Valparaiso University announces Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., will join the University as incoming Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs effective July 1, 2014.

In his role, Biermann will be responsible for leadership and oversight of the University’s academic programs as well as student affairs, including campus ministries, international programs, and diversity initiatives.

“I’m pleased Mark is joining our executive leadership team at Valparaiso University. His accomplished record of success in higher education, as well as his experiences and interests, make him the ideal selection for Valpo’s next provost,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “Already he has demonstrated a remarkable affinity with and commitment to our mission as a University, and I look forward to working with Mark closely as we continue to ensure an outstanding educational experience for Valpo students.”

Lara Pudwell has been named a 2014 winner of the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member. Pudwell is an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science and University Research Professor at Valparaiso University.

The award, presented to only two or three professors annually, honors instructors whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms.

“I am both surprised and humbled to be named an Alder award winner,” said Pudwell. “I feel thankful to have a career I love as much as I do, and I am grateful to be able to share my work with colleagues, students, collaborators, and a whole national mathematics community.”

The Valparaiso University sorority and fraternity community received multiple national awards for overall excellence at the recent Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) Conference in Indianapolis, Ind. AFLV is an organization that stimulates growth and development of sorority and fraternity communities by promoting educational, leadership, and values-based experiences and resources. The goal of the AFLV is for all sorority and fraternity members to embody and live ethical values daily.

The Valparaiso University Panhellenic Council, the governing body for all sororities at Valpo, was named a Division 2 category winner for the 2014 Sutherland Award for Overall Excellence for Panhellenic Councils.

“Receiving the overall excellence award on behalf of the community was an amazing honor,” said Jeannette Paige, Panhellenic Council president. “This award shows us that the community is moving in a positive direction, and it definitely lit a fire in the 2014 Executive Board officers to continue to improve and implement positive changes.”

Valparaiso University has selected John Palmucci as the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. Most recently Palmucci served as the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer at Loyola University Maryland. He begins employment at the University on April 14.

In his new role, Palmucci will provide prudent oversight of the University’s strategic financial goals, and he joins University leadership in advancing the work of its Strategic Plan toward a vibrant and sustainable future.

“I am delighted John is joining our leadership team at Valparaiso University. His extensive experience in strategic planning and financial management in higher education and his passion for responsible stewardship will be essential as Valpo continues the work of preparing women and men sought after for their knowledge, character, and wisdom,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “I look forward to working closely with John, and I believe his skills and talents will make a valuable contribution to the Valpo community.”

Series of Events Held March 18-22

Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University, presents the inaugural Shakespeare Week at Valpo, featuring a week-long residency by Actors From The London Stage.

One of the most admired Shakespearean troupes in the world, Actors From The London Stage is composed of classically-trained actors from prestigious companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Shakespeare Week at Valpo will showcase a series of events, performances, and workshops, sponsored by Christ College, in collaboration with the Department of English and the Department of Theatre. All performances are in the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts.

Valparaiso University graduate Cheryl Schrader ’84 E.E., Ph.D., has been recognized as an IEEE Fellow for her leadership and contributions in engineering education. Schrader is a past president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and the current chancellor of the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“It is a great honor to be included in this prestigious group of renowned engineers,” Schrader said. “I joined IEEE while an undergraduate at Valparaiso University, where I not only developed a strong technical and professional foundation complemented by a Christ College education, but also a sense of personal vocation.”

The IEEE, formally known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, confers the grade of fellow upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. It is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.

“This is truly a fitting accomplishment for Cheryl, whose career as an engineer and an educator exemplifies the outstanding nature of Valpo’s College of Engineering alumni,” said Eric Johnson, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering.

WHO: Valparaiso University welcomes historian and former Lilly Fellow Darren Dochuk for the 2014 Willis Boyd History Lecture, part of the annual Christ College Symposium and presented in partnership with the Department of History. The lecture honors former Valpo history professor Will Boyd.

Dochuk is associate professor in the humanities at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on the connections between religion, politics, and culture in modern United States history.

WHAT: Dochuk’s lecture will discuss “Crude Awakenings: A Religious History of Oil and Oil-Patch Politics in America’s Century.” Tapping the story of the Sun Oil Company for illustration, Dochuk will explore the fascinating institutional, ideological, and imaginative connections that drew the business of oil and the church together in the 20th century.

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Mueller Hall Refectory, Valparaiso University

WHO: Valparaiso University welcomes entrepreneur Mike Del Ponte, CEO of Soma, a manufacturer of innovative water filters and glass carafes.

Previously, Del Ponte led marketing at BranchOut, the largest professional network on Facebook. He served as a Christian Peacemaker in the West Bank, an orphanage volunteer in Jamaica, a microfinance consultant in Nepal, and as part of the team that created a healthcare program for 355,000 children in Kutch, India.

WHAT: Del Ponte will lead a discussion on the “Journey of a Social Entrepreneur: How to Find and Live Your Calling.” The event is part of the Christ College Symposium and the Institute for Leadership and Service’s exemplary practitioners speaker series and is presented in partnership with the Career Center.

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Christopher Center Community Room, Valparaiso University

WHO: The Valparaiso International Student Association (VISA) at Valparaiso University presents the 34th annual World Banquet – “Passport to the World” to expose students, faculty, staff, and the community to different cultures.

WHAT: The World Banquet offers the opportunity to experience new and different cultures through cuisine and performances representing countries around the world.

Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for faculty, staff, and the general public. Call 219.464.5007 or visit the Harre Union Welcome Desk to purchase tickets.

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Harre Union Ballrooms, Valparaiso University

WHO: Valparaiso University and the Special Olympics of Indiana are coming together to raise support and funds to sponsor athletes throughout the state. This is the fourth year that Valparaiso University will host the event on its campus. 

WHAT: The Polar Plunge invites participants who have raised 75 dollars or more to jump into a pool of water. Those who do choose to jump are encouraged to dress up in costumes. All funds raised through the Polar Plunge go toward training and athletic competition for more than 11,000 Special Olympics Indiana athletes. The event is open to the public and free to watch.

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 15, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center

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