Valparaiso University has achieved recognition by Forbes 2016 rankings as one of the top 75 colleges in the Midwest and regularly appears in Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges” list.

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity assists Forbes in the calculating the rankings of America’s Top Colleges through the analysis of factors including student satisfaction, graduation rate and academic success. Additionally, according to Forbes’ methodology postgraduate success and student debt are two of the most important measures of its annual ranking.

Institutions that demonstrate excellent return on investment rank high on Forbes’ list. At Valparaiso University, graduate placement has exceeded 90 percent for 23 consecutive years, and Valpo’s student loan default rate of 3.0 is well below the national average of 11.8.

Concert organist Hector Olivera will perform a recital at Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. Olivera will play on the University’s 103-rank Schlicker-Dobson Reddel Memorial organ — one of the most spectacular and versatile instruments in the Midwest.

Since entering the Buenos Aires Conservatory as a child prodigy at age six, Olivera has become one of the most sought after and revered international concert organists of the present time.

Valparaiso University will welcome students, parents, and others in celebrating Indiana Private College Week.

From Monday, July 18, through Friday, July 22, Valpo and 30 other private, nonprofit colleges and universities join together in one concentrated week to have visitors walk and experience the campuses through guided tours, informational sessions and conversation with current students and staff regarding academics and financial aid.

The United States Department of State granted Kathleen Salter ’19 a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Chinese this summer.

The CLS Program’s objective is to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Salter is one of approximately 560 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a CLS scholarship in 2016.

“An accomplished linguist with strong interpersonal skills and a passion for the Chinese language, Kathleen is among the highest performing students in my class,” said Fontaine Lien, Ph.D., assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures. “Already possessing a solid foundation in Chinese, Kathleen will benefit tremendously from the CLS Program, where she will acquire skills and competencies to contribute significantly to her future profession.”

Claire Marie Ehr ’19 and Daniel P. Sukowicz ’19 have been selected from a group of national finalists to become two of 16 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.

Claire, a first-year English major at Valparaiso University, is the daughter of Sue Jenny and Philip Ehr of London. Claire is a member of Christ College — The Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences. She is involved with the campus Social Action Leadership Team, University Chorale, and Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

“Claire is an insightful student whose wide interests and international experience will be assets to the 2016–2019 Kemper Scholars cohort, said Peter Kanelos, Ph.D., dean of Christ College. “She looks forward to the mentoring and internships the program provides as she develops new perspectives on a future career.”

The Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University premieres its summer exhibitions, which run through Aug. 7, with an opening reception on Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m.

Works by the Area Artists Association of Michigan City are on display in the Wehling and McGill Galleries in an exhibition titled “An Artist’s Journey.” Part of the Jack and Shirley Lubeznik Center for the Arts, this organization recognizes and encourages active regional artists and aims to increase appreciation and recognition of their work. The Brauer Museum will host a gallery talk with the Area Artists Association on Wednesday, July 20, at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, May 15, at 1:30 p.m., Valparaiso University will celebrate undergraduate commencement, one of three commencement ceremonies held throughout the weekend, conferring degrees upon nearly 700 undergraduate students.

The undergraduate commencement speaker is Arne M. Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International Inc., a global leading lodging company with more than 4,000 lodging properties in more than 80 countries and territories with a revenue that exceeded $14 billion in the 2015 fiscal year. He is just the third CEO of the company and the first person outside the Marriott family to head the company.

“We are honored to welcome Mr. Sorenson to Valparaiso to celebrate Commencement with us this May,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of the University. “During a challenging economic time, Mr. Sorenson has been innovative in his long-term strategy for Marriott. His leadership skills combined with his strength of character will resonate with our graduates and guide them as they pursue their passions.”

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 2015-2016 academic year in the classroom and beyond.

“As our year comes to a close, I admire the dedication to learning, leadership, and service that our students and faculty exhibit every day,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “With this passion for excellence so present in our community, I am grateful for the achievements and discoveries made each day at this very special place.”

Indiana Campus Compact honored Cogan Blackmon ’16, of Anderson, Ind., with the Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award for his established history of service, leadership and action in the community.

“For Cogan, all of life — inside and outside the classroom — is an act of service to the community,” Elizabeth Lynn, director of the Institute of Leadership and Service and adjunct professor of humanities and civic life, wrote in her recommendation letter. “Cogan’s impact is truly that of a multiplier, creating platforms and opportunities for his peers to engage, and moving forward and out of the way to let others also lead, while he looks for new ways to serve.”

Campus Compact honored Angelys Torres ’18 as a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow for outstanding civic engagement — offering a crucial voice and demonstrating leadership for students on Valpo’s campus and in the broader community.

“At once intellectual and active, practical and personable, a leader and a servant, Angelys Torres is the kind of student Valparaiso University is proud to call its own,” Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of the University, wrote in his recommendation letter. “Angelys is a leader in the classroom, on campus, in the city of Valparaiso, and in her home community of Chicago. She constantly strives to understand and improve the world around her by drawing on the wisdom of the humanities, the theoretical tools of the social sciences, and her own capacity to organize and lead others.”

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