Nearly $50,000 in grants from two national organizations will fund projects focused on helping Hastings College students discern their vocational calling and strengthen their spiritual and mental well-being through the study of scripture. The Rev. Doodle Harris, chaplain and director of service learning, will lead both projects.
“Hastings College is the only college in a five-state region affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), and we take seriously our responsibility to prepare students not only for professional success but also for lives of meaning and purpose,” said Dr. Rich Lloyd, president. “We’re grateful for the confidence these national organizations have placed in the College and our religious programs.”
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., awarded a $36,161 grant through the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), a nationwide network of nearly 300 colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. The grant will be used to develop a new course, “Know Thyself: An Exploration of Vocation,” which will challenge students to begin charting vocational paths that reflect their spiritual beliefs and personal strengths.
“Hastings College was selected based on the strength of the proposal and other materials that were submitted,” according to Marjorie Hass, president of the CIC. “The high level of interest in this competitive grant program reflects the deep commitment of NetVUE member colleges and universities to enrich vocational exploration and discernment among undergraduate students.”
The College also received $10,000 from the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Teaching of the Bible grant competition, which focused this year on equipping young people to use the Bible as a tool for mental health and spiritual well-being. Harris will use grant funds for two-day student retreats in fall 2023 and fall 2024 at the St. Benedict Center in Schuyler.
“Hastings College is committed to educating and developing students holistically, including opportunities for spiritual and religious experiences. I’m eager to get started on this important work,” Harris said.
Harris received a master of divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister in 2008. Prior to joining Hastings College in 2022, she served Presbyterian and Lutheran Churches in Louisville, Kentucky.