A New Grant Will Help Elmhurst U. Keep Advancing Its Story

January 29, 2021 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

A photo of Alumni Fountain on the campus of Elmhurst University in the Chicago suburbs. The engraved words "To Freedom" are visible.As Elmhurst University prepares for the start of its 150th anniversary celebrations later this spring, the University has been awarded a grant that will fund an update to its institutional history, while also creating a dynamic storytelling platform that will advance the Elmhurst University story into the future.

The two-year Reframing the Institutional Saga Grant was awarded by the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, or NetVUE. Elmhurst’s grant, Our Ever-Widening Circle: Being and Becoming Elmhurst University, will enable the University to “document and re-examine where we have been, where we are going, and what the journey has taught us along the way.”

“We are thrilled with this news, and with how this funding will allow us to contribute to our sesquicentennial in such a meaningful, lasting way,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “The grant provides us with an incredible opportunity to examine Elmhurst University’s history, identity and mission in ways that will guide us forward with renewed purpose and meaning.”

In recognition of Elmhurst’s recent name change from “College” to “University,” and in celebration of the sesquicentennial anniversary, the University will update the previously published institutional narrative, An Ever-Widening Circle: The History of Elmhurst College.

To complement the book update, the University will capture its transformative journey by developing the storytelling project Calling All Voices. The project will include a podcast, website and written submissions, all reflecting how one’s personal narrative interweaves with the legacy of the institution. The enduring yet dynamic nature of the platform will enable it to draw in new voices over time, collectively documenting and illustrating the progress of the University.

Both projects also will provide greater opportunities to those whose voices have been historically underrepresented, allowing Elmhurst to examine and share its story in a genuinely holistic way, said Dean Pribbenow, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “Creating an updated volume of our recorded history sets the precedent for continuous reflection and the need for updates as the institution continues to move forward, morphing and adapting, through the future,” he said.

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