Valparaiso University students who participate in Study Abroad programs will be eligible to receive scholarship support thanks to the generosity of alumni Kathleen ’82 and Robert ’82 Hansen. The couple has committed $3 million to establish the Robert and Kathleen Hansen Endowed Scholarship for Study Abroad.

“Kathy and I have been fortunate to live and work on three continents since graduating from Valpo, and we have seen our entire family benefit from these experiences,” Bob Hansen said. “We are passionate about giving Valpo students an opportunity to study abroad and prepare them for success in our ever increasing global economy.”

Valpo has offered Study Abroad opportunities to students since 1968, when the first programs were established in England and Germany. Approximately 35 percent of all Valpo undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation, compared to fewer than 10 percent of all United States undergraduate students. The University consistently places among the top 40 master’s level institutions for undergraduate participation, as ranked by the Institute of International Education.

“Kathy and Bob’s philanthropic support of Valparaiso University is deeply appreciated,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “At Valpo, we aim to prepare graduates to excel in a global society. This endowed scholarship will provide resources in perpetuity for students to study abroad and participate in challenging, transformative real-world experiences that will help shape their lifetime of leadership and service.”

Valpo students have access to more than 45 Study Abroad opportunities located in 26 countries and offered in 12 languages. The University houses study centers in England, Germany, China and Costa Rica, as well as short-term, semester, and yearlong programs throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Valpo is also a member of the Generation Study Abroad initiative, a partnership of nearly 500 institutions striving to double the number of college students studying abroad by 2020.

Bob chairs the Valparaiso University Board of Directors Advancement Committee, and he is co-chair of Valpo’s upcoming campaign, currently in the leadership gifts phase. Kathy earned a bachelor of science in social work, and Bob holds a bachelor of science in business administration.

Valpo Tops U.S. News List for 27 Consecutive Years, Honored for Best Teaching and Best Value

For the 27th straight year, Valparaiso University has been identified as one of the best universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine. In the 2016 edition, released today, Valpo is the No. 5 Best Regional University, among more than 140 universities in the category, and is ranked No. 2 in the Midwest for Best Undergraduate Teaching.

“We are honored to once again be recognized by U.S. News & World Report for the outstanding education at Valparaiso University,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., University president. “This achievement reflects our unwavering focus on delivering a first-rate, affordable education for students who have a tremendous impact on the world.”

Notable U.S. News rankings:

  • Valpo is No. 5 in the ranking of Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, which evaluates academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate and alumni support.
  • Ranked No. 1 in the Best Value category in the regional universities in the Midwest with 95 percent of undergraduate students receiving financial assistance through grants, scholarships and other sources.
  • Valpo ranked second among regional universities in the Midwest for best undergraduate teaching and is known for small class sizes and professors who mentor students inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Once again, Valpo was placed on the list of A+ Schools for B Students, which measures institutions that provide opportunities for students of different academic achievement levels to thrive.
  • The College of Engineering is listed as one of the top 25 undergraduate engineering programs in the country.

With 4,544 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Valpo’s total enrollment is at the highest level in 41 years. Total graduate enrollment, at 916 students, is the largest since the Graduate School’s inception in 1963.

As Valpo prepares students to enter an increasingly globalized workforce, it has increased the diversity of its student body. International student enrollment is at 727 students, the highest level in the University’s history. The total percentage of undergraduate American minorities is also at its highest level at 19 percent.

In addition to enrollment growth, Valpo continues to develop cutting-edge academic programs and expand campus infrastructure. In the last year, Valpo opened a suite-style residence hall, broke ground on a sorority housing facility and announced the acquisition of the former Porter Hospital property, which will make room for expanded parking as well as athletic and academic spaces. This month, Valpo will break ground on a science laboratory building and strengthen its longstanding commitment to STEM education.

The College of Business recently launched an entrepreneurship minor, and the College of Engineering added a minor in biomedical engineering. The College of Nursing and Health Professions expanded to include additional health science degree options including public health and a five-year B.S./M.S. physician assistant studies program.

Valpo consistently earns recognition from national and regional rankings and was recently named one of the top 50 colleges in the Midwest by Forbes Magazine and the No. 1 master’s university in the nation for contribution to public good by Washington Monthly.

The music department at Valparaiso University presents the 2015–2016 performance season, which showcases Valpo’s nationally and internationally recognized ensembles, engaging programs presented by faculty and students, and international guest artists.

Season highlights:

  • Homecoming Concerts, Sept. 26, Chapel of the Resurrection. Choral Concert at 4 p.m. features the women’s choir, men’s choir, Chorale and Chorale alumni. The Symphony Orchestra performs at 8 p.m.
  • “Godspell,” Oct. 8–9 and 16 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 10–11 and 17–18 at 2 p.m., University Theatre. In “Godspell,” a small group of people helps Jesus Christ tell different parables using a variety of games, storytelling techniques and comic timing. The first major musical theatre production from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz, “Godspell” features beloved songs “Day by Day,” “All Good Gifts,” “By My Side,” and many others.
  • Family Weekend Concerts, Oct. 17, Chapel of the Resurrection. The Chamber Concert Band performs at 4 p.m., and the Luce Concert Band and Community/University Concert Band perform at 7:30 p.m.
  • Christmas Concert, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5 at 5 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection. The annual celebration features the Chorale, men’s choir, women’s choir, Chamber Concert Band and Symphony Orchestra.
  • Advent-Christmas Vespers, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection. An annual service featuring the Kantorei and handbell choirs of the Chapel.
  • St. John Passion, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection. Valpo student performers join the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra for a special performance at Valpo’s campus, followed by a regional tour through Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
  • Jazz Festival, March 28 – April 2. Performance information will be announced in the spring.
  • Sousa Concert, April 30 at 1 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection. An annual tribute to legendary composer John Philip Sousa.

Visit for additional information faculty recitals and ticket prices.

Gretchen Buggeln, Ph.D., Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts, has been elected president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. Buggeln will serve a two-year term as president.

Buggeln joined Valparaiso University’s faculty in 2004 after working in the academic programs department of the H.F. du Pont Winterthur Museum in Delaware. She continues to be active in the museum field by reviewing exhibitions and writing about how museums interpret religious artifacts and belief.

“The Vernacular Architecture Forum has been a mainstay of my professional life, and I am honored to serve as president,” Buggeln said.

Valparaiso University’s Christ College — The Honors College presents its annual symposium, featuring distinguished speakers and vibrant discussions on this year’s theme: “What is Justice?”

The speaker series presents lectures by scholars, artists and public figures. Fall speakers include:

  • Rebecca Pallmeyer ’76: “What is Justice? Musings of a Federal Trial Judge,” Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m., Duesenberg Recital Hall, Center for the Arts. A Valpo alumna, Rebecca Pallmeyer is a judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Fredrick Barton ’70, ’90H and Rene Steinke: “Environmental and Educational Justice,” Sept. 23, 6:30 p.m., Duesenberg Recital Hall, Center for the Arts. A Valpo alumnus, Fredrick Barton authored eight books and received the Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press for his essay “Breaches of Faith” about recovery efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Rene Steinke authored three novels, including National Book Award finalist “Holy Skirts.”
  • Scott Cairns, “Slow Pilgrim: Finding One’s Way with Words,” Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection. Librettist, memoirist, translator and author of eight poetry collections, Scott Cairns is professor of English at the University of Missouri and founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece, a program now in its seventh year of bringing writers to Thessaloniki and Thasos for engagement with literary life in modern Greece.

All events are free and open to the public.

Thanks to generous alumni, Valparaiso University has received a $2 million commitment for endowed faculty fellowships in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the College of Engineering. Four fellowships will be established in each college with the support of Joyce Hagen ’79 and Donald Fites ’56.

“We deeply appreciate Joyce and Don’s philanthropic support of Valpo,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “These endowed fellowships will provide resources in perpetuity for faculty to pursue scholarly and pedagogical projects, grow professionally, and stay at the forefront of their fields. Their professional advancement will lead to better teaching, research and service for our students and contribute to the growing national and international reputations of Valparaiso University in Engineering, Nursing, and the Health Professions.”

Hagen and Fites have designated the Valpo colleges from which they graduated for the faculty fellowships. Hagen earned a bachelor of science in nursing, and the Joyce Hagen Endowed Faculty Fellowship will fund faculty opportunities at the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Fites earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering, and the Don Fites Endowed Faculty Fellowships will fund faculty opportunities within the College of Engineering.

Valparaiso University is the No. 1 master’s university, as announced today in Washington Monthly’s annual college rankings. According to the magazine’s system, colleges are ranked by their contribution to the country, and it recognizes institutions that provide an outstanding education while maintaining affordability.

“This tremendous honor is a testament to what we already know — not only do Valpo students and alumni receive an exceptional, affordable education, they combine knowledge learned in the classroom with virtues of integrity and character to make a positive difference in communities across the country and around the world,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., University president.

Criteria include cutting-edge research and scholarship, recruiting and graduating low-income students and civic engagement. The rankings include community service hours relative to school size, and at Valpo students annually perform more than 220,000 hours of community outreach and service learning.

Opening Reception is Aug. 28

Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art continues to grow its permanent collection with major acquisitions from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. These, along with prints, sculptures, paintings and other works from artists from around the world comprise an exciting 2015–2016 season, which kicks off with an opening reception Aug. 28.

The fall exhibitions run Aug. 18 through Dec. 13 and feature exquisite artwork in a variety of media, including exhibitions by alumni artists. “The Sun Shines for Us All: The Friendship Dolls from Japan” in the Wehling and McGill Galleries, curated by Terry Kita, Ph.D., presents the incredible story of the Friendship Dolls from Japan of the early 1920s. Featuring original scholarship and a full-color publication, the exhibition includes the Brauer Museum’s doll, Miss Chosen, along with four additional dolls.

Glenn ’75, ’77 J.D. and Dawn ’79 Vician have collected fine etchings by Rembrandt that depict the life of Jesus. These works, which effectively demonstrate Rembrandt’s masterful technique and insights, will be on display in the Education Room.

In the Ferguson Galleries, “A Journey in Contemporary Sculpture, with the Work of Jim Keller” presents abstract creations that highlight the virtuoso technique and inventive sense of form of sculptor Jim Keller ’66.

The final fall exhibition, “Fondo ga Moru: The Art of Gretchen Beck,” highlights the work of Gretchen Beck ’92 in Gallery 1212. The contemporary artist draws upon her experience in West Africa as an educator and creator of abstract works in a variety of media. Her pieces reflect inspiration from the landscape and other indigenous creations and traditions.

Valparaiso University achieves recognition by Forbes 2015 rankings as one of the top 50 colleges in the Midwest and regularly appears in Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges” list.

Forbes partners with the Center for College Affordability & Productivity to rank America’s Top College, analyzing factors such as 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.

Schools that demonstrate excellent return on investment rank high on Forbes’ list. At Valparaiso University, graduate placement has exceeded 90 percent for 22 consecutive years, and Valpo’s student loan default rate of 4.4 is well below the national average of 13.7.

Classes explore central questions of human experience through classic literature

The Masterworks Program at Christ College, sponsored by Valparaiso University’s interdisciplinary honors college as well as the Graduate School, offers exciting continuing education opportunities for members of the larger Valparaiso community.

An opportunity to discover and re-visit classic texts, the Masterworks Program offers an intellectual, discussion-based atmosphere rooted in the Christ College tradition of intimate, dynamic seminars. The program, which successfully launched in fall 2014 with participants from across Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana, is now beginning its second year and will offer two courses for the fall semester.

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