Get to Know Urbana 15’s New Program Director

Urbana 12 went off without a hitch. The Join-In night, the manuscript studies, the Bible exposition, the theater sketches, the worship, the seminars, the videos, the Bookstore of Epic Proportions, the exhibitors . . . it all came together seamlessly for an amazing conference during December 27-31, 2012.

But behind the well-orchestrated, Spirit-led experience was tons of prayer and tons of planning. (And, truth be told, a good amount of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts.)

Visioning and implementing the overall Urbana program is a big job. So we’re thrilled that God has called Úna Lucey-Lee to the role. And we know he’ll equip her and lead her and her team as he’s done for every Urbana in the past.

Here’s a glimpse at Úna’s life and at her vision for her new role and for Urbana 15 as a whole.

How and when did you surrender your life to Christ?

In high school I had a renewal experience and was part of a Bible study that set me on a solid course of following Jesus as Lord. Romans 12:1-2 is a seminal passage in my understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

What were some highlights for you from your college and just-out-of-college years?

A few highlights in college were being a leader in the InterVarsity chapter, living and ministering in the dorms, manuscript Bible study in Mark at Campus by the Sea, and the friends I made.

Post-college highlights include living on my own and working in Santa Barbara, California, at the Montecito YMCA. Getting involved in a church was also a highlight. It was a potent two years of adventure, maturity, and discipleship. God was generous to introduce me to some lifelong friends and mentors in those two years.

What was your first Urbana experience like? How did you sense God speaking to you there?

My first Urbana was in 1984. I went again in 1990 at the beginning of my InterVarsity staff tenure. Since then, I have been to the Urbana Student Missions Conference six times, serving primarily within Operations with the exception of one time when I was involved with small group Bible studies.

Each Urbana Conference has impacted me differently. At Urbana 84, I made a commitment to a life on mission without knowing the particulars of my future. I was particularly motivated by Lindsay Brown in a seminar about urban ministry in Western Europe. This tapped into the sovereign foundation of having immigrant parents from Ireland and being born in San Francisco. Leaving Urbana 84, I thought my commitment to missions would involve getting a master’s in Public Health and living and working in an urban center. Choices about my major reflected this thinking. Over time, the application of this commitment has morphed quite a bit.

What places and roles has God called you to since college?

First, he called me to Santa Barbara, California, to be the Membership Director at the Montecito Family YMCA. I was also a leader in my church. From there I went to San Luis Obispo, California, where I was InterVarsity campus staff at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Later I became the team leader for three years before going on sabbatical. I spent my sabbatical in Pasadena, California, and then went on staff within the Greater Los Angeles Division (Southern California region). My latest role has been in Evanston, Illinois, as the Director of Staff Training and Leadership Development in the Great Lakes West region.

Why did you apply to be the Urbana 15 Program Director?

I was interested in the Urbana 15 Program Director role for two reasons. First, after over twenty years on staff with InterVarsity, Urbana remains at the top of my list of “Things About InterVarsity of Which I Am Proud.” The Urbana Student Missions Conference has always succeeded in being an excellent program that renews my call to ministry and mobilizes generations of college students for ministry. In the past few weeks, thinking about the program for Urbana 15 has captured my imagination in a new and exciting way. My internal motivation is very high for contributing to the legacy of this great Conference.

The second reason that I applied for the role is that I think I would really enjoy contributing to the mission of the Church by serving as part of the Urbana Team. I also believe I can provide prayerful leadership, creativity, and excellence to the program at the Conference. I look forward to both being on the Urbana Leadership Team and leading a program team.

What is your vision for Urbana 15?

My big-picture vision is to contribute to the historical missional influence of the Urbana Conference. I also want the Conference to be excellent in every way, and to be contextualized for this generation.

Why is Urbana important?

Urbana is important for the mobilization of students and faculty into missions. It provides a missional emphasis to the work we are doing on campus. It motivates, encourages, challenges, and inspires participants to think beyond themselves and to get involved with what God is doing and wants to do in the world.


Sign up for info emails for Urbana 15!

Catch up on all our Urbana posts from the past few days:

Ditching the Shallow: A Radical Generation at Urbana 12

How Urbana Changed My Life

Worship That Pleases God

And don’t miss out on emcee Greg Jao’s reading recommendations for the new year (and great discounts!):

Book of the Day #1

Book of the Day #2

Book of the Day #3

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