The Institute for Leadership and Service at Valparaiso University has selected 20 Valpo current and graduating students for Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) Fellowships during summer 2017.

Recipients are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and will complete internships with organizations dedicated to service and leadership for eight to 10 weeks during the summer.  The CAPS Fellows Program helps Valpo students develop their sense of Calling and Purpose in Society through intensive experiential-learning opportunities accompanied by significant reflection.

Opening Reception is May 21

Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art will premiere its summer exhibitions, featuring new acquisitions to its permanent collection as well as works by the Duneland Plein Air Painters, with an opening reception on Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m. in the Center for the Arts on Valparaiso University’s campus. The exhibitions run from May 19 to Aug. 6.

The Wehling, McGill and West Galleries will display new acquisitions to the Brauer Museum’s permanent collection, which boasts more than 3,800 works of art from the mid-19th century to the present.

Valparaiso University’s literary journal, The Cresset, received four “Best of the Christian Press” Awards at an April 28 ceremony in Chicago, including the first-place Award of Excellence in the “Best in Class” category for print journals.

Presented by the Associated Church Press at the organization’s annual convention, the awards honor the finest work of religiously affiliated North American newspapers, newsletters, magazines, journals, news services and online publications.

Valparaiso University announces that Nicholas E. Denysenko, Ph.D., will join its faculty as the Jochum Professor and Chair, effective Jan. 3, 2018.

Denysenko, an ordained deacon, has been a faculty member in theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles since 2010, where he has served as the director of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute since 2011. As director of the Institute, Denysenko developed events to educate the general public on issues concerning ecumenical dialogue, bringing together the local community in shared fellowship.

The Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair, a University professorship established through a gift from Emil Jochum, supports the study of Christian values in public and professional life. The Chair will work to bring scholarship or other forms of creative work to bear on the many dimensions of the Christian calling in a complex society and to engage students in such exploration whenever possible.

Six athletic programs from Valparaiso University have received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for outstanding academic performance.

The NCAA announced that the men’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s cross country, women’s golf, and women’s tennis programs have each received the honor from Valpo. The women’s cross country team has earned the honor each of the last six years, while women’s golf and women’s tennis have received the award the last three years.

With six programs honored, the Valpo athletics department boasts the highest number of awards for any Horizon League athletics department. In addition, the Crusaders’ men’s basketball program was the only Horizon League men’s basketball team to earn recognition.

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., Valparaiso University will celebrate undergraduate commencement, one of three commencement ceremonies held throughout the weekend, conferring degrees upon 772 undergraduate students.

The keynote speaker is Ken Hackett, who served as the 10th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See for three and one-half years. He was nominated to the post by President Barack Obama on June 14, 2013, confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 1, 2013, and presented his Letters of Credence to Pope Francis on Oct. 21, 2013. He completed his service on Jan. 16, 2017.

“We are honored to welcome Mr. Hackett to Valparaiso University to deliver our commencement address,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “Driven by faith and motivated to make a difference, he has tirelessly served the church and our country. He is an exemplary figure —a man of character and wisdom determined to elevate the marginalized —who will undoubtedly inspire our graduates.”

Valparaiso University has received $1.4 million for Counseling Services from the estate of an alumnus who wished to remain anonymous. The gift will be used to establish an endowed fund, which will generate a perpetual source of support for Counseling Services programs and operations.

“We are very grateful for the generosity of this alumnus,” said Bonnie Hunter, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs. “College is an exciting time filled with exploration, growth and learning. At the same time, students may find that they need additional support to address specific issues and challenges. For some, mental health concerns can cause significant impairment. Gifts such as this help to provide the psychological support students need to have a successful college experience.”

Valparaiso University announces that Panayiotis (Peter) Kanelos, Ph.D., who serves as dean of Christ College — The Honors College, will step down at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year to become the 24th president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., the third oldest college in the United States.

“It has been a privilege to serve as dean of Christ College and to be a part of Valparaiso University. Valpo shines because it upholds what is highest in higher education — the common pursuit of truth carried on by a community that cares about one another and about the greater world,” Kanelos said. “I am so grateful to have been embraced by this community, to have worked side by side with such remarkable colleagues and to have shared these years with such wonderful students. My time at Valpo has been a treasure and a blessing.”

Kanelos joined the Valparaiso University community in 2013 as dean of Christ College. In his role as dean, he was responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination and guidance of Christ College. Kanelos brought an unmatched devotion to honors education and a deeply rooted enthusiasm for Christian higher education to the College.

Valpo’s Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching has selected Jennifer Bjornstad, Danielle Lavin-Loucks and Kevin Ostoyich as the 2017–2018 Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

“I am so pleased and impressed by the great work of these outstanding faculty members,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Their commitment to our students, to strong pedagogy, and to Valpo is an inspiration to me and to so may others. Most importantly, these individuals reflect the incredible quality of our faculty overall. It is an honor to work with them every day.”

Valpo faculty are frequently honored for outstanding quality. Most recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Valparaiso University No. 1 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in the Midwest for 2017. Valpo’s Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a number of outstanding undergraduate faculty and/or units each year for general teaching excellence, with particular attention to excellence in any of three areas: course development, pedagogy and mentoring/advising. Each award carries a monetary stipend of $3,000 to honor each faculty members’ excellence in teaching on the Valparaiso University campus.

Theresa Kessler, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, CNE, who has been a member of the faculty at Valparaiso University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions for more than two decades, received the University’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work for 2017.

Kessler, a professor of nursing, teaches courses throughout the College’s bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing programs, continually emphasizing the importance of research and creating opportunities for students to engage in research projects.

“Terry has an extensive record of scholarly work and professional presentations,” said Janet M. Brown, RN, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “While her record is remarkable in itself, her history of involving students in her work is extraordinary.”

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