News and Events


Valparaiso University Appoints Dean to Christ College — The Honors College

Valparaiso University announces Susan VanZanten, Ph.D., will join the Valpo faculty as dean of Christ College — The Honors College, effective July 1, 2018. VanZanten joins the college during its 50th year as an honors college, marking another milestone in the college’s rich history. In her role as dean, VanZanten will be responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination and guidance of Christ College. She will establish a vision for the college’s future, centered around curricular innovation and ongoing development of the dedicated, accomplished faculty. VanZanten will work closely with faculty to propel the college into the future, remaining dedicated to the cultivation of intellectual, moral and spiritual virtues and fulfilling the University’s mission of preparing students to lead and serve in both church and society. “Professor VanZanten brings with her an accomplished track record of leadership and innovation, a dedication to scholarship and faculty development and a deeply rooted commitment…

Growing and Tending: A Memorial for Arlin Glenn Meyer

  In Memoriam: Arlin Glenn Meyer Arlin Glenn Meyer, Dean of Christ College 1978-1990, died at his home in Valparaiso on February 8, 2017. He was 79. He grew up in Sioux Center, Iowa, and earned a BA in English from Calvin College, an MA from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from The Ohio University. He began teaching at Valparaiso University in the Department of English in 1967.  He and his wife, Sharon, and their two children spent two years in Cambridge, England, directing the University’s international study center there. Arlin became chair of the department of English 1975. In 1978 he was named dean of Christ College and served in that role for twelve years. Arlin Meyer’s Christ College deanship was marked by a significant increase in student enrollment in the college, the development of the CC Symposium speaker series, and the introduction of The Spillikin, CC’s…

Smith Named University Research Professor Grant

Julien Smith, Ph.D., will serve as University Research Professor at Valpo for the 2017–2018 academic year. The grant  recognizes and encourages scholarly accomplishments and will afford Smith the opportunity to continue creative and original work. Smith, associate professor of humanities and theology in Christ College, will continue research on a book examining the portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth as a king. Smith’s proposed book, “Why is Christ Called a King? Heavenly Citizenship, Moral Transformation, and the Restoration of Creation in Paul’s Letters,” will examine the Apostle Paul’s portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth as a king and the religious, cultural and social implications of the title. Smith, who joined the faculty in 2010, is the author of Christ the Ideal King: Cultural Context, Rhetorical Strategy, and the Power of Divine Monarchy in Ephesians, published by Mohr Siebeck in 2011.   In addition to teaching in the CC Freshman Program, Smith teaches The Christian Tradition and seminars on Jesus and…

Mel Piehl Heads Cambridge Faculty Seminar

  Mel Piehl, Ph.D., senior research professor in Christ College, will succeed Fred Niedner, Ph.D. senior research professor of theology, as the fourth director of the Cambridge Seminar for new faculty. The Cambridge Seminar is a vocational retreat for new tenure-track faculty held at the University’s study center in Cambridge, England, and represents the University’s commitment to faculty development and to strengthening the unique mission and ethos of Valpo. Professor Piehl served as dean of Christ College from 2003–2013. He has won the Valparaiso University Alumni Research Fellowship, served as the Richard Baepler Distinguished Professor in Humanities, and was recently awarded the O.P. Kretzmann Award for Distinguished Service. During his long career at Valpo, Professor Piehl has also served as a resident fellow at St. John’s University, as a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Dayton, and as a visiting scholar in Catholic studies at Seattle University. Professor Piehl will participate in…

CC Faculty News

Gretchen Buggeln Gretchen Buggeln, associate professor of art history and humanities in Christ College, has always been drawn to the ways an object can tell a story. While pursuing her undergraduate studies in New Hampshire, Buggeln rode her bike around the local area and was drawn to the ever-present farmhouses and older buildings surrounding her campus. She started off by studying early American material culture but became much more interested in religious history when searching for a dissertation topic in her PhD program, “I realized I could use my material culture methods to look at church architecture and write something that was essentially social and cultural history through the lens of buildings and the worlds that surrounded them” Buggeln said. “Buildings interest me because they truly say things about the people that built and used them.” Buggeln’s new book, The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar America (Minneapolis: University…

First-Year Production

Honey, I Juiced the Kids  The 47th annual Christ College First-Year Production, Honey, I Juiced the Kids, kept audiences mesmerized for all five sold-out performances in the Refectory Theatre. In just 10 weeks of intense collaboration, the students who make up the honors college freshman class write, stage, and perform an original 90-minute theatre piece with music based on ideas and themes encountered in their interdisciplinary honors courses. Honey, I Juiced the Kids was directed by First-Year Drama Workshop coordinator Isaac Schoepp ’07 and assistant director Jacob Just '12.                      

Senior Retreat

LEADING LIVES THAT MATTER The Class of 2017 experienced CC Senior Colloquium in a new format this fall—a 26-hour stay at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center near Plymouth, Indiana. The focused gathering was designed to guide seniors in reflection, integration, closure, and transition at this significant moment in their lives. For many years the CC Senior Colloquium (CC 499) consisted of weekly class meetings, readings and discussions about vocation, and the preparation of practical transition resources such as resumes, personal statements, interview tips, and help in applications for graduate school or employment. The new Senior Colloquium retreat was conceived through a collaboration with Valparaiso University’s Assistant Vice-President for Mission and Ministry, Rev. Brian Johnson; Director of the Institute for Leadership and Service (ILS), Dr. Elizabeth Lynn; ILS Program Associate/AmeriCorps Member and 2016 World Relief Campaign chair Katie Bernabei ’16; and Christ College administration and staff. Former Dean of Christ College,…

Alumni Reading Groups

Join (or begin) a Christ College Alumni Reading Group in your area! One of the signature experiences of Christ College is meeting with fellow students to discuss important texts and cultural moments. Christ College Alumni Reading Groups offer alumni an opportunity to continue these life-changing conversations and participate in the life of the College. This year’s syllabus can be found on our Christ College website at Individual groups may follow the syllabus, expand upon it, or create their own! CC Alumni Reading Groups are available in the following cities: Austin, Texas North Chicago, Illinois - Chicago Loop, Illinois - West Chicago, Illinois - Cincinnati, Ohio - Columbus, Ohio - Denver, Colorado - Detroit, Michigan - Fargo, North Dakota - Indianapolis, Indiana - Lincoln, Nebraska - Los Angeles, California - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - New York, New York -…

Alumna Named Guggenhein Fellow

Valpo and Christ College alumna René Steinke ‘86, novelist, editor, and educator, has been named a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. Often characterized as “midcareer” awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Steinke’s most recent novel, Friendswood (Riverhead), was named one of National Public Radio’s “Great Reads” of 2014. Friendswood was shortlisted for the St. Francis Literary Prize, and it was an Amazon Book of the Month. Her previous novel, Holy Skirts (2005), an imaginative retelling of the life of the artist and provocateur, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her first novel was The Fires (1999). Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, O Magazine, Redbook, Houstonia, Salon, Bookforum, and in anthologies. She is the former Editor of The Literary Review, where…

Hoemann ’16 Represents Senior Class

Valparaiso University revived an old commencement custom in May 2016 by having a representative from the graduating class deliver an address before classmates and thousands of parents and other well-wishers gathered at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Student Commencement speaker Benjamin L. Hoemann ’16 graduated with a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude with a major in biochemistry and the honors designation Christ College Scholar. Ben has a strong sense of the social responsibility of health care and medical practice. Funded by a Schweitzer Scholarship from the CC Dean’s Annual Fund he spent spring break 2015 on an international service learning trip to Central America. This experience alongside medical professionals serving the medically disadvantaged helped confirm Ben’s commitment to medicine as a career. Ben’s undergraduate research activity included the highly competitive Harvard-Amgen Scholars Program where he conducted neuroscience research. He wrote his Christ College thesis, Allostatic Load and its Psychological Impact on Poverty, Disadvantage, and Humanitarian Crises, with John Nunes, Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair holder…

New Mueller Hall Seminar Suite

Mueller Hall Seminar Suite Dedicated On April 26, 1970 Valparaiso University dedicated the newly constructed Christ College building at a special worship service at the Chapel of the Resurrection. The donors remained anonymous until 1978 when the building was re-named to honor Ewald H. Mueller, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey; vice-president of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; and longtime member of the Valparaiso University Board of Directors. Christ College is indebted to Rev. Mueller (1916-1991) and Mrs. Joan Scheele Mueller for 46 years in our campus home and an endowment that has allowed CC to keep up with maintenance, technology,and refurbishing our campus home along the way. This past April Mrs. Mueller and members of the family joined us to dedicate the Mueller Hall Seminar Suite: a set of two handsome seminar rooms, a servery for hospitality in the Refectory, some comfortable seating, and…

McAdams ’76 Profiles Trump

Dan McAdams Christ College alumnus Dan P. McAdams recently published an article in The Atlantic entitled "The Mind of Donald Trump" Dan P. McAdams is the Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Psychology, Human Development, and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He received his doctorate in personality and developmental psychology from Harvard University in 1979. His research focuses on the kinds of stories that adults construct to make sense of their lives and their worlds. Among his scholarly books are George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait (2011), Power, Intimacy, and the Life Story: Personological Inquiries intoIdentity (1985) and The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By (2006). McAdams received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Valparaiso University in 1988 and an honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) in 2008. Read his newest article here. 

CC Honored in Congressional Record

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Christ College News Archive

Third Annual Shakespeare Week Returns to Valpo Jan. 11-16

Valparaiso University welcomes back Actors From The London Stage for a weeklong residency Jan. 11-16 as part of the third annual Shakespeare Week. The accomplished group of classically trained actors will stop on its 2016 Spring Tour for a series of classroom visits, workshops, and Shakespeare-oriented events at Valpo. The week culminates with three performances of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." All events, sponsored by Christ College in collaboration with the English and theatre departments, are in the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. (more…)

Valpo Professor Named President of Vernacular Architecture Forum

Gretchen Buggeln, Ph.D., Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts, has been elected president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. Buggeln will serve a two-year term as president. Buggeln joined Valparaiso University’s faculty in 2004 after working in the academic programs department of the H.F. du Pont Winterthur Museum in Delaware. She continues to be active in the museum field by reviewing exhibitions and writing about how museums interpret religious artifacts and belief. “The Vernacular Architecture Forum has been a mainstay of my professional life, and I am honored to serve as president,” Buggeln said. (more…)

Masterworks Program at Valparaiso University Begins Second Year

Classes explore central questions of human experience through classic literature The Masterworks Program at Christ College, sponsored by Valparaiso University’s interdisciplinary honors college as well as the Graduate School, offers exciting continuing education opportunities for members of the larger Valparaiso community. An opportunity to discover and re-visit classic texts, the Masterworks Program offers an intellectual, discussion-based atmosphere rooted in the Christ College tradition of intimate, dynamic seminars. The program, which successfully launched in fall 2014 with participants from across Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana, is now beginning its second year and will offer two courses for the fall semester. (more…)

Valparaiso University Announces Inaugural Shakespeare Week

Series of Events Held March 18-22 Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University, presents the inaugural Shakespeare Week at Valpo, featuring a week-long residency by Actors From The London Stage. One of the most admired Shakespearean troupes in the world, Actors From The London Stage is composed of classically-trained actors from prestigious companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Shakespeare Week at Valpo will showcase a series of events, performances, and workshops, sponsored by Christ College, in collaboration with the Department of English and the Department of Theatre. All performances are in the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. (more…)

Valparaiso University Hosts Willis Boyd History Lecture Featuring Historian Darren Dochuk

WHO: Valparaiso University welcomes historian and former Lilly Fellow Darren Dochuk for the 2014 Willis Boyd History Lecture, part of the annual Christ College Symposium and presented in partnership with the Department of History. The lecture honors former Valpo history professor Will Boyd. Dochuk is associate professor in the humanities at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on the connections between religion, politics, and culture in modern United States history. WHAT: Dochuk’s lecture will discuss “Crude Awakenings: A Religious History of Oil and Oil-Patch Politics in America’s Century.” Tapping the story of the Sun Oil Company for illustration, Dochuk will explore the fascinating institutional, ideological, and imaginative connections that drew the business of oil and the church together in the 20th century. WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m. WHERE: Mueller Hall Refectory, Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University Honored by Department of State for Student Achievements as Fulbright Scholars

In Past 10 Years, 26 Valpo Students and Alumni Have Received Prestigious Fulbright Awards Valparaiso University has achieved recognition from the United States Department of State as one of the colleges and universities that produced the most 2012-2013 Fulbright United States students. The Fulbright Program is the United States government’s flagship international educational exchange program. “It is an honor for Valpo students to be continually recognized by the prestigious Fulbright Program,” Valparaiso University Provost Mark R. Schwehn, Ph.D., said. “This distinction is a testament to the outstanding value of a Valpo education, as well as to the hard work, dedication and leadership demonstrated by our students.” In May, Valpo announced three 2013 graduates had received Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships for 2013-2014. Valpo is the only Indiana master’s institution included on the list of top producers, which was published in this week’s edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Elizabeth Burow-Flak,…

Valparaiso University Hosts Inaugural Jochum Chair Lecture with the Rev. John Nunes, Featuring Panelist Martin Marty

WHO: The Rev. John Arthur Nunes, Emil and Elfriede Jochum Professor and Chair at Valparaiso University and former President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief. Nunes works closely with Christ College — The Honors College, Campus Ministries, and the departments of English, Theology and International Studies to support the study of Christian values in public and professional life. Panelists include distinguished Lutheran scholar and author the Rev. Martin Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, Stephanie Jass '92, associate professor of history at Adrian College, and Wonhee Anne Joh, associate professor of systematic theology at Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary. WHAT: As part of the Christ College symposium series, the inaugural Jochum Lecture will center on "Finding a Gracious God" and the concept that ideas have consequences. Martin Luther's quest for a gracious God set in motion a movement of spiritual renewal in Europe. Nunes will consider some consequential…

Valparaiso University Provost Announces Retirement after 30 Years with University

Valparaiso University Provost Mark R. Schwehn ’67, Ph.D., will retire from his position effective June 30, 2014, as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Schwehn has served the University since 1983 and was named provost in 2009. "Provost Schwehn has been a transformative, thoughtful leader at Valpo for three decades," Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler said. "He has been a faithful steward to the mission and vision of Valparaiso University, and his guidance has been invaluable during a time of significant growth and expansion for our University." During his time as provost, Schwehn counts the development of Valparaiso University's academic plan, part of the University’s campus-wide Strategic Plan, as one of the high points of his tenure. He also added the position of Executive Director of Campus Ministries and expanded ministry programming on campus. In 2012, the University launched the Institute for Leadership and Service under Schwehn's…

Grads Document History of Downtown Valpo Neighborhood

Nestled among overgrown evergreens and deciduous trees on the south side of campus sits Mueller Hall — home to Christ College, one of the nation’s oldest honors colleges. Since its doors opened in 1970, the brick walls have housed conversations of discourse and discovery. Much like Mueller Hall, every building has a story — a rich history of time and place and the people who studied, worked and lived inside. Sparked by conversations inside Mueller, Emily Royer ’12 and Jacob Just ’12 listened for these stories during their time as Christ College students and continued this work through their collaboration on a story-telling project. The Valpo grads currently research and document Central Stories for the Porter County Museum of History, which highlights the rich connections between historic architecture, memory, and community in one downtown Valparaiso, Ind., neighborhood. (more…)

Valparaiso University Lilly Fellows Program Receives $1.19 Million Grant

The Valparaiso University-based Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts was awarded a $1.19 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This is the 10th such grant that has been awarded to the Lilly Fellows Program, which has supported more than 60 Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows since its inception in 1991. "We are both humbled and deeply encouraged that Lilly Endowment Inc. will continue to support this life-giving program," said Joe Creech, Director of the Lilly Fellows Program and Adjunct Associate Professor of History and Humanities in Christ College. "This program gives our Graduate Fellows a rare opportunity to develop into teacher-scholars who attain the highest credentials of their disciplines but also retain a sense of the initial love for learning that pushed them to graduate school in the first place. We offer them a space to think through not only their vocations but also the intersections of faith and higher…

Valpo Appoints Dean to Christ College—The Honors College

Valparaiso University has appointed Peter Kanelos, PhD, as Dean of Christ College—The Honors College effective July 1, 2013. Most recently he has been a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago. In his role as Dean, Kanelos will be responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination and guidance of Christ College. He has an accomplished record in higher education and brings a comprehensive vision for liberal arts education; an ability to collaborate with academic and administrative colleagues; and experience with a diverse student body, combined with commitment to supporting initiatives to expand diversity. Kanelos is deeply devoted to honors education and has a rooted enthusiasm for Christian higher education. (more…)