Lowell’s book “Inside the Equal Access to Justice Act: Environmental Litigation and the Crippling Battle over America’s Lands, Endangered Species, and Critical Habitats” has been selected a Grand Prize Winner in over 70 categories from over 2,000 books submitted as well as the Winner in the Science/Nature/Environment category of the 2017 Next Generation INDIE Book Awards. Lowell received his awards on May 31, 2017 during a ceremony at the Harvard Club in New York City. His book has also been chosen as a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award finalist in the two categories of Ecology/Environment and History, as well as a finalist for the Forest History Society’s Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Book Award.

As a legal and environmental historian and one of America’s preeminent experts on environmental litigation, Lowell chronicles the century-long story of America’s resources management, focusing on litigation, citizen suit provisions, and attorneys’ fees. He provides the first book-length comprehensive examination of the little-known Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and its role in environmental litigation, focusing on its effect on wildlife and especially endangered species.

Women student-athletes at Valparaiso University will benefit from an endowed scholarship fund established by Carolyn Schlie ’71 Femovich and Bob Femovich. They have committed $600,000 to create the Carolyn Schlie Femovich and Robert M. Femovich Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“Bob and I both participated in intercollegiate athletics and those experiences have had a significant impact on our personal and professional lives,” Carolyn said. “We are blessed to be in a position to establish this endowed scholarship fund and consider it a privilege to help provide financial support for future student-athletes in Valpo women’s sports.”

Former Valparaiso University men’s golfer Matt Ward ’16 has been selected as one of 31 members of the 2017-18 NCAA postgraduate internship class.

The NCAA postgraduate internship program annually provides on-the-job learning experiences at the national office in Indianapolis to college graduates who are passionate in their pursuit of a career in college sports administration. Ward will spend the next 12 months at the NCAA national office working in Division II governance.

Ward was a four-year member of the Crusader men’s golf program, helping the team capture the Horizon League title and earn an NCAA Tournament berth in 2013. He also helped lead the way as Valpo was honored by the Golf Coaches Association of America as the Division I Academic National Champion for the 2015–2016 academic year.

Ward was an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) during his time at Valpo, serving as a team representative his first two years before working his way up to vice president and president during his junior and senior year, respectively. As Valpo’s SAAC president, Ward represented the Crusaders on the Horizon League SAAC and Valparaiso’s Council of Intercollegiate Athletics.

In 2015, Ward was selected to represent the Horizon League on the Division I national SAAC. In 2016, he was appointed to the Division I Legislative Committee as the representative for Division I student-athletes while serving his postgraduate year on the national SAAC.

Following his graduation with a bachelor’s degree in sports management in May of 2016, Ward spent the 2016–2017 academic year as an intern at The Summit League office, focusing on compliance and administration.

Valparaiso University alumni Sue Heitmuller ’70 Zimmerman and Larry Zimmerman ’70 have committed $625,000 to fund multiple areas of interest at Valparaiso University. Sue and Larry established endowed funds for student scholarships, Study Abroad, the Institute for Leadership and Service and engineering faculty development. Additional support will be directed to multi-year, annual giving commitments to the Valpo Fund and the College of Engineering Dean’s Fund.

“Larry and I are blessed to be able to support Valpo,” Sue Zimmerman said. “We are both proud graduates, and our support reflects the varied areas of interest we have at the University. It is very gratifying to know that the endowed funds will impact students, faculty and programs in perpetuity.”

Valparaiso University has named Andrea D. Welch, Ph.D., as executive director for retention and student success, effective June 26. In this role, Welch will collaborate with administrators, students, faculty, staff and families to establish, coordinate and implement retention and student success initiatives at the University.

“I am delighted to welcome Andrea to the University as the inaugural executive director for retention and student success and look forward to working closely with her as Valpo sharpens its focus on retention and overall student success,” said Stacey A. Miller, Ed.D., assistant provost for inclusion and student success services. “Andrea’s extensive professional experience, servant-leadership style and intense passion as an advocate for student success is an ideal fit for this position. I am confident she will bring renewed energy to the University community as we continue to advance our retention goals and promote the success of each student, domestic and international.”

The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) recently announced the winners of the 2017 Awards of Distinction, Silver Medal and Laurel Wreath Awards. Eric Smith ’17, a recent Valpo graduate and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, is one of six undergraduate fraternity men in the nation to be honored as a recipient of the Undergraduate Award of Distinction. Carolyn E. Whittier, Ph.D., assistant dean for Greek Life, Leadership, and Volunteer Programs, is in the inaugural class of recipients of the NIC Advisor Award of Distinction.

The Undergraduate Award of Distinction recognizes Smith for his excellence in leadership and service and as an embodiment of the values and standards of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the NIC — a true exemplar of the fraternal experience.

“It is truly an honor to have a student from the Valparaiso University fraternity community honored with an NIC Award of Distinction,” Whittier said. “The Undergraduate Award of Distinction is the highest honor that the fraternity industry can give to an undergraduate member, and Eric is truly deserving. His commitment to excellence and to advancing the wonderful work of the Valparaiso University fraternity community has been second to none. Eric is the very best that fraternity has to offer, and it has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as his advisor for the last four years.”

Alina Virnelson ’20 and Mark Young ’20 have been selected from a group of national finalists to become two of the 16 students in this year’s incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. The James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago has been supporting Kemper Scholars since the program’s inception in 1948.

Alina Virnelson, a Christ College — The Honors College student and business and marketing major, is the daughter of Michelle and Wesley Virnelson from Parma, Ohio. Alina is a news broadcaster on WVUR, a library services assistant and member of Gamma Phi Beta.

Mark Young, a Christ College — The Honors College student and management major with a minor in computer science, is the son of Diane and Joel Young from St. Louis, Missouri. Mark is a member of the Student Senate and a photographer and videographer with the integrated marketing and communications department at Valparaiso University.

Valparaiso University president Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., announced today that the University has accepted an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1, 2017. The Crusaders will begin competing for MVC championships in the 2017–2018 academic year.

“We are thrilled to join the Missouri Valley Conference,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “This is an important step forward for all of our athletics programs and an opportunity to advance the national standing of Valparaiso University. The Valley is one of the nation’s most historic athletic conferences, and we look forward to actively engaging with its outstanding member institutions and Valley leadership to strengthen both the conference and Valpo Athletics.”

Valpo brings a strong tradition across its athletic programs to the Missouri Valley Conference, most notably its success in men’s basketball. The Crusaders have captured 14 league regular season titles over the last 23 years and have made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament. Over the last three seasons, Valpo has won 82 games — a total that ranks among the top-15 nationally. The program has enjoyed the two winningest seasons in program history in the last three years and has appeared in the postseason all three years, including a run to the NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden in 2015–2016.

Taylor Williams ’17 M.A., who earned her master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Valparaiso University during its Graduate School Commencement ceremony on May 20, will spend the 2017–2018 academic year in South Korea thanks to a prestigious Fulbright English teaching assistant grant.

“We are very pleased to see Taylor’s talent, hard work and dedication recognized by the Fulbright Program,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This honor is a confirmation of the exceptional education students receive at Valparaiso University, and I am confident she will represent us well in her future endeavors.”

Williams received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia with majors in media studies and women, gender and sexuality studies. She was first introduced to TESOL while substitute teaching for a year and joined Valparaiso University to pursue both her interest in the TESOL master’s program as well as the opportunity to be a graduate assistant softball coach.

Spring commencement caps another exciting year for the Valparaiso University community as it continues its legacy in education, leadership, faith and service. The University along with its students and faculty marked achievements during the 2016–2017 academic year in the classroom and beyond.

“As our year comes to a close, I am grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm our students and faculty exhibit each day and for the many achievements our community has made this year,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president.

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