IRVINE, CA (June 22, 2013) – North Park University achieved historical milestones over the past year that have included record enrollment, dedication of a state-of-the art nursing simulation lab, fundraising for a new science and community life center, and an incoming dean of North Park Theological Seminary, President David Parkyn told delegates to the 127th Annual Meeting today.
Parkyn reported record enrollment of 425 first-year undergraduate students. The previous record was 415 in 2008. The school also had a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,929 – the previous record was 1,882, also set in 2008.
Three critical components throughout the school’s more than 120-year history have guided the institution to attract the current student body and position the university for the future.
“At North Park University we believe, first, that Christ makes a difference,” Parkyn said. “Two principles carve out the essence of faith at North Park. God created all. Christ died for all. All people, all cultures, no exceptions.”
Secondly, Parkyn said, “place makes a difference.” He noted that more than half of the world’s 6.6 billion people live in cities. By 2050, more than 80 percent of the world’s population will be urban, projections suggest.
“Because our home is in Chicago, North Park University now stands with this growing global majority,” Parkyn said. “Cities shape the world. And in this context, it is our firm conviction at North Park that God calls Christians to live and work in the city and thereby to shape the city and the world.”
Lastly, Parkyn said, people make a difference. “Our campus is located in one of the three most diverse zip codes in America, a neighborhood as complex as the world itself, a neighborhood that comes as close to what heaven will be like as any on earth,” he stated.
“The university’s multicultural identity, moreover, is not merely a reflection of world demographics come to Chicago, nor do we seek such an identity as a reflection of contemporary social norms,” Parkyn added. “Rather, at North Park University, the community of world people gathered on our campus and across the city encourages us with a renewed understanding of the full reach of the Christian gospel.”
Recent and current building projects are helping the school to prepare students to live and share the gospel. Great progress has been made in providing science education, Parkyn said. The 3,000-square-foot nursing lab on the north side of the campus includes four simulation rooms, two control rooms and a conference room.
Students practice on actors or high-tech mannequins while professors and others observe. Scenarios are recorded and used in debriefing sessions. The students are placed in situations ranging from routine practices to high-risk or emergency situations.
The nursing school has about 150 undergraduate majors and another 130 students in the master’s program.
Parkyn also highlighted the future construction of the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life. Nancy Johnson is a graduate of the Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing and served medical missions in Indonesia.
Timothy Johnson graduated from North Park University, became one of America’s best-known physicians as chief medical editor for ABC News, and also is an ordained Evangelical Covenant Church minister.
Formal groundbreaking for the 101,000-square-foot facility will take place October 26. Construction is expected to be completed in time for 2014 fall classes.
The call of David Kersten as seminary dean also will help the seminary meet rapidly changing demands for theological education, Parkyn says. Kersten, who has served as executive minister of the Department of the Ordered Ministry, is expected to be approved this afternoon as the new dean of the seminary.
Parkyn lauded Kersten, describing him as “a wonderfully gifted individual, a leader in the church, and someone deeply committed to theological education and the preparation of men and women for ministry in the church.”
Paul Hawkinson, vice chair of the North Park Board of Trustees, formally presented Kersten as the nominee.