On Oct. 9, 2013, Alan Bloom, one of Valparaiso University’s most beloved and influential professors, passed away unexpectedly. His colleagues in the history department have established the Alan Bloom Legacy Fund to ensure his legacy continues and even grows in the future. The history department will use this fund to help support a variety of exciting experiential learning opportunities for our students.
Since 1997, Professor Bloom was on the faculty at Valparaiso University where he taught an astoundingly eclectic array of American history classes as well as first-year humanities courses. He taught his heart out every single day and treasured his students and the many Valpo alums with whom he maintained contact. They meant the world to him. Professor Bloom was the chair of the department of History and former chair of the Diversity Concerns Committee. In 2010, he received Valparaiso University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his significant contributions to diversity within the University and the Valparaiso community. He served as the advisor for the University chapter of Habitat for Humanity for 10 years. He co-directed the University’s Summer Global Leadership Institute for high school students, and in summer 2013 initiated the Summer Smart, Summer Fun camp for children.
During his brief tenure as chair of the department, one of Professor Bloom’s chief ambitions was to make sure the classroom learning of our history students was enriched by transformative encounters with the people and places where history was made.
For example, in the 2012–2013 academic year, he spearheaded a spring break trip to Selma, Ala., where students toured a variety of sites associated with the Civil Rights movement, heard firsthand from past and present activists, and marched across the very same Edmund Pettus Bridge where the historic march for voting rights began in 1965. In the wake of that trip, Professor Bloom reflected that it was one of the pinnacles of his entire career.