News - 3/22/11

School of Law to dedicate Heritage Hall, establishing Lawyering Skills Center

Members of the Valparaiso University community, as well as the general public, are invited to the Heritage Hall dedication event at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, on the lawn in front of the building. Following the dedication is a reception in Wesemann Hall Duesenberg Commons, and self-guided tours will be available as well. The event marks the establishment of the Lawyering Skills Center at Heritage Hall.

"The new Heritage Hall is a learning and service environment, and great resource for the School of Law and Valparaiso University," School of Law Dean Jay Conison said. "The Lawyering Skills Center will provide a home for our clinics -- for our teaching law firms. It is also a link to the history and historical ideals of this University."

Heritage Hall is the oldest building on Valparaiso University’s campus. It was built in 1875 and originally named Flint Hall after the contractor who built it, but was renamed after Richard Aaron Heritage, head of the music department from 1878 to 1894.

The building was constructed anew – it was originally planned to be a renovation process, but the structural elements of Heritage Hall were found to be unsound.

Reconstruction began on Heritage Hall in 2009. It is the nearest building to the School of Law and the last remaining vestige of the original 1859 campus. Elements of the original structure and original artwork depicting the building and old campus are included in the new Heritage Hall.

The façade design recalls the original roof, window and door styles, and decorative brick detailing, and hand-harvested recycled brick from the old building is used in interior accent walls. Interior benches are made from original structural timbers.

Artifacts and exhibits highlight the history of Heritage Hall and old campus. Exhibits celebrate the Draper and Welter family legacies; the story of Valparaiso University’s first century; and the story of Heritage Hall and its namesake. Exterior elements include the Music Hall “bench,” once the capstone to the entrance for the music building.

An exterior plaza connects Heritage Hall with Wesemann Hall and is the new home for the historic Founders’ Rock monument.

The new Heritage Hall incorporates the latest energy- and water-conserving building systems.

The Heritage Hall Lawyering Skills Center is more than a legal clinic: It is a separate and complete lawyering skills facility and curriculum. The center provides a genuine, law firm-like environment for the teaching of critical practical skills, including pretrial skills, trial practice, appellate advocacy, moot court and mock trial, and more.

Heritage Hall will also be home to the Law Clinic. Established in 1969, the Law Clinic serves the community and the legal profession. Specially licensed and supervised third-year students represent low-income clients and citizen groups who might not otherwise have such access to legal assistance. The clinic handles about 550 cases a year and presents a unique opportunity for students to represent clients before they become practicing lawyers.

Founded in 1879, the Valparaiso University School of Law enrolled 207 new students in 2010 and has an overall enrollment of 575. The School of Law is renowned for its focus on exceptional legal research and writing, enduring core competencies, a personal manner of teaching and learning, and dedication to law as a calling.

Johnson Appointed Campus Ministries Director

The Reverend Brian T. Johnson, who has broad experience as a campus pastor and administrator in church-related higher education, has been appointed to the newly created position of Executive Director of Campus Ministries at Valparaiso University.

Rev. Johnson will direct and supervise campus ministries at Valpo primarily through the management and co-ordination of three units: the Chapel of the Resurrection, the Institute for Leadership and Service (which will include the present Center for Church Vocations), and the Center for Church Relations. The latter two units will be newly constituted by the Executive Director and the Provost according to guidelines set forth in the University Strategic Plan.

"I am delighted to welcome Rev. Johnson to our community," said Provost Mark Schwehn. "He is well prepared for this position on the basis of his work with students and faculty from LCMS, ELCA, WELS, and other Christian backgrounds, in addition to his strong pastoral gifts, and his thoughtful reflections on leadership, service, and ecumenism. He brings to this position a deep sense of vocation and a distinguished record of accomplishment in campus ministries."

Johnson comes to Valparaiso after having served for 15 years as Campus Chaplain and as Artistic Director of "Christmas in Christ Chapel" at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. In addition to his pastoral leadership at Gustavus Adolphus, he has held a variety of administrative roles addressing vocational reflection, service learning, church relations, and inter-religious dialogues.

Johnson is also widely recognized for his work in enhancing worship, music, and the arts. He served from 1998 to 2006 as Chaplain of the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, a premier independent, inter-Lutheran organization supporting young musicians in the church. Johnson has published numerous articles on worship, music, and preaching, and co-edited books on The Spirit of Service: Exploring Faith, Service Learning, and Social Justice and Stories from Christian Neighbors: A Heart for Ecumenism.

Johnson earned his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College, his Master of Divinity from Luther Theological Seminary, and his Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University. Prior to becoming Campus Chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus, he was chaplain at the Lutheran/Episcopal campus ministry at the University of Kansas, pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, and chaplain at United Hospital in St. Paul.

The work of a search committee, chaired by Dean of Christ College Mel Piehl, was crucial to the process that led to Johnson’s appointment. Provost Schwehn asks the entire campus community to join with him in thanking the committee-Maura Cock, Stan Zygmunt, Amy Cory, Lisa Jennings, Lissa Yogan, George Heider, Phyllis Schroeder, Emily Von Qualen, Lisa Polito, Matt Becker, and Allison Schuette-for the time and careful thought that they devoted to the search for someone to fill this new and vitally important position.

President's Strategic Plan Tour begins in Milwaukee

March 17 marks the kickoff of Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler’s Strategic Plan Tour. Tour destinations are Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Valparaiso, Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit.

During the tour, Heckler will be sharing his update on current and future plans for Valparaiso University in his presentation of “Our Common Pursuit: Valpo’s Call to Lead and Serve for the Next Generation.” This presentation will highlight the future plans for Valparaiso University and will serve as the University’s road map over the next two decades, charting the course for future success as an institution.

Attendees will get the opportunity to take an in-depth look at the plan and to interact with the president, fellow alumni, and friends of Valpo. The schedule of events is as follows:

  • March 17: Milwaukee
  • March 18: Minneapolis
  • March 25: Valparaiso
  • April 14: Chicago (Downtown)
  • April 14: Chicago (Hinsdale)
  • April 15: St. Louis
  • April 16: Detroit

For information on registration and event details, visit