Valparaiso University has again been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, joining a group of select universities and colleges across the country that are honored for their support of volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

In addition to receiving distinction for general community service, Valpo was named with distinction to two new honor rolls: education and economic opportunity.

“As this honor reflects, students at Valpo not only engage in service, they create dynamic projects specific to our context, global community, and faith traditions,” said Elizabeth Lynn, director of the Institute for Leadership and Service. “By supporting students to lead and serve in these extraordinary ways, Valparaiso University is placing graduates on a lifelong path of service and civic learning.”

Valparaiso University has been designated a 2015 STEM JobsSM Approved College by Victory Media. The list is the first of its kind to rate universities and colleges on their responsiveness and relevance to high demand, high growth STEM occupations.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the educational opportunities that we provide our science, engineering and mathematics majors here at Valparaiso University,” said Richard A. Gillman, Ph.D., associate provost for faculty affairs and professor of mathematics and statistics. “We believe strongly that a STEM education combined with a strong liberal arts thread and values-based goals results in graduates who are sought after in the market place. This recognition is in direct response this, together with the quality and creativity of our faculty in producing outstanding programs of disciplinary study.”

Valpo was among more than 1,600 schools participating in the STEM JobsSM survey process. Schools submitting surveys were scored on publicly available data and responses to proprietary questions around three key indicators of success: STEM job alignment, STEM job placement and diversity in a school’s STEM programs. The assessment and rights to the STEM Jobs ApprovedSM Colleges designation were available to qualifying schools for free. Valparaiso University will be featured in the Winter 2015 issue of STEM JobsSM magazine, along with the entire 2015 list of STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges.

WHO: The University will hold a reading of “Into a Wider World: Family, Friends, and Allies — Companions for the Journey,” a new book by Karl E. Lutze, B.A., M.Div., associate professor emeritus of theology.

The new book, together with two earlier books, “Of Walls and Doors” and “Awakening to Equality,” combine to form a trilogy, following the people, events and situations that shaped his life and career as pastor, teacher and Christian. “Into a Wider World” includes his time at Valpo, which coincides with the civil rights movement, in which he was active.

WHAT: The book reading and reception is an opportunity for community members to connect with the author, while gaining valuable insights on the book and overall trilogy.

WHAT: Valparaiso University’s Christopher Center for Library & Information Resources hosts an open house in celebration of their 10-year anniversary.

The open house is free and open to the public.

The event features highlights on each floor including a “Meet the CCLIR Directors” on the first floor. Guests are invited to learn about campus resources, view new spaces, and meet the directors of the Academic Success Center, Writing Center, Disability Support Services, IT Help Desk and Valparaiso Institute for Teaching And Learning (VITAL).

WHO: Valparaiso University presents the annual Advent­–Christmas Vespers service, featuring the Kantorei Choir and the Handbell Choir of the Chapel of the Resurrection.

WHAT: A traditional evening of scriptural readings and inspiring music. This year’s Vespers will feature a United States premiere of “I Sing the Birth” by Stephen Chatman.

For the 7 p.m. service, the choirs will be joined by the Jubilate Children’s Choir of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Valparaiso, Ind.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

WHERE: Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University

CONTACT: There is no charge to attend the service, but advanced-seating tickets are required. Please contact the Chapel of the Resurrection at 219.464.5093, ext. 6 to reserve your seat.

WHAT: Valparaiso University’s fifth annual Tree Lighting offers an opportunity for community members to take a picture with Santa or with friends in the photo booth, enjoy caroling and refreshments, and watch as the tree is lit and fireworks burst over campus.

The Jingle Jog, a 1-, 2-, or 3-mile fun run, will be held before the tree lighting. Participants are asked to bring a toy or non-perishable food item as their registration fee, and all donations will go to local families.

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 4, 4:30–7 p.m. The Jingle Jog begins at 5 p.m. and the tree will be lit at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Santa, the photo booth, and refreshments will be in the Harre Union. The tree lighting will be outside the Harre Union, facing the Christopher Center.

Valparaiso University’s annual Julefest and TubaChristmas will be held in the Chapel of the Resurrection on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Julefest begins at 1 p.m. and features performances by the Valparaiso Community/University Band, made up of approximately 100 musicians from Northwest Indiana.

TubaChristmas begins at 3:15 p.m. and features low brass players from throughout the Midwest. Last year, the event involved 68 performers representing a variety of age groups from as far away as St. Paul, Minnesota. There were also members from one local family that represented three generations.

Both events are free and open to the public. There is a $10 registration fee to participate in TubaChristmas. Please contact Aimee Tomasek at aimee.tomasek@valpo.edu or 219.465.7819 for registration information.

Valparaiso University’s Christmas Concert returns the first weekend in December with two performances in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Continuing a 90-year tradition, the Valparaiso University Christmas Concert: A Carol Festival features more than 200 student performers in the Chorale, men’s and women’s choirs, Chamber Concert Band and Symphony Orchestra.

Abass Abdul-Rahaman and Gopal Yeruva, graduate students in Valparaiso University’s information technology master’s program, have been honored for a mobile application they created for undergraduate students.

During their time as IT interns at Valpo, Abdul-Rahaman and Yeruva collaborated with departments across campus to develop the app to be used during new-student orientation. It includes schedules, electronic roommate requests, useful links, and interactive maps. Following orientation, they released an update for Valpo’s Welcome Week.

The app won Best in Class for General Service Campaign Materials, awarded by Special Interest Group for University and College Computing Services. The recipients were honored at the organization’s annual conference in Salt Lake City.

Valparaiso University has named Heath Carter and Jan Westrick the 2015–2016 University Research Professors. The program recognizes and encourages scholarly accomplishments and honors faculty members for original research and creative work.

Assistant Professor of History Heath Carter, Ph.D., joined Valpo in 2012. He plans to write his second book, which will tell the story of American Christians who have preached and practiced social gospels, titled “ ‘The Kingdom of God May Yet Reign’: The Social Gospel in American Life, 1815–2015.”

Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s hope that “the kingdom of God may yet reign,” Carter’s book will challenge American religious historians to rethink their concepts of the Social Gospel and its influence on American society. Carter was recently named a Young Scholar in American Religion and holds a doctor of philosophy in United States history from the University of Notre Dame.

Professor of Education Jan Westrick, Ed.D., joined Valpo in 2004. She will research Oman’s Child-Friendly Schools to inform the international education development community about scaling models based on research about school improvement internationally rather than on technical–rational philosophies currently advocated by major donors and development agencies.

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