WHO: Valpo’s Black Student Organization will host the 16th annual Black History Month Dinner to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans in observance of Black History Month.

WHAT: The theme of this year’s celebration is “Advocating for Liberation” and will feature poets, singers and dancers each performing a piece revolving around this theme.

WHO: Valparaiso University’s Dance Ensemble features faculty and student choreographers and dancers from nearly every college within the University.

The production is directed by Department Chair and Professor of Theatre Ann Kessler.

WHAT: The production contains original pieces with creative and original costume design, lighting and music conceived and choreographed by Valpo students and faculty. This year’s performance features a variety of dance styles ranging from classical ballet and lyrical to theatrical jazz and hip hop.

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball program has received a significant boost to its recruiting efforts from the generosity of Jan Sievers ’59 Schrage and Paul Schrage ’57. The couple has committed $2 million to establish the Paul D. and Janet C. Schrage Endowed Recruitment Fund for Men’s Basketball. When fully funded, the endowment will provide a permanent source of support for the program’s recruiting activities.

“We are extremely blessed to have Mr. and Mrs. Schrage as supporters and friends of Valpo basketball,” said men’s basketball head coach Bryce Drew. “My family and I have been close to them for many years, and their long-term support of the program has been a key to our success. We are grateful for their continued support with this most recent gift, which will allow us to be competitive at a higher level with our recruiting activities as we strive to maintain a standard of excellence moving forward.”

The Schrages are long-time benefactors to the University and strong supporters of Valpo basketball. They funded the Schrage Basketball Wing addition to the Athletics–Recreation Center, which houses the men’s and women’s basketball offices. They also established the Paul and Janet Schrage Endowment to provide ongoing support for the facility.

TEDxValparaisoUniversity’s inaugural community-inspired event comes to Valparaiso University on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 4–9 p.m. at the Center for the Arts. The locally organized event is themed “The power of &.”

The first TEDxValparaisoUniversity event is a student-driven initiative designed to explore the power of & and its capacity to bring together a diversity of people, cultures and concepts to create real-world change. Presentations will explore how through the power of & we are able to bridge, extend, develop and enhance our community, both locally and globally.

TEDxValparaisoUniversity will feature 10 diverse speakers, including a Valpo student, as well as faculty and community members, each bringing their unique perspective to the theme — the power of &.

WHO:  Valparaiso University’s Professional Educators Partnership (PEP) will host the 12th annual Middle School Conference.

The PEP Partnership is a grassroots project that works in collaboration between Valparaiso University’s teacher education faculty and educators in the K-12 community.

WHAT: The Middle School Conference will focus on educating teachers to successfully identify with their students through sponsored workshops featuring experts in the field. The conference will provide specific strategies on how to help children become independent, successful learners. The theme for this year’s Middle School Conference is Keeping Kids Motivated.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Valparaiso University has renewed accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation). The accreditation is effective for 10 years, extending to Dec. 31, 2025.

“CCNE accreditation ensures Valpo’s College of Nursing and Health Professions maintains its quality and effectiveness through continued self-evaluation,” said Janet M. Brown, Ph.D., RN, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “It allows the College to continue to best serve the needs of the community while adhering to a strict set of standards and values.”

WHO: The Valparaiso University art department presents American painter Jeanette Pasin Sloan.

Sloan is internationally recognized for her photo-realistic depictions of reflective objects set against patterned backgrounds. Carefully set in closely cropped manipulations, the still life subject matter of her work is infused with intense, highly abstract tendencies. Her work is celebrated world-wide for its vividness, painstaking detail, and uniqueness.

While currently a resident of Sante Fe, Sloan is a Chicago native who earned her MFA from the University of Chicago. Her work is housed in numerous prestigious museums across the U.S., including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution, and Valpo’s very own Brauer Museum of Art. Valpo’s recent acquisition of Sloan’s complete archive of work will be a valuable resource for Valpo students and the entire Valpo community for generations.

The Bach Institute presents Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. John Passion,” performed by the Valparaiso University Chorale and Bach Choir, with a special guest appearance by the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra. Performances kick off Feb. 20, on Valpo’s campus, followed by appearances in Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“We are delighted to have the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra perform with us in the Chapel of the Resurrection and throughout the Midwest as an extension of this wonderful musical relationship,” said Jeff Hazewinkel, director of the Center for the Arts.

Performances include (all times are local):

  • Feb. 20, 5 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Chicago.
  • Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m., Basilica of Saint Adalbert, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Feb. 28, 4 p.m., Luther Memorial Church, Madison, Wis.
  • March 1, 7:30 p.m., Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
  • March 3, 7:30 p.m., St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Chicago.

Valparaiso University secured a $70,000 grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

Valpo obtained one of only 45 estimated annual awards for undergraduate institutions. This funding, awarded over a 3-year span, will be used to further the goals of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund — to support fundamental research in the petroleum field and to develop the next generation of engineers and scientists through support of advanced scientific education. Specifically, it is required that 40 percent of the grant goes toward the support of research students.

“This grant is a valuable opportunity for students to immerse themselves in research critical to the development of novel materials that are important for basic science and for applications,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “In collaboration with faculty, these students will make meaningful contributions and gain valuable experience that will provide unique preparation for graduate school and their careers.”

Jennifer Holt, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, is the principal investigator for the grant. “The chemistry department believes undergraduate research is key to developing students’ skills so that they can go on to graduate school or industrial positions in chemistry,” Holt said, “and this funding will provide that opportunity for several of our students.”

Valparaiso University’s Institute for Leadership and service announces its Spring 2016 Pathways to Purpose speaker series featuring speakers and topics focusing on professional development.

The speaker series primarily features field experts and service-based leaders. Each event will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Helge Center unless otherwise noted.

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