The Lilly Fellows Program announced the selection of Philip Forness as one of 16 Lilly Graduate Fellows. Forness, a student in Christ College, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Valparaiso University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Classics and Theology. He is pursuing a PhD in the History of Christianity from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master of Divinity in 2011.

Forness’ research focuses on identity formation during divisive periods of the first seven centuries of the church. He hopes his research will advocate for marginalized Christian communities, generate interest in understudied languages, and encourage ecumenical dialogue.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is a part of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts that supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education, and the vocation of the teacher-scholar.

Forness and the 15 other Fellows were selected by a nine-member selection committee who interviewed 24 finalists (selected from 61 applicants) and were inaugurated at an August conference in Indianapolis. Following this Inaugural Conference, the Fellows have embarked on a long-distance colloquium, engage in one-on-one mentoring relationships, and participate in three additional conferences. All 16 are pursuing doctoral studies in humanities or the arts.

Forness is the fourth graduate from Valpo to become a Lilly Graduate Fellow. He joins three other Christ College graduates: Johanna Brinkley Tomlinson ’08 , Karl Aho ’07 and Sophie Hunt ’05.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The program will select a total of six cohorts of graduate fellows from the current 96 schools that make up the LFP national network of church-related schools. Lilly Graduate Fellows participate in a three-year program in which they meet regularly with a mentor, attend four conferences, and participate in a long-distance colloquium. For more information on the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, visit

The Valparaiso-based Lilly Fellows Program began in 1991. Since its founding, the program has provided postdoctoral fellowships for teacher-scholars who seek to enrich their intellectual and spiritual lives while preparing for leadership roles in church-related higher education.