St. Olaf CollegeLilly Program for Lives of Worth and ServiceSt. Olaf College

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»What is Vocation?

»Lilly Program Committee

Lilly Grant Program for Lives of Worth and Service
Bruce Dalgaard Program Director
Modular Village
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057

507-786-3626 Fax


Faculty and Staff

Lilly Vocational Scholar

The Lilly Program created the position of the Lilly Vocational Scholar to encourage and enable published academic scholarship on the theological consideration of vocation. Members of the St. Olaf faculty, particularly those in the departments of philosophy and religion, have well-established records of publication on topics relating to the theological consideration of vocation. Funds provided by the program allowed release time of one course in each semester to the Lilly Vocational Scholar to facilitate this publication in an intentional way. In addition, Lilly Vocational Scholars contributed inspiration and intellectual leadership to faculty development activities organized by the program.

For 2007-08 we were fortunate to have two Lilly Vocational Scholars.

Carol Holly pictureProfessor of English Carol Holly
Lilly Vocational Scholar 2007-08

Professor Holly's work included an expansion of her ongoing research into 19th-century New England writer Rose Terry Cooke. Holly examined, among other things, the vocation of writing and the role of religion in 19th-century literature. Holly also formalized some of her existing explorations into teaching as a vocation by reflecting on her own experiences, interviewing colleagues, and engaging the community in conversations about this important topic.


Dan Hofrenning photoAssociate Professor of Political Science Dan Hofrenning
Lilly Vocational Scholar 2007-08

Professor Hofrenning's work involved several related threads of inquiry. He replicated research from his earlier interim course on the vocation of citizenship and politics. He also expanded his preliminary research into the political participation and students' feelings of efficacy and cynicism. Both of these investigations will help inform scholarly inquiry and practical programming addressing ways in which St. Olaf fosters a vocation of citizenship and politics within its student body.

Professor of History James Farrell
Lilly Vocational Scholar 2006-07
Farrell, who is also Chair of the History Department and Director of American Studies, undertook two interrelated projects as part of his Vocational Scholar activities: a book, The Nature of College, to "help students discover what they value — personally and culturally — and why." Farrell also worked on an essay, "Consumption as Vocation," in which he expands the notion of vocation from the traditional understanding of being "called to serve" to include being "called to con-serve and pre-serve."

"Students are more likely to accept theological and philosophical considerations of vocation when they're embedded in the actual issues of everyday life," Farrell says.

Professor of Religion DeAne Lagerquist
Lilly Vocational Scholar 2005-06

As Lilly Vocational Scholar, Lagerquist pursued two related projects. The first was "an article-length response to four studies of religion and higher education that include St. Olaf College." This project was an expansion of DeAne's Melby Lecture. She also continued work on a book-length manuscript that "offers a theological account of Lutheran higher education as a major example of Christian participation in the public arena."

Lagerquist has published numerous articles on the topic of vocation, including an article on vocation and graduation published in The Lutheran. She co-edited Called to Serve: St. Olaf and the Vocation of a Church College (St. Olaf College, 1999).

In addition to her scholarly work, Lagerquist served on the Lilly Program Committee and represented St. Olaf's Lilly Grant Program at local, regional, and national events.

Doug SchuurmanProfessor of Religion Douglas J. Schuurman
Lilly Vocational Scholar 2003-04 and 2004-05

Schuurman's work as Vocational Scholar involved research and writing about the nature and history of Christendom and its significance for the social calling of the church in the modern world. His published work is the book Vocation: Discerning Our Callings In Life (2004) read review.


Bibliography on
Vocational Discernment

Elizabeth Hutchins, former Teaching Fellow, prepared a detailed bibliography on the topic of vocational discernment. For the complete bibliography, click here.

Vocation Resource Library
A vocational resource center has been established in the CEL that offers resources for students, faculty, and staff. Books in the collection include:

Vocation: Discerning Our Callings In Life; Doug Schuurman

Big Questions, Worthy Dreams; Sharon Daloz Parks ~ Soul of a Citizen; Paul Rogat Loeb

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; Stephen Covey

Exploring Leadership; Komives, Lucas and McMahon

Common Fire; Daloz; Keen and Parks

Answering Your Call;
John Schuster

Crossing the Unknown Sea; David Whyte

Let Your Life Speak; Parker Palmer

These titles, along with a variety of other resources, are available for checkout in the CEL (located in the Modular Village) for three-week periods. Office hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F. Please stop by and see what is available.