North Park University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
North Park University
Motto Preparing Students for Lives of Significance and Service[1]
Type Private
Established 1891[2]
Endowment $70 million
(February 14, 2013)[3]
President David L. Parkyn
Academic staff
125 Full-time[4]
Students 3,136[5]
Undergraduates 1,854[4]
Location Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and Yellow[6]
Athletics NCAA Division III
Affiliations Evangelical Covenant Church
Mascot Viking
North Park University logo.png

North Park University is a liberal arts university in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The school, the sole university of the Evangelical Covenant Church, shares its campus with the denomination's North Park Theological Seminary. The university enrolls more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world, and offers both bachelor's and master's degrees. The campus is located in the North Park and Albany Park neighborhoods of Chicago.[7]


In the later part of the 19th century, thousands of Swedish immigrants left Sweden and began to settle in America. As the communities, concentrated in the Midwest with hubs in Chicago and Minneapolis, began to settle and develop, many things began to happen that would pave the way for North Park University. The denomination that is now known as the Covenant began to organize in the 1880s and soon the education of Swedish immigrants, specifically theological education, became an important issue. Erik August Skogsbergh (1850–1939), sometimes called the Swedish Moody for his association with the famous Chicago Evangelist D.L. Moody, started a school in Minneapolis in 1884 that would serve as a forerunner to North Park.

Nyvall Hall

By 1891, the Covenant was in agreement that they should formally establish a school of their own. Skogsbergh offered his school, which served as the official Covenant school for three years, from 1891 until 1893. In 1894, the school was moved to Chicago, a move that upset some, including Skogsbergh. It moved to its present location at the corner of Foster and Kedzie, despite its remoteness from the Loop. It was sited close to then existing Swedish-American villages and the newly established Swedish Covenant Hospital. Old Main, the oldest building on campus, was erected and dedicated on June 16, 1894. It is at this time that the name North Park was first used to describe the school.

The early years of North Park were marked with both struggles and successes. Both enrollment and funding fluctuated greatly in the early years. An interesting source of both money and headache came from P.H. Anderson, who at the time was serving as a Covenant missionary in Alaska. Taking part in the gold rush of the time, Anderson made a massive find. And though he donated a portion of the findings, questionable circumstances surrounded the claim that created tension among the leadership of North Park.

The green space at the center of North Park's campus. The building in the distance is Brandel Library.

An early leader at that time was David Nyvall. Nyvall served as president and teacher in the Seminary for many years. The current seminary building, Nyvall Hall, is named after him. By the turn of the century, North Park could boast of a theological seminary, a prominent and large commercial department, a growing music department, and an academy created in 1894 to better prepare students for the seminary.

Since the early days, the school has developed and changed in many ways. In 1958, North Park Junior College expanded from a two-year college into a four-year program, becoming North Park College. In 1997, the controversial decision was made to again change the name of the school, and North Park University was born. Though North Park still holds on to its Swedish American past and close ties with the Evangelical Covenant Church, it is now a multicultural institution focused on diversity. North Park describes itself as a Liberal Arts University that is intentionally urban, distinctively Christian, and purposefully multicultural. North Park University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Higher Learning Council.[8] The seminary is additionally accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.[9] North Park's current president, Dr. David L. Parkyn, was inaugurated in November, 2006.[10] In February 2017, Parkyn announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.[11]

Academic programs[edit]

  • Undergraduate College
  • North Park Theological Seminary
  • School of Professional Studies
  • School of Business & Nonprofit Management
  • School of Education
  • School of Music, Art, and Theatre
  • School of Nursing



The North Park University athletics department fields 17 NCAA Division III teams: 8 men's teams and 9 women's teams.[12] The teams compete in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Men compete in football, basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, soccer, and track and field. Women compete in volleyball, basketball, softball, golf, soccer, track and field, cross country, and rowing.

North Park has had a successful men's basketball program. It has won five men's NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championships since 1978, including three consecutive ones led by Michael Harper, who later played for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.

North Park fields club teams for men's and women's ultimate frisbee, men's rowing, and men's volleyball. There is also a healthy Intramural sports program on campus.

National Championships[edit]

Men's Basketball: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1987

Student Government Association[edit]

Old Main

The North Park Student Government Association (SGA) sponsors many student-led organizations on campus. These organizations include the weekly student newspaper, the North Park Press, the yearbook known as the Cupola, the North Branch literary magazine, and Java Haus, the student-run coffeeshop in the basement of Burgh Hall.


The division of the Student Association that is responsible for the Academic life of students is known as Academics and Education. Academics and Education represents the student's voice at faculty meetings, plans fun and educational events, and hosts the now infamous Geek Week. It also oversees North Park's academic clubs, which include:[13]

  • Society of Physics Students
  • Philosophy Club
  • Student Arts Organization
  • Psychology Club
  • Student Nursing Association
  • Music Club
  • Red Hymnal Society
  • Tri-Beta
  • History Society
  • American Humanics (Non-profit Student Association)
  • Gender Studies Organization
  • Business Club
  • Chemistry Club
  • African Student Club


The Student Association also sponsors the Associations Representative Council, which is the umbrella organization for each of North Park University's cultural associations. These include:[14]

  • African American Student Association (BSA)
  • Commuter Student Association (CSA)
  • East Asian Student Association (EASA)
  • Latin American Student Organization (LASO)
  • Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA)
  • Scandinavian Student Association (SSA)

The North Park Press[edit]

The primary function of the North Park Press is to serve as a medium in which general campus news, and other relevant information to the university community, is communicated to the student body, staff and alumni. A version of the NP Press is available online and as of the spring semester of 2010 opened a dedicated news website.[15]

The sections of the Press" include: Arts & Entertainment, News, Opinion (a section for opinionated articles by students and staff), The Hedgehog (a political column), A Relationship Column, and Sports (updates on sports news for NP). While the newspaper is published under the guidance of a Faculty Advisor and the Dean of Students, it is designed and edited by a small team of student journalists. The Press is owned and operated by the Student Government Association of North Park University.

Students are invited to submit timely articles pertinent to the issues and discourse revolving around the North Park community.

In 2014, the North Park Press changed it's name to The Spectrum.

A view of downtown Chicago from Carlson Tower.

The Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life[edit]

The Johnson Center for Science and Community Life is the newest building on campus. The ribbon cutting ceremony was on September 12–13, 2014. The expansion cost $57 million, largely funded by Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson and in a capital campaign named "Campaign North Park".[16] The Johnson Center is considered a "state-of-the-art" addition to North Park University's science programs and is also home to Einstein Bagels. The Johnson Center has 101,000 square feet, three floors and a garden level and is located in the central area of campus. The Johnson Center is equipped with 30 science laboratories, space for student and faculty research, "Smart" technology in every classroom, and several conference rooms. The building is also dedicated for campus community life with a two-story atrium and "lobby for gathering and social interaction", offices for programs "supporting co-curricular learning, spiritual growth, vocational development, urban engagement, and campus life." The building is also equipped with communal study spaces, a prayer room, and a courtyard.[17]

Swedish-American Traditions[edit]

North Park's Swedish-American tradition is evident in various ways. The Swedish–American Historical Society Archives are administered in Chicago by North Park University's Brandel Library. The Center for Scandinavian Studies at North Park is the legal trustee.[18] The Saint Lucy's Day festival is held each December in Anderson Chapel. The service follows many Swedish traditions and is one of the few Santa Lucia Festivals held in the Chicago area.[19] There is also an exchange program with Södra Vätterbygdens Folkhögskola and Jönköping University in Jönköping, Sweden.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Archived September 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ [2] Archived September 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ [3] Archived March 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b [4] Archived November 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Homepage
  8. ^ [5][dead link]
  9. ^ "North Park University - Christian, Urban, Intercultural". Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  10. ^ "President David L. Parkyn". North Park University. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  11. ^ "A Message from the Board of Trustees - North Park University". North Park University. 2017-02-15. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  12. ^ "North Park University Athletics". Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  13. ^ [6] Archived December 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ [7] Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ [8] Archived August 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ [9] Archived February 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Campaign North Park University - Christian, Urban, Multicultural". Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  18. ^ "Scandinavian Studies". North Park University. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Sankta Lucia: A Time-Honored Tradition". North Park University. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Chicago to Jönköping: North Park University's Oldest Exchange Program". North Park University. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°58′31″N 87°42′35″W / 41.9752°N 87.7098°W / 41.9752; -87.7098