honors individuals who have worked jointly to render significant service to the University,
where at least one of the individuals is a Valparaiso alumnus/alumna.
Names: Hank and Kathy Bardenhagen
Majors: Business and Economics (Hank), Social Work (Kathy)
Location: Racine, Wis.
Job Title: Business Owners
Hank ’65 and Kathy (Boerger ’65) Bardenhagen have given many hours of their time to the VU Guild and Valpo Admission Network, and to Valpo Sunday efforts at Peace Lutheran Church in Racine, Wis. Kathy served the VU Guild as national secretary from 2001 to 2003, and has been the Racine chapter president and treasurer, an area director, and the Wisconsin state unit president. Behind the scenes, Hank, an accomplished woodworker, donated many hand-made items for annual Guild fundraising events. Both have been active members of the VAN, attending college fairs, phoning admitted students, and assisting with Summer Send-off events for the Valpo families in their community. Additionally, both recently served as volunteer leaders at the "Our Valpo, Our Time," Milwaukee Area Round Table. Hank, who earned a bachelor of science degree in business and economics from VU, retired in 2000 as the owner of two businesses – Bardenhagen/Boerger Associates, a manufacturers representative, and WoodCuts Ltd., a woodworking supply retailer. Kathy, the holder of a VU bachelor of arts degree in social work, worked until 2000 as co-owner and operator of the store.
On receiving the VU Alumni Association Partners in Service Award and thoughts of Valpo, Hank says, “We are proud and humbled to be chosen by Valpo. Valpo gave us far more than we could ever return to it. What we refer to as our Valpo experience has been one of the greatest joys of our lives. We constantly meet people whom we easily connect with and then find that they also went to Valpo. Valpo formed our characters and the characters of our children, and we hope that Valpo will do the same for our grandchildren.”
Kathy agrees. “I am both honored and humbled in receiving this award. Valpo has been dear to my heart since I was a student, and it is a pleasure to work for VU's success. I loved my four years at Valpo and really wished I could have stayed there forever. I made lifelong friendships and received an excellent education from learned and caring professors. They taught me to ‘dig deeper’ and encouraged me to think out of the box. My parents had modeled volunteer service in our church and community. Valpo built on that by encouraging and nurturing my spirit of volunteerism. I gladly tell others what a treasure Valparaiso University is. My faith has been enriched through my association with the extended Valpo community. VU is largely responsible for the Christian person that I am today.”