The Lilly Center for Vocation and Values grew out of an awareness that today's college students too often lack a sense of purpose in life, a sense of their unique gifts and how those gifts might be used to make a positive difference in the world around them. In short, many students arrive at college with little or no idea of their "vocation" in the word's original sense of "calling." Not surprisingly, considering the values communicated through popular American culture today, young people often focus solely only on acquiring wealth and status for themselves and may have given little or no thought to the idea of service to others.
- To help students begin the process of identifying their own unique sense of vocation, their "calling" in life. Frederick Buechner, in his book Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC, refers to this sense of vocation as "the place where [their] deep gladness meets the world's deep need."
- To encourage students to consider how their religious faith relates, or could relate, to their choice of vocation.
- To encourage students to consider the many ways that Christian leadership, community service, and a secular career can be combined within a broad concept of vocation.
- To promote a serious exploration of the idea of vocation among all students at Catawba College, including those with less immediate interest in a theological career or a career in community service. The Center believes that all students, if encouraged to consider seriously their lives and their futures, will prefer a path that enables them to improve the world in which they live