President Mark A. Heckler: Commencement Update

To: Class of 2020
Posted: April 5, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

Dear Class of 2020,

Valpo’s campus has been eerily empty these past few weeks, and it makes me long for a sense of normalcy to return. As the weather starts to turn toward spring, I catch myself expecting to see pockets of students gathered outside to study or taking leisurely walks across campus. While their absence saddens me, I am more deeply disheartened when I imagine what our graduating seniors must be feeling.

This unprecedented pandemic has disrupted your senior year, your last few months to celebrate your many successes at Valparaiso University. This is not how the semester was supposed to go, and it’s not what any of us want. While there is no way to re-create what you all have lost, remember that Valpo is more than a campus. The memories that you have made here will endure. 

I want to reassure you that University leaders are taking a measured and thoughtful approach to every decision regarding our COVID-19 response. We have been carefully listening to the feedback of University constituents to help us forge a path in this time of uncertainty. 

As I mentioned in a video message to seniors, there has been an overwhelming response from students and families encouraging us to preserve our annual Commencement. I maintain the promise that I made in that video: Valparaiso University will hold a Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. 

While we all would prefer a May Commencement, our commitment to hosting a safe and healthy ceremony is more important. At this time, we have decided to postpone Commencement until this commitment can be honored. Once a determination on timing has been made, we will share that information with you.

You have all exemplified the Valpo legacy of faith, freedom, scholarship, leadership, and service, and I am determined that you will be given the same opportunity as countless generations of graduates before you. You have my promise that as soon as it is appropriate to do so, we will honor your successes. 

I will continue to update you as the details and our path forward become clearer. Until then, know that whatever you are feeling is valid, that I will be praying for you all, and that, above all, you will always have a home at Valparaiso University.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.
Vaparaiso University