SPRING 2023 VOL. 38, NO.2

Decoration Graphic

Patricia DravesA House Built on Belonging

This year, Graceland celebrates 60 years of its iconic house system, often compared to traditional Greek life systems at other institutions, yet unique because of its focus on belonging and inclusion of all. For Gracelanders through the years, the house system is one of the single most important connections they have to the University. Their first friends come from their fellow house residents. They spend their days together – eating, laughing, studying, and playing. The house system is built on the principle of belonging, just like Graceland.

In the Fall of 2022, Graceland officially launched Blue, Gold & Bold: Our Strategic Framework for the Future. Alongside that strategic plan, we felt like we needed a clear reminder of what we do and why we do it. This statement of purpose has been our rallying cry:

We are Graceland. Together, we strive to create an environment of radical belonging where all are welcome, valued, and empowered to learn and grow. Radical belonging enables our students to gain the self-confidence, strength, and skills to be the bold leaders and changemakers the world needs.  

Graceland’s house system is one of our greatest examples of how we live out our commitment to radical belonging on our campuses. One of our unique university superpowers is that everyone belongs here regardless of cultural, political, or any other background, and we embrace our differing perspectives to learn together as a community. It is the backbone of our residential Lamoni campus experience, and it is central to so much of what we do and why it matters.

The belonging that our students find here is critical to fostering their personal growth because being surrounded by a caring community gives them the courage and acceptance to be their truest, most authentic self. And because of that, they carry their Graceland experience with them through their lives, as I know you all do as our treasured alumni. I am grateful for the leaders developed and lives changed through the house system over the past 60 years. With the ongoing support of our alumni and friends, we are excited for 600 more!

In Blue and Gold,

Patricia H. Draves, PhD

Follow me:
Instagram @GracelandUPres

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