CHICAGO (November 2, 2015) — For the first time in the history of North Park University there is no racial or ethnic majority in the school’s undergraduate population. No group of students, including Caucasian, reaches above fifty percent.
“Our student body reflects Jesus’s vision recorded in the Gospel of Luke in which ‘people will come from the east and west, north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God,’ ” said university President David Parkyn in a recent address.
Diversity as a theme has been present across campus this academic year. North Park Theological Seminary hosted its annual Symposium for the Theological Interpretation of Scripture September 24 to 26, with a focus on “Race and Racism.” The University also hosted the Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) 2015 Diversity Conference September 25 to 27, where hundreds of faculty and staff from Christian higher education institutions gathered for a series of workshops aimed at creating inclusive communities.
The focus on diversity will continue next week as North Park hosts its seventh annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference. On November 7, college students and staff from around the country will gather for leadership development training and workshops.
In an interview posted on the university’s website, Terry Lindsay, dean of diversity and intercultural programs and associate professor of cultural studies, said he was not surprised at the numbers. “I knew that the University was heading in that direction for a number of reasons, one of them being that the country as a whole is shifting and changing demographically. There are more Latino students all across the country for a variety of reasons. Europeans are not coming to the country in the same kinds of numbers as they used to in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s. There’s also a recent report that indicated that for the first time in the history of this country there are now more children of color born in the U.S. each year than white children. So the country is changing and I’ve always thought that North Park would eventually change in demographics as well. And it’s exciting for everybody.”
More of the interview with Lindsay is posted on the North Park website.