Valparaiso University alumnus Jonathan Rudy ’10 achieved the highest honor at the 2014 Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance on June 23 in Boston.

As First Prize winner of one of the nation’s most prestigious organ competitions, Rudy has the opportunity to gain career development assistance through Karen McFarlane Artists Inc., the premier management for concert organists in the United States. He is also the recipient of the $3,000 Lilian Murtagh Memorial Prize, funded by Karen McFarlane Artists Inc.

“I am very pleased and proud of Jonathan,” said Lorraine Brugh, Ph.D., associate professor of music and director of Chapel music. “It is an accomplishment few achieve, and I see this as a real turning point of his career. He is intelligent, and he possesses a very natural sense of musicianship.”

While both rewarding and unforgettable, Rudy admits this was one of his most challenging competitions.

“This competition was incredible, stressful, and the longest that I’ve ever participated in,” Rudy said. “There were several rounds, and it’s been quite a journey. I never had to learn music so quickly.”

Rudy gives credit to his time spent studying music at Valpo with professors Lorraine Brugh and Karel Paukert. In addition to majoring in music and playing the organ during his years at Valpo, he was both an Allen Scholar and Christ College Scholar.

“Having experienced a wonderful organ and music program at Valpo helped me to really appreciate my education,” Rudy said. “I value Valpo’s focus on liberal arts programs and have always appreciated how Valpo helped me become so well-rounded.”

Rudy is currently an organist at Central Presbyterian Church in Terre Haute and a teaching assistant at Indiana University in Bloomington. He is also working toward his doctorate degree in organ and sacred music at the Jacobs School of Music.

In celebration of private institutions for higher education, Valparaiso University is once again participating in Indiana Private College Week, sponsored by Independent Colleges of Indiana.

From Monday, July 21, through Friday, July 25, Valparaiso University and 30 other private, non-profit colleges and universities will share the college selection process with students, parents and any others interested. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore each college through campus tours, converse with current students and staff, and learn the straight story on academics and financial aid.

Those visiting will be able to enter a drawing to win a Microsoft Surface or iPad mini. Entry forms and rules will be available on campus.

Visit for more information about visiting Valpo’s campus.


For computer and electrical engineering department chair and professor, Jeff Will, Ph.D., his dedication to being a mentor and teacher is now being acknowledged on a national level through a 2014 ASEE National Outstanding Teaching Medal.

The American Society of Engineering Education receives countless nominations each year for their regional and national awards, but only three national awards are presented. The National Outstanding Teaching Medal is chosen based upon knowledge of the subject area, accessibility, effectiveness in curriculum development, mentorship of students and other faculty members, as well as many other factors. Nominees must also teach a minimum of two semester classroom or laboratory courses per year and have a published original work that either enhances the education process or benefits literature in the engineering field.

“I was certainly pleased, certainly grateful and honored to receive the award,” said Will, “I couldn’t thrive as a teacher without the supportive colleagues that I have around me and the environment which values education.”

Inaugural Class of Education Leadership Fellows, New Class of Teaching Fellows Recognized at Statehouse

Governor Mike Pence has recognized the selection of Fellows in two programs designed to bring new skills and leadership to some of Indiana’s highest-need schools — and to make the state’s best schools more internationally competitive.

The first-ever class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership and the 2014 class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows have been named by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which administers both programs. The class includes seven Fellows who will attend Valparaiso University. Both Fellowships are designed not only to recruit and prepare talented educators, but also to change the way they are prepared.

“Attracting talent in science, technology, engineering and math to the teaching field will help our students better understand and be successful in these fields, which are so important our state’s future success,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Additionally, the new MBA program can prepare our future school administrators with more tools for making sound business and operational decisions. Advanced educational development for our teachers is an investment that will pay dividends to Hoosier students.”

Valparaiso University is the site of a full-scale regional response and recovery simulation on Wednesday, May 28.

In the event of a large-scale disaster, natural or otherwise, Valparaiso University is considered a potential location for processing individuals from the tri-state area — Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin — in order to move them to a more permanent shelter or temporary housing. Today’s exercise simulates situations in which emergency responders would provide mass care and emergency assistance, shelter assignment, transportation coordination, family reunification, and provision of assistance before individuals relocate to more permanent, long-term shelters.

The regional hub exercise involves the following local and regional entities:

  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Porter County Emergency Management Agency
  • Valparaiso University
  • Valparaiso University Police Department
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V
  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency
  • Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications
  • Cook County Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • DuPage County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • Amtrak
  • Metra
  • American Red Cross
  • And other responders in Illinois

For more information contact Micah Bell, Indiana DHS District 1 Public Information Officer, at 219.405.0125.

Mark Maassel of Indiana Energy Association to Deliver Keynote Address

Valparaiso University will host the 2014 Innovators Café on Thursday, June 19, featuring keynote speaker Mark Maassel, vice president of the Indiana Energy Association and former president of NIPSCO.

The event’s theme is “Developing the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow Through Innovation” and is a collaboration between Valparaiso University’s College of Engineering and Ivy Tech Community College Northwest’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and Society of Innovators.

“We’re honored to partner with Ivy Tech Northwest to host the 21st Innovators Café, which offers an invaluable opportunity for our community to explore innovations in the sciences and how they connect to our everyday lives and professions,” said Eric Johnson ’87, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering.

Prior to his appointment as vice president of the Indiana Energy Association, Maassel was president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, a regional business membership organization that promotes economic development and environmental sustainability in Northwest Indiana. He has long been known for his community involvement and proven ability to build partnerships with key leaders across Northwest Indiana.

“Science literacy is vital in today’s ever-changing and adapting world. The cutting-edge research conducted by students and faculty at Valparaiso University illuminates the way we need to go as a country and worldwide,” Maassel said. “Indeed, this series offers a wonderful opportunity to inspire innovative leadership across Northwest Indiana. We need great people and organizations like Valpo to develop innovative technologies and sustainable solutions.”

The café will showcase the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility, which houses one of only five solar furnaces in the country. The facility was designed to use solar energy to create solar fuels and commodities, and the College of Engineering has received two grants to conduct research in this area: a $2.3 million cooperative agreement from the Department of Energy and a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“This Café is especially meaningful because Ivy Tech Northwest offers, through our Valparaiso campus, a pre-engineering program. This is designed to prepare students for transfer to baccalaureate engineering degree programs like the one at Valpo,” said Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D., chancellor of Ivy Tech Northwest. “We are proud to have Ivy Tech grads, including Kevin Curry and James Conway, complete their engineering degrees at Valparaiso University.”

Speakers will also discuss how Valpo’s undergraduate education is shifting the paradigm from lecture-based learning to experiential, innovation-based learning.

Two 2014 Valparaiso University graduates join an accomplished group of Fulbright grant recipients, bringing the total to 30 Valpo grantees in the past 15 years. Noah Finegan ’14 and Ryan Huffman ’13, ’14 M.A. accepted Fulbright grants to study and teach abroad in Austria and Taiwan during the 2014-2015 academic year.

In November 2013, Valpo was recognized by the United States Department of State as one of the colleges and universities that has graduated the most 2013-2014 Fulbright United States students. The Fulbright Program annually awards grants to approximately 1,500 students to study, teach English, and conduct research in more than 110 countries throughout the world. The grants allow students to bridge the gap between their studies and the workforce as they enhance their knowledge of both other cultures and their own skills and ambitions.

“It is an honor for the hard work and dedication of Valpo students and alumni to continue to be recognized by the Fulbright Program,” said Mark R. Schwehn ’67, Valparaiso University provost. “This distinction reflects the high academic standards we hold for all Valparaiso University students, and I am confident that Noah and Ryan will continue to succeed in their future endeavors.”

Valparaiso University will offer an academic camp for elementary and middle school students June 16 through June 27.

The camp, “Summer Smart, Summer Fun,” continues the legacy of the late Valpo professor Alan Bloom, who led its development in 2013. The purpose of the program is to help children to learn about the world in an environment full of fun and exploration. Participants will create special projects, science experiments, and original stories to take home and share with parents and friends.

Faculty from Valparaiso University and teachers from the local area will lead topics that are sure to make this camp a memorable one. Interactive courses include robotics, Spanish, creative writing, geography, history, physics, chemistry, and astronomy.

The two-week camp runs Monday through Friday, June 16-27. Cost is $300 per child, and scholarships are available.

For more information or to apply for a spot in “Summer Smart, Summer Fun,” visit or email Space is limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

Christ College freshmen Victoria Bruick and Eric Smith have been selected from a group of finalists for the incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program.

Victoria Bruick, an English and music performance major from Bakersfield, Calif., is a member of the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra and the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT). She co-led SALT’s 2014 World Relief Campaign, which totaled $30,137 in funds to provide workshops, childcare, and educational support to Kibera, Kenya.

Eric Smith, an international relations and international economics and cultural affairs major from Dearborn, Mich., is a violinist in the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Valparaiso Mock Trial Team, which develops students’ oral advocacy skills, case preparation and presentation, and understanding of the ethical issues involved in trial advocacy.

More than 850 undergraduate, graduate, and law students will participate in commencement ceremonies Friday, May 16, Saturday, May 17, and Sunday, May 18. The 2013-2014 academic year concludes yet another chapter of the University’s proven excellence in education, leadership, faith, and service.

“During Opening Convocation in August, I challenged each member of our student body to have the courage to live a life that defies expectations,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., Valparaiso University President. “As the academic year comes to a close and we prepare to send our 2014 graduates out into the world, I have every confidence that these young women and men will continue to raise the bar as they come to understand what it means to be Valpo alumni.”

Here’s a look back at highlights for Valparaiso University’s 2013-2014 academic year:

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