The Valparaiso University-based Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts was awarded a $1.19 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This is the 10th such grant that has been awarded to the Lilly Fellows Program, which has supported more than 60 Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows since its inception in 1991.

“We are both humbled and deeply encouraged that Lilly Endowment Inc. will continue to support this life-giving program,” said Joe Creech, Director of the Lilly Fellows Program and Adjunct Associate Professor of History and Humanities in Christ College. “This program gives our Graduate Fellows a rare opportunity to develop into teacher-scholars who attain the highest credentials of their disciplines but also retain a sense of the initial love for learning that pushed them to graduate school in the first place. We offer them a space to think through not only their vocations but also the intersections of faith and higher learning.”

The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of learning through three key initiatives. First, the program offers two-year, residential postdoctoral teaching fellowships at Valparaiso University for early-career scholars who wish to renew their sense of vocation within a Christian community of learning in order to prepare themselves for positions of educational leadership within church-related institutions.

Second, the Lilly Fellows Program maintains a collaborative National Network of church-related colleges and universities that sponsors a variety of activities and publications designed to explore the Christian character of academic vocation and to strengthen the religious nature of church-related institutions. The National Network represents a diversity of denominational traditions, institutional types, and geographical locations.

Third, it sponsors the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, which supports, during their first three years of graduate school, young men and women of exceptional academic talent who are exploring vocations in church-related higher education. There are 79 current or former Lilly Graduate Fellows studying at universities or in academic positions throughout the country.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows program is modeled after the Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows Program, now entering its 22nd year at Valparaiso University. Creech said the Graduate Fellows program is a “direct extension — in terms of its themes and even the books [they] use — of the Lilly Postdoctoral Fellowship and the leadership of Provost Mark Schwehn.”

Four Valparaiso University graduates have attained Lilly Graduate Fellowships since 2005: Sophie Hunt ’05, Karl Aho ’07, Philip Forness ’07, and Johanna Brinkley Tomlinson ’08.

The new $1,197,460 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will ensure funding for the newest of these programs — the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program — through the year 2019. The Lilly Fellows Program is also supported financially by Valparaiso University and the contributions of the 100 schools that comprise the Lilly Fellows Program National Network.

For more information on the Lilly Fellows Program, please contact Nicole Niemi, Director of Media Relations for Valparaiso University, or visit