President S. Alan Ray explains how the College’s commitment to faith, meaning and values prepares its students for a changing world.
Our new Strategic Plan presents a clear direction for building on the College’s core values and inherent strengths.
President Ray covers topics ranging from interfaith dialogue to Native American rights.
When people ask me what’s so special about Elmhurst College, I always start with the caliber of our faculty. Every day of the academic year, 160 full-time educators in 23 departments blend their passion for scholarship, artistic expression or performance with their love of classroom teaching and student-faculty research. At Elmhurst, every student matters. Our faculty are famous for caring about their students’ success and well-being from their first year on campus to their last—and often well after graduation.
You won’t find huge lecture halls with hundreds of students at Elmhurst, and you won’t find courses led by teaching assistants (we don’t have any). Our average class enrolls 16 students, and we have a ratio of 13 instructors to every student. We’re a “high touch” school, meaning that helping each student engage in the stimulating, life-changing work of self-formation and professional preparation is our first priority. We focus on internships as a bridge to professional life, and on mentoring for entry into graduate school, so our alumni are well prepared for whatever comes next. It is a tribute to the quality of our faculty that many of our alumni have Elmhurst roots that go back generations. Thanks to those 160 dedicated educators, we’re consistently ranked among the very top schools offering both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the Midwest.
Of course, I could also say that Elmhurst is a special place because of our exquisitely beautiful campus (we’re an accredited arboretum), or our deep commitment to shaping a student body and faculty that’s as diverse and complex as the world outside our doors, or our recognized leadership in civic engagement and community service. I also could point to our amazing music department and its internationally renowned jazz band. Then there’s our Honors Program; our conference-winning, nationally ranked DIII athletics; our commitment to environmental stewardship; our fostering of interfaith dialogue; our more than 100 thriving student organizations; and our generous financial aid program—we know the best education happens when students are not stressed about their finances.
And, of course, there’s our world-class neighbor, the city of Chicago, a quick train ride away.
Whatever school you ultimately attend, I wish you the best possible experience. If you’re considering attending a strong private college where you and your future really matter to the people educating you, consider Elmhurst College. We’ve been helping students prepare for lives of success and service for more than 143 years, and we’ve been doing it in the classic liberal arts style: one student at a time.
S. Alan Ray