Valparaiso University President, 1978-1988
Robert V. Schnabel was elected president of Valparaiso University in 1978, while serving as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Prior to his affiliation with Wartburg, he was president of Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., from 1971 to 1976. His teaching career included 14 years at Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind., where he was chairman of the department of philosophy and later academic dean. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College and his master of science and doctor of philosophy from Fordham University. He also studied at Concordia College, Bronxville; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Indiana University, and the University of Michigan.
As president, Schnabel worked to recruit academically stronger students and to provide more support to faculty, while also setting higher standards for faculty research. These things were necessary, Schnabel argued, in order for Valpo to realize its goal of becoming a “national Lutheran University of high academic standing.” By the end of Schnabel’s term, Valpo was ranked No. 1 among Midwestern and Western comprehensive institutions by U.S. News and World Report.