Aerial view of North Park University campus with Chicago skyline.

Mission and Identity


The mission of North Park University, as the University of the Evangelical Covenant Church, is to prepare students for lives of significance and service through education in the liberal arts, professional studies, and theology.


Building on our core institutional identity—Christian, city-centered, intercultural—our vision is to create a university of uncommon character and enduring excellence, where faith, learning, and service meet.


North Park University will be distinguished as the nation’s leading city-centered Christian university during the coming decade and beyond.

The University’s learning community is differentiated by adopting the city as both subject and place of learning as a foundation for academic excellence. Within this framework, the University educates students from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and prior academic experiences, practicing Christian hospitality with students of all faith traditions while centering in the Affirmations of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

The University will be known through its graduates who are equipped in their respective careers to advance the vitality of the world’s people and their cities, prepared to cross cultures, and formed in Christian community for leadership and service in the church and the world.

The Distinctive Learning Community

North Park University has a rich 125-year history. We share a strong heritage of faith and a commitment to welcoming students from diverse cultures, social traditions, and religions.

Educational Ideals

Within our distinctive learning community, where Christian faith, learning, and service meet, students at North Park University experience an education that:

  • Is rooted in and committed to the Christian faith and its sacred text, the Bible
  • Engages Chicago as a dynamic context for learning and service
  • Embraces all people and celebrates the richness of cultural difference
  • Affirms learning in all its forms-in the classroom and beyond-as a gift, a joy, and a sacred obligation
  • Encourages dialogue as a means of learning where open inquiry, integrity, and civility guide our life together
  • Seeks to form and transform the whole student (intellectually, socially and spiritually) to their individual capacity
  • Values each student for who he or she is and will become

Core Values

The University’s academic programs and learning environment are informed by three institutional values. Our community is:

Christian – We nurture faith, balancing commitment and freedom.

City-centered – We engage Chicago as a dynamic place of learning and service.

Intercultural – We embrace and value all people, celebrate the global cultural tapestry, and support the reconciling mandate of the Christian gospel.

The Evangelical Covenant Church

North Park University was founded in 1891 by the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), a rapidly growing, multi-ethnic denomination with over 800 congregations in the United States and Canada and ministries on five continents.

The Mission of the ECC

Formed in 1885 by Swedish immigrants, the Evangelical Covenant Church seeks to form and nurture communities and individuals who are deeply committed to Jesus Christ and passionately engaged in Christ’s mission in the world. The church’s missional identity is characterized by these values:

  • The Bible is the Word of God, and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct
  • The necessity of new birth
  • A commitment to the whole mission of the church
  • The church as a fellowship of believers
  • A conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit
  • The reality of freedom in Christ

North Park and the ECC

As an institution, North Park University’s identity consistently reflects and embodies the mission and values of the ECC as we prepare students for lives of significance and service. Academic study is informed by engaging faith in the classroom, as well as through participating in the vibrant campus and urban communities. We understand our distinctively Christian identity to be one which welcomes students of all backgrounds into the conversation.

A deep connection to the church is maintained through North Park Theological Seminary, the seminary of the ECC, which prepares men and women for competent and faithful service in a variety of ministry contexts.

More About the ECC

We invite you to further explore the denomination online, and offer the following highlights as keys to learning more about the mission and identity of the Covenant church:

You can search for specific topics and resources in the online Covenant Resources library, including scholarship on church and ministry issues from a number of professors at North Park.

For further information about the ECC and North Park University and Theological Seminary, please contact Dennis R. Edwards, vice president for church relations and dean of the seminary.

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