Vocational exploration was at the root of PLU’s mission upon its founding in 1890. Ever since then, the university has continued to honor its Lutheran heritage by supporting students as they seek meaning and purpose—in their learning, in their work, and in their lives.
For nearly a decade, exploration of vocation was sustained through the grant-funded Wild Hope Project. Now the Wild Hope Center for Vocation continues the project’s good work, acting as a foundation of vocation for students, faculty, and staff as they explore life’s big questions and engage in fulfilling and meaningful work.
Why Wild Hope?
Vocation has a multitude of meanings. At PLU, we recognize that vocation is an embodiment of the course a person’s life takes, and that lives—by their very nature—are “wild” things. Adapted from Mary Oliver’s poem The Summer Day, this name embraces life’s inherent wildness which influences one’s vocational journey. The discernment and discovery that happen in a university setting are deeply rooted in conceptions of vocation, as it is here our students unearth the paths they will travel in their lives. A distinctively hopeful exploration, the search for vocation that we and our students undertake together continues to endure, even in the face of the untamed and unpredictable nature of the wonderful world in which we live.
History of Vocation at PLU
The Wild Hope Center for Vocation carries on the work of PLU’s Wild Hope Project, which began with a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2003. Then, in May of 2011, the Board of Regents recognized the good that the project brought to the university and ensured its continuance by establishing what is now the Wild Hope Center for Vocation.