Baylor History Graduate Selected as 2021 Lilly Graduate Fellow

June 22, 2021
Benjamin Jack Young

Benjamin "Jack" Young, B.A. '21, has been selected as a 2021 Lilly Graduate Fellow

Media Contact: Kaitlyn Rieper, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-405-9110
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WACO, Texas (June 22, 2021) – Benjamin “Jack” Young, B.A. ’21, has been selected as one of 10 Lilly Graduate Fellows for 2021.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is a part of the Lilly Fellows Program that supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education and the vocation of the teacher-scholar as they pursue graduate degrees in humanities and the arts.

Young is an incoming Ph.D. student in the department of history at the University of Notre Dame. His primary research interests as a historian are with the modern United States, primarily at the intersections of religion, politics and metropolitan development.

“I am particularly invested in exploring the connections between large-scale suburbanization and the ascendance of conservative evangelicalism in the United States after World War II,” Young said. “Secondarily, my research examines how American Protestants have wielded political power and exerted cultural influence beyond their national borders. More broadly, I am interested in how shifting metropolitan landscapes have shaped patterns of religious experience and social being in the modern western world.”

Barry Hankins, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Baylor department of history, has high praise for Young as the best student he has taught over more than 30 years at the college and university level.

“His undergraduate honors thesis was as good as most Ph.D. dissertations in everything but length. He is just the sort of student we would like to return to Baylor on faculty someday, but wherever he lands after graduate school, he will do exceedingly well,” Hankins said.

While at Baylor, he completed a bachelor’s in history and religion with a classics minor while also participating in the Honors Program. Additionally, Young worked at the Institute for Oral History and was a William Carey Crane Scholar.

“Throughout his years in the William Carey Crane Scholars Program, Jack Young showed a keen interest and devotion to church-related higher education. We look forward to seeing Jack’s development in the prestigious Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, as he and others explore how faith might animate institutions of higher learning,” said Darin Davis, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Faith and Learning at Baylor, clinical professor of moral philosophy in the Honors Program and board member of the Lilly Fellows Program National Network.

The 10 Lilly Graduate Fellows will meet together for three days in person at an Inaugural Conference from Aug. 2-5, in Holland, Michigan, with their mentors, Dr. Martha Eads of Eastern Mennonite University and Dr. Charles Strauss of Mount St. Mary’s University. Following the conference, the Fellows will embark on a long-distance colloquium, engage in one-on-one mentoring relationships and participate in three additional conferences. They also will receive three annual stipends of $3,000 to use at their discretion. All 10 are pursuing terminal graduate studies in humanities or the arts.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program was started with a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1991, the Lilly Fellows Program seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning through four programmatic initiatives. Thus far, the program has selected a total of 12 cohorts of Graduate Fellows from the current 99 schools that make up the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.