Valparaiso University has secured $149,109 from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education to fund a program to help more low-income students graduate from college.

Valpo’s Persistence and Success Program is open to 21st Century Scholars and Frank O’Bannon Scholars, many of whom are first-generation students. The program focuses on transition-to-college, academic and social support, career preparation, and financial literacy.

After successfully completing the program as freshmen, Valpo Persistence Scholars will be eligible for a $500 scholarship during their sophomore year. Each participant will benefit from personalized attention including:

  • One-on-one monthly meetings with a faculty or staff mentor
  • One-on-one appointment each semester with a Financial Aid advisor
  • Participation in SMART Connections – a peer mentoring program
  • Participation in Career Center activities and Strengths Quest Assessment
  • Enrollment in Strategies for Academic Success course
  • Opportunities to meet new friends and establish long-term relationships with faculty, staff, deans, advisors, and fellow students

The funding is part of a $1.8 million commitment from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

Visit to learn about Valpo’s Persistence and Success Program.

IHE Founder Recognized for Commitment to Humane Education

Zoe Weil, president and co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) based in Surry, Maine, will be awarded an honorary doctorate by Valparaiso University on May 16 for her commitment to creating a better world through humane education. IHE has trained and supported educators and advocates worldwide for the past 19 years to incorporate real-world sustainability and social justice issues into classrooms and communities.

As part of a three-day visit to the university, Weil will address Valpo graduates at a commencement awards banquet and gather with current humane education students and alumni. She will also lead a MOGO (Most Good Least Harm) hands-on workshop on May 15 at 3:30 p.m. for faculty. The workshop is open to the public, but seats are limited. Spaces may be reserved at the workshop by emailing

“It is an honor to be recognized by Valparaiso University,” Weil said. “I look forward to strengthening our partnership and growing the humane education program in a way that provides many more graduate students the opportunity to see the challenges of our time through a solutionary lens and gain the skills necessary to create a more humane and compassionate world.”

Valparaiso University will celebrate undergraduate May Commencement on Sunday, May 17, at 1:30 p.m., conferring degrees upon 642 undergraduate students from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Christ College — The Honors College.

The keynote speaker is Jonathan T.M. Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). Since 1976, HFHI has helped more than 5 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes in more than 70 countries.

As Valparaiso University, a comprehensive Lutheran University, seeks to prepare women and men who will lead and serve throughout the world, Reckford serves as the ideal keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement exercises.

“We are pleased to welcome Jonathan to Valparaiso University to deliver this year’s commencement address,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “His commitment to leadership, service, and vocation throughout his life and career provides an exemplary model to our students of the kind of character and commitment we aspire our graduates to have.”

Through a partnership with Dalian Jiaotong University, Valparaiso University will equip the next generation of engineers with necessary cross-cultural communication skills while they develop technical engineering competence through established methods and approaches.

“As our world becomes more globalized and tech-dependent, it is essential that Valpo continues to pursue relationships with international universities such as Dalian,” said Jaishankar Raman, Ph.D., assistant provost for international affairs. “We are hopeful that this program will bridge cultural caps and fulfill a need to our partners around the world.”

With programs in China for 25 years, Valparaiso University already has a presence in the country and the essential understanding and contacts necessary to successfully launch the partnership with Dalian. The program differs from a joint degree program in that Valpo will not offer its degree in China. Rather, the venture creates opportunities for American and Chinese students to have essential experience collaborating across cultures and developing the communication skills they will need to succeed in an increasingly global economy.

Valparaiso University Professor Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D., senior research professor of theology, was invited to Princeton University to present the Charles E. Test, M.D., Distinguished Lecture. He was also honored at the Princeton University conference “Politics, Theology, and the Limits of Ethics” celebrating his work in bioethics.

Professor Meilaender’s lecture, titled “Posthuman or Perfected Human?: Biotechnical Enhancement and the History of Redemption,” reflected on a significant bioethics topic concerning attempts to enhance human nature, either by enabling superior performance, altering mood, or prolonging life. He examined how one should think about these attempts in light of God’s threefold action in creation, reconciliation, and redemption.

The daylong conference, themed “Politics, Theology, and the Limits of Ethics,” included discussion panels who addressed questions of general importance in Christian ethics. The speakers came from a variety of academic institutions, including Notre Dame, Indiana University, John Carroll University, Yale, Princeton, St. Olaf, and Georgetown.

“I have never spent much time thinking about what one might call ‘my work,’ ” Professor Meilaender said. “But if it could serve as the occasion for an academic conference as good as this one, it can’t have been all bad.”

The author of several books and articles in the field of Christian ethics, Professor Meilaender began his teaching career at Valparaiso University in 1996, where he held the Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics. He previously taught at the University of Virginia and at Oberlin College. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, was a member of the president’s council on bioethics from 2002 to 2009, and has served on the board of directors of the Society of Christian Ethics and as associate editor of Religious Studies Review, consultant editor of Studies in Christian Ethics, and associate editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics.

Professor Meilaender holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

WHAT: “Hiawatha: An Evening of Magic Lantern and Early Cinema Entertainment” features lantern slides and musical accompaniment honoring Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha.”

In 1903, Katharine Ertz-Bowden, an 1897 Valpo alumna, and her husband, Charles, captured images of a Hiawatha pageant based on Longfellow’s poem. The illustrated lectures were presented as “A Pictorial Story of Hiawatha” from 1904 to 1908 and embraces Ojibwe culture.

The presentation is preceded by a Hiawatha-themed performance by the American Magic Lantern Theater Company.

WHEN: May 5, 7 – 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Harre Union Ballrooms, Valparaiso University

The Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching at Valparaiso University has selected Robert Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, and Douglas Tougaw, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering, as the recipients of the Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award for 2015–2016. The awards recognize a number of outstanding undergraduate faculty members each year for general teaching excellence, with particular attention to course development, pedagogy, and mentoring/advising.

Professor Clark earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. He believes that being a mentor is a critical part of his vocation and an integral part of his identity as a teacher-scholar both inside and outside of the classroom. Bridging the gap between professor and student, Professor Clark invests time in listening to his students and offers personalized feedback to help them grow personally and professionally in and beyond college.

Professor Tougaw earned his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1995 and his MBA from Valparaiso University in 2005. Dedicated to researching and implementing the best educational tools and experiences for his students, Professor Tougaw places an emphasis on active learning in his courses. He applies a “spiral of learning” method, giving students the opportunity to gain an experience, reflect on that experience, generalize and abstract the lessons learned, and then transfer their knowledge to other contexts.

Performance caps first U.S. tour in more than a decade

One of England’s oldest and most respected choirs will perform at Valparaiso University in the Chapel of the Resurrection on April 29 at 7:30 p.m. The choir’s 2015 tour is its first since 2003, with limited engagements in seven states and eight cities.

“We’re thrilled to host the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir,” said Lorraine S. Brugh, University organist and director of Chapel music, Frederick J. Kruse Chair in Organ, and professor of music. “The Chapel of the Resurrection’s acoustics and organ are particularly well-suited to the organ and choral music of the choir, and this concert is the only one in the metropolitan Chicago area.”

Valparaiso University’s College of Business has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Valpo’s College of Business is among the elite 5 percent of business schools worldwide accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“The College is dedicated to a high-quality learning environment to ensure the success of each student,” said James D. Brodzinski, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business. “AACSB Accreditation drives us to exceed these standards and secure the College’s future as an extraordinary University committed to graduating students of promise.”

Valpo consistently achieves national recognition for best teaching and value and as one of the best universities in the Midwest, and the most recent College of Business report revealed 95 percent of 2013–2014 graduates are currently employed or attending graduate school.

Opening Reception is April 15

Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art continues to grow its permanent collection with major acquisitions from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. These works, along with select original artwork by Valpo students, comprise an exciting spring collection, which debuts with an opening reception April 15 at 7 p.m., free and open to the public.

On display in the Wehling and McGill Galleries, the annual student art exhibition features a variety of media including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, graphic design, printmaking and video. The pieces are hand selected by Valpo’s studio instructors, and the April 15 opening reception includes an award ceremony to recognize the students’ work.

“I am consistently impressed by the quality of work that comes out of the art studio classrooms,” said Brauer Museum director and curator Gregg Hertzlieb.

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