Event theme is “Conscious Humanity: What is Justice?”

Valparaiso University will continue its tradition of honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16 with its 27th annual celebration, centering on the idea of “Conscious Humanity: What is Justice?”

Through lectures, presentations and interactive discussions, Valpo will engage students, faculty and staff as well as the broader Northwest Indiana community to collectively reflect on King’s legacy and how to continue his work.

Valparaiso University is on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for the third consecutive year, along with 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 being only one of four Indiana schools to receive distinction for general community service, Valpo was also named with distinction in two additional categories: education and economic opportunity.

“We are thrilled Valpo has once again achieved distinction, and on all three honor rolls for which we applied,” said Elizabeth Lynn, director of the Institute for Leadership and Service, which coordinated the 2015 application. “Our distinguished place on the three honor rolls reflects the fact that civic engagement is truly central to the life and work of Valparaiso University.

“With an articulated vision and philosophy of leadership and service, and a demonstrated culture where students find service an anticipated part of campus life, Valparaiso University is actively placing graduates on a lifelong path of service and civic engagement.”

Valparaiso University alumna Deborah “Deb” A. Tschetter ’71 Spannraft has generously committed nearly $1.4 million in support of the College of Business.

“I had a wonderful experience at Valpo, and it created a foundation on which I built my career,” Spannraft said.

Spannraft received her bachelor of science in business administration with a major in accounting from Valpo’s College of Business, which will benefit greatly from this endowed gift.

The Gown and Gavel chapter of Mortar Board at Valparaiso University received national recognition at the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society Conference held recently in Indianapolis.

Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. Receiving a 2016 Silver Torch award distinguishes Valpo’s chapter for its significant accomplishments in these areas and for its meaningful service to Valparaiso University.

Valparaiso University has received a gift of $1.8 million from the estate of Stephanie E. Umbach ’59, longtime assistant professor of library services. She designated her gift to establish the Umbach Family Endowed Scholarship Fund. Stephanie was a member of the Valpo library staff for nearly 50 years, joining the University in 1960 and retiring in 2009.

Stephanie was the daughter of the late Herbert Umbach, long-serving professor of English at Valpo and a Lutheran pastor, and the late Alma Umbach. Herbert served as member of the Valpo faculty for more than 40 years. He was a scholar of John Donne’s poetry and author of the book, “The Prayers of John Donne.”

“The Umbach family dedicated their professional careers to Valparaiso University, and their endowed scholarship fund will continue to impact students in perpetuity,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “For more than 75 years — beginning in 1931 when Herbert joined the faculty, through 2009 when Stephanie retired — an Umbach family member served as Valpo faculty. Their service and gift truly represent the principles of Forever Valpo, and the entire University community is grateful.”

Valparaiso University alumnus Lesley “Les” K. Chapman ’77 has generously committed $1.1 million to support the University’s unrestricted endowment fund.

“I am proud to support Valparaiso University so it can continue to provide the same personal interaction with professors that I had as a Valpo student,” Chapman said. “The ability to stop by a professor’s office and just chat is a valuable part of the education process that is missing at many universities.”

A strong endowment is essential to the future of the University as it seeks to expand and build upon its core strengths. And, unrestricted gifts are among the most important support the University can receive as they combine the financial stability of an ongoing income source with the flexibility to meet pressing needs. Unrestricted giving enables University leaders to respond to unforeseen challenges, fund a program or scholarship that may not otherwise receive support or seize an opportunity that requires immediate funding not available in the operating budget.

Valparaiso University will host TEDxValparaisoUniversity, its second community-inspired TEDx event, on Friday, Nov. 4, 4–9 p.m. at the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. This student-driven event is themed “Dare To Build.”

This year’s TEDx event is designed to explore the power of creation and innovation to bring together a diversity of people, cultures and concepts to create real-world change. Presentations will explore how we as individuals and as a community have the capacity to stimulate change if we dare. We can build a better world through purposeful dialogue and seizing opportunity to take action.

Valpo’s Graduate School will welcome prospective applicants to campus on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Duesenberg Welcome Center located at 1620 Chapel Dr. in Valparaiso. Check-in begins at 10 a.m., with activities starting at 10:30 a.m.

Graduate School admissions staff will be available to inform, guide and answer questions about gaining admission. Financial aid staff will also be present to discuss ways to pay for graduate school. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet current graduate students and learn about their experiences and engage with professors during lunch from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Campus tours are available upon request and begin at 1 p.m. CST.

Valparaiso University has received an anonymous commitment to establish an endowed chair in the Law School.

The Valparaiso University Law School will benefit from a significant commitment from an anonymous donor to establish a new endowed faculty chair. A faculty chair is among the highest honors a faculty member may receive to recognize their dedication to and excellence in teaching. This will be the fourth endowed chair in the Law School and represents a strong commitment to its dedicated faculty.

“By establishing a new endowed chair in Law, this donor has invested, in perpetuity, in the future of our Law faculty,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University.  We are truly thankful for their support and confidence in the University and the Law School.”

Valparaiso University has received a commitment to establish endowed funds to support the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod Pastoral Ministry and Chapel Programs.

Thanks to the generosity of Shirley and Karl Kreft, Valpo will establish the Karl and Shirley Kreft Endowed Fund for the LCMS Pastoral Ministry and Chapel Programs. The Krefts are longtime supporters of Valparaiso University. In 2007, they established the Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science, currently held by Theresa A. Kessler, Ph.D., RN. From 2000 through 2010, Karl also served as an active member of the University’s Board of Directors.

“This commitment aligns with the deep respect Shirley and I have for Valpo’s tradition of excellence at the intersection of faith and learning,” Karl said. “It is our intent to contribute to a Christian presence, an enduring witness consistent with the mission of the University.”

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