Valparaiso University. I was a post-doctoral fellow here from 2000-2002 as part of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts. I have been back to Valparaiso a couple of times since I left for Messiah College in 2002, but it has been a while since my last visit. I know a lot of things in Valparaiso, Indiana have changed over the years, but a lot remains the same. For example, I am in the same hotel that I stayed in during my Lilly Fellows interview. I also rode the infamous Coach USA bus from O'Hare airport to Portage--just like I used to do twelve years ago (It is still a terrible trip). The last time I rode this bus I was on the last leg of my journey home after interviewing for my current position at Messiah College.
I am here for a Lilly Fellows Program reunion conference focused on the legacy of Mark Schwehn's book Exiles from Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America (Oxford, 1994). So many of us have been influenced by this book and a lot of us decided to devote ourselves to church-related higher education as a result of reading it.
I am off to a picnic tonight, but the real academic conference starts tomorrow. Speakers include Dorothy Bass, Stephanie Paulsell, Caryn Riswold, Matt Lundin, Caroline Simon, Julie Straight, Tal Howard, Bob Elder, Heath White, Matt Hedstrom, Mark Schwehn, Craig Dykstra, Michel Beaty, Thomas Hibbs, Patrick Byrne, Mary Strey, Scott Huelin, Michael Cartwright, Susan VanZanten, Arlin Migliazzo, Jane Kelley Rodeheffer, and Mel Piehl.
I hope to do some blogging and Tweeting this weekend. A Twitter hashtag has already been established: #lfpexiles Stay tuned.