A highly regarded educator and scientist and two Valparaiso University graduates with a long history of service to the local community were awarded honorary degrees from the University during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 20.
Receiving honorary degrees at the ceremony for students completing graduate and undergraduate degrees were Dr. Carl Richard Hagen, doctor of science; Lois Reiner, doctor of public service; and Paul Schreiner, doctor of public service.
Hagen has served on the faculty of the University of Rochester since earning his PhD in 1963. He has been selected twice for that university’s Award for Excellence in teaching and co-authored a 1964 paper that broke new ground in the study of the origins of mass in the universe. The paper, along with two others, established the basis for the existence of the “Higgs boson,” which experimental particle physicists have been seeking for the last decade.
Born and raised in Chicago, Dr. Hagen applied to Valparaiso University, but chose to matriculate instead at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Two of his sons graduated from Valparaiso University, Christian in 1990 and Jonathan in 1992, as well as daughter-in-law Anne Marie (Foshag) Hagen in 1992.
Reiner has a long history of service to Valparaiso University and the wider community, reflecting a commitment to positive change, service, peace and justice, and the celebration of diversity. Following graduation from Valparaiso University in 1952, she and her husband, Walt, served as dorm parents to hundreds of students in both Dau-Kreinheder and Wehrenberg halls. In 1968, she and Walt founded the Valparaiso Builders Association, and their work included the partnering with families seeking to relocate to Valparaiso.
Her sense of community and respect of diversity led to the creation of housing for more than 300 residents. In 1984, she and Walt founded Neighbors’ Corporation (Project Neighbors), to build upon the work of the Valparaiso Builders Association. She has been instrumental in Project Neighbors endeavors such as providing child care and medical care through Hilltop Neighborhood House and Hilltop Community Health Center; the development of Maria Elena’s restaurant and the Village Market; and most recently, establishing the Reiner Community Center.
A 1970 graduate of Valparaiso University, Schreiner is co-owner of Design Construction, a local building company, and has served as the social conscience of Trinity Lutheran Church in Valparaiso for two decades. Under his direction, Trinity built eight affordable houses using volunteer labor, and their model has been documented and published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and circulated around the world.
In partnership with Walt and Lois Reiner, his work with Project Neighbors transformed the Hilltop neighborhood. He created the New Concept Housing partnership that includes representatives from churches, community groups, and Valparaiso University. He was a major force behind the development of WVLP, a local radio station that was an outgrowth of Project Neighbors and provided an important community platform for people whose voices are not usually heard. He and his wife, Jane, in 1991 founded Front Porch Music, which provides a home for musicians in the community to perform and teach.
About Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 4,000 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 22 years. Valparaiso University offers 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering and Nursing. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a School of Law and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Education Division. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness, and dedication to serving others.