News - 9/1/09

Campus celebrates Opening Convocation

Students, faculty and staff came together Tuesday, Aug. 25, to celebrate the start of the academic year during Opening Convocation and a community celebration that followed.

In his Opening Convocation address, President Mark Heckler said the Valpo community will work together this year to chart the course for the University future, and comparing this effort to the story of explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew, who successfully returned to civilization after their ship was wrecked in an attempt to cross Antarctica.

"After a year spent imagining and articulating the most desired future for Valparaiso University, the destination is clear," President Heckler said. "Together, we intend to create a university that will be renowned worldwide for preparing women and men who are highly sought for their knowledge, character, integrity, and wisdom."

He said Valpo will be known as a Lutheran community of learning constituted by people of various beliefs and backgrounds in dialogue with one another in common pursuit of truth, a vibrant community that integrates learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, and an engine of prosperity and vitality for our region.

"Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community leaders will all have the opportunity to contribute your creativity, ingenuity, and imagination to the development of bold goals and objectives that will set the direction of the University." President Heckler said. "At the end of this year of planning, Valparaiso University will embark on an ambitious journey. We will, no doubt, enter uncharted waters.

"Like Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance, we cannot know the challenges ahead of us. The journey is daunting, filled with danger, seemingly impossible. It will require each one of us to work together as a team. It will take risks and require sacrifices. Most of all, it will demand that we lift our eyes heavenward and open our hearts to God for guidance."

 Approximately 360 new undergraduate, graduate and law students participated in the inauguration of a new Valpo tradition during Opening Convocation, processing through an assembly of Valpo's faculty and administrators.

Following Opening Convocation, members of the campus community enjoyed a "Taste of Valpo" featuring local restaurants, a steel drum band and the "One Planet One People" activities fair.

Lecture series to open with global warming expert

A noted scholar of climate change will discuss how global warming could impact Earth and humankind's long-term future during a Sept. 3 lecture opening the annual Symposium series of Christ College.

Dr. David Archer, author of The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate, will use computer simulations to explain the impact of rising carbon dioxide levels in the oceans and atmosphere on the global climate. His lecture, "Global Warming and the Earth's Future," will begin at 6:30 p.m. Mueller Hall.

Dr. Archer, a professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, won the 2009 Walter P. Kistler Book Award, which recognizes authors of science-based books that make important contributions to the public's understanding of the factors that may impact the long-term future of humanity. He also is author of From Here to Eternity: Global Warming in Geologic Time and Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, a textbook for undergraduate non-science majors.

Other Symposium lectures this fall are:

  • Sept. 10 – "The Divine Handiwork: Evolution and the Wonder of Life," presented by Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and the history of science at Harvard University. Dr. Gingerich, one of the nation's most distinguished astronomers and historians of science, will discuss the intersection of science and religion in his lecture. He is the author of more than 600 articles and 20 books, including The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler and The Great Copernicus Chase.
  • Sept. 17 – "Gender Terrorism: The War Against Women in South Africa and the Law's Limitations," presented by Penelope Andrews, professor of law at Valpo. Andrews, an expert in international human rights law, will address the cultural and institutional patterns that generate alarmingly widespread violence against women in South Africa today as well as the law's constraints in the face of such ingrained forces. A native of South Africa, she is co-editor of The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Perspectives on South Africa's Basic Laws and Law and Rights: Global Perspectives on Constitutionalism and Governance.
  • Sept. 24 – "The Shape of a New Era: Valparaiso's Chapel of the Resurrection in Historical Context," presented by Dr. Gretchen Buggeln, Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts. Her presentation will examine the Chapel in light of its architect, Charles Stade, and the international conversation among architects and theologians about the proper style and form of religious buildings in modern communities and to thought about the place of religion in the revolutionary post-World War II world. Dr. Buggeln is author of Temples of Grace: The Transformation of Connecticut's Church, 1790-1840 and currently is studying church architecture in post-war America, with Stade as one of the main subjects of her project.
  • Oct. 1 – Christ College Student Scholarship Symposium, a semi-annual presentation by Christ College students of their analytical, critical, creative and research projects.
  • Oct. 8 – "Faith and Work, Love and Life," an annual Homecoming Symposium featuring a panel of Christ College graduates who reflect upon the ways their experiences at Valpo and in Christ College shaped their careers, relationships and spiritual lives.
  • Oct. 22 – "Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts: The Postdoctoral Fellows," featuring presentations by Valpo's new Lilly Fellows Linn Tonstad, theology, and Jason Crawford, English.
  • Oct. 29 – "Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America," presented by Erika Doss, professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame. Doss, a prolific scholar of American material and visual culture, will address the significance of the explosion of public memorials in contemporary America. Her books include Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities, Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith and Image and Twentieth-Century American Art.
  • Nov. 5 – "City Beautiful: Celebrating the Burnham Plan Centennial," presented by art historian Jeff Mishur. This talk will mark the centennial of architect Daniel Burnham's visionary plan for Chicago and its environs, which shaped the city and suburbs for generations of residents and visitors to enjoy. Mishur will discuss the full scope of the 1909 plan, its precedents in Europe and America, and the early City Beautiful Movement. Mishur is a member of the Illinois Humanities Council's "Road Scholars" program and has led tours of architectural sites and museums in Chicago and other cities for more than 15 years.

The presentations are held each Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Christ College Refectory in Mueller Hall, with the exception of the Sept. 10 talk, which will take place in the Christopher Center Community Room, and the Sept. 24 talk, which will take place in the Harre Union Ballroom.

Each presentation in the series is open to the public without charge. 

Soccer team aids diabetes campaign in Caribbean

The men’s soccer program is teaming up with St. Lucian reggae artist Taj Weekes and his children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), to help launch the “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” campaign - a public health initiative that will target the diabetes crisis in St. Lucia.  The Crusaders will conduct a fundraiser during the home opener at Brown Field Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. against nationally-ranked Michigan.

The “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” campaign is a direct reference to the growing diabetes epidemic in St. Lucia, which owns the highest rate of diabetes per capita in the world and where there is reportedly an estimated two amputations per day due to diabetes-related illnesses.  Many people become shut-ins because they are wheelchair bound, so the “Sneakers not Wheelchairs” campaign encourages St. Lucians to get up, put on their sneakers and exercise rather than become part of this alarming statistic.

TOCO is a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization founded by St. Lucian reggae artist Taj Weekes and is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and orphaned children in the Caribbean through sport, enrichment, educational and wellness programs. The goal of the “Sneakers not Wheelchairs” campaign is to raise awareness of this epidemic by getting kids to play soccer, eat right, and eventually eliminate diabetes in St. Lucia permanently.

The Valpo men’s soccer program first became involved with TOCO early in the 2008 season when it received an e-mail from the organization asking for donations of used soccer equipment.  At the same time, head coach Mike Avery had recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean, where he had witnessed first-hand many of the conditions that TOCO was created to help fight.  The Crusader players and coaches decided to support TOCO by sending the organization some of its older equipment, forming a partnership that has grown over the past year.

"We are very excited to team up with Taj Weekes and TOCO to support the wonderful 'Sneakers not Wheelchairs' initiative,” Avery said .  “Soccer and music are two of the most powerful change agents in the world, and it is exciting for our little soccer team to play a small role in bringing TOCO's vision into reality.  I hope many people in the Valparaiso community will come out to support us against a good Michigan team next Sunday, but will also take the chance to help TOCO make a lasting difference in people's lives."

The fundraiser at the home opener will help TOCO purchase supplies for November’s mission trip. The program is waiving the standard admission charge for the game against the Wolverines, and will instead be taking cash and check donations to help purchase new medical supplies to help provide resources to the population affected with diabetes.  Fans may also bring any new, packaged medical supplies, as well as gently used soccer equipment, that they wish to donate to the cause.  The Crusaders will continue to accept any donations throughout the season as well as they continue their partnership with TOCO into the 2009 season and beyond.