May 24, 2017 | News & Stories Staff


Aaron Abma, a senior at Calvin College, is one of just ten students in 2017 to receive a Lilly Graduate Fellowship.

The Lilly Fellows Program announces the selection of Calvin College senior Aaron Abma (Grand Rapids, Michigan) as one of ten Lilly Graduate Fellows.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is a part of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts that supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education, and the vocation of the teacher-scholar as they pursue graduate degrees in humanities and the arts.

Abma double majored in physics and philosophy and spent his last undergraduate semester at Calvin College studying at Oxford. He plans to continue his studies in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Abma’s academic interests span from medieval philosophy to philosophy of science to ethics. He’s described by one of his professors as “one of the smartest students I’ve ever had the joy of teaching, while also serious about his faith. He would be a gift to the future of Christian higher education.” Other professors describe him as an outstanding writer, a voracious reader, a careful researcher and a thoughtful Christian.

The ten fellows were selected by an eight-member selection committee who interviewed 16 finalists (selected from 56 applicants) March 31–April 1, 2017, in Indianapolis. The fellows will meet together for three days at an inaugural conference from July 31–August 3, 2017, also in Indianapolis, with their mentors, Lisa DeBoer of Westmont College and John Ware of Xavier University in Louisiana. Following this inaugural conference, the fellows will embark on a long-distance colloquium, engage in one-on-one mentoring relationships and participate in three additional conferences. All ten are pursuing terminal graduate studies in humanities or the arts.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is funded by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Thus far, the program has selected a total of ten cohorts of graduate fellows from the current 100 schools that make up the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities.  Lilly Graduate Fellows participate in a three-year program in which they meet regularly with a mentor, attend four conferences, participate in a long-distance colloquium and receive three annual stipends of $3,000 ($9,000 in total) to use at their discretion.

About the Lilly Fellows Program

Founded in 1991, the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning through three programmatic initiatives. In addition to the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, it offers postdoctoral teaching fellowships for young scholars who wish to renew their sense of vocation within a Christian community of learning in order to prepare themselves for positions of teaching, scholarship and leadership within church-related institutions. It also maintains a collaborative National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities that sponsors a variety of activities and publications designed to explore the Christian character of the academic vocation and to strengthen the religious nature of church-related institutions. The national network represents among its current membership of 100 schools a diversity of denominational traditions, institutional types and geographical locations.

About Calvin College
Calvin College is a top-ranked liberal arts college that equips and empowers its nearly 3,900 students from 46 U.S. states, 55 countries and six Canadian provinces to think deeply, to act justly and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Calvin is proud to offer 100+ majors and programs, with advanced courses that have often been compared to graduate-level experiences for their remarkable depth of learning.

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