Valpo’s Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching has selected Zuhdi Aljobeh, Sandra Bleza, and George Pati as the 2016–2017 Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

The award recognizes a number of outstanding undergraduate faculty and/or units each year for general teaching excellence, with particular attention to excellence in any of three areas: course development, pedagogy, and mentoring/advising. Each award carries a monetary stipend of $3,000 to honor each faculty members’ excellence in teaching on the Valparaiso University campus.

This Saturday, April 2, Valparaiso University’s Institute for Leadership and Service will hold its second annual Bridge/Work Conference. Titled “Send Money, Prayers, & People,” the daylong event will explore the interplay between belief and action in global humanitarian work. The program includes a keynote address from Allison Schnable, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, as well as research presentations from five exceptional Valpo undergraduates and a practitioner panel moderated by Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Valparaiso University hosted the 63rd annual Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Regional Fair on March 19 in the Harre Union Ballroom. Now, 18 student finalists are moving on to compete at IUPUI in Indianapolis on April 2.

There were 85 students showing 62 projects in grades 6 – 12 from schools in Porter, LaPorte, Starke, Jasper, Pulaski and Newton counties who participated and competed for many prestigious awards and cash prizes, including scholarships to the University.

The College of Arts and Sciences at Valparaiso University has developed data science and statistics degree programs in response to an increased demand for professionals in these fields.

According to CNN Money, the data science field will grow 18.7 percent in the next 10 years, and McKinsey Global Institute predicts 140,000–190,000 job openings by 2018. Organizations are already struggling to find professionals qualified to work in data science. Graduating with a degree in either data science or statistics will allow a professional to tap into the significant growth this field is currently experiencing.

WHO/WHAT: Valparaiso University’s art department will auction off original artwork at their sixth annual Soup Bowls for the Hungry silent auction. Pieces available for bid include bowls, mugs, plates, and vases along with various other artwork.

Admission is free and open to the public. Free soup and cornbread will be served, and guests are welcome to try their hands at throwing a pot while they wait. All proceeds from the auction benefit the nonprofit organizations Sojourner Truth House and Dayspring Women’s Center.

Valparaiso University alumni Judy McNabney ’71 Dutton and John Dutton ’70 have generously committed $1 million to support the University’s unrestricted endowment fund.

“John and I are blessed to be in a position to make this commitment to Valpo,” said Judy Dutton. “We have witnessed the rapid rate of advancements made at Valpo in recent decades. Our exposure to many other universities provides a strong basis of comparison. We want this progress to continue and are confident that University leadership will utilize these funds in the best possible manner.”

Valpo’s endowment provides a permanent, self-sustaining revenue stream to the University. While frequently referred to as a single fund, the endowment is actually the aggregate of many different funds, most of which are designated to support specific programs. Unrestricted endowed funds, which make up a smaller portion of the total endowment, combine the financial stability of an ongoing funding source with the flexibility to use the funds to meet pressing needs. University leaders can 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.

WHAT: The provost’s office at Valparaiso University presents “Dialogue and Discernment: Seek First to Understand,” which is a series of events designed to provide meaningful instruction to the Valpo community on how to have civil discourse over irreconcilable differences. The series is an opportunity to engage in respectful conversation regarding some of today’s most challenging issues.

The first event in the series is entitled “A Conversation about Same-Sex Marriage.”

Valparaiso University students who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and suffered significant wounds or disabilities during their service will be eligible to receive scholarship support thanks to the generosity of alumni Ron Zech ’65 and Gisela Gerber ’66 Zech, who recently passed away. The children or dependents of wounded veterans or of veterans who lost their lives during service are also eligible. The couple has committed $1.5 million to establish the Gisela and Ron Zech Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“Gisela and I were very happy to make this commitment in support of two entities of great importance to us: education and veterans. Wounded veterans and their families are placed in an incredibly difficult position,” said Ron Zech. “We established the scholarship to help them achieve something that otherwise may not be possible.”

Valpo has been recognized as a Military Friendly School for 2016 by Victory Media. The list honors the top 15 percent of higher education institutions in the country that do the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranks Valpo No. 5 on the list of Best Colleges for Veterans in the Midwest.

WHAT: Valparaiso University’s Institute for Leadership and Service presents the Pathways to Purpose Speaker Series, which invites students to hear from alumni and other exemplary practitioners of leadership and service to help expand student imagination about pursuing purposeful work and a meaningful life in response to the deepest challenges of our time.

This lecture will focus on bridging work in the corporate sector with strong community involvement, a topic of great importance to students who care deeply about service, but don’t feel called to the nonprofit world.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2016 will be officially inducted in a ceremony on the Valpo campus Saturday, Feb. 13. The 19 class in Hall of Fame history — Steve Bartholomew, Bert Bleke, Liz Mikos and Scott Petcu — will also be honored at halftime of the men’s basketball game versus Wright State Saturday night.

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