Written by Kaylie Weideman. Media by Momoka Murata.
Meet Lori Gaffner!
Lori is a professor in the Philosophy and Theology department, the Dean of Chapel, and the Director of Spiritual Formation here at Greenville University. She grew up in Chicago in a suburb called Oak Lawn. Her family still lives in the surrounding areas of Chicago. Lori came to Greenville College as a student and graduated in 1983. She had a good friend that came before her and highly encouraged her to check it out.
Lori and her parents decided to come on a visit to small town Greenville, Illinois where they instantly fell in love with the college. Lori’s father told her if she was going to go to college so far away from home that this would be the perfect Christian institution for her.
So, this is where she ended up. Lori graduated from Greenville College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Psychology. She then went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from SIU-E, a Masters of Arts in Educational Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Illinois University, and a Masters of Spiritual Formation from Northwest Nazarene University.
Since her days as a GC student, to now being the Dean of Chapel amongst many other roles at GU, Lori has been an active part of the Greenville community for almost thirty years. Lori has built such a strong connection with this school as well as with God because of the small town she fell in love with so many years ago.
Lori’s favorite part of the University is the students. She says, “My spirit comes alive when I walk on campus and see the students.” Every time she walks into a classroom or Whitlock for chapel, she says to herself, “I can’t believe I get to do this!” She loves every student and wants them to have an experience on campus like the one that she did.
She hopes all of you continue to know and grow closer to Jesus Christ and His Love. “When I look at everyone’s face in chapel,” she said, “I think about how much God loves each one of these students and how much I want them to know that. Many of them do already, and I see that hope in their eyes.” Lori’s greatest hope for students is that they would come to truly know and be known by Jesus in their four years at Greenville University.
She has had an incredible journey — one that has been good, hard, wonderful, and miraculous all at the same time. In spite of the ups and downs, Lori said, “I can’t imagine being anywhere else, and the privilege I have to be a part of what God is doing here is indescribable.”
Lori Gaffner is such an incredible woman and our institution is blessed to have her. She has such an amazing heart for Jesus, students, and the University as a whole. So if you happen to walk past her or see her on campus, don’t forget to show your appreciation and say hello!