The Center for Life Calling & Leadership originally emerged from an entrepreneurial idea coming out of a major strategic-planning effort by Indiana Wesleyan University. It was intended to be the university’s most distinctive feature, that would revolutionize the educational process, as it would challenge every student to discover a personal life calling (i.e. their purpose for life) rather than just a career. This Center would then assist these students in working out the details of that vocation during their undergraduate experience and empower them to achieve this life calling through character-based leadership development that would inspire them to serve those whom they lead. Initial steps to achieve this vision were taken at the end of 1999 when IWU brought Dr. Bill Millard to campus to direct the process of creating such a Center. He was joined in this effort by Dr. Jim Laub in the fall of 2000.
Out of their efforts, the Center grew and began to enable individuals to find an overriding purpose for their lives, equipped them to make life decisions based on this purpose, and empowered them to develop this purpose into world changing leadership. Students were encouraged to explore the concept of vocation in the context of spirituality and faith, and to approach the idea of vocation through stewardship–much broader than just a job, position, or occupation. Vocation was explored in the context of a life calling that produces confidence in an overriding purpose for one's life to bring about positive change in the world, and then living out one's life consistently with that purpose.
Over the next fifteen years the Center moved life calling into a central theme at Indiana Wesleyan University, and began to play a recognized role in this area with other schools and institutions around the nation and world. Dr. Millard led this effort as the Executive Director throughout the Center’s history at IWU. By 2012, the concept of life calling had become integrated into IWU’s ethos to the level that much of the operational work carried on by the Center ot this point, was elevated to a higher level of operation in the university as the School of LIfe Calling and later as an entire division led by a vice president. The work of the Center turned more toward the research efforts of Dr. Millard related to life calling. When Dr. Millard retired from IWU in 2016, those research efforts have been maintained by him in the work of Life Discovery, and the Center for Life Calling & Leadership has moved into our organization.