North Park University is a four-year university located at 3225 W. Foster Avenue on the north side of Chicago, Illinois in the North Park neighborhood. It was founded in 1891 by the Evangelical Covenant Church and shares its campus with the denomination's only seminary. The university enrolls more than 3,000 students from around the country and the world and offers bachelors and masters degrees.
In the later part of the 19th century, thousands of Swedish immigrants left Sweden and began to settle in America. As the communities, concentrated in the Midwest with hubs in Chicago and Minneapolis, began to settle and develop, many things began to happen that would pave the way for North Park University. The denomination that is now known as the Covenant began to organize in the 1880s and soon the education of Swedish immigrants, specifically theological education, became an important issue. E. August Skogsbergh (1850–1939), sometimes called the Swedish Moody for his association with the famous Chicago Evangelist D.L. Moody, started a school in Minneapolis in 1884 that would serve as a forerunner to North Park in many ways.
By 1891, the Covenant was in agreement that they should formally establish a school of their own. Skogsbergh offered his school, which served as the official Covenant school for three years, from 1891 until 1893. In 1894, the school was moved to Chicago, a move that upset some, including Skogsbergh. It moved to its present location at the corner of Foster and Kedzie, despite its remoteness from the Loop. It was sited close to then existing Swedish-American villages and the newly established Swedish Covenant Hospital. Old Main, the oldest building on campus, was erected and dedicated on June 16, 1894. It is at this time that the name North Park was first used to describe the school.
The early years of North Park were marked with both struggles and successes. Both enrollment and funding fluctuated greatly in the early years. An interesting source of both money and headache came from P.H. Anderson, who at the time was serving as a Covenant missionary in Alaska. Taking part in the gold rush of the time, Anderson made a massive find. And though he donated a portion of the findings, questionable circumstances surrounded the claim that created tension among the leadership of North Park.
An early leader at that time was David Nyvall. He served as president and teacher in the Seminary for many years. The current seminary building, Nyvall Hall, is named after him. By the turn of the century, North Park could boast of a theological seminary, a prominent and large commercial department, a growing music department, and an academy created in 1894 to better prepare students for the seminary.
Since the early days, the school has developed and changed in many ways. In 1958, North Park Junior College expanded from a two-year college into a four-year program, becoming North Park College. In 1997, the controversial decision was made to again change the name of the school, and North Park University was born. Though North Park still holds on to its Swedish American past and close ties with the Evangelical Covenant Church, it is now a multicultural institution focused on diversity. North Park now proudly describes itself as a Liberal Arts University that is intentionally urban, distinctively Christian, and purposefully multicultural. North Park University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Higher Learning Council. The seminary is additionally accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
North Park's current president, Dr. David L. Parkyn, was inaugurated in November, 2006.
The North Park University athletics department fields 17 NCAA Division III teams: 8 men's teams and 9 women's teams. The teams compete in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Men compete in football, basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, soccer, and track and field. Women compete in volleyball, basketball, softball, golf, soccer, track and field, cross country, and rowing.
North Park fields club teams for men's and women's ultimate frisbee, men's rowing, and men's volleyball. There is also a healthy Intramural sports program on campus.
The women's crew team has done slightly better, repeatedly placing in national regattas. North Park is also known as having one of the most successful men's basketball programs in all of college athletics. They have won five men's NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championships since 1978. The baseball program has seen amazing improvements under new leadership by Coach Luke Johnson. Pitcher Mike Giovenco was drafted in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins, and was drafted again in 2010 by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th round. The mens football team has had great success in the past years. Improving their team making moves and bringing themselves closer to winning a national championship.
Men's Basketball (5): 1978, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1987
The North Park Student Association sponsors many student led organizations on campus. These organizations include the weekly student newspaper, the North Park Press, the yearbook known as the Cupola, the North Branch literary magazine, and Java Haus, the student-run coffeeshop in the basement of Burgh Hall.
The division of the Student Association that is responsible for the Academic life of students is known as Academics and Education. Academics and Education represents the student's voice at faculty meetings, plans fun and educational events, and hosts the now infamous Geek Week. It also oversees North Park's academic clubs, which include:
The Student Association also sponsors the Associations Representative Council, which is the umbrella organization for each of North Park University's cultural associations. These include:
The primary function of the North Park Press is to serve as a medium in which general campus news, and other relevant information to the university community, is communicated to the student body, staff and alumni. A version of the NP Press is available online  and as of the spring semester of 2010 opened a dedicated news website.
The Press has seven sections: Arts & Entertainment, Business, Campus, Local, Nation/World, Opinion (a section for opinionated articles by students and staff), and Sports (updates on sports news for NP). While the newspaper is published under the guidance of a Faculty Advisor and the Dean of Students, it is designed and edited by a small team of student journalists. The Press is owned and operated by the Student Association of North Park University.
Students are invited to submit timely articles pertinent to the issues and discourse revolving around the North Park community.
North Park's Swedish-American identity is evident in many different ways. The Swedish–American Historical Society Archives are administered in Chicago by North Park University's Brandel Library. The Center for Scandinavian Studies at North Park is the legal trustee.
One annual tradition is the Santa Lucia Festival, held each December in Anderson Chapel. The service follows many Swedish traditions and is one of the few Santa Lucia Festivals held in the Chicago area. There is also an exchange program with Södra Vätterbygdens Folkhögskola in Jönköping, Sweden.
Another annual tradition is the cafeteria's Thanksgiving dinner. This all-campus event is an opportunity for students to come a receive a free Thanksgiving meal served by both the college's administration and the Residence Life staff.