News - 3/20/12

Duesenbergs make $5 million gift to help fund Welcome Center

The long history of commitment to Valparaiso University by Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg was carried forward on Saturday, April 28, when the University announced that the Duesenbergs had made a $5 million gift toward the construction of the Duesenberg Welcome Center.

The announcement took place at Saturday’s Duesenberg Welcome Center groundbreaking ceremony at the location of the new facility near the entrance to campus along U.S. 30.

“The Duesenbergs’ commitment to Valparaiso University over the years has helped to enhance and carry out our mission to prepare students for leadership and service,” Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler said. “This gift to the Duesenberg Welcome Center is another example of their gracious generosity. We are forever thankful to all that they have done for Valpo and for all that their kind gifts will continue to represent for our entire University community.”

The 15,000-square-foot Duesenberg Welcome Center will create a front door for the University and will support the needs of prospective students, alumni, and all guests visiting campus. It will also house key historical and modern exhibits as a continuation of the University’s story told in Heritage Hall, which was dedicated in April 2011.

The Duesenberg Welcome Center will play a central role in the University’s efforts to grow to 6,000 students as part of the University’s Strategic Plan. The center will help foster a greater sense of community for visitors on campus.

The Duesenbergs, of St. Louis, are graduates of the University. Richard completed his undergraduate studies in 1951 and earned his juris doctorate degree from Valparaiso University Law School in 1953 before obtaining his master of laws degree from Yale in 1956. In 2001, Richard received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Valparaiso University. Phyllis is a 1954 Valparaiso University graduate and received an honorary doctor of arts degree from Valparaiso University in 2004.

Richard, retired senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for Monsanto Company, is an emeritus member of the University’s Board of Directors.

“We are very pleased to help make this Welcome Center a reality for the University,” the Duesenbergs said. “It is critical for the growth plans already in place at Valpo. In it, prospective students, alumni and friends and the casual visitor dropping in from Highway 30, will learn of the unique and distinctive qualities of the University.”

For more than 50 years, the Duesenbergs have helped conceive, support and implement programs that promote the Lutheran heritage and character of Valparaiso University. They served as co-chairs of the “Three Goals, One Promise” capital campaign, which exceeded its goal of $75 million, in support of Valparaiso University. During that campaign, they made gifts to endow four University chairs: The Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Religion and the Arts, in Lutheran Music, in Christian Ethics, and one in the Law School.

They also made gifts to endow the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University. The Duesenbergs were the driving force behind the construction of the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center, the Center for the Arts, the addition of the 19th century American paintings to the Brauer Museum of Art, and many other additional generous areas of support.

College of Business students earn honors at international competition

On April 20, nine undergraduate College of Business students traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to compete in Collegiate DECA's International Career Development Conference (ICDC) and were successful in their events.

Taylor Deloye, the 2011-2012 President of Collegiate DECA, said the conference allowed students to expand their ability to solve complex business problems by analyzing case studies and presenting the results to a panel of judges, in competition with DECA teams from colleges around the world.

“We are putting Valpo on the map one win at a time,” said Deloye. “The experience provides us with real-world business experiences as well as networking opportunities with senior management in large national companies.”

This year’s Valpo winners included: Paul Yox, third place - corporate finance; Catalina Roldan, second place - online sales challenge; Taylor Deloye and Michael Rosenow: double finalists and national top 10 - international marketing; Shilo Hunziker and Jordan Lewis: double finalists and national top 10 - Business Ethics; Bryan Bertani, double finalist and national top 10 - professional sales; Bailey Botorff, finalist - travel and tourism. Also competing were Catalina Roland, human resource management, and Jason Toberman, marketing management.

In 2011, Deloye and Jacob Haulty took a first-place win for their work in case study analysis in International Marketing.

Nearly 2,000 students competed in 20 categories at the annual conference. Collegiate DECA has 20,000 members internationally.

Lighter recognized at annual conference

Valparaiso University’s literary magazine, The Lighter, recently won several awards at the 2012 Indiana Collegiate Press Association conference.

The Lighter is consistently an award-winning publication. Awards won at this year’s conference were:


  • Literary Magazine of the Year - Second Place
  • Best Single Issue - Third Place, The Lighter Fall 2011
  • Best Overall Design - First Place, The Lighter Spring 2011
  • Best Cover Design - First Place, The Lighter Spring 2011
  • Best Free Verse Poem - First Place, Ethan Grant "The Light Bucket"
  • Best Rhymed Poem - Third Place, Stephanie Sepiol "The Seaside Waltz"
  • Best Short Poem - Second Place, Ellen Orner "Enrobing"
  • Best Hand-Drawn Illustration - Caleb Kortokrax, "Untitled"


“This year while I’ve been editor of the Lighter, the rest of the staff and I have really tried to recognize that while the heart of who we are is a journal, The Lighter is also a community of people,” Jeremy Reed, a senior English, Spanish and Humanities major, said. “From our three-person staff to our volunteer selection committees of students, to our submitters, to all of the musicians, visual artists, writers and readers that take part in our coffeehouses at the end of each semester, we are a strong and growing community of students interested in all aspects of art, from all kinds of backgrounds, and from any major or department on campus.”

Allison Schuette, assistant professor of English, acts as faculty adviser to the Lighter, but said that she generally sits back and lets the students run the organization. The magazine publishes works written primarily by undergraduate students, and submissions are also accepted from graduate and law students. Students also run the selection committee and design the layout of the magazine.

“I’m genuinely excited to see what happens with this growing group of students interested in the arts and with our journal that represents this conversation on campus,” Reed said. “The students do the work, have the conversations, and have the interest. The Lighter represents those things here at Valpo, and we’re very happy that our students are being recognized by other organizations around the state for all that they do."

The Lighter is currently accepting submissions for next fall’s issue at The coffeehouse and release party for this semester’s edition will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, in the Art and Psychology Building.