Siloam Springs, Ark (October 2, 1997) - John Brown University announced today the creation of a new "Center for Marriage and Family Studies" at JBU. The new undergraduate and graduate level program is being developed with the help of a $750,000 grant over three years from the Windgate Foundation of Siloam Springs, Ark.

"This is an exciting step for John Brown University to develop a nationally significant resource center," said Dr. Lee Balzer, president of JBU. "We as a university community are enthusiastic about this opportunity to strengthen the family. By joining with the Windgate Foundation, we will be able to make a lifelong impact on JBU students and constituents."

"The new graduate program will prepare marriage and family therapists to help address the very significant marriage and family challenges within our culture. We are very excited to be leaders in family studies as part of the JBU model of advancing excellence in higher education."

The Center for Marriage and Family Studies will have a fourfold purpose: prepare future marriage and family therapists through a graduate degree program; conduct programs that will serve JBU faculty, staff, churches and para-church groups; provide leadership in the lives of undergraduate students in the areas of dating, courtship, engagement and marriage; and serve as a professional information clearing house in Christian marriage and family studies.

The Center will begin a master's degree program in Marriage and Family therapy in 1998 and graduate the first class of graduate students in Marriage and Family therapy in the spring of 2000.

"The Center for Marriage and Family Studies will be excellent combination of intellectual development, spiritual growth, and practical hands-on experience," said Dr. Mel Fratzke, JBU provost. "It is a visionary and exciting dream which we think will provide significant impact on the lives of undergraduate and graduate students. JBU's faculty and staff will truly have the opportunity to serve the regional and national church community in this effort to strengthen family relationships."

The Center for Marriage and Family Studies will have an advisory board of nationally known marriage and family professionals, church ministers/counselors, and members from the JBU Board of Trustees, faculty/staff, and student body. The advisory board will serve as a resource for the Center on ideas and trends within the discipline of Marriage and Family. Members will offer input and counsel on the Center's policies and program emphasis.

The university is seeking a nationally known expert in marriage and family studies as the first executive director. The executive director and assistant director should be hired in the next 12 months. Enrichment activities with undergraduates are already being implemented on campus and the master's degree will be initiated in the summer of 1998.

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