Faculty Profile

Walter Wangerin, Jr., Professor

Senior Research Professor




Award-winning author Walter Wangerin Jr. joined Valparaiso University’s faculty in 1991 as the Emil and Elfriede Jochum University professor.  As a faculty member at Valparaiso University, Wangerin holds professorships in both the Department of English and the Department of Theology.

The opportunity to share his talents with two departments has been greatly rewarding for both Wangerin and the students of Valparaiso University.  Current and former students of Wangerin recall with fondness his ability to help them grow with their writing.  "Wangerin has a gift for writing--that was obvious from reading his works: The Book of the Dun Cow, The Book of God, and Paul, to name a few," says Sharin Schroeder (VU ‘01). "What was amazing was the way that he was able to share that gift with us. I was constantly impressed by the way Professor Wangerin went out of his way to help us become better writers."

Wangerin’s own writing career started with the renowned Book of the Dun Cow and has encompassed most every genre:  fiction, essay, short essay, children’s story, meditation, and biblical exposition.  An immediately recognizable writing voice and author of over forty books, Wangerin has won the National Book Award, New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year Award, and several Gold Medallions, including best-fiction awards for the Book of God and Paul:  A Novel

Wangerin’s most recent work, released May 2008, is written together with his son Matthew and tells the story of their own lifelong relationship.  Father and Son: Finding Freedom weaves together each writer’s personal story and shows how earthly fathers and sons are shaped by a Creator’s relationship with his creation, and how within the human experience of parenting we discover insights into the spiritual nature of home, family, and eternity itself.

Wangerin also released in February 2008 the illustrated children’s story, I Am My Grandpa’s Enkelin.  This original tale is told by a granddaughter (Enkelin, in German), looking back at all that her German-American grandpa taught her.  The Grandpa shows his precious Enkelin how to live well – and at the end of his life, he also shows her that death is not an end, but a new beginning. 

Wangerin is a contributing writer for The Lutheran magazine and frequent speaker throughout the nation on topics of faith, story telling, and writing.

Wangerin was speaker for the Lutheran Vespers radio program from 1994 through January 2005, and prior to joining Valparaiso’s faculty he served as an inner-city pastor in Evansville, Indiana for 16 years.



M.Div. - Christ Seminary-Seminex, M.A.--Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), B.A.--Concordia Senior College (Ft. Wayne)