Valparaiso University has received a gift of $1.8 million from the estate of STEPHANIE E. UMBACH ’59, longtime assistant professor of library services. She designated her gift to establish the Umbach Family Endowed Scholarship Fund. Stephanie was a member of the Valpo library staff for nearly 50 years, joining the University in 1960 and retiring in 2009.
Stephanie was the daughter of the late Herbert Umbach, long-serving professor of English at Valpo and a Lutheran pastor, and the late Alma Umbach. Herbert served as member of the Valpo faculty for more than 40 years. He was a scholar of John Donne’s poetry and author of the book, “The Prayers of John Donne.”
“The Umbach family dedicated their professional careers to Valparaiso University, and their endowed scholarship fund will continue to impact students in perpetuity,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “For more than 75 years — beginning in 1931 when Herbert joined the faculty, through 2009 when Stephanie retired — an Umbach family member served as Valpo faculty. Their service and gift truly represent the principles of Forever Valpo, and the entire University community is grateful.”
A recipient of the C.V. Starr Scholarship, Avery received bachelor’s degrees in music and Chinese and Japanese studies. Demonstrating his belief that music is a universal language, he plans to teach English to Chinese students, using music as a common denominator.
Stephanie began her Valpo career as a reference librarian and served primarily as a cataloging librarian. In 2009, she received the O.P. Kretzmann Award for her long and exemplary service to Valparaiso University. She was honored in particular for personally cataloging nearly every volume in the library’s holdings as it moved from the Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress cataloging system.