The Legacy of Geography at VU
While Valparaiso University is certainly not the only smaller, liberal arts school in the United States with a proud tradition of geography, it has achieved a noteworthy record in the field during its history. Beginning in the early 1930s, the Department of Geography grew in size and became increasingly recognizable as it produced dozens of professional and academic geographers. Perhaps the Department's most notable accomplishment is the tradition of sending well-prepared undergraduate students to top graduate programs in geography, which it has done steadily since the 1950s. So many VU students have gone on to careers in geography that a study done by Don Janelle of "The Peopling of American Geography" in 1992 found that VU was the 20th ranked school in Bachelor's degrees conferred on U.S.-resident members of the AAG (see table below).
This echoed the sentiments of the NCGE when it honored long-time VU faculty member Alfred Meyer with the 1969 Distinguished Service Award:
This undergraduate department has . . . provided majors with such superior subject-matter backgrounds and teaching know-how that this private church-related college has had more of its graduates take advanced degrees in geography than any other undergraduate college in Indiana, the Midwest, and perhaps the United States.
Number of Bachelor's Degrees Granted by Universities to U.S. -Resident Members of the AAG (May 1989)
|UCLA 95||Texas 39||Illinois State 27|
|Wisconsin 83||Wayne State 38||Missouri 27|
|Minnesota 68||SUNY-Buffalo 36||Oregon 27|
|Penn State 59||Kent State 35||North Carolina 26|
|Washington 57||Maryland 35||Harvard 25|
|Clark 54||Syracuse 34||Kansas 25|
|Michigan 50||Indiana 33||Cal. St.-Chico 24|
|Michigan State 47||Ohio State 33||Miami U. 24|
|Illinois 44||San Diego St. 31||Rutgers 24|
|Colorado 42||Valparaiso 31|
|Dartmouth 39||Massachusetts 29|