Gordon in the News: last updated 10/24/2008

Two Gordon College Alumni Awarded Prestigious Lilly Graduate Fellows

August 13, 2008

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA - Earning a Ph.D. can often be an isolating and arduous task. But for two recent Gordon College graduates, life in graduate school just got a little easier.

Ian Corbin, '06, of Danvers, MA, and Kirstin Hasler, '07, of Conifer, CO., both political studies majors who graduated summa cum laude from Gordon, were awarded graduate fellowships by the Lilly Fellows Program seated at Valparaiso University. From hundreds of applicants within the 80 colleges that comprise the Lilly network, only 15 fellowships were awarded to young scholars who are entering Ph.D. or equivalent graduate programs in humanities and arts and are also interested in working within church-related colleges and universities in the United States. Aside from Notre Dame, Gordon is the only school in the nation where two students were given the prestigious award.

Corbin, who completed his master's degree from Yale Divinity School, will begin a doctorate program in philosophy at Boston College this fall. Hasler, who earned her master's from the University of Belfast, will enter a Ph.D. program at Notre Dame to study politics, particularly international relations and ethnic conflict. Both were members of the Phi Alpha Chi honor society as well the inaugural class of Gordon's Jerusalem & Athens Forum (JAF), which is part of a multidimensional initiative supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

"The Lilly Fellows Program creates a cohort of those who want to go into religious higher education when graduate school can otherwise be somewhat isolating," said Tal Howard, associate professor of history and director of the Jerusalem & Athens Forum. "This will give Kirstin and Ian a strong sense of purpose and a community of like-minded people. It will also help keep alive for them some of the big questions raised in a Christian liberal arts setting that are tied to their vocation, but which can often get lost en route to the highly specialized Ph.D."

In addition to funding support, the award provides Corbin and Hasler the opportunity to work with senior mentors and other fellows while communicating and collaborating in areas of research and professional development. Fellows also attend four conferences over the course of three years and participate in group readings and online discussions.

Howard, who was a professor to both Corbin and Hasler while they studied at Gordon and who was himself a 'postdoctoral' Lilly Fellow from 1997 to 1999, believes that the honor affirms already strong academic potential.

"Both Kirstin--whose brother was also in the JAF program and whose sister will start at Gordon in the fall--and Ian were exceptional students, self-motivated and good writers," Howard said. "They're the kind of people we'd love to teach at Gordon in the future."

For information, or to request an interview, contact the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4235.


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The college offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.