A traditional German ceremony, the Richtfest, marked the "topping out" or completion of the framework of the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center on December 6, 1999. The ceremony included remarks by benefactors and by the president of the campus German Club, Janice Mulholland. The Gjallar Quartet and members of the Valparaiso University Brass Ensemble, conducted by Richard Watson, provided music and a fanfare. The newly appointed cultural center director, Dr. Sarah DeMaris, gave a toast in German to the workers, to the donors, and to all who would use the building. The highlight of the Richtfest was the traditional raising of a ribbon-festooned evergreen at the highest point on the building.  The names of Valpo students studying in Germany were written on the ribbons so that they might be present in spirit. 

 Brass Quartet

 The Valparaiso University Brass Ensemble provided music at the Richtfest.


Professor Sarah DeMaris toasted the project in German.

Group Toast 

Richard Duesenberg, who with his wife, brother, and sister-in-law, was a major benefactor to the building project, was among the speakers at the Richtfest. Raising their cups as part of the toast to the construction project are, from left, University Pastor Joseph Cunningham, benefactor Richard Duesenberg, Valpo German Club President Janice Mulholland, University President Dr. Alan F. Harre, benefactor Phyllis Duesenberg, and German faculty member Professor Sarah DeMaris, who will serve as Director of the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center.

 R. Duesenberg & A. Harre

Richard Duesenberg and Valparaiso University President Alan F. Harre enjoy refreshments following the Richtfest.

 P. Duesenberg

Phyllis Duesenberg, a major benefactor of the facility, speaks about the donors' vision of its future use.


Janice Mulholland of McMurray, Pa., President of the Valpo German Club, speaks about the benefits the facility will provide to students of German on campus.


A highlight of the Richtfest was the raising of an evergreen at the highest point on the building.


Despite cool temperatures, a large number of students, faculty, staff, and community members enjoyed the Richtfest.