The Lilly Project

The Lilly Project for the Theological, Spiritual and Ethical Exploration of Vocation has been a university-wide program dedicated to helping students to engage the larger questions of meaning and purpose, and to discern their vocation -- their calling in life. Funded in part by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Lilly Project has become embedded in the intellectual and residential life of the university.

Opportunities for members of the community:

  • to consider issues of vocation
  • to engage in and reflect on service
  • to explore meaning-making life choices through a variety of academic and co-curricular programs

Our definition of "vocation"

Vocation, as we have used it in the context of the Lilly Project at Willamette, does not mean strictly religious vocations; neither does it refer to building a skilled workforce. Rather, it means the way in which we live out our passions in the world, the way in which our values, our commitments and our beliefs are embodied in our choices about work, about family, about our political and social lives.

Exploring vocation

Means talking about engaging the larger questions of meaning and purpose, questions that, we hope, inform students' decisions and shape their lives, both during their time here and after graduation. We are talking about vocation in the context of a liberal arts education, one that opens up choices and options, one that teaches students how to think critically, inquire freely, lead wisely, serve generously and live with integrity.