provost Mary Scott. “Students will get to go deep, for a week, into discussions about topics in the news today, such as technology, refugees, or immigration, and examine them through a biblical lens.”

Created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family –J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company, Lilly Endowment Inc. exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. As a private philanthropic foundation, the Indianapolis-based organization’s goal is to deepen and enrich the religious lives of Christians through initiatives that enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine prepares students for their vocations—their calling in life. Concordia offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in education, nursing, theology, business, and athletic administration. Concordia University Irvine’s undergraduate program is distinctive because of its nationally recognized core curriculum, Enduring Questions & Ideas, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of "Grace Alone. Faith Alone." Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. Concordia University Irvine enrolls over 4,000 students annually and is in year two of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Membership Process.



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Christine Welch
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Echo Media Group
(714) 573-0899 ext. 225
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