Valparaiso University will celebrate Winter Commencement on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 p.m., conferring degrees upon 319 undergraduate, graduate and law students.

The keynote speaker is Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein ’73, ’76 J.D., who was Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California for more than 10 years, prior to being appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Indiana in 2000. During his time in California, Nuechterlein was the trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., in the Criminal and Environment and Natural Resources Divisions.

WHO: Valparaiso University presents the annual Advent-Christmas Vespers service, featuring the Kantorei Choir and the Handbell Choir of the Chapel of the Resurrection.

WHAT: The annual service of lessons and carols is a traditional part of holiday celebrations on campus. This year’s Vespers will feature the artwork of Yeohyun Ahn, a computational graphic artist and design educator at Valpo.

For the 7 p.m. service, the choirs will be joined by the Jubilate Children’s Choir of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Valparaiso, Ind. A reception will be held at the Harre Union Ballroom, adjacent to the Chapel, between services. All are welcome.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

WHERE: Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University

CONTACT: Admission to the services is free, but advanced-seating tickets are required. Please contact the Chapel of the Resurrection at 219.464.5093 or to reserve your seat.

WHAT: Valparaiso University continues a tradition that dates back more than 90 years with its annual Christmas Concert: A Carol Festival. The concert returns the first weekend in December, opening the Christmas season for the University, community, alumni, and friends from throughout the Midwest.

WHO: With more than 200 student performers in the Chorale, men’s and women’s choirs, Chamber Concert Band, and Symphony Orchestra, the festive holiday program features delightful melodies and opportunities for the audience to join in with familiar carols.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University

CONTACT: Contact the University Box Office at or 219.464.5162 to reserve your seats. Tickets cost $15 for adults; $10 for senior citizens and non-Valpo students; and are free to Valpo students, faculty, and staff.

WHAT: Valparaiso University’s seventh annual Tree Lighting offers an opportunity for community members to take a picture with Santa or with friends in the photo booth, enjoy caroling and refreshments, and watch as the tree is lit and fireworks burst over campus.

The Jingle Jog, a 1-, 2-, or 3- mile run/walk, will be held before the tree lighting. Participants are asked to bring a toy or nonperishable food item as their registration fee, and all donations will go to local families.

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 1, 4:30–7 p.m. The Jingle Jog begins at 4:30 p.m. and the tree will be lit at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Santa and refreshments will be in the Harre Union, with the tree outside between the Harre Union and the Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources.

Nathaniel Griewe ’18, a Valparaiso University German and secondary education major, has been awarded an illustrious German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship.

The DAAD is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation. DAAD programs support the collaboration between the German higher education system and academic institutions around the world to foster goodwill and professional relationships. Out of roughly 150 applicants this year, Griewe was one of 30 students chosen to receive this award.

Valparaiso University is a 2017 Military Friendly® School, as announced by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting military and civilian worlds.

First published in 2009, the Military Friendly® Schools designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. The designation is awarded to top colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that employ best practices to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

Valparaiso University student Teshurah Lee ’18 was one of 150 students worldwide selected for the prestigious “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition held recently in China.

The “Chinese Bridge” Proficiency Competition recognizes and showcases the Chinese language in several rounds of competition. Lee competed against 150 other students in Changsha, China, after winning the U.S. Midwest Chinese Speech Competition, held in Lee’s hometown, Chicago.

A Chinese and Japanese studies major, Lee is interested in pursuing a career with a global ambassador program. At Valpo, she is a Chinese tutor; sings in the women’s choir and gospel ensemble; and is a member of the Black Student Organization, the Commission for an Inclusive Valparaiso Community and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Steering Committee.

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.”

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