On Saturday, May 11, Elmhurst College celebrated 20 years of graduate studies with a festive reception that brought together more than 90 alumni, students, faculty and staff.
President Troy D. VanAken welcomed guests to the celebration, held in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center.
“Graduate education is an important part of our work as a College, and it’s an area that’s full of potential because our programs are relevant and flexible, and do a wonderful job of truly meeting students where they are,” he said.
The evening closed with the presentation of the College’s inaugural Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award to Tim Engstrom ’03, a graduate of the College’s supply chain management program and the head of supply chain and logistics for LA-CO Industries in Elk Grove Village, Ill. Engstrom was recognized in part for his commitment to hiring graduates of the College’s Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA), a certificate program for young adults with differing abilities.
The College launched its first graduate programs during the 1998–99 academic year, enrolling 52 students in four master’s programs. Today, 600 graduate students are enrolled in more than 20 degree and certificate programs in health care, education, business and technology.
From the start, graduate studies at Elmhurst took a practical approach, offering programs specifically designed to lead to career opportunities. Program growth through the years has been guided by marketplace demand, with new programs launched in growing fields such as data science, communication science disorders and occupational therapy.
The programs have also evolved to meet the changing needs of students.
“Students are working full time, they’re traveling, they have families,” said Tim Panfil, senior director of graduate admission and enrollment management. “They need the flexibility of online, part-time programs.”
Today, several programs are offered entirely online, while others offer a combination of online and on-campus courses in a model known as EC Flex.