Gustavus Receives Lilly Endowment Grant To Establish Summer Academy For Faith, Science, And Ethics

Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by

chapelGustavus Adolphus College has received a $589,463 grant to establish the “Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics.” The weeklong summer academy is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

The Gustavus Academy will introduce high school youth to creative alliances between scientists and religious leaders who are addressing a range of global challenges such as climate change and food security. The summer academy will debut in June 2016 and will feature a variety of activities including worship, science labs, and interaction with leading scientists and theologians. By focusing on science and religion, the academy will provide a unique opportunity for young people to explore ethical issues, to reflect on their own sense of calling, and to strengthen their leadership capacities in church and society.

“The Gustavus Academy will help to dispel a common misconception among young people that the church is anti-science and will encourage them to explore how they might use their diverse gifts and talents to contribute to the common good,” said lead grant writer Marcia J. Bunge, Gustavus religion professor and Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies. “We are deeply grateful to Lilly Endowment for funding an initiative that addresses the world’s needs and honors the spiritual lives and contributions of young people.”

As the host of the annual Nobel Conference, Gustavus has been a leader in conversations at the intersection of religion and science for more than 50 years. The Gustavus Academy draws on this distinguished tradition and the College’s mission, grounded in its Lutheran heritage, of nurturing a commitment to work toward a just and peaceful world.

Gustavus Adolphus College is one of 82 schools participating in the initiative. The institutions are located in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions. These traditions include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities.

“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.”

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.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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