WHO: The physics and astronomy department at Valparaiso University presents astrophysicist Jennifer Wiseman.

Wiseman received her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1995. She is a senior astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she serves as senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. She studies star forming regions of our galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes, with a particular interest in molecular cloud cores, protostars, and outflows.

WHAT: Wiseman presents the latest discoveries of astronomy in “Galaxies, Stars, Planets, and Life: A Bountiful Universe,” including planets by the thousands outside our solar system and an expanding universe being pushed apart by a force only vaguely understood as dark energy. She will discuss society’s responses to the uncovering of a universe seemingly poised for life as the entire history of the universe shows a majestic transformation over time from energy into heavier elements, stars, galaxies, and environments needed for advanced life.

She will present an overview of the Hubble Space Telescope mission in her second lecture, “The Hubble Space Telescope: 25 Years of Discovery,” including the key scientific advancements and unexpected discoveries it has enabled. Launched in 1990, this orbiting observatory has effectively changed the textbooks, as astronomers have used Hubble to transform our understanding of the solar system, galaxies, and the history of the universe. Wiseman will discuss the unique role that humans, especially astronauts, have played in making this observatory a success.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

WHEN: “Galaxies, Stars, Planets, and Life: A Bountiful Universe” is Thursday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., and “The Hubble Space Telescope: 25 Years of Discovery” is Friday, Jan. 30, 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Both lectures are in Neils Science Center 234, Valparaiso University.

Valparaiso University will host the 62nd annual Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Fair Feb. 21 in the Harre Union Ballroom, bringing together students from schools in Porter, LaPorte, Starke, Jasper, Newton, and Pulaski counties. The event highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through exciting events for middle school and high school students.

Volunteers are sought from the community to judge the competition in various categories. Professional expertise and experience qualifies community members to be judges.

“An Evening with Natalie Cole” on April 11 caps 30th annual event

Multiple Grammy Award-winning recording artist Natalie Cole is the featured artist for Valparaiso University’s 30th annual Jazz Fest. The dynamic performance will take place April 11 at 8:30 p.m. in the Athletics–Recreation Center at Valparaiso University.

“Natalie Cole’s unique blend of rhythm and blues with jazz is emblematic of the variety and quality of music Valpo’s Jazz Festival has brought to the stage for 30 years,” said Jeffrey C. Brown, festival producer and founder. “She validates, mirrors, and elevates hundreds of students and professional musicians who have made this festival what it is!”

An accomplished R&B and jazz vocalist and the daughter of legendary crooner Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole will perform hits from her new, Latin Grammy Award-nominated album “Natalie Cole En Español,” as well as classics such as “This Will Be” and “Unforgettable … With Love.”

Features residency by Actors From The London Stage

Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University, presents the second annual Shakespeare Week at Valpo, featuring a weeklong residency by the Actors From The London Stage.

Shakespeare Week at Valpo will showcase a series of events, performances, and workshops, sponsored by Christ College, in collaboration with the Departments of English and Theatre.

Week of events begins Thursday, Jan. 15

For more than 20 years, Valparaiso University has celebrated the life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., and this tradition continues with a weeklong celebration Jan. 15–23.

The 2015 events honor the theme “Hope, Action, Change” through speakers, presenters and activities that promote the respect and value of diversity on campus as well as within the broader community through dialogue and discourse, art and music and food and faith.

Events include:

  • Artistic works by Northwest Indiana students on display in the Harre Union. A reception and awards ceremony, featuring a performance by local folk band Shades of Gray, is Thursday, Jan. 15, 5 – 7 p.m., in the Harre Union.
  • Community Conversations focusing on Ishmael Beah’s novel “Radiance of Tomorrow” throughout Valparaiso on Friday, Jan. 16, noon – 1 p.m. Visit valpo.edu/mlk/conversations for a complete list of venues and to register.
  • A Martin Luther King Jr. Day Convocation Service at the Chapel of the Resurrection on Monday, Jan. 20, at 10 a.m. The service celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and features keynote speaker Ishmael Beah, award-winning author of “A Long Way Gone.” In addition, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award will be presented to Larry Baas, professor of political science and international relations, Zahra Nwabara, director of admissions for the Law School, and the men’s soccer team and their coach, Mike Avery.
  • A luncheon featuring a Q&A with keynote speaker Ishmael Beah following the Convocation Service in the Harre Union Ballrooms. Luncheon tickets cost $12 and are available at the Harre Union Welcome desk or online at valpo.edu/union for will-call pickup.
  • Several focus sessions featuring a variety of topics, including a session with Richard Morrisroe, a Civil Rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Visit valpo.edu/mlk/sessions for a complete list of focus sessions.
  • A closing program featuring Joanne Bland on Monday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. in the Christopher Center Community Room. Bland is the co-founder and former director of the Naitonal Voting Rights Museum in Selma and began her civil rights activism in the early 1960s, marching on “Bloody Sunday,” “Turn Around Tuesday,” and the first leg of the successful march from Selma to Montgomery.

The Law School will also host several events at Wesemann Hall. The annual “Talk to a Lawyer Today” event is Monday, Jan. 19, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. On Thursday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m., Terry Smith, of DePaul University College of Law, will speak on “From King to Obama: Cycles of Backlash and the Fire Next Time.” The MLK Mock Congressional Debate, focusing on the riots and protestor experiences related to events in Feruson, Mo., is Friday, Jan. 23, 4 – 6 p.m.

For additional information, visit valpo.edu/mlk.

Opening Reception is Jan. 9

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 winter exhibition season, which kicks off with an opening reception Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.

The Brauer Museum’s winter exhibitions, on view from Jan. 9 through April 5, include “Inner Visions: Sacred Plants, Art, and Spirituality,” curated by Luis Eduardo Luna in the Wehling and McGill Galleries; “Ernő Koch: Everything is Possible (only how to do?)” in the Education Room and West Gallery; and “Birds Sang at Night: An Installation by Maral Hashemi” in the small Ferguson Gallery.

“Inner Visions: Sacred Plants, Art and Spirituality,” curated by Luis Eduardo Luna, explores through works of art the complex and enigmatic topic of ritual use of sacred plants to achieve visionary states and thus commune with spirit worlds that form the basis of various belief systems and religions indigenous to South America. A free full color catalog accompanies the exhibition, and a symposium related to the exhibition featuring major scholars takes place on March 25.

The Brauer’s West Gallery and Education Room present “Erno Koch: Everything is Possible (only how to do?).” On display are remarkable color woodcuts, etchings, sculptures and other works organized in cooperation with the artist’s estate. The works by Koch treat a variety of subjects, some Christian in nature.

In the small Ferguson Gallery, on display is “Birds Sang at Night: An Installation by Maral Hashemi.” Contemporary Chicago artist Maral Hashemi combines video and textiles in an installation that deals poetically with her personal heritage and favorite themes.

In April, the Brauer Museum will display original artwork by Valpo students in the Wehling and McGill Galleries. Additionally, Valpo students will curate an exhibition of Greek and Roman tablets from the permanent collection in the Education Room, and the Ferguson Gallery will house Andy Warhol screenprints, also from the Brauer Museum’s permanent collection.

During the spring and summer, Gallery 1212 will feature “The Preposthumous Works of Harry Brown.” The summer exhibitions, on display May 15 through Aug. 9, include selections from the permanent collection in the Wehling and McGill Galleries, new acquisitions in the West Gallery, and “Herman Gurfinkel: Hidden Northwest Indiana Legend” in the Ferguson Gallery.

Throughout the season, the Brauer Museum will host coffee hours and gallery talks with artists, curators and art collectors. In the spring, a new film/lecture series — Thursday Night Noir — offers film screenings and discussions that will explore this classic film genre. The first Noir screening takes place Jan. 22 and, like the museum and its events, is free and open to the public.

Visit valpo.edu/artmuseum for more information about the season and upcoming events.

The Valparaiso University Law School welcomes Sister Helen Prejean, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, for a lecture on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 4 p.m. in Harre Union Ballrooms B and C.

During the lecture, “Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues,” Sister Helen will discuss her public education ministry and ongoing efforts to counsel death row inmates and their families, as well as her participation in the global campaign to seek a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty.

Sister Helen spent her first years with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet teaching religion to junior high school students. She then moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and began working at Hope House from 1981–1984.

During this time, she became the spiritual advisor of death row inmate Patrick Sonnier at Angola. Her experience inspired the book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States,” which became a movie, an opera and a play for high schools and colleges.

Screenings of the movie “Dead Man Walking” will be held prior to the lecture:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 7, 5 p.m. in Wesemann 155
  • Thursday, Jan. 8 , 6:30 p.m. in Wesemann 160
  • Sunday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. in the Union Ballrooms

“Dead Man Walking” and Sister Helen’s second book, “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions,” will be available for purchase at the lecture. Proceeds benefit Sister Helen’s ministry.

There is no cost to attend the lecture. Visit valpo.edu/law/sister-helen-prejean-lecture to RSVP.

 

Rankings recognize strong academic record and great economic value

Valparaiso University is one of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s 100 best values in private colleges for 2015. The ranking recognizes universities that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost.

Valpo consistently achieves recognition as a best value, ranking second among Midwestern regional universities by U.S. News & World Report. Valpo was also recognized by MONEY Magazine and Forbes Magazine for value and affordability.

Kiplinger’s assesses quality according to measurable standards, including the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio, and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker prices, financial aid, and average debt at graduation. Many of the schools on this list, including Valpo, have appeared in Kiplinger’s rankings in previous years.

The complete rankings, including the top schools overall as well as the best values in public schools, private universities and private liberal arts colleges, are available online at kiplinger.com/links/college. The rankings will also appear in the February 2015 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands Jan. 6, 2015.

Valparaiso University has again been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, joining 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 receiving distinction for general community service, Valpo was named with distinction to two new honor rolls: education and economic opportunity.

“As this honor reflects, students at Valpo not only engage in service, they create dynamic projects specific to our context, global community, and faith traditions,” said Elizabeth Lynn, director of the Institute for Leadership and Service. “By supporting students to lead and serve in these extraordinary ways, Valparaiso University is placing graduates on a lifelong path of service and civic learning.”

Valparaiso University has been designated a 2015 STEM JobsSM Approved College by Victory Media. The list is the first of its kind to rate universities and colleges on their responsiveness and relevance to high demand, high growth STEM occupations.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the educational opportunities that we provide our science, engineering and mathematics majors here at Valparaiso University,” said Richard A. Gillman, Ph.D., associate provost for faculty affairs and professor of mathematics and statistics. “We believe strongly that a STEM education combined with a strong liberal arts thread and values-based goals results in graduates who are sought after in the market place. This recognition is in direct response this, together with the quality and creativity of our faculty in producing outstanding programs of disciplinary study.”

Valpo was among more than 1,600 schools participating in the STEM JobsSM survey process. Schools submitting surveys were scored on publicly available data and responses to proprietary questions around three key indicators of success: STEM job alignment, STEM job placement and diversity in a school’s STEM programs. The assessment and rights to the STEM Jobs ApprovedSM Colleges designation were available to qualifying schools for free. Valparaiso University will be featured in the Winter 2015 issue of STEM JobsSM magazine, along with the entire 2015 list of STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges.

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