Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago Receives Lilly Grant
to Establish Youth Theology Institute

Program Will Engage High School Students
in Environmental, Social Justice Issue

CHICAGO, January 8, 2016 – Loyola University Chicago’s Campus Ministry has received a $600,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to launch the Theology of Healing Earth in Action (THEA) Institute. The institute will encourage local, Chicago high school students to engage with Ignatian spirituality and Catholic theology in an effort to create future socially just, environmentally conscious community leaders.

Designed as a week-long program, the THEA Institute will gather approximately 75 students at the University’s Lake Shore Campus to engage in a multidisciplinary curriculum created and led by Loyola theology and environmental science faculty members. The program will feature guest lectures and immersive fieldwork grounded in Jesuit pedagogy and focused on eco-theology and caring for creation. Campus Ministry will partner with the Archdiocese of Chicago and local high schools to recruit a diverse group of participants from across Chicago for its inaugural program slated to begin summer 2017.

“This institute presents a unique opportunity for our local high school students to examine their faith and how they can use it to impact our community,” said Lisa Reiter, PhD, director of Campus Ministry. “It is our hope that these students walk away from campus with an understanding of how issues of sustainability and the environment are interconnected with social justice and Catholic social teachings—and ultimately put those teachings into action.”

The University received the grant as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage students to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service. Loyola is one of more than 80 schools participating in the initiative.

“These colleges and universities are well-positioned to reach out to high school students in this way,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment. “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.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation 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. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. 

About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 16,500 students. More than 11,000 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Beijing, China; Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 11 schools and colleges, including the Quinlan School of Business, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Stritch School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, Graduate School, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Ranked a top 100 national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.

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