March 1, 2019


Grant will advance Iliff’s innovative push in into new academic programs, establish a new scholarship, and revive the Bacon Education Center.

DENVER, CO. – Iliff School of Theology has been awarded an $800,000 grant from the Bacon Family Foundation to support student scholarships, experimental research and teaching, and capital improvements. The gift, one of the most significant to be received by Iliff in its history, represents a meaningful investment in Iliff’s innovative push into new academic programs along with supporting students and updating the Iliff campus.

A portion of the grant will be used to renovate the Bacon Education Center which was built in 1998. The Center houses administrative offices, the Taylor Library, and classrooms. In addition to updating the technological capacity of the building, the institution’s library main floor will also be reconfigured for innovative new usages.

To honor the Bacons for their longtime financial support for Iliff’s students, the institution will be establishing the Bacon Family Scholarship. This named endowed scholarship fund would provide over $6,000 in scholarship funds each year in perpetuity.

In recognition of the Bacon’s advocacy for faculty development, the grant will be used to create the “Bacon Family Experimental Education Program Fund.” The fund will enable Iliff faculty, staff, students, and alumni to continue to explore innovative research and teaching primarily in environmental stewardship and social justice, the well-being of communities, and the responsible use of technology in society.

“We are extremely grateful to the Bacon family’s generosity,” said Rev. Dr. Tom Wolfe, Iliff’s President and CEO. “The Bacon family’s enduring commitment to Iliff has greatly changed the lives of students who are focused on civic engagement, social justice, and community service. This significant grant is timely as it will sustain and advance our work in expanding the conversations on theological education as Iliff enters into a new chapter in its growth and development.”

The Foundation, managed by the children of Herb and Laura May Bacon, has provided an array of significant gifts to Iliff throughout the years. The Bacons, who live in Grand Junction, Colorado, are highly respected for their dedication and commitment to many nonprofits and community organizations.

Born into a Methodist family in Bird City, Kansas, Herb had an illustrious career in banking and together with Laura May, a Denver native, have been significant figures in the development of Grand Junction and the Colorado western slope region.

Serving on the Board of Trustees for 22 years, (1976-1986 and 1988-2000), Herb noted that Iliff’s openness to diversity drew him and his family to the institution. “Iliff has never feared shaking things up by inviting students to examine and develop a peaceful respect for beliefs beyond their own.”

About Iliff

Founded in 1892, the Iliff School of Theology is an independent, graduate school that is recognized nationally and internationally for its emphasis on justice, diversity, and ethics.  Ranked in the top 10 theological schools engaged in multi-faith education by the Auburn Theological Seminary, Iliff offers programs that educate and develop leaders with courageous theological imagination. Located in Denver, Colorado, Iliff offers a progressive and diverse community that is supportive, inclusive, and enriching for students. For more information, visit: