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Tia Dukes majored in organizational Communication at North Central College in Naperville. From West Chicago, Illinois, Dukes spent a year abroad studying in South Korea, sharing that and other experiences as a mentor in ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program at the college. Watch as Dukes says a gift to the Peer Mentoring Program helped make it possible for her to commute and continue her education.

Click here for more info about Dukes. Learn about other participants in the ACI Peer Mentoring Program, plus student scholarship recipients.

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North Park University: For More Than 125 Years, a Chicago-centered University With Deep Christian Roots

University focuses on preparing diverse student body with innovative programs in a competitive college environment

Mary K. Surridge

President, North Park University

Since 1894 — before the city around it was even there – North Park University has been an anchor of Christian higher education in northwest Chicago. Today, the university’s president, Mary K. Surridge, left, sees the school emerging as the model for Christian higher education in 21st Century America.


“Three distinctive characteristics help distinguish us from other universities,” Surridge says. “We’re distinguished by our Christian identity, and deeply rooted in faith. Second, we are centered in this world-class city of Chicago, a competitive advantage with opportunities that are limitless for education and career development. And third, we are distinguished and blessed by the rich tapestry of a thoroughly intercultural student community. Our student population has no majority group, and identifies as nearly 50 percent students of color. That is a strength for us that is unparalleled.”


“In my view,” Surridge says, “one of our Christian imperatives is that we prepare an intercultural, diverse student body to serve in the city — that we help students find their calling and equip them to use their vocational gifts for a better world.”


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