Andrews University Receives Grant to Explore Its Institutional History

The project will incorporate a wide range of voices to inform the school’s identity.

Moriah McDonald, Andrews University, and Adventist Review
Andrews University Receives Grant to Explore Its Institutional History
Andrews University campus entrance. [Photo: Darren Heslop]

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has awarded Andrews University a “Reframing the Institutional Saga” grant for US$38,800 through CIC’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE). This grant is awarded to designated member “colleges and universities that seek to re-examine and reframe their commitments in ways that balance their history, identity, and heritage with attention to their present circumstances.”

Andrews University, based in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, will utilize these funds to document the university’s history within its social context, the people behind the initiative said. Michael Nixon, vice president for University Culture and Inclusion, and Meredith Jones Gray, professor of English, will lead a team of researchers and writers who will work to shed light on some of the neglected stories that have shaped the school’s institutional journey. 

The project aims to incorporate a wide range of voices to inform university identity and create a more welcoming campus culture for diverse ethnicities, cultures, and religious perspectives. The truth-telling process will include voices from dominant and non-dominant groups that will be blended to reflect the history of Andrews University. 

“I am excited that we have gotten this vital grant that will help us continue on our institutional journey of reckoning with our past in authentic ways while we work together to chart the path ahead,” Nixon said. “This work began in fall 2020 with the official launch of our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center, and this CIC/NetVUE grant will help us continue this important work. It is an honor to work with such an amazing team, and we can be confident that with the Spirit’s leading that the best is yet to come!”

The grant will fund a second volume addressing the school’s history, as well as a documentary film. These outcomes will be made accessible to students, employees, alumni, and wider audiences. 

“The NetVUE grant provides a wonderful boost toward completing the next volume of the Andrews Heritage series,” Jones Gray said, “which covers the first several decades after Emmanuel Missionary College became Andrews University — the part of our institutional saga that has never been published. I am looking forward to hearing and representing the many voices that make up the Andrews story.” Jones Gray is the author of a historical account of the university, As We Set Forth: Battle Creek College and Emmanuel Missionary College (Andrews University, 2002), the first volume in the Andrews Heritage series. 

“Even though I grew up at Andrews,” Jones Gray said, “I have learned so much more, through my historical research, about the students, staff, and faculty who have contributed to our institutional story and culture. The second volume of the Andrews Heritage series begins in 1960 and covers an exciting era of growth in the history of the university. I am looking forward to hearing and representing the many voices that make up that history.”

Andrews president Andrea Luxton said that “Andrews University is delighted to receive this grant which will enable us to explore our unique institutional narrative with authenticity and transparency. As we understand our own history better, our own future will be stronger.”

NetVUE describes itself as “a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students.” More than 700 colleges, universities, and organizations across North America are CIC members. Of these schools, 20 received grants in the first round of “Saga” awards. Andrews University received funding in the second round of the grant program, a significant achievement. NetVUE grants are administered by CIC with support from the Lilly Endowment and member dues.

Founded in 1874, Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution offering more than 160 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Besides its main campus, the school also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world.

The original version of this story was posted on the Andrews University news page.

Moriah McDonald, Andrews University, and Adventist Review