Nicholas Schrombeck ’19 is a 2016 recipient of the “Realizing the Dream” scholarship from the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI).

The annual award recognizes a first-generation college sophomore who excelled during their freshman year. The scholarship, made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., provides $2,500 toward tuition and expenses for one student at each of the 31 member institutions of ICI, a nonprofit association that works for excellence and choice in higher education for all students. One out of every three students on ICI campuses is first-generation.

Schrombeck is an electrical engineering major from Hebron, Ind. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Valpo Robotics, Engineers Without Borders and the Symphony Orchestra.

The Board of Directors for Valparaiso University has entered into a new five-year contract with President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., which will extend his term of office through June 30, 2021. This timing coincides with the University’s recently announced endowment campaign, Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future. Heckler has served as the 18th president of Valparaiso University since 2008.

Frederick G. Kraegel, chairman of the board of directors, said the contract extension ensures the continued trajectory of growth and stability the University has experienced under Heckler’s leadership.

“President Heckler has led Valparaiso University’s enrollment growth, new program development, campus expansion, and the implementation of the most comprehensive and ambitious strategic plan in Valpo’s history,” Kraegel said. “We are extremely fortunate to have Mark at the helm as the University has launched an endowment campaign to secure its future.”

Race, Justice, Community, and Policing

WHO: Valparaiso University and the NWI Coalition for Civil Discourse, which includes the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, Lakeshore Public Media, the City of Valparaiso, and the City of Gary, present a town hall conversation to promote public dialogue among Northwest Indiana communities.

WHAT: The second in a three-part series, this town hall forum will foster civil conversations on race, justice, community, and policing in Porter County and the surrounding communities. Garrard McClendon, region native and host of “CounterPoint with Garrard McClendon” on Lakeshore Public Media, will moderate the discussion with a panel of community leaders, to be announced at a later date, and invite the audience to join the conversation.

The town hall series is designed to proactively engage citizens in discussing the issues facing the region and across the country, searching for better understanding of the challenges facing NW Indiana regarding police-community relations. The first meeting in the series was held Aug. 30 at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary with more than 250 people in attendance.

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 28, 6 p.m. The first hour will be broadcast on Lakeshore Public Television Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m., and it will re-air Friday, Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m.

WHERE: University Theatre, Center for the Arts, Valparaiso University

CONTACT: Visit to register.

WHAT: Valparaiso University will host several events on campus to commemorate Veterans Day.

The Valpo Military and Veterans Programs will partner with Porter Starke and Pines Village Retirement Community to present “Transforming Our Communities to Heal Our Veterans,” a free community event open to veterans, veteran families, students, staff, administrators, community leaders and politicians. Edward Tick, Ph.D., will speak on the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on veterans, veteran families and the community. Tick co-founded and is the executive director of Soldier’s Heart, a program dedicated to helping veterans after they return from service. As a psychotherapist, he has worked with veterans since the 1970s to aid in their healing process and treat PTSD.

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.

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